Xhulio, Bottle Bar & Shop

This month, I spoke to Xhulio and Natalie. The pair run the show at Bottle Bar and Shop, a cocktail bar and community hub on Catford Broadway.

Catford town centre will undergo a lot of change over the next ten years. With a new master plan on the drawing table, Catfordians are keen to have their voices heard.

It was against this backdrop that the pair opened up shop, and over the last year they’ve worked hard to craft the space into an established local hangout.

The cocktails are made by Xhulio, mixed and bottled in-house. With 20 years’ experience as a mixologist under his belt, it’s fair to say his creations are one of a kind. He’s even created a new cocktail in time for Valentine’s Day, the Cacao Martini. It’s made with vodka, infused with organic cacao nibs – and, like most relationships, it’s bittersweet!

As well as serving cocktails, the bar doubles up as an exhibition space to showcase the work of local artists. When I visited Xhulio last Saturday, he showed me the work of Luke Agbaimoni, a photographer capturing the London Underground. Currently they’re hosting Kate Hosking ink work, which will adorn the walls until the end of March.

The bar is also home to a monthly networking event, ‘Nevermind the Networking’, hosted by Studio Change. The event is an opportunity for local professionals to come together and share ideas.

I got a real sense of community action from my time in Catford. The locals are incredibly proud of the area and there seems to be a real sense of wanting to give back to the community. Bottle Bar & Shop are doing a great job of connecting with the community and giving back in various ways.

In this spirit, Lewisham Local cardholders can get 10% off at Bottle Bar and Shop. Even if you don’t have a date this Valentine’s Day, there’ll be plenty of friendly faces in Catford to share a drink with.

Erica Belcher

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