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Great bars in London for mid-week birthday drinks?
November 9, 2010 1:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a nice bar in Central London to host some mid-week birthday drinks. Can you please recommend some?

My requirements are as follows:

* Central London (zone 1 and ideally bang in the middle)
* Good location to tubes
* Can have an area reserved out (on a weekday) for free
* Good cocktails (doesn't have to be cheap, but not shockingly expensive)
* Some beer available (for the minority that won't drink cocktails)
* Nice place suitable for a group of 30-40 year olds
* Atmosphere conducive to communication (no extremely loud music)
* Classy (no "spit and sawdust" or "old man" places)

Places I've previously been and enjoyed: Match Bar, The Player, LAB, Bourne & Hollingsworth, London Cocktail Club, Academy and Living Room.
posted by mr_silver to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you tried Zander on Buckingham Gate? They will set aside an area for you and fit most of the criteria above. Short walk from St. James Park and Victoria Station.
posted by london302 at 2:42 AM on November 9, 2010


How many people in your group? For a small crowd, central but quietish, I'd say The Nordic (much nicer inside than their website looks), upstairs at The Social, or for a posh pub, The Crown & Sceptre, all in Fitzrovia.
posted by iivix at 3:20 AM on November 9, 2010


If you've got a big crowd on the other hand (like over 15 people) then Jerusalem, also in Fitzrovia, is relatively classy and is big enough to accomodate big groups. It wouldn't be at the top of my list, but at least there'd be room for everyone.
posted by iivix at 3:31 AM on November 9, 2010


Thanks for the ideas so far! Please keep them coming.

The group size will probably be 10-20 people.
posted by mr_silver at 4:00 AM on November 9, 2010


Roxy Bar & Screen, Borough High Street. South of the river, Zone 1.
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:33 AM on November 9, 2010


I really like The Black Friar but I am not sure if that would be your thing. It's a very unique place!
posted by Kitteh at 4:49 AM on November 9, 2010


Well you can't get more bang in the middle than Centre Point – why don't you try the Paramount Bar right at its top? I've had quite a few fun times there – but you do need to book ahead and get your name on the guest list. And, needless to say, the views are SPECTACULAR.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:40 AM on November 9, 2010


The Black Friar. Amazing place. As Kitteh said, it's unique. Distinctly classy (that's an understatement). It's right by a tube station that's easy to remember: Blackfriars. It's not very big, but I don't think 10-20 people would be a problem. Seems to fit all your criteria.
posted by John Cohen at 6:59 AM on November 9, 2010


The Blackfriars tube station is closed until late 2011. Not that that makes the pub inaccessible or anything--it's more of an FYI.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:34 AM on November 9, 2010


Alphabet bar on Beak Street in Soho
posted by dmt at 8:02 AM on November 9, 2010


* Academy (used to be called Lab) on Old Compton Street is great, especially for cocktails.

* The Social (owned by Heavenly Records, has already been mentioned and I will second it.

* Bourne & Hollingsworth is a bit like being inside a Libertines song*, all gin in teacups and faded Rule Britannia deco.

* Alphabet Bar is good, and I've heard nice things about The Player which is a members club but you can book a table as a non-member.





* Only without the skag and intra-band thievery
posted by Sifter at 9:12 AM on November 9, 2010


The A Lounge, underneath Albannach on Trafalgar Square could be the one. They have a series of vaults available to book for free and the whole space is very, very nice and perfectly located.

I nearly put on an event there last year just after it was renovated (it was called Doon then). The team were very helpful although I think the ents manager Kristina is now with Soho House these days.

Alternatively, this Time Out list has some nice places.

(Ah, the Alphabet Bar. I remember when Spike, one of the managers at the infamous Mondo on Greek St, opened that place in the mid 90's. I miss my Soho bar crawling days. Happy to hear it's still going. My liver just gave a little shiver tho'.)
posted by i_cola at 9:55 AM on November 9, 2010


Thanks everyone. In the end I booked an area out at Alphabet Bar and had a great time. It's been years since I visited that place. In addition, I now have about 10-15 other places to try in the future.

I'm not going to single out any one or two comments for best answer on the basis that all of them were great.
posted by mr_silver at 8:07 AM on November 18, 2010


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