Few things excite me like a new bar opening, especially...
...in The City where the raucousness takes on a different edge to that in Soho and the West End.
I was really giddy about the opening of Forge though; the perfect after work location (24 Cornhill - you can roll to Bank and her many underground lines very easily, I know because I've done it), a marriage of fire and ice (oooh errr), a strong ethos of 'work hard play harder' and the bold promise that Wednesdays would never be the same again. But more on the Wolf of Wednesday later.
I knew which cocktail I wanted to start with before I'd even stepped foot in the door - the 'Granny Smasher' or 'No.1' has been getting a lot of love from the Late Night London blog fam and I needed to ensure it lived up to the hype.
Pictured here on the right, the No.1 is a simple beast - FEW Rye Whiskey, an entire Granny Smith apple (pulverised to smithereens in front of your very eyes) and a splash of soda water. It's a wonderfully naughty way to start your evening and still feel relatively Gwyneth Paltrow about it.
I can also confirm that the drink pictured with my No.1 - the sultry No.82 - is beyond fabulous too. A heady blend of Zubrowka Vodka, Champagne, lemon juice, peach syrup, sugar syrup, cucumber juice and green cardamom.
See, I told you this place was going to be special!
Aware that it would be rude to stick with our icy concoctions at the bar and not experience the 'fire' element of Forge, we grabbed a large table and set to work at eating our way through most of the menu. Research, right?
Oh but this wasn't your ordinary boring weekday, we were there on a Wednesday and, as I mentioned in my intro, Forge are out to makes Wednesdays that little bit wilder.
And wild it got.
We were serenaded by The London Essentials and I'm still not sure if it was the whiskey or the general new bar excitement but I found myself wanting to sing on the tables and dance in Champagne. Which is always a nice way to feel.
It would have been a shame to opt for bubbles though when there were still so many cocktails to try.
Just look at that cocktail list!
I see it less as a menu and more of a schedule. An order of service, if you will.
Moving on to a No.35 - Ketel One Vodka, Martini Bianco, cucumber juice, elderflower cordial, lemon juice and mint - I knew we needed to eat. I couldn't just drink my vegetables and expect to make it to the dance floor downstairs.
As one of those boring snoring veggie types, you'd be forgiven for thinking I have no place at Forge. They have an event called 'Meat You Mondays' and the grill menu is one of the star attractions, after all. But as those around me were treated to all sorts of ribby delights and mountains of pulled pork, I had a rather wonderful duck egg and chive dish with shaved Lincolnshire Poacher, warm grilled asparagus and walnut bread as my starter.
I have it on great assurance that the peanut butter, lemon grass, coconut and green chilli chicken skewer is pretty damn amazing too...
As for main courses, we tried pretty much everything across the table.
You can take a peak at the menu here, but you really shouldn't if you're remotely hungry and not within travel distance to Forge to be able to sort yourself out.
You don't win friends with salad? I did with my Harbourne Blue and walnut croquettes!
As a testament to the punchiness of the Forge cocktail list, I didn't even remember that we'd had dessert until I looked at my pics the next morning and realised I'd obviously sacked off the wedding diet completely and ordered chocolate brownies AND a sundae. Ahem.
The sundae was worth it though - with fresh strawberries, vanilla panna cotta, vanilla bean ice cream, pistachio praline and cream. Oy!
This was washed down with more cocktails of course, I tried to retain some ladylike charm by moving on to 'pink drinks' (it was that kind of evening) and I started experimenting with all sorts of Campari based concoctions and pink grapefruit tinged tipples.
I need the Forge glasswear in my house. Now. I'm also a mega fan of the crazy huge blocks of ice that the ice masters just hack away at to get the perfect hunks of ice for the cocktails.
We moved downstairs to dance, not sure how when so full to the brim but we battled on like the brave souls we are, and I realised that even though we hadn't even taken up the Wolf of Wednesday offer (Jacobs Ladder, beef short ribs cooked to perfection, grilled figs and BBQ pulled pork accompanied with beers for £25) we were having an AMAZING Wednesday night in The City and that was all thanks to Forge.
I will definitely be back and I will make sure it's soon.
You can book a table here.
See you at the bar!