LOCATION: Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB [map]
PRICE: £3. 70 (possibly)
BREAD: White bagel
FILLING: Salt beef, mustard, PICKLES (we’ll get to those shortly)
PROS: Ahhh Beigel Bake, you nostalgia arousing, late night vending, hangover soothing old friend, you…KISSES. Me and BB, we got history, see? I can’t begin to count the amount of times I’ve staggered over that threshold, drunk as a skunk. I’m in and out in a matter of minutes, clutching my beefy booze sponge. Efficient. I want to love it and hug it and squeeze it but mostly, I want to get it in my face. It’s best not to look directly at me while I’m doing that by the way, a bit like the way one shouldn’t look directly at the sun. That shit can get a little explicit. Beigel Bake is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for all your drunken needs. This of course means it’s also there for you when you’re hungover, which is how I found myself queuing up on Sunday afternoon, shuffling along, semi-catatonic, pawing at the wall for stability. I never order anything but the salt beef, which they cut into soft slabs of obscenely pink meat, gilded with glistening wibbly fat. Melty. There’s mustard of course and it’s proper gnarly – the kind that shoots up your nose and gives you a head rush; a bit like an Embassy Number One at 6am. In fact the mustard is one of my favourite things about Beigel Bake, largely because when you say that you would like some, they shout, “ONE WIV!” at the bagel assembly person down the front. He doesn’t respond; he just gets on with the spreading, the slicing, the wrapping, the twenty four seven churning…I’ve met only one person who lives in London and doesn’t like Beigel Bake. He’s American. Go figure. Over and out.
CONS: I always seem to forget (nothing to do with the fact I’m always inebriated when I visit) that pickles do not come as standard and need to be requested as an extra (for 50p). This means I ended up, yet again, with no pickles in my bagel. I was on the verge of calling Amnesty International. Why not offer them at least? Point. Lost.
SCORE: Nostalgia + booze = 7/10