A Spanish-influenced bar and restaurant called Screwdriver is due to open on Ridley Road in Dalston this week.
Co-founded by brothers Alexis (ex- The Ned, Zetter Town House, Polpo) and Emmanuel Ross (formerly of Five Points Brewing Company, Whitelock’s Ale House, Mason & Taylor), Screwdriver — or SCREWDRIVER, as they put it — will cook everything on a plancha grill. Yes, everything: meat, vegetables, fish and shellfish will all receive the same treatment. The business is inspired by “countless visits to Galicia and the Basque country.”
According to the Ross brothers, “like the very best places, we want Screwdriver to be somewhere everyone feels welcome. Our calling card is service: we think we can be up there with the very best London has to offer — but in an informal, charming and totally unpretentious fashion.”
Kingsland Road and Ridley Road market have encountered the sometimes uneasy realities of gentrification in recent years. Only this year did a Marks and Spencer food hall open on at the market’s entrance, which stretches from Kingsland Road to Dalston Lane. It’s at the very centre of a close, multicultural community. And its preservation has been as important as it is surprising: The opening of Market Bar (in 2012) and Lucky Chip (in 2015) did not precipitate the kind of hipster takeover some might have imagined. (Lucky Chip closed in 2017.)
Commenting further on the location, Alexis said: “We’ve lived and worked in Hackney for a number of years and kept this street in particular under close observation, due to the uniqueness of its character. At the moment it’s got the perfect mix of established market traders and some more recent success stories, like Ridley Road Market Bar and The Three Compasses, both different, both brilliant and we want to join in.” The brothers’ version of joining in: Spanish food, plus cocktails developed with “one of the most innovative and exciting young bartenders in London,” whose identity remains a mystery.
One of those cocktails inspires the name:
“We wanted a name that is one word, punchy, clatteringly direct and reflects the ambience and colour of the room. And something that has enough identity to be used again in the future. Our lead bespoke cocktail, the New Driver, is inspired by the classic Screwdriver cocktails of beautiful bars past, both real and imagined.”