Richard Hunt is a bartender, one whose passport is a bamboozlement of customs stamps.
He grew up all over the world and has flung himself around it a couple of times since, picking up a few stories on the way. There was the time he served Scarlett Johansson Manhattans, or Prince William Palomars. He did a stint as Bacardi’s brand ambassador through eastern Europe but still, between modest bashful smiles, he’d rather tell you about the ingredients he found, or the backroom drinking holes who taught him something new. He made Milk & Honey what it is – the barman’s favourite – and is the reason you drink so well at Hawksmoor. I could mention him being crowned International Bartender of the Year three years on the trot, but at this point, doesn’t that look like overkill?
I’m telling you all this because he’s in Stoke Newington, the Least Convenient Place In London To Visit™, and you too might be tempted to sack off the journey if you didn’t know he was up there. Granted, Stokey boasts L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, for (duh) pizza, one of London’s finest Irish pubs in The Auld Shillelagh and Yum Yum Thai, which has the kind of dumbly honest moniker a toddler and a drunk could both agree on. In fact, if you live there, you’d barely need to leave, which is useful as it’s about three days hike from anywhere else.
No matter. N16 has got its claws into Hunt so that’s where he is, close to family, in a bar with a name that must be nicked from a failed art school rock band. It is a joyous little den of sunshine, an antidote to London dreariness, a lift if you’re prone to the post-holiday slump. Walls are white and blue, it’s all rustic shutters, bright green…