As Dalston slouches towards full-blown gentrification, I’m hoping that it’s the Ruby’s, rather than the Starbucks, of this world that will come to characterise the transformation of E8. There has been a steady stream of independent food and drink openings in the area – A Little of What You Fancy, Reilly’s, White Rabbit, Rita’s - in recent years and the newish Ruby’s is another jewel in the crown. A chic, speakeasy style cocktail bar that wouldn’t feel out of place in a W1 backstreet, Ruby’s is in fact hidden down a small staircase amongst the many Turkish restaurants and fruit shops of Stoke Newington Road.
With its low lighting and inventive cocktail menu, Ruby’s is a sophisticated place to stop off when you’re not quite ready (read: drunk enough) for Efes. The staff are insanely friendly, the atmosphere is refreshingly unpretentious, and most importantly the drinks are good and strong – the expertly mixed blackberry mojitos served in 1940s Manchester milk bottles being particularly delicious (try to resist the urge to slurp them down like Ribena – a lesson I learnt the messy way). There’s no food and not that many tables, so line your stomach first and be prepared to wait: Ruby’s is worth it, and well, this is Dalston after all.