“ 61-63 Beak Street, W1. Tel: +44 (0)20 7439 2190. (Oxford Circus tube). „
I had the misfortune of agreeing to meet a friend of mine in this bar, when he suggested it, a few months ago. Soon after arriving at the agreed time I received a phone call off him informing me that he would be late, this gave me time to sit back and soak up the supposed atmosphere of one of London's premier bars. Looking around I saw it was full of pretentious nobodies all acting as though they were somebody because they had paid £5 for a bottle beer, were whearing Duffer St George tops and smoking Marlboro Lights. Small groups of pseudo-middle class 25-32 year old men sat around posing for the odd half decent looking bit of clacker, who were too worried about whether their sunglasses were perched correctly on top of their precious little heads to notice the peacocks around them. The music was half decent, your average dancey numbers, bar staff average. So that's it, average bar, bad clientel, spend your money somewhere else.
You have to be trendy to go to Alphabet I reckon - it seems to be full of the seriously stylish Soho set. If you feel you can cut the mustard however, this is a great meeting point. There are two floors - the ground level full of tables and chairs, with a busy bar at the back, but you are better going downstairs. Here are all manner of strange chairs made out of tyres, and streetmaps painted on the floor. The style is deliberately thrown-together, and therefore utter tosh, but it makes for a good basement drinking bar. The beers are pricy, as you might expect, and I think it does cocktials. The staff are slightly offhand - but then you wouldn't expect anything else from such a studiedly trendy joint. I'd recommend going early in the evening as a useful starting point for a night in Soho, but it's probably quite cool at any time of the night.
This bar is usually full of fairly trendy people, so being a tiger I tend to stand out a bit. The bottled beers are a bit pricey (£3.50) but the atmosphere is funkily relaxed. A good range of cocktails are served, and the wine list is more than adequate. Can 't comment on the food as I've never eaten there, Split into two levels, the upstairs boasts a bar right at the back, with a good number of tables dotted around the front and sides. There's usually no trouble getting in either, the bouncers being pretty cool. But it is downstairs where you should go to really chill out, where a bizarre assortment of furniture awaits you. Several corners are good for intimacy, but if you're with a particularly ugly person there is a big sofa right next to the toilets. If you are there to "talent spot" sitting at the bottom of the stairs is a good vantage point, although people do tend to trip over you, particularly if you have a long tail. Recently on my visits to Alphabet I've tended to see the same people, which means it is fast-becoming a regular haunt for groups of friends, but there's more than enough room for a few more...