Drink Lagos: Circa Non Pareil
Circa Non Pareil
If there’s anything noteworthy about both Circa’s is that they’re new and serious with their architecture. Although, if I were to rate either, I’d probably go with the second Circa - Circa Non Pareil. It thrives on minimalism. There’s just something about the structure that looks really sophisticated and modern.
I really wanted to sit on the first floor because of the amazing view and the bar’s aesthetic but I had to move the floor above because the bar didn’t have chairs. I also didn’t like climbing the stairs, and not because I hate physical activity, but that they were quite crooked and seemed to go on forever. Imagine the struggle climbing this thing when you’re tipsy – yikes!
When I finally reached my destination, it looked like I had been at the wrong place. First off, maybe terraces are hard to pull off in Lagos. I mean, expats might like the scorching sun, humidity and other demons associated with heat because it’s all ‘exotic’. However, asides the pleasure that comes from knowing you’re not one of the cars lined up on the gruesome Lekki-Ikoyi bridge, I was completely turned off.
I also found out the restaurant wasn’t open yet and that kind of compromised my view on the bar, because for all you know this might not be the real deal.
Oh well, I ordered the Circa Mule again as I’m currently on a mission to find the best Moscow Mule in Lagos. The bartender instantly asked if I wanted it with liquor – yes, here we go again. If you’re tired of how much I make my drink reviews about feminism, please imagine how annoying it is to be asked every single time you visit a “bar” whether you want liquor in the mix. Because if I wanted a mocktail I’d clearly pick one on the menu or just make one at home.
According to the menu, the drink was made with gold rum, “red berry pure”, “cherry pure”, fresh strawberry, lemon juice and red grape juice.
Dear Ladies and Gents, please how are these ingredients associated with the classic Moscow Mule? I understand that bars sometimes tweak the original recipe but this confused me. I like that the vodka was replaced with rum and I have tried googling what “cherry pure” and “red berry pure” are but found nothing. So yes, I’m thinking the menu was typed by someone who has no inkling for words and of course, drinks.
(Ed note: maybe they meant “puree”)
It was super sweet probably due to the berries and the miniature cup. However, there were some spicy notes I couldn’t figure out cause of the components listed on the menu.
I had the worst sore throat and was tempted to try the Lemon Grass Gin. Don’t judge, sometimes the bar is where you go to find peace and the cocktail did that surprisingly! The mix had gin, lemon grass, elderflower and lemon juice topped with soda. It was absolutely refreshing. You know I love gin so this wasn’t that much of a surprise and although I was worried about the lemon grass, gin is magical in flowery mixtures. I do not think the verdict would have been the same if it was a vodka based cocktail. I loved the illusion it gave – that my sore throat was gone, although I hated the fact the glass had a teeny strand of hair.
The last drink was the Kia Royal which was basically a prosecco and crème de cassis. So yeah – I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how that tastes. It was real prosecco though; I can confirm that. Also, the popular name for this mixture is Kir Royal but I’m just going to believe the utter influx of Kia’s in Lagos inspired Circa’s version.
There were a few problematic things but I loved the cute mugs that my drinks came in. I have also accepted that Nigerians might be more invested in packaging than content. If not, how else will a beautiful place like this suffer from ill-fated drinks and unthoughtful mixologists.
Circa Non Pareil’s drinks didn’t have much buzz to them and the performative kindness masked by subtle rudeness from waiters was not appealing in any way. I want to believe that when the establishment is truly operational, it invests in bartenders who aren’t just mixing concoctions for Lekki lounge-goers but the food and drink enthusiasts that embody this city.
Good for: Nights out.
Happy Hour: No
Circa Mule - N6000
Lemon Grass Gin - N4000
Kia Royale - N4500