Some might say that finding a great place for a drink in the centre of London on a Saturday evening is impossible – and most of the time they are right. But underneath the bustle and bright lights of Piccadilly Circus are Brasserie Zedel and Bar Americain, transporting you right back to 1930s.
Once advertised as a more accessible Ritz, this bar was once part of The Regent Palace Hotel, which opened in 1915, and was the largest hotel in Europe at the time. In 2004 it was refurbished back to its art deco glory, restoring everything from the jazz-age columns, to the patterned walls and carpet. Now a restaurant, bar, and cabaret venue – this is an all-in-one date venue that ticks plenty of boxes!
Located through a cafe and down into the basement of the old hotel, Bar Americain has the exact kind of atmosphere that you want to bottle up and take with you on all of your dates: classy yet unpretentious. Around you, after-workers and pre-theatre families alike sit around low, candlelit tables, and the hum of low conversation carries over a soundtrack of soft jazz. Although the bar is a large venue, it’s quiet enough to hold an intimate conversation – and it could almost feel as though you and your date are the only two people in the room.
The service fits well with the ambience and is what you might call typically French – waiting staff are attentive but unobtrusive, appearing just when you need them and making themselves scarce the rest of the time, leaving you free to enjoy present company.
When it comes to drinks, cocktails are Bar Americain’s speciality, serving a variety of unique combinations that will delight any aspiring mixologist – our favourite was The Prince Regent; rum, vermouth, bitter orange and mandarin liquor. If contemporary concoctions aren’t your thing, they are happy to serve traditional cocktails upon request, so there’s something to please everyone. Worth mentioning, too, are the complimentary hors d’oeuvres, such as little cones of smoky barbecue popcorn – great for staving off hunger if you’re enjoying a pre-dinner drink.
Overall, we highly recommend this underground gem in the centre of Soho. Bar Americain has retained the same air of sophistication that we expect it held back in its heyday, making it a stylish choice for date night. The drinks here aren’t cheap, but what can you expect for the great location and chic ambience?
Cost: Cocktails from £11.50, wine by the glass from £8.75
Dress code: Smart casual
Find out more on their website.