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bar, café & gallery. Basement, 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, London. Tel: 0207 240 9933.

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      28.02.2010 00:23
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      The nicest bar in London

      Keep your eyes firmly open the next time you are aimlessly wandering around the Covent Garden area, for this amazing, blink and you'll miss it, cocktail bar.

      Hidden away in a quiet part of Shaftsbury Avenue, this little hidden gem relies on regulars and recommendations, as its so unpretentious you wont notice it's there unless you are specifically looking for it.

      A simple facade gives way to a staircase down to a dimly lit cavernous space, where there are none of the glitzy design touches associated with many flash, but samey London bars.

      Instead, there are bare walls except for the interesting artwork which is displayed upon them, and is for sale to customers. The space is fairly small and is literally just one room with some tables, chairs and a bar.

      But oh what a bar! There is an extensive cocktail menu, and while other drinks are served, people are here for the cocktails which are fabulous. The Mojito is to die for as is the Yellow Bird. They are also reasonably priced for central London, from around £4.50 a pop.

      The atmosphere here is relaxed and easygoing. I have been here in the day and the evening, and there is no such thing as a doorman or dress code. You just turn up in whatever and theres a mixed crowd frequenting this hotspot. There are the suited and booted types, hippy sorts and people in jeans and jumpers. Anything goes, which is rare these days in a bar of this calibre.

      The music is obscure and I'm really not cool enough to pinpoint its genre, but it dosen't really matter as its mainly background noise anyway, and conversation will always win out here.

      On a bit of a downer, I must mention the toilets which are to be quite frank, a bit disguisting. They are dark, dingy and cold. But then you don't come to a bar like this for fancy handwash and a lady spraying perfume!

      I can't recommend this place highly enough, and writing this review has actually made me wish I could go there right now. Sadly with a baby these days it could be some time, but a girl can dream...

      Freud is a real find - an individual hideaway in a sea of city chain bars. I'm actually hoping nobody reading this ever finds it so it remains a little secret oasis!

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