Gourmet burger bars have transformed the pedestrian patty into a centerpiece for hand-tended micro-greens, dime-sized slider buns, and specialty mustard. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but can’t a burger just be a burger? It can at MEATliquor, which chooses grunge over glitz to create some of the most mouthwatering burgers you’ve ever tasted. From its location underneath an angular gray parking garage to the eye-popping art inside, this Marylebone restaurant oozes personality. Sporadic paint splashes, harsh-handed graffiti, and stencils of wolves, pigs, and bears are illuminated on the flickering, red-lit rotunda ceiling like a Byzantine chapel of meat, hinting at the feast to come.
Have one of the boys grab a booth as you queue up to order from the dilapidated menu board, spelled out in mismatched colors and alphabet fridge magnet pieces reminiscent of ransom notes. You and your mates will find the basic meat burgers, dead hippies, or veggie-friendly halloumi-and-mushroom burgers more than satisfying, but if you’re feeling daring—or if you have something to prove—take on the Meateasy triple chili challenge. You may be feeling cocky as a paltry platter of a single chili cheese dog, chili fries, and a chili burger are deposited on your table. Flash forward to the ten minute time limit, however, and the blank-eyed stares to your comrades as an orange-red patina of grease stains your slack jaw might have you regretting that confidence. When you’ve finished your first helping, head back for another round of pints or inventive cocktails like the “Full English Martini” (served with egg and bacon) as local revelers start to stream in the door, eager for the satisfying burger experience you’ve just had.