Friday 30 November 2012

Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse

After offering a secret password to the behatted gent on the door (something about whether he'd be kind enough to warm my muff), my friends and I stepped through a secret gate and fell headlong into Victorian London where we walked along an eerily quiet makeshift street and found refuge at The Queen Victor pub. Located within a dark and musty old railway arch, the pub was heaving with interesting punters. This is Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse. A fantastic pop-up venture which is destined to disappear at the close of 2012.

The hospitable innkeeper served us enamel mugs of dandelion & burdock and ginger beer; jam jars of gin, and bottles of Tangle Foot beer. We found a pew in the corner at a wooden table made from an old barrel top and supped our refreshments as we sang along heartily to someone belting out old classics on the piano. A couple of local Victorian ladies mingled amongst the tables offering chat and a secret game of poker.

As well as hosting legendary Victorian pub nights, there are all sorts of unusual events to be found at Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse, including Music Halls Nights and Tweed & Lace Parties where street games, magicians, jugglers and comedy acts can all be found. There is even an 'End of the World is Nigh' bash on 21st December (ask the Mayans) And as a Leyshon Brothers grand finale, they're putting on the mother of all knees-ups with a fantastic New Year's Eve bash on 31st December. Bawdy behaviour and dressing up in Victorian garb is very much encouraged (but not compulsory). The whole concept is brilliant and I really hope there's a chance that Leyshon Brothers will be able to continue their venture into 2013. It's the most ideal place to while away a cold, winter's evening.

Leyshon Brothers Bonded Warehouse
(hidden somewhere near London Bridge)
Currently open until the end of December 2012
All tickets £10 (apart from New Year's Eve)
New Year's Eve party £25 (ticket availability limited, so get booking!)

Friday 9 November 2012

Reverend J W Simpson Cocktail Bar

The folk at Bourne & Hollingsworth have added another string to their cocktail bar bow. Their latest establishment can be found in the heart of Fitzrovia, tucked away in the basement at 32 Goodge Street, between an Indian restaurant and a dry cleaners. The bar is named after a former ecclesiastical resident, one Reverend J W Simpson who apparently lived there between 1963 - 1987.  My friend, Kathryn and I went to check it out.

The decor style at Rev J W Simpson is 'unrefurbished' chic, as apart from a few new sofas and chairs, the interior has been left in pretty much the same state as it was found. Various shades of old paint and peeling wallpaper adorn the crumbling walls, whilst the layout shows the different rooms of yesteryear complete with original room dividers and a parquet floor merging with tiled floor. The Rev's old bedroom is a perfect hideaway at the back for a private party, with a sneaky door that leads nowhere. The loo however has been tastefully updated and can be found behind a mock wall.

Drinking at Rev J W Simpson is like attending the cocktail party of some grungy, poverty-stricken eccentric! It's all about the cocktails here, specialising in trendy fizzes, cobblers and sours which come in various shaped glasses and cost from £7.50 - £9.00. The bar staff were extremely friendly and more than happy to talk us through the variety of concoctions. Apart from a bowl of nuts, there were disappointingly no decent bar bites available, although I did hear rumours that complimentary bar snacks are known to do the rounds. But there was no sign of any on our watch.  I think this quirky bar is going to prove very popular with locals and bar connoisseurs alike and it does get busy, so do book or get there early. And if you're someone who fancies a tinkle on the ivories, there's even a piano.

Rev J W Simpson
32 Goodge Street
London W1T 2QJ
020 3174 1155

Open Tue - Sat 5pm - 11.30pm
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