Bobby Fitzpatrick in West Hampstead
Wouldn’t it be great if every neighbourhood had a friendly local cocktail bar, somewhere a bit cooler and with better drinks than the pub? Well, West Hampstead should be thanking its lucky stars that Bobby Fitzpatrick is here to liven up its chain-heavy high street. This 1970s-themed bar and American-style pizzeria is serving up finely crafted rum cocktails and retro comfort food to the denizens of NW6, and we strongly recommend that you try it out.
Some serious effort has gone into making the place look authentically like your fashionable grandma’s house when it was at its height in 1975. The bar is named after a previous inhabitant of the building, and it’s split up into sections that represent the rooms of the former house. There’s a “dining room” up front with Formica tables and wood-panelled walls, a lounge section in the back, a startlingly authentic-looking kitchen, plus a conservatory in the basement complete with wicker hanging chairs and a profusion of houseplants. It looks stunning. We wouldn’t normally refer to the loos in a bar review, but the pale green tiles, pink toilets, and vintage hand-dryer are truly a joy to behold.
The effort isn’t just in the décor, beautiful as it is. The cocktail list (all named after places and people in Bobby Fitzpatrick’s life) is carefully designed with a focus on rum and a distinctive Caribbean flavour. The Alison Mahoney (named for an old girlfriend of Bobby’s) is a jazzed-up version of a classic daiquiri, bursting with fresh lime and spicy ginger.
If you like something a little stronger, try the beautifully balanced President, with golden rum, Cocchi Americano vermouth, triple sec and pomegranate. And while guests might find it slightly surprising to see a slushy machine in a cocktail bar, you’re going to want to try the Pina Coladas and Tequila Sunsets that come out of it – they’re all the refreshment you’d get from a Caribbean holiday frozen and squashed into a glass.
Alongside the cocktail list there’s a short food menu that’s impressively cheesy, in both senses of the word. The generous nachos and the fried dough balls in cheese sauce are the perfect bar snacks to stop the cocktails going to your head, while the list of pizzas includes such classics as ham & pineapple, pepperoni, chicken tikka, sesame prawn… OK maybe they’re not all classics, and this definitely isn’t the place to come for Neapolitan authenticity, but this food is a satisfying accompaniment to your evening’s drinking.
Beyond food and cocktails though, what ultimately sells this place is its fun, laid-back vibe. Bring a date and chill out to the soundtrack of 70s rock and Motown – just as much thought has gone into the music as everything else. The locals are lucky to have Bobby Fitzpatrick on their doorstep, and everyone else should consider making the trip.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina and Bobby FItzpatrick
To book a table at Bobby Fitzpatrick, 273 West End Lane London NW6 1QS, call 020 7433 1989 or visit here.