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Nov 13, 2013 01:36 PM

Several days in London - and eating at the bar

I am traveling to London with my sister at the end of November, and as two women we prefer eating at the bar......any recommendations, particularly in central London, where this is possible?

Many thanks

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  1. No recommendations, I'm afraid but may I ask why "as two women", you prefer eating at the bar, rather than at a table. I ask as bar eating is fairly uncommon in UK and don't understand why gender issues might affect choice (if choice is available).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      I was going to ask the same question. Maybe they like to talk to bartenders?

      1. re: zuriga1

        Barrafina is good in Soho -- its even got bar in the name!

    2. Conversely to Harters I would say there are actually now loads of places with bar seating- my other half and I are also big fans of this style of seating.

      Off the top of my head, some places I'd unreservedly recommend with such seating are:

      Barrafina- soho tapas
      Bocca Di Lupo- soho Italian
      Spuntino - soho grungey/hipster American diner/Italian
      Nopi - ottolgenghi creative middle eastern influences
      J-Sheekey oyster bar- covent garden- traditional
      Duck soup- soho- hipster

      To be honest there are many options - if you can narrow down with what food/area/price range you are after then I can offer some better tips

      1 Reply
      1. re: mjgauer

        Harters wasn't denying bar seating exists, but rather, doesn't have suggestions because he lives closer to the Terrestrial North Pole than to London.

      2. My two favourite places to eat at the bar are:

        Terroirs-Charing Cross. Good wines by the glass and charcuterie. Also do some more substantial plates.

        Donostia- Basque place near Marble Arch. I prefer sitting at the bar here as you can see the cooking and the staff are really engaging.

        1. As Harters says bar eating is much less common than in the US and if you limit yourself to that you may risk missing out but...

          Tapas: Opera Tavern, Donostia, Morito and Barrafina. The former two you can book and request bar seats, the latter two are turn up and queue jobs.

          The queues are big at the weekends - although Morito is a more civilised experience as they take your number and you go to the pub whereas Barrafina you stand along the wall.

          Ceviche in Soho also has bar seats, as does Koya but you have to get lucky for those.

          Hedone certainly used to seat people at the bar which I imagine is an amazing experience.

          St John Smithfield you can eat in the bar but not at the bar.

          Wright Brothers would be great for seafood.

          Dredging the pot L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon is obviously designed largely around bar dining.

          1. Many thanks to all posters so far...we are staying in the St Paul's/barbican area, but of course will be wandering all around. As we come from New York and San Francisco, we find that sitting at the bar is a lot more fun and social than being stuck away at a romantic table for two........and I can't believe that eating at the bar is that uncommon in London!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mwyler

              Thanks for the explanation - appreciate now that it's an enjoyment thing, not a gender thing. I visit the capital most years and have never come across bar eating - but then I've never been looking for it. Perhaps places that offer it are places that havnt appealed to me for other reasons. By the by, I also don't know of anywhere in my region of the UK that offers it - perhaps if we got north American tourists visiting us, places might consider it.

              Enjoy your holiday.