Top 10 Choices for Pre and Post Theatre Food and Drink in London
Tis the season for theatre in London – and for delicious food and drink.
Whether it’s a brassy pantomime, a blockbuster musical, or a heady play – attending a show during the run up to Christmas or as part of your Boxing Day or New Years celebrations is a cherished tradition for many.
Grabbing drinks or having a meal at the right place and for the right amount of time can help set the tone to commence or end any theatre outing on a delicious note.
But finding a suitable spot for food and drink before or after a performance often can turn out to be more of a major production than many might prefer. It doesn’t have to be that way though.
Staging Your Entrance
The vast majority of London theatres are clustered around the city’s main theatre district, an area colloquially referred to as Theatreland. Roughly speaking this area is bound by The Strand to the south, Oxford Street to the North, Regent Street to the West and Kingsway to the east.
Charing Cross Station is the nearest access point to Theatreland. Of course, there are significant live performance venues in other parts of Central London, including Victoria and the South Bank.
No matter your entry point into London, all major performance venues will be near mainline rail stations and accessible to the London Underground. So heading to Theatreland by Tube from, say, Euston or Paddington will be a breeze.
In most cases, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes via public transport to reach any well-known theatre destination from any central mainline station. And in every instance you’ll come across plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants serving tasty food and drink while catering to the time constrained needs of folks with a show – or a train – to catch.
So, allow us now to raise the curtain on the foodie fringes of the London theatre world and shine a spotlight on 10 of the city’s best options for pre and post theatre food and drink. Please save your applause until the end.
1. The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen
32 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8NA; closest rail station at Charing Cross
The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen brings the best oysters, seafood and fish from across the British Isles to a pleasant (and pleasantly pared down) Covent Garden dining space. As the name suggests, if you’re hankering for oysters alone (and maybe something fizzy to wash them down) you’d be wise to make this place a port of call.
An ideal time to drop anchor might be between 3 to 5pm any day of the week for the Bubbles ‘n Oysters Happy Hour, when a tenner will land you six freshly shucked oysters and a glass of fine Crémant du Bourgogne for just £10. Beyond this pearl of a pre-theatre bargain, you’ll find a fresh catch of good value pescatarian dishes whenever you visit.
Find out more at oystermen.co.uk.
2. Mister Lasagna
320 Vauxhall Bridge Road, SW1V 1AA; closest rail station at Victoria
The Victoria location is the fourth in the group of Mister Lasagna outlets in London. It’s an especially convenient and super affordable option for a quick bite – particularly if you’re headed to or coming from a show at the Apollo Victoria or Victoria Palace.
Adhering to the do-one-thing-and-do-it-well approach, this friendly takeaway offers a delectable range of house-baked lasagnas such as Bolognese, truffle, ‘nduja, pesto and more with plenty of vegetarian and even vegan options.
More info at misterlasagna.co.uk.
3. Coal Hole
91-92 Strand, WC2R 0DW; closest rail station at Charing Cross
This classic pub set in the former coal cellar for the Savoy Hotel is situated near an abundance of theatres and is the perfect place for a properly pulled pint before or after your show. The grub’s good here as well, and the ambience is as pubby and welcoming as it gets.
Details at nicholsonspubs.co.uk.
20 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LG; closest rail station at Charing Cross
This bar/café/all day eatery in Seven Dials is an ideal destination for short pit stops or long laidback lunches. Near a number of theatres and Tube stations, keep this one in mind for convening pre or post performance. If looking for an expressly tasty perk, order Boki’s signature coffee negroni. It’s delicious.
Read more at www.bokisevendials.com.
5. Augustus Harris
33 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JT; closest rail station at Charing Cross
An uncomplicated menu of pronounced northern Italy flavour; an equally concise and decidedly Italian list of wine and drinks; a stylish wood and copper bar that’s as cosy as it is elegant – there’s a lot to love about Augustus Harris, a Venetian inspired bàcaro conveniently set within the heart of Theatreland.
Find out more at augustusharris.com.
6. Hot Pot
17 Wardour Street, W1D 6PJ; closest rail station at Charing Cross
Hot Pot may be one of Chinatown’s newest restaurants but it’s already a mainstay on the foodie scene. Fans of communal dining will love the set up of electrically heated cauldrons built into the centre of tables for guests to dip raw ingredients into house-made broths for a fun hands-on dining experience.
A good call for an active post theatre feast, reservations are recommended for this popular restaurant. Whether dining here or any of Chinatown’s many places to eat, you’ll be close to the West End action. The historic area is literally surrounded by some of London’s most celebrated theatres.
Visit Hot Pot online at hotpotrestaurants.co.uk.
7. Joe Allen
2 Burleigh Street, WC2E 7PX; closest rail station at Charing Cross
You can’t write a round up of London’s best theatre-centric bars and restaurants without mentioning Joe Allen. A stalwart of the West End for 40 years, this New York style venue has recently moved to a new location – but only 25 metres down the street from its former address. So don’t worry! Joe Alan remains a conveniently situated haven for theatregoers and continues to cook up one of London’s best burgers (even though it’s still not officially on the menu).
Go to joeallen.co.uk for more details.
Royal Festival Hall, SE1 8XX; closet rail station at Waterloo
Heading to the South Bank for some festive entertainment? Perched above the Thames with excellent views of landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Skylon is an excellent restaurant for no drama dining when you’re keen to catch some drama on stage. This is especially true if the stage in question is at the Royal Festival Hall, where this modern European eatery is located. But it’s a good choice if you’re planning to move on to other nearby venues such as Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Southbank Centre, the Imax, the Old Vic or even the Globe a little farther down along the riverbank.
For more details go to skylon-restaurant.co.uk.
9. GNH Bar
Great Northern Hotel, King’s Cross Station, Pancras Road, N1C 4TB; closest rail station at King’s Cross St Pancras
Head Bartender Harry Nikolaou’s brilliant cocktail creations are but one of the myriad reasons this hotel bar is such a smart setting for pre and post theatre drinks. Set within King’s Cross Station on the ground floor of the Great Northern Hotel, GNH Bar is super accessible allowing you to maximise your time relaxing before a catching a nearby show or your train back home. Word is the food at the hotel’s Plum + Spilt Milk is a fine setting for a delicious meal and that a good night’s sleep can be had in one of the Great Northern’s rooms.
For details go to gnhlondon.com.
10. Shake Shack Cambridge Circus
1 Cambridge Circus, WC2H 8PA; closest rail station at Charing Cross
For fast food made with a slow food mentality and focus on using top quality ingredients, Shake Shack’s hard to beat. The American burger icon has a number of outlets in and around Central London as well as a growing number across the UK. So what makes this newly launched Shake Shack so special?
Proximity to one of London’s most cherished theatres – and the hottest show in town – that’s what! Cambridge Circus is not just home to London’s latest Shack but also the long established Palace Theatre, which currently is staging the runaway hit Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
For some munchy magic before or after the show – including the Cambridge Circus exclusive Yard Burger, an Aberdeen Angus beef burger topped with Neal’s Yard Hafod Cheddar, Wiltshire cured smoked bacon and a horseradish sauce – consider Shake Shack.
Take Your Seat
And there you have it. Plotting an entertaining and filling night out in London during the festive season can be a cinch. Good luck getting those tickets to Harry Potter, though! Tickets getting you in and off of town aren’t so hard to come by though, especially when booked via the Trainline app. The free-to-download app has some delectable features such as price prediction and a real-time updates so you can enjoy your merrymaking at an even and jolly pace.
This blog has been written by Chris Osburn, the London culture and lifestyle writer, behind award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.
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