I've heard rave reviews about Black Dog Ballroom, so when I visited a couple of weekends ago I was left really rather unimpressed because it was just too busy.
I returned the following week on a Tuesday, and what a difference. The underground bar, instead of being full of a crowd that was drinking themselves silly, was calm, and had a let-me-ease-your-shoes-off atmosphere. Brilliant.
Instead of going at the weekend I like to visit Black Dog during the week when it's quiet. It retains a cool atmosphere during the week; relaxed bar tenders take your order, cool drinks are pushed your way and the plush sofas call your name. I think of it as an inner-city escape, not just because it's located in the official cool area of the Northern Quarter, but because it's a little bit of luxury, which I think everyone deserves, when work, in fact life, has just pushed you too hard.
The cocktails are my favourite, but lest we forget the classic, simple drinks that quenched your thirst years before the exciting cocktail came on the scene. Corona, or lemon and lime spritzer, or even a regular (ice cold) coke can feel like heaven after work.
Heading to Black Dog early in the week, with its mellow crowd, can make your visit even better because it seems like you have most of the bar to yourself (and your friends), and who doesn't love it when the bartender mixes drinks for only you?
Sometimes it's nice to unwind with a cocktail after work, or just some bar food before the routine of the next day sets in again.