Equal Parts: Sager + Wilde opens Hackney aperitivo bar, partly inspired by Hopper’s Nighthawks

In high spirits: Michael Sager said the bar is a passion project (Sager + Wilde)
In high spirits: Michael Sager said the bar is a passion project (Sager + Wilde)

A new aperitivo bar from the team behind Sager + Wilde has now launched, full licence in tow, having opened as a coffee shop and cafe late last year.

Equal Parts, not far from the group’s original, near-decade old wine bar and restaurant on Hackney Road, will focus on wines, cocktails, amaro and bitters, while continuing to serve coffees and pastries by day.

In the evening, classic spirits will line the back bar, while a feature glass front door brings a French absinthe bar feel. The bar will be deliberately dimly lit, and features Japanese wood panelling, a zinc bar top, Venetian blinds and a raw plaster finish. Co-founder Michael Sager said Equal Parts is “the realisation of a dream,” calling it “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“We want to revive the long-lost category of aperitivo, amaro and bitters,” he told the Standard.

Hopper-inspired: Equal Parts (Sager + Wilde)
Hopper-inspired: Equal Parts (Sager + Wilde)

“The idea is that we shine a light on the simplicity of truly great drinks, hence the name ‘Equal Parts.’ All great drinks are simple and often built in equal measures — like a Negroni.

“To expand on this seemingly restrictive paradigm actually offers true creative freedom by forcing oneself to rethink the basics.”

He added: “Walking past it last September, I realised the shop there had sadly closed down. I pursued the site with a passion until a month later we signed a lease.

“Its beautiful freestanding corner location has always reminded me of the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, and it just needed to be a bar.”

Sager said Equal Parts aims to “unearth” Europe’s aperitif culture, championing “under-used” ingredients such as sherry to build traditional in style cocktails. There is a new speaker system and vinyls play. Art, from local artists, will rotate monthly.

Equal Parts: drinks will be pared-back and traditional (Sager + Wilde)
Equal Parts: drinks will be pared-back and traditional (Sager + Wilde)

“Before opening Sager + Wilde, most people would have considered it out of the ordinary to drink fine wine by the glass in a bar,” added Sager.

“It was previously reserved for fine dining experiences. Having been able to reshape this culture, and having been able to reeducate people about the importance of natural wine, I hope to achieve the same for the beautiful lost art of aperitivo culture. There couldn’t be a better place than Hackney Road to do this. We are lucky to receive people who are curious and open to the experience.”

Drinks highlights include the Flor, which combines olive oil vodka, fino sherry, and tomato, and a Jerusalem artichoke Negroni, where flavoured gin is mixed with vermouth and Campari. Rare spirits include Japanese whiskeys and agave distillates, while snacks are limited to Torres crisps, nuts, and olives.

Equal Parts is open now at 245 Hackney Road, E2 8NA. For more information, visit equalpartslondon.com