>Sugar Reef, 42-44 Great Windmill Street, London W1V 7PA
The downstairs cocktail bar at Sugar Reef is popular amongst the after-owkr crowd for its happy hour until 7pm. With champagne cocktails at less than £4 and wine at £8 a bottle, it’s not a bad place to start the evening.
The upstairs restaurant looks modern and trendy, and their new “Dynamic Dining” policy is definitely worth looking into. The earlier in the week you eat, the cheaper your food! Mains start off at £6 on a Monday, rising to £12 on a Saturday.
Crowd was hard to measure as it was all after-work. Music was so low you couldn’t hear it and all the seats were taken by pre-booked parties. But for a couple of quick cocktails to start the evening off you could do worse. http://www.sugarreef.net/
Boulevard Brasserie, 40 Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BD
The brasserie’s downstairs wine bar is cosy if a little claustrophic with the low ceiling. Happy hour until 7.30pm offer half-price wines by the bottle – but beware – the prices are slightly inflated compared to the upstairs restaurant so you are really paying more than half-price.
Crowd was a bit odd. The blokes were congregated around the tiny bar and the girls were meeting in twos at the tables.
The upstairs restaurant was lively enough, and the food excellent. Nothing spectacular overall, but not a bad place to meet and have a chat.
Freuds Wine Bar, Basement, 198 Shaftesbury Avenue
This bar, café and gallery is hidden away in a tiny basement up the High Holborn end of Shaftesbury Avenue, is easily overlooked. Inside you will see minimalist décor – bare concrete walls displaying various artists’ work, and basic seating.
The crowd is studenty/arty. But the cocktail list is excellent and the measures big. The toilets are absymal and the music variable. Drop in here for good Mojitos and knowledgeable bar staff who know what a Long Beach Iced Tea is without asking.