Seed Library

100 Shoreditch High Street
E1 6JQ

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What’s the vibe?

Sod rooftop bars, we’re all about subterranean drinking dens, and Seed Library is a prime candidate. Found in the bowels of One Hundred Shoreditch, this underground lair is bountiful with retro resin lamps, low-slung chairs and pine panels, with an equally stylish cocktail offering from award-clad mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana, AKA Mr Lyan.

Few mixologists have had such a lasting influence on the global cocktail scene as Mr Lyan. Starting his career in 2013 with his first bar, White Lyan in Shoreditch, his empire of cocktail bars spans the planet, from Silver Lyan in Washington, DC, to Super Lyan in Amsterdam, with two books and countless pop-ups under his belt, too.

Seed Library is Mr Lyan’s most recent venture, post-pandemic, and one that takes a different approach to his previous bars. He moves away from concept-heavy menus to what he calls an ‘analogue lo-fi approach’. The menu is (in relative terms) simple and easy to digest, listing around eight drinks that focus on working with suppliers like Bermondsey Street Bees, Noma Projects, and the Rare Tea Company.

That said, cocktails and accompanying food don’t take themselves too seriously. You’ll easily find yourself sipping on a mezcal sour topped with a Pink Panther rice paper motif while you glide wotsits through a bowl of whipped cod's roe. Adulting the way it should be.

What to eat?

Ironically a lot of food on the menu is the stuff to remedy a hangover – perhaps a nod to your impending fate the morning after. Think potato smiles, XO popcorn chicken, Bombay mix and ‘nduja pork sausage rolls – this time not eaten in front of your TV with a side helping of self-loathing.

There are also more grown-up morsels on offer, like ox cheek croquettes with truffle mayo, crispy miso-marinated mushrooms with a citrussy yuzu kosho and a jammy coppa and spiced plum toastie.

What to drink?

Eight new cocktails have recently snuck their way onto the roster since this February – focussed on celebrating nature and spotlighting ingredients from producers in London and beyond. Unlike many cocktail bars, Seed Library's boozeless offering doesn’t feel like an afterthought, reduced to a half-arsed virgin Shirly temple or mock mojito. Mr Lyan is known for putting equal effort into this department, and there are low and no-alcohol versions of some of the new cocktails, like the Hand-Rolled Spritz and Master Stock Plus, that taste like the real deal.

For those on the sauce, we recommend easing your way into the evening with a Hand-Rolled Spritz – a refreshingly sippable concoction of Garden Swift gin, cardamom leaf, unripe plum and redcurrant bubbles, before cranking up the heat with the Pink Panther, a playful take on a sour made with Lost Explorer mezcal & Soka, raspberry, citrus, rapid aged cuppa’ and finished with a rice paper motif of the Pink Panther himself. Other tipples worthy of your attention include the Moonlit Gimlet, a grassy concoction of Patron Silver, soured green peas, and elderflower – ideal for those who prefer a less sweet cocktail.

We’re not saying there’s a right way to finish the night, but the Copenhagen Fizz might just be it. A soporific mix of Ford gin, rich macadamia milk, tropical cordial, NP wild rose vinegar and soda that lulls you into a state of sleepy calm, ready to hop on the bus home and inevitably miss your stop.

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