The Dead Famous late night liquor lounge is an absolute gem in Newquay town centre. It’s got an underground speakeasy vibe, with 1920s chandeliers handing above dimly lit booths. Seductive red lighting provides a glowing backdrop for a night on the town. The rock-inspired bar would fit right in on LA’s sunset strip, with stairs plastered with old NME covers, and lyric wall art adorning the walls.
The loos are labelled Amy’s and Lemmy’s, after music legends Amy Winehouse and Lemmy, of Motorhead, which I also found quite amusing. The bar staff were friendly and helped me purchase one of the bars funky branded t-shirts for my brother’s birthday. I could have easily seen Dead Famous as my go-to hangout spot if it were back home. It might be comparable to Jimmy’s bars, or your favourite local sticky-floored grassroots music venues.
My family and I spent many evenings of our holiday drinking in Dead Famous late night liquor lounge, and by the end of the week, I was hoping to pick it up and plonk it back down in Staffordshire. The cocktail bar was so up my street, and provided a warm and buzzing atmosphere. Social distancing was in place in terms of tables, with a one way system to the bar. Music played over the sound system, providing the soundtrack to a memorable evening (or three).
At the bar, only one person per table was able to place their order. Whilst spirit and mixers like rum and coke would be served whilst waiting, cocktails would be brought to the table. On some occasions, service was slow – the bar was proving popular with both locals and tourists. We soon got into the swing of ordering our next drink ahead of finishing the current one, so it would arrive almost as soon as it was finished. It was one of the few places in town operating on a first come, first served basis, meaning you could pop in for a drink whenever you fancied. There was also no time limit that parties had to stick to – so the table was ours for the night.
Over the course of the week, I tried most of the cocktails on their Greatest Hits menu. The cocktails are all named based loosely on iconic songs like Bohemian Rhapsody and Should I Stay or Should I Go. The price list is standard cocktail prices, ranging from £7-£9.
Here were some of my favourite cocktails at Dead Famous late night liquor lounge:
Tarquin’s Cornish dry gin, fresh lime juice, sugar, fresh blackberries, blackberry crème de mûre
Tart blackberries meet citrus lime in this pretty purple cocktail. If you’re the kind of person forever buying the latest fruity flavoured gin, then you’ll love a bramble. This gin sour cocktail was invented in the 80s in London, and should be served in an old-fashioned glass with crushed ice.
Everlong Island Iced Tea
Vodka, Bacardi Superior white rum, Gordon’s gin, Cazcabel Blanco tequila, Triple Sec, lemon juice, cola
A Long Island Iced Tea is where you’ll likely find the most alcohol for your money. The highball originated in Long Island in the 70s, and features five different types of alcohol. These are dangerously delicious and bound to have you tipsy after a few. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Should I Stay or Mojito
Raspberry, Havana especial rum, mint leaves, fresh lime, sugar, soda
Dead Famous has a few mojito options, including classic, strawberry and passionfruit. But when the bar ran out of strawberry, they kindly whipped up a raspberry version in it’s place. A plain mojito is refreshing, but adding fruit or berries is a total game changer.
Cascabel Blanco tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, sugar
Some of you may shudder at the word tequila, but hear me out. I’ve heard margarita’s be described as ‘limeaid for adults’, and it’s pretty accurate. Whilst strong tasting, the zest of the lime, and salt on the rim of the glass, and the orange flavour of the Cointreau makes it a real taste sensation. It certainly makes up for all my teenage cheap tequila shots!
Strawberry, Bacardi Superior white rum, fresh lime juice, sugar
Potentially one of my most ordered drinks, the strawberry daiquiri is a great cocktail for those with a sweet tooth. Dead Famous serve these in classic and mango flavours too. You can order these as a sharer cocktail if you and your mates are sticking to the same drinks.
Old Fashioned Rock N Roll
Woodford Reserve Distilleries Select Kentucky straight bourbon, orange bitters, angostora bitters, sugar
I wouldn’t like to gender stereotype a drink, but if you’re struggling to get your boyfriend to try a cocktail, start them on an old fashioned. It’s a strong whiskey-based drink that you can imagine a group of men in suits drinking whilst sat on chesterfield setees, but more and more women are ordering them at the bar. Whilst I wouldn’t order this if I intended to go out for a few drinks, it’s certainly more of a toasting cocktail for special occasions – for me, anyway.
Pretty Fly for a Mai Tai
White rum, orange curacao, orgeat syrup, fresh lime, dark rum float
I’d actually never even heard of a Mai Tai until I saw this menu. Doubling up on rum and orange curacao could be – like the Long Island Iced Tea – a little dangerous. When cocktails taste like fruit juice, it’s easy to knock a fair few back. The tiki themed cocktail is very tropical, with strong citrus flavours that make you feel like you should be lounging on the beach – but a bar at the top of one will do!
Other cocktails on the Greatest Hits menu that I didn’t get around to trying include a Hotel Caipirinha, Espresso Yourself, The Wind Cries Bloody Mary and Riders on the Dark and Stormy. But those can wait 12 months until my next visit!