No etiquette this time around. Here are some haunts of mine that I’m inclined to share. Curiously the majority are underground, which doesn’t suit summertime hi-jinks, but does tap into a certain Blitz-era mind-set, good for when the Season Affective Disorder kicks in.
Freud’s – One of London’s worst kept secrets, Freud’s is a basement bar that bleeds hipster from ever crack in its dingy concrete walls. Bold art and ferociously good cocktails make this place a good haunt for any Gentleman Geek. The fact that Freud’s is across the road from Forbidden Planet is just gravy. Expect standing room only from 18:00 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Freud’s is much quieter during the day, but doesn’t have Wi-fi, ergo a good place to actually write, rather than just dicking around on Twitter. The music selection seems to be down to the staff and can be quite random, and very loud.
Upshot: Eclectic music selection, great cocktails, creative crowd, near a comic shop.
Downers: No beers on tap, no Wi-fi, seating scarce in the evenings.
Where: 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JL
When: Monday to Saturday 11:00-23:30 Sunday 12:00-22:30
The Phoenix Arts Club – Although the Phoenix is a private members bar (and I lack membership) it has become a favourite of mine. I’ve been to a few book launches at this venue and it’s opposite Foyle’s too. Bliss. The Phoenix has a faded, kooky, shabby-chic vibe that is curiously endearing. The bar was set up by theatre crews with a late license so thespians and their ilk could get their drink on. And now you can too. There’s often several luvvies in the vicinity and you can even spot the odd soap star in there from time to time.
Upshot: Really friendly, attractive crowd, great atmosphere. Lagers on tap.
Downers: Non-stop show tunes can grate on your nerves.
Where: Charing Cross Road
When: 17:00-2.30am Monday to Saturday.
The Book Club – I confess, I’ve only been here twice, but I loved it both times. The Book Club is a converted Victorian Warehouse and is within spitting distance of The Old Blue Last (a long term favourite of Shoreditch bohemians). The private function room is downstairs and recently played host to China Mieville’s launch party for Embassytown (read about that book HERE). Upstairs is a spacious layout with lots of mismatched furniture and plenty of eclectic art on the walls. The staff are uniformly bright young things, but without the frosty attitude so prevalent in many London bars. They also have a lot of events on and book good DJs.
Upshot: Good music, attentive staff, roster of fun events, a ping pong table, and cake too.
Downers: If you’re allergic to hipsters you should avoid.
Where: 100-106 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4RH
When: Open from 08:00 Monday to Friday, and from 10:00 Saturday and Sunday.