We heard about this place, and luckily stumbled upon it late on night in Soho.
As you decent down into the basement, you feel like you're being whisked into a mysterious place. You get down there and it's packed with a bunch of trendy 20-30 year olds who have carefully staked out their seats (they are hard to come by). The bartenders make some good drinks, but the best choice for the group is a teapot - like a classy pitcher of cocktail. Yumm.
This place is cool. Good cocktails and what I liked about it most is there is room to move in it. Which is a good sign that they aren't just greedy...they have some sort of capacity so that the people inside will actually have a good time!
Nice little place is the oft-hellishness of Soho on a Saturday night. A small underground bar playing cool music (i.e. a mix of cheesy seguing into classic pop, rock and swing) and serving really rather good cocktails.
We got some 'special' (i.e. made up) cocktails from the barman due to our chronic indecisiveness (go in with an idea of what you want to drink) and they were fantastic. We then moved onto a teapot - yes, an actual teapot - of cosmopolitan. We were heartbroken they'd run out of teacups by then. It's quite a sight to watch a room full of people dancing to Madonna with a teacup in their hands. Pinky fingers out!
An unpretentious crowd, and usually a couple of places in the booths to sit . The ten quid entry is a bit steep but we were absurdly late to turn up.
So it was a colleague's birthday this past week and she invited all of us out to the Arts Theater Club. Sounded cool and she was dragging us out pretty far from where we work (Hammersmith) so figured it had to be a cool joint.
This "members" club, is essentially a dive bar with a good cocktail list. Now don't get me wrong, I love my NYC dive bar as much as anyone can but this London place was in a basement, smelled of vomit and/or bleach and really seemed to just not have any atmosphere at all. It's super small too so not much space to kick up you heels (was told there would be DJ's playing but apparently I skipped out before they started).
Don't have anything wonderful to say about this, don't even have anything to say that I particularly liked, ah! well I did like their selection of virgin cocktails, it's nice when one can't imbibe to feel like on is ;)
Otherwise, at least until 9pm (when I left) on a thursday night, this place was a snoooze fest!
I'm a fan! Small underground bar with nice decor and comfy seats. Cheesy American oldies music and good cocktails. The cocktails are pricey (but hello, welcome to London) but inventive. They use fresh berries in the drinks! The music was good, although the DJ played the music way too loudly... which was annoying...
There's a great vibe to the place. Intimate enough to hang out with friends. Put together and laid back but not too swanky, not too dingy.
The Arts Theatre Club (aka Arts Bar) is an underground bar, in the literal sense, on Frith Street with quite a history. It opened and over the years has been a hangout for a number of literary and theatrical celebrities. I've been a few times in the past when I'd found it fun and a little grimy.
It has recently had a refurbishment, and so a few weeks ago I went with friends to see how it was. The place has been neatened up without being made bland, and has a pleasant atmosphere. We went on a Friday night and took advantage of their 2-4-1 cocktail offer before 9. The cocktails, particularly the bramble, were well done and the staff were friendly and obliging (letting us order bulk before nine, and then bringing them as and when). It was pretty quiet for a Friday, only really filling up after nine. Still we didn't feel an absence in atmosphere, and I'd like to go back for a relaxed night out.
Ha! These place was host to a rather ridiculous night of my life. I was out with a new boyfriend and a group of his friends - none of them were from London so had no idea where to go. I suggested Trisha's on Greek street so off we all went only to be told it was full, but why not try The Arts Theatre Club around the corner which was much the same thing. I took their word for it and expected a dingy but cool little bar playing vintage music and rock 'n' roll classics.
We were told you could only go in as a member. I explained there were over 15 of us and they happily let us in.
Great, until we stepped inside. As soon as I got through the door i was confronted by a massive screen playing Robbie Williams' "Let me entertain you" - not quite what I'd expected, and it was pretty much empty.
I panicked and thought everyone was going to be mad they'd had to pay to get into a place that was much more Infernos than Trisha's. But no, they loved it and said it was perfect as they'd all met at university in Oxford and it reminded them exactly of the cheesy student nights there!
So it worked out OK...for them! I watched on in dismay. Crap music with big screen music videos is one of my least favourite things, and I'd unwittingly made that my night. I won't be going back, but if you're after a dose of cheese then try it - at least it's better than cheapskates!
Arts Bar is a pretty amazing place. Not only do they play old school rock music (ie Elvis), their drinks are pretty great too. Yeah I know its a small lounge/dive bar, but I love the ambiance. It does NOT consist of people that try too hard to get picked up, but people that couldn't care less of what people think, rather to have a great time in Soho.
They serve their cocktails in a tea pot (hand made and very potent!), which I didn't get to take advantage of, but did love the people watching I did whilst getting a buzz from my European beers. Best ever!
Great fun, and not too serious, it is a bit of a dive, but looks good following a renovation a few years ago.
Cocktails come in teapots and are very drinkable.
The music is pop, it is very crowded and can be a bit of a meat market, but good time can be had very easily.
The one thing I hate about Soho, is the fact that everywhere is shiny and clean and perfectly lit and plays the some bang bang idiot house music. And most bars take themselves far too seriously, with serious prices to match.
The Arts Theatre Club on the other hand is the opposite to all of these things! If that puts you off, then it probably isn't for you. You have to be a member, which isn't expensive, but it does mean you can go to this place all year around. It means you have an option in Soho when the pubs shut.
The number of times I have been there and danced myself into a sweaty mess would be embarrassing if I didn't love it so much.
Since smoking was banned it does smell a bit like bleach though, which is a shame.
Love this bar, late at night when a group of you are trawling Soho looking for somewhere to go this is always a good option if you can convince the doorman to let you in.
Has a great dance floor where you can jump around like an idiot.
Plays great tunes and is dirty but good end to the night with a chilled out and fun crowd.
Went there twice after having a few drinks around some soho bars...Which lets be honest, i was drunk and therefore i m biased.. I remember dancing, thumbs up as it must have been a great dj( i never dance).. Aaa and teapots??!!!! Obviously i stayed away tea the next day..
A thoroughly riotous night of tea pot cocktail related fun! This is a quirky venue with a friendly crowd. Think prohibition theme made modern trendy, but without the pretentious east London vibe. The only downside is that on weekends this place is rammed. However, this is only to be expected, because when other cocktail bars close, this place is open and doesn't have a dress code. There is a £10 entrance fee, which isn't applicable if you arrive early. But with tasty cocktails and classic tunes, which are great for dancing too it's worth it.
I have been here twice, once in January and once in July. I loved the cocktails in teapots and the place has a speak-easy feel to it. The bartenders weren't overly friendly but I expect that in London. Both times I went with a group of friends and there weren't any seats left but we didn't mind. The place was filled with fun people and good vibes.
The girl in question was unstable. Furthermore she had crashed her car that very day and it almost wasn't to be, but after having stood me up no fewer than 4 times in a row before, she decided to go through with our first date. I was elated.
It was after my most meticulously planned first date ever, which included an edgy interactive performance art theatre-cum-art-gallery-cum-Hitchcockian roleplay night (thanks to theatre company Shunt), followed by dinner at a place at which, on the previous night, Tony Blair and George Bush had purportedly dined (Le Pont de la Tour), followed by drinks at some swanky cocktail bar, that it became clear the girl I was with who had stopped in Soho on the way back (the way back to where?) to ask some strangers for a toke on their spliff (I, like the prudish home counties boy I am, was shocked) yes, it became clear to me that the girl I had picked for this date had a little more energy than I; one minute I was walking down Soho Street, and the next minute I found I had been (literally) thrown down a set of stairs I didn't know existed.
After I got up and came-to (this is a true story), and after I had figured out exactly why I fell down some stairs given I was already at street level, I looked around me. Loud music: good. Music that wasn't terrible tacky tourist trash: good. Bar that was still serving: unheard-of, but good.
Cut to the next day. 11.30am. I am sitting outside some hippy vegan cafe in Chiswick (this is waaay before I ever lived there many years ago now) sipping slowly on my third power smoothie ginger, carrots, and the like. I asked the question where was that last place we ended up?
It was the previous night, I discovered, that I had made my acquaintance with Soho Arts Club.
I remember very little else from the night.
However since then I've been back many times. Once I played in a band there. Once I supported some friends playing a gig. The music is decent, the drinks are reasonable. All in all, I can recommend the place if it's that time of the night and you aren't ready to end your evening. It's certainly not a place that I would choose to go to of an evening.
I hit my 30s last year. Despite that, I think it was always a bit grungy for my liking, even in my 20s. Too many t-shirts and boys with long hair.
I really like it at this little venue. Its quite small, but cosy. It's dimly, with a good bar, normal priced drinks (it is soho) and a good sized stage. The sound system is good, full live bands fit perfectly, and a good crowd always gathers. You do have to pay at the door, but it is only a few pounds depending on the band, and is definitely worth it. There is not smoking area, so you have to go up the stairs on the street, but its quite amusing seeing the passing bar police on their bikes. recommended.
It's a very fun place to be and the music is always pumping.
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