Inside Be At One Bar

Our exclusive first look at Grand Central's new cocktail-fuelled neighbour

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If pretension is your bag, take the next available exit. But if you're more in the market for high-fives and neon and happy people, then Be At One has just landed, approximately 7.23 seconds from New Street. And when we say "just", electricians were battling with filaments as we supped down the first cocktail to ever be served at the bar you're going to want to get a view on this very weekend.

MOVE OVER CHURCHILLS SNOOKER CLUB

"But where is it?" you immediately tweet, mumble or bellow insanely at your nearest work colleague? It's accessed via the door directly to the right of the Piccadilly Arcade, the former might-get-daggered-at-any-minute digs of Churchills Snooker Club. Like Be At One, Churchills stayed open late. LATE, late. But despite our slightly nostalgic memories of the haunt, that's where the similarities with Stephenson Street's newest occupant—which officially opens at 4.30pm today—begin and end. Thank the Lord.

SERVICE WITH A SMILE. AND THEY MEAN IT.

Take the good bits of American service—communication, attention to detail and a willingness to ensure you're having a good time, then subtract the strained, syrupy bit. Be At One spends £5,000 training each of its bar staff over eight weeks. There are written tests covering the 149 cocktails on the menu, as well as a final practical. A lot like a driving test, apart from—you know—the whole alcohol thing, each potential tender is graded live on taste, interaction and consistency before they're allowed anywhere near you. Because unlike some of the city, this is a team that gets that it is all about you. And cocktails. They're kind of keen on those too.


TALKING OF COCKTAILS...

Given a thorough tickle roughly every six months, the cocktail menu across the Be At One dynasty is reactive to customer feedback and laced with enough novel combinations to pretty much sustain a night of conversation. There's pineapple leaves, popcorn and in-house dehydrated fruit by way of garnish game. There are Tangfastic-esque Sherbets for the sweeter tooth, plus beer-based combos for the cocktail suspicious (try Shaky Pete's with Meantime Pale Ale). Be At One's take on an Old Fashioned—the Gin Re-fashioned—went down so well that Sipsmith (who provide the main ingredient) had to warn the team that they were close to completely running out of gin. There's even a "virtuous range" for you yoga-types, where your Absolut Citron comes with spinach, kale and agave syrup. Did somebody say healthy cocktail? Nope, because that would violate a lot of laws, but you get the drift.

WRITERS WANTED, KIND OF URGENT

And because we can't help but commit utterly to every assignment, it took less than forty minutes for cocktail master and flaring champ, Aldo, to get us behind the bar, executing the "perfect pour" (his words). Suffice to say, we were offered a new career on the spot. It was a Chica Caliente we had duly processed (pictured), with Patron Silver at its core. And though we do all have a "tequila story", it's probably about time we got a new, actually enjoyable one. High-fives all round. Literally. This isn't some kind of clever sign-off. We had at least three.

Open until 3am Thurs to Sat (and a healthy 1am Mon to Wed), Happy Hour lasts significantly longer than an hour and Appi Hour can make it stretch even further. But you'll need to talk to a bar tender about that.


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