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Any great restaurant bars?

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New York City, New...
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Any great restaurant bars?

So....my husband and I are going to London for a quick weekend. We realize it's probably too late to book any table at the really great restaurants, so we are wondering if there are any BARS in some of these well known eateries where we can have a drink and an appetizer, and then move on to the next bar with good food.

We come from NYC so we would appreciate both high-end places as well as a-hole-in-the-wall local favorites.


London, England...
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1. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

Do you mean this weekend?? If not, what're your dates?

London, United...
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2. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

If its this weekend it may well be too late for a really good restaurant, although you will get an early or late sitting somewhere, did you have anywhere in mind? Restaurant bars don't normally do any food from the kitchen, a bowl of nuts is the usual choice.

London, UK
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3. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

Some bars do, Dabbous for example does food in the bar and some excellent cocktails. Opinions of the restaurant vary; it opened with some amazing reviews and possibly the hype was over-done, but I've been twice and liked it a lot. http://dabbous.co.uk/

You could also try Mark's Bar by Mark Hix http://www.marksbar.co.uk/

If there are particular restaurants you'd really like to go to it's always worth trying for a cancellation at short notice too.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

Thanks your suggestions! We are actually going the weekend of October 11-14th. Like I said, we like both high- and low-end eateries, as long as the food is good. When we go out here in New York we often just sit at the bar of a good restaurant if it's full, and still get the same food from the restaurant menu and the quality would be the same, so I just assumed it's the same in London. Am I wrong?

Thanks again.

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5. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

Hi - Actually you won't find that many restaurants have a bar that is an extension of the dining room. You'll find some though, here and there but not like in the U.S. We often prefer to eat at the bar too, but rarely have done so in London. Eating and drinking tend to be two separate activities. Even in pubs that serve food, the dining area is often in a side area or different floor. You may order at the bar but you don't ever eat at the bar (you might not even find barstools!)

If you want a semi-bar experience and want high end, you can try L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, which is on the ground floor (more formal dining area is upstairs) near Covent Garden. You can sit around the open kitchen and watch the chefs prepare dishes, most of which are sharing portions. The food, service and atmosphere is fantastic and not too formal and stuffy. Highly recommended.


Detroit is a little bar hidden in Seven Dials/Covent Garden area on Earlham Street. It's underground with a cool, dark grotto feeling. They serve pretty yummy bar snacks and have some of the best mixologists that we've seen in London, great cocktails menu. This has been a tradition on every trip to make a visit or two to Detroit. It gets busy though, especially later on Thurs/Fri/Sat nights (lots of locals not many tourists). It's pricey though, but IMO worth it.


Have fun!

Edited: 28 September 2013, 04:08
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6. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

For mid-range, Brasserie Zedel has a bar within its complex, The Bar Americain. www.brasseriezedel.com

One thing I found whe trying to make last-minute bookings, was that if you're prepared to eat very early or very late, then it's sometimes possible to get a booking for Michelin-starred restaurants on the day.

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7. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

Hawksmoor Seven Dials has a nice bar which serves the full restaurant menu. I believe Caprice/Scotts type places also do.

Hitchin, United...
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8. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

In Bentley's Oyster Bar you can sit at the bar and eat a full meal, they have proper place settings, which is unusual for the UK but it works. You'll still need a booking but you don't have to book a long way in advance for the bar, usually a day ahead is fine. Unless it's a Saturday or maybe a Friday.

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9. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

I believe the bar at Dabbous is called Oskars Bar. I thought the food in the restaurant was over hyped and over rated but the cocktails in the bar downstairs were great. Really unusual and reasonably priced for the quality. The bar food also sounded nicer than the restaurant food, although we didn't have any.

Another vote for Bar Americain at Brasserie Zedel. They apparently keep tables free each evening for people who turn up to the restaurant so you could stand a good chance of getting a table in the restaurant, which serves reasonably priced french food.

An ( annoying) trend in London at the moment is for many new restaurants to not take bookings so you would have as much chance of getting a table as anyone else by turning up. On this basis I recommend Polpo in Covent Garden which serves "Venetian tapas"(?) which was delicious

It is probably worth having a look at Time Out for restaurant ideas and then look at the reviews online.

Re stools at the bar, they are virtually non existent in pubs over here. As a general rule you buy your drinks and take them to your table. Some people will stand and drink at the bar but they tend to clutter the place up when it gets busy :-) when I visit the states I find the whole sitting at the bar thing a bit wierd and I end up feeling uncomfortable and in the way, but it's just what I'm used to

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10. Re: Any great restaurant bars?

I would check out some of the tapas bars, Barrica in Goodge street is a good option.