The definitive guide to London dining & events

...Bars To Dine At

Date: 29.07.11 Category:

“Last-minute or planned, at-bar dining is a sociable, relaxed way to eat without the formality sometimes expected in top restaurants - ideal for first dates.”

Serving up oysters and arguably the best fish pie in London, J Sheekey Oyster Bar is a charmingly traditional (but not at all stuffy) destination, perfectly located for pre-theatre dining – a real treat. Equally chic is Le Caprice – sip on champagne, dine on British classics and soak up the Mayfair vibe in this art-deco, ever popular restaurant. Bar Boulud below Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park also offers counter-dining together with a high table (walk-ins only) that seats 8 people.

For something a little more vibrant, head to Barrafina in Soho for exquisite tapas and delicious wine that (justifiably) draws a queue almost every night of the week. The tapas dishes at Opera Tavern are equally delicious and the rustic, cosy setting makes for the perfect place to perch whilst on a romantic date. Or, for something really low-key, relaxed and snug, head to Mao Tai for cocktails and Asian light bites.

Bocca di Lupo serves small Italian plates that can be enjoyed from the bar whilst observing the spectacle of the chefs in action. Continuing the Italian theme, Polpo remains a popular hub amongst a Soho set, as are the highly coveted seats at the bar at Dean Street Townhouse.

While a table in the restaurant at Zuma may be the most sought-after town, the traditional Izakaya style of dining adopted in the bar allows diners to snack on the esteemed dishes from the main menu in a buzzy and informal atmosphere. And at its cooler-but-less-glamourous little sister Roka in Fitzrovia, diners can enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine whilst sat before the flaming robata grill.

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Le Caprice

Le Caprice

Restaurant

"A reliable, timeless classic, Le Caprice fits the bill at almost any time and for almost any occasion."

Arlington Street, London SW1A 1RJ

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Bar Boulud

Bar Boulud

Restaurant with bar

"Holding 3 Michelin stars in NYC, Daniel Boulud has opened Bar Boulud, a sophisticated French brasserie under The Mandarin Oriental."

Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1 7LA

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Barrafina

Barrafina

Restaurant

"This tapas bar always delivers great food and service - a great date place."

54 Frith Street, London W1D 4SL

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Opera Tavern

  • Deals offered

Opera Tavern

Restaurant

"Fear not; there is no need to sing for your supper at this tapas bar and restaurant in Covent Garden."

23 Catherine Street, London WC2B 515

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Mao Tai

  • Deals offered

Mao Tai

Restaurant with bar

"Relaxed, snug and low-key, enjoy cocktails and Asian light bites at the bar for a not-too-try-hard date."

58 New Kings Road, Parsons Green, London SW6 4LS

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Bocca di Lupo

Bocca di Lupo

Restaurant

"Relaxed, refined and with regional cuisine, you'll go loopy for Bocca di Lupo."

12 Archer Street, London W1D 7BB

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Polpo & The Campari Bar

Polpo & The Campari Bar

Restaurant with bar

"You can't book ahead but there's a reason why people are prepared to queue."

41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB

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Dean Street Dining Room

  • Online booking

Dean Street Dining Room

Restaurant

"Whether you're dining at the bar with a date, catching up with friends over a seasonal British menu, or hiring the private room..."

69-71 Dean Street, London W1D 3SE

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Zuma

Zuma

Restaurant

"Informal but stylish, Zuma pulls the monied-set thanks to great food and a fantastic atmosphere, every night of the week."

5 Raphael Street, London SW7 1DL

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Roka

Roka

Restaurant with bar

"Counter-dine at the central Robata grill for the full experience. Great food and a great atmosphere with a buzzing bar downstairs."

37 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RR

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