Space is a valuable thing in London – it’s in high demand, but there’s not much of it. This year alone London continues to develop sites in Canary Warf, Greenwich and Royal Docklands; all quickly becoming sought after places to live and work. Meanwhile Google has its eyes on Central London, submitting plans to build a new office. A ‘92,000 square-metre ‘landscraper’ that will be as long as the Shard is tall’ type of office. But thankfully it’s not all business. There are plenty of eateries and bars that need space too, and when there’s no space left, London gets creative. It ventures on top, underneath, in between, and anywhere it can possibly go – you just need to know where to look. To help you find these gems, we’ve listed NINE of our favourite hidden places.
Bloomsbury Club Bar
Down some quiet streets behind the Dominion Theatre, you can access this underground bar (part of The Bloomsbury Hotel) where you’ll be greeted with exposed brickwork, delicate lighting and cosy seating – all against the faint bustling of over-ground life. Inside the romance continues.
16-26 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
Disappearing Dining Club (Little Quiet)
This tiny eatery is bursting with full flavours and big vibes. It’s an intimate setup making you feel like you’ve entered an exclusive party that you shouldn’t know about; but still welcomes you with open arms. Chose between a 2, 3 or 6 course for a set price which includes a drink.
24-26 Newbury Street, EC1A 7HU
This independent pizzeria is an undercover gem; it’s easy to miss and expertly discreet. The dough is fermented for 48 hours and baked in a wood fired oven (a hand crafted one at that), and there are 4 different types to chose from. At very reasonable prices, this is one to seek out.
157 Holloway Road N7 8LX
This gin and cocktail bar is underground and sits amongst the quieter streets in Bermondsey; it’s very easy to pass. Nevertheless, they have named the bar the first line of its address, so it’s meant to be found. The menu is creative and if you’re a fan of gin, there are over 100 to choose from.
214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
Around the corner from Old Street lies Nightjar, a sophisticated jazz and blues bar which should be your first pick if you’re looking for a special night. There’s live music, caves and vintage sprits in this underground secret. The cocktails include some classy stuff including Oolong chai, quinoa water and bachu leaf.
129 City Road, EC1V 1JB
Kensington Roof Gardens
100ft above the London streets is Roof Gardens. It’s in the heart of the city yet it remains a beautifully kept secret even for most Londoners. There are flamingos, streams and birdlife to enjoy in the garden, while on the seventh floor you can dine at Babylon.
99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA
Tucked away on a small side street where you’re more likely to find warehouse than an eatery, sits the ultra cool Styx. There’s comfy seating around a water feature and a small mezzanine area if you want shade from the sun. Inside it gets cooler. Club nights and gigs regular take place here, so keep up to date.
5 Ashley Road, N17 9LJ
Below the ever-packed Shaftesbury Avenue area in Central you’ll find a surprisingly high ceiling basement that’s been serving classic cocktails since 1986. During the day it’s a café where you can relax with a free paper and some delicious food, while later on it turns into an exciting bar.
198 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JL
We’re moving above ground for Jack’s Bar, which discreetly occupies a converted railway arch behind Southwark tube station down a beautiful inconspicuous street. It’s a huge space that allows for privacy while you enjoy the food and drinks, and there’s a canopy and outdoor seating for these warm summer nights.
96 Isabella Street, SE1 8DD
Written by Nikki