I live very close to here, and for about 6 months, never dared walk in. Needless to say, it does not look welcoming from the outside. It looks more like a strip club or dodgy old man club.
It is neither of those things. This small music venue is, I've heard from music snob friends, a great place to catch a gig. I have not heard music here yet though. I came here for Thai food.
After the Shh! elite event, I somehow managed to lose my keys and lock myself out. Andrew M. accompanied me to (first try to break into my flat, but then to...) Charlie Wright's to wait until my flatmate got home. Eventually joined by Rob H., we had some thai snacks. Hmm promising. And CHEAP. As far as bang for your... quid? (I need an English colloquial equivalent for this saying...) this place is amazing.
I've gotten take away from there several times since then. For the £6 I find around the floor of my flat I can get a large portion of hot, fresh noodles (Pad Siew is really solid), SUPER fast (usually when you call in an order they say 'ok, 5 minutes').
Inexpensive and solid quality = 4 stars.
The Thai restaurant section of Charlie Wrights managed to accommodate a group of 16 Christmas party diners with a weeks notice and minimal fuss. So big props to them. They did rush us out at out at the end, but that's probably due to the popularity of large parties during the festive season. Other than that our waitress was extremely friendly.
Food was reasonable. Not amazing or special but pretty pleasant and good value. It's probably a good idea to share starters, my friend ordered the chicken wings - and there were about 10 pieces - way too much for one person.
I ordered the set menu (minimum 2 people) and made some of my fellow diners a bit jalooouse. It was only £12 per head and the portions were quite generous, that we split the excess to friends who arrived a bit too late to order. The menu included mixed starters - wings, rolls and other goodies, and a selection of mains - red beef curry, chicken with cashew nuts, stir-fried mixed vegetable, rice and chow mein noodles with vegetables. It was meant to come with dessert - no sight of this, it would ordinarily annoy me but we were way too full to care.
To get a drink you have to go up to the bar, which did get a bit busy past 8 as non-restaurant punters came in, so try to get drinks in before the food arrives. The house wine was also surprisingly good and quite cheap.
Quick word of warning, cash only as thy do not accept credit cards in the restaurant.
So I know multi-purpose pubs are all the rage now as they try to stay afloat, but this might be taking it just a step too far. From the outside, it looks like it might be a bar and the name is definitely a bit out of the ordinary.
As you get in, you're greeted by a fairly traditional looking pub set up. Turn right and there is a stage with a live band (and posters advertising live jazz although the band was more soft rock). In front of the stage is a selection of slightly beat up leather couches and chairs barely visible through the dim red lighting. A disco ball rotates slowly to the back of room where a bored sound board person (no idea what you call them) and the entrance to the toilets resides. To the back left corner the place is a Thai restaurant with a tv showing Polish cable tv. Confused yet?
Once you get over the sheer number of contrasting images, CWIB is actually not a bad place. I found myself here after the Sh! Elite event as I kept Katie B company until her housemate came home to let her in. To be fair, if Rob H hadn't been starving we would have probably gone to NightJar (at least I hope so) but then I wouldn't have experienced CWIB.
The thai food is decent and fairly cheap at £4/starter and £6/main. The spicy prawn crackers are the good ones and worth the £2 for a big basket. I wouldn't get the fish cakes but the tofu dish (No 53) was pretty good from the looks of it and the beef salad was surprisingly tasty. The fish cakes were saturated with oil and lacking in flavour although the chilli vinaigrette was good stuff.
The music was entertaining as was the Polish matchmaking show but the atmosphere was just a bit weird. Probably good in a group, not so much if its just a handful of you. But still, not a huge amount north of Old Street otherwise so a good place for a late night bite that's not from one of the KFC bastardisations.
GREAT: saw an incredible jazz group here, and the drink prices were reasonable. Decent staff.
not that great: High cover, and they enforced a minimum amount for a credit card tab (not allowed by Visa!) It's in a weird neighborhood? The layout makes it really hard for most of the crowd to see the band, but they have a tv in the back with a live feed.
It's no Green Mill (Chicago represent!), but it's not really trying to be.
For about 3 months, I was very scared of this place. When a place called "Charlie Wright's International" is listed under 'Thai' and has some rather eccentric characters hanging outside, it's a little bit bewildering. Just who the hell IS Charlie Wright? However, since a certain Yelp member had lost her housekeys and this was nearby, we went for broke and actually - yep - we walked in. I guess this review won't say much that Andrew M doesn't, but hey.
If you were able to hit a pause button and walk in, more confusion would ensue. In front of you is a bar. Fine. To the right is a room with a mirror ball and red lighting. To the left are dining tables and framed Thailand Board of Tourism posters on the wall, complete with a muted TV with Viva on it (and seemingly in Polish). You'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into a restaurant/strip club; well, turns out it's a jazz club, which kind of explains everything (although the band that evening were playing more 50s rock-and-roll, with not a single random chord thrown in).
We decided to get a few nibbles in the Thai section, which offered some rather cheap fare - £3-4 for starters and £6-8 for mains or so. Curiously, all the dishes on the menu were given their full Thai name, apart from the dish "Like a Virgin". Bizarre, but by that point we understood that anything went. After a while (the service was a bit dopey), my Tom Yum soup turned up. It was ok I guess, although it seemed a little bit watered down. Following this, the fried cubes of tofu with peanut sauce were ok - they were crispy on the outside, not too greasy, and not stale-tasting, as so often happens with beancurd. The beef salad was decent too, and I found myself doing the human rubbish tip manoeuvre on it. Whilst not amazing, I've had much worse Thai food than this in this country, so I'm filing this one under cheap-and-good.
After all I've said about CWI, I'd probably go again, given the convenient location. Although slightly less bizarre than it was at first glance, as Andrew M. says, fun in a group.
So Zara L and I were at the same christmas dinner party. Guess who was jealous of her set menu?
Since I have super late lunches at work, I was still full by the time I got to Charlie Wrights. I ordered (on someone elses' recommendation) fried chicken wings and some spring rolls and prawn toast to share with everyone else on my section of the table.
BOY were the wings large. I was surprised that none of us turned into the incredible hulk later in the evening and am still a bit dubious about what they fed the chickens to ensure such muscly large wings. And did you know that you can "unscrew" the bones out of chicken wings?
The food was decently priced and everything was fine considering they had 2 massive parties (probably around 15 pax each!) at the same time. My only gripe was that there was no table service for drinks and boy was it hard to get more alcohol in you when you have to be about 3 inches thick to squeeze through the rows of table to get to the bar!
All in all a fun night, but not sure whether I will personally choose to come back unless I need somewhere for a big dinner party.
Part Thai restaurant and part pub, Charlie Wright's, just a little way of Old Street, is very much a no frills but friendly sort of experience. From the outside the place can appear a little grimy but the interior, whilst not spectacular, is fairly chilled-out and ordinary. It is divided into two spaces, one for eating and one for dancing, which is good if you fancy eating without a load of people drinking around you. Food in the restaurant, whilst not being amazing, is cheap and plentiful making this an easy evening on the wallet. Likewise the drinks in the bar go pretty cheap.
The place generally attracts locals and those after a cheap evening and as such there is a fun, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.
No great shakes but a decent, fun evening.
Charlie Wright's International Bar (to give it its full title) is a little-known but fascinating pub. As an art student in the 90s me and my friends would often frequent this bar, as it was the only place we were guaranteed a late drink in.
The clientele is an odd mix. Artists, actors, locals and the occasional dodgy looking type make this always an interesting night out. Recently, Charlie's joint took part in the London Jazz Festival, and had bands playing until the small hours.
This is a rather bizarre venue, near Old Street station. I was dragged here on the premise that it was a jazz bar, so i waltzed in expecting chilled out sax, with sophisticated men sitting, musing over their bourbon. Ok, I'm a fantasist!
It's a fiver to get in, although when i went we managed to talk our way out of paying as it was almost deserted (on a Friday night?!). The music was quite decent, disco mainly, and the few people there were dancing. We left early though, not taking advantage of the late opening hours. Ok, but considering the other bars in the area, I'd not rush back.
They were open after Midnight on a Thurday night. That's surprisingly better than most bars in London. The staff was very courteous and friendly. We were there for a live music jam session. The musicians were very talented and encouraged people to come up no stage and jam with them. My wife and I had a blast.
This is a crazy, crazy place and one of those 'you'd only go in if you knew about it.'
It masquerades (and by all accounts actually is on week nights) as a pretty good jazz bar. However it's real charm is that it stays open until the early hours when everywhere else in the vicinity has shut. After 12 it's £4 in and at weekends there is a really ropey dj who plays mid 90s rnb in quite a bad way. It's so bad, it's good! Prices are pretty cheap on the bar and by the time you get there at about 2am, the dancefloor is full and you're so drunk it doesn't really matter that you're dancing to Mark Morrison 'Crazy'. It does always feel like a fight might break out at any second, but it's good, honest!
It also claims to serve Thai food but I see no evidence of this. Anyone?
Wrong! Very wrong pub/bar/disco place that's open really, really late at weekends.
It has all the trimmings of an old man's pub - dog in the corner, stained patterned pub carpets, wallpaper, crickety old wooden tables - yet it's open all through the night and plays disco/classic pop to a mixed crowd of Hoxton youfs with angular hair and older folk nursing ales in their stone wash denim.
Worth a look for the experience and brilliant if you're stuck for late night drinking Gotta love Michael Jackson at 4am in the morning.
I visited this pub today and was sadly not impressed it was during the lunchtime and it was expensive i was the only customer,nice decor but a nightime pub,staff more interested with tv than customers,shame really as its just had a refurb.
I saw a fantastic live jazz performance here a couple of weeks ago. The power had gone down at 6pm that night and the show was to start at 8:30pm. They brought out all these candles and only sold beer in bottles. Made for great atmosphere. Check the night you're planning to go, as they don't always have live music. Hopefully the power will be out when you visit too.
There's a thai restaurant in the back that's open all week as well. My sources say they make a tasty green curry.
In the 90's, this place was scary. But in a good way if you knew about it. Because you'd know everyone was there for the same reason. A late after hours drink.
Nowadays, it seems to have lost that charm, which is a shame, because it was one of the East Ends best kept secrets if you knew about it.
If your not a local you'll probably be scared at some of the shady characters, but that was always half the fun for me!
Give it a try. Drunk.
This is a great place for watching sports. It also has some good jazz nights on sometimes but they can be expensive charging up to £10 on the door which is a bit silly for the type of venue it is.
It is great for a few drinks though mid week and is open late on a Fri or Sat so good to go to when you get thrown out of all the other pubs. It starts to get busy about midnight on the weekend. Its a nice cosy place and recently been refurbished so its looks good. Prices are average for the area. They also sell thai food which I have heard is pretty amazing though i havent had the chance to try it yet.
Was invited to a birthday gathering at Charlie Wright's International Bar was surprised to live music in Hoxton on a Sunday afternoon.
They call it the Sunday Blues Sessions. Acoustic style music started about 5pm then and by the time the birthday party was well in top gear the more up beat music started for the evening session that went on until 11:30!
Fantastic night, great venue for Blues.
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