If the idea of enjoying cocktail hour in a building that was once a public toilet turns your stomach, think again. A new wave of lavish London bars are appearing across the capital and they have one thing in common: They’re all former WCs. From an Edwardian loo fashioned into a trendy charcuterie joint to a former gents that serves the tastiest espresso, these characterful and quirky new London bars are experiencing a flush of popularity. So leave your squeamishness at home and bring your toilet humour, and your friends.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Once you’ve found the beacon of light you’d normally associate with a Victorian city loo, you follow the steps down to this quirky warren in NW5. Ladies and Gentlemen is a small batch distillery in Kentish Town where the avant-garde rules, and unique craft spirits wow the most discerning of drinkers. So after admiring the gleaming cisterns on the wall and the original marble flooring under your feet, you order the nostalgic Rhubarb & Custard cocktail, made from their signature gin. To counterbalance the sweetie jar flavours, you and your friends share some classic bar snacks: scotch eggs and sausage rolls. This disused lav could be among the most novel of London bars.
You never imagined a 100-year-old public toilet could be transformed into such a chic Mediterranean venue. That’s until you visit WC, otherwise known as Wine and Charcuterie. It’s among the most stylish of London bars you’ll find within walking distance of Clapham Common Tube stop. In fact, it’s right next door, and you can’t miss the well-heeled crowd who graze on Italian-style charcuterie boards and glasses of sauvignon blanc outside. But you venture downstairs, where the once derelict lavatories are now a romantic space of candlelit benches, reclaimed mahogany fixtures, and cured meat hanging from the beams. As you delve into your stuffed vine leaves and tapenade, you realise the table you’re eating off is the former urinal partition. This could be the most imaginative of upcycled London bars.
When you’re in need of a caffeine kick and a wholesome brunch, the Attendant is one of the best London bars to visit before noon. You and your friends have come for the award-winning coffee from Caravan and as you wait for your drinks to arrive, you discuss the porcelain urinals that have been cleverly fashioned into stylish fixtures for the breakfast bench. You snack on sumptuous croissants and breathe in the espresso aromas from the Probat roaster. This former 19th Century lavatory turned coffee house could be your favourite yet.