Theatreland Recommends: Best Pubs and Restaurants

Updated: 5th Jan 2017

We asked West End box offices, casts & crew to name some of their favourite haunts. From basement bars to restaurants with Michelin stars, some are even close enough for interval drinks!

Listings run alphabetically by Theatre (Adelphi-Wyndhams) so you can find the best pub & restaurant near the theatre you’re visiting. So don’t be surprised if you bump into the actors – or even a bassoonist – over a pre-show G&T or late night Sticky Toffee Pudding!

🍷PUB/BAR – best for pre/post show drinks
♨ DINING – best for seated dining
☕ CAFE – best for tea/coffee and light snacks

The Nell Gwynne, Bull Inn Court

The Nell Gwynne 🍷  1-2 Bull Inn Ct, London WC2R 0NP
020 7240 5579

Small traditional pub with dark wood & hanging lamps. Tucked away in the small alley beside the main Theatre entrance. Near enough to escape for an interval drink.

Rules ♨ 34-35 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7LB
☏ 020 7836 5314

The oldest restaurant in London, this is the place where Charles Dickens came to write and Elaine Stritch learned of the death of Noel Coward.

The Opera Tavern 🍷♨ 23 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JS
☏ 020 7836 3680

Lovely bar and restaurant over two floors, with tapas & charcoal grill. Notable for its Ibérico pork and foie gras burger. From Aldwych Stage Door, head along Tavistock St and right onto Catherine Street.

The Delaunay ♨ 55 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BB
☏ 020 7499 8558
Old-fashioned high-end dining with smartly turned out staff in crisp white linen. They even serve Schnitzel (possibly with noodles if they’ve seen The Sound of Music).

The Two Brewers 🍷 40 Monmouth St, London WC2H 9EP
☏ 020 7836 7395

Classic 19th Century Pub a short zig-zag from the Theatre. Traditional cask ales and simple pub grub.

Le Beaujolais 25 Litchfield St, London WC2H 9NJ
☏ 020 7836 2955

Whilst the downstairs restaurant is members only, the authentically French wine bar is open to all, offering a wonderful assiette de fromage and boeuf bourgignon. Check website for opening times.


Lyric Pub, Soho
The lovely Lyric Pub, Soho

The Lyric 🍷 37 Great Windmill St, London W1D 7LU
☏ 020 7434 0604

A hop, step and jump from the theatre but worth it for the warm welcome and excellent food & craft beers on offer.

The Palomar ♨ 34 Rupert St, London W1D 6DN
☏ 020 7439 8777
Eclectic flavours of modern Jerusalem. Mosaic & wood surrounds table seating plus the chance to dine at the bar if you’re lucky enough to find a spot. Booking is highly recommended!

The area around Victoria Station has been undergoing complete renovation for several years. As a result it’s probably better just to meet either inside the station or directly at the Theatre. If you’re arriving early, then The Cask & Glass 🍷 at 39/41 Palace Street, Victoria SW1 5HN is worth the 5-10 minute detour. Pre-show, the restaurants in nearby Cardinal Place are decent enough but if you’re looking to party after the show, you’ll need to head back into Soho.

The Crown  🍷 Monmouth St, London WC2H 9DD
☏ 020 7836 5861

19th Century pub with tiled exterior. Easily close enough to nip across the cobbled roundabout of Seven Dials for an interval drink. Drinkers spill out on to the pavements in summer.

The Hawksmoor  11 Langley St, London WC2H 9JG
☏ 020 7420 9390

Wonderful steakhouse with set & a la carte menus located in the old Watney-Combe brewery. Features a Monday Wine Club where you can bring your own bottle for £5 corkage.

The Queen’s Head 🍷 15 Denman St, London W1D 7HN
☏ 020 7437 1540

A pub since 1736, the current Victorian building incorporates Art Deco design. Away from the crowds, you’ll find excellent British pub food just steps from the madness of Piccadilly Circus.

San Carlo Cicchetti  215 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HL
☏ 020 7494 9435

Seasonal menu of delicious small plates of authentic Italian ingredients to share or eat alone amongst the pretty light grey Italian marble surrounds. Expensive but gorgeous.


Hakkasan, Hanway Place
Hakkasan, Hanway Place – Oriental luxury

The Flying Horse 🍷 6 Oxford Street, London W1D 1AN
☏ 020 7636 8324

The last remaining traditional pub on Oxford Street and always busy. Designs by Felix de Jong, the leading decorative artist in music hall.

Hakkasan  8 Hanway Pl, London W1T 1HD
☏ 020 7927 7000

Cantonese delicacies, enhanced by ebony and gold traditionally-drawn panels. One of only two Michelin starred restaurants on our list – pricey but worth every penny.

The Crown & Anchor 🍷 22 Neal St, London WC2H 9PS
☏ 020 7836 5649

British cask ales and classic pub grub with large upstairs bar in the heart of Covent Garden’s cobbled streets. Very busy at weekends as you’d expect.

Belgo Centraal  50 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LJ
☏ 020 7813 2233

Cavernous basement restaurant with vaulted ceilings and monks serving Moules, Frites and Belgian beer. Right opposite the theatre – any nearer and you’d be on the stage.

The Opera Tavern 🍷 23 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JS
☏ 020 7836 3680

See Aldwych Theatre for details

Joe Allen  13 Exeter St, London WC2E 7DT
☏ 020 7836 0651
A Theatreland favourite. Downstairs you’ll find a classic American menu, walls strewn with Theatre memorabilia and normally at least one or two famous faces.

The Harp 🍷 47 Chandos Pl, London WC2N 4HS
☏ 020 7836 0291

Full of charm, beer, cider and sausages. Space is tight but there’s seating upstairs. In summer, drinkers spill out into the alley behind.

Barrafina  10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ
☏ 020 7440 1456
Top notch tapas where you can see your food being prepared before your eyes.

The Coach & Horses 🍷 42 Wellington St, London WC2E 7BD
☏ 020 7240 0553
Compact Victorian pub serving excellent Guinness and whisky in a narrow-fronted local almost hidden behind flowering baskets.

Sarastro - deliciously OTT
Sarastro – deliciously over the top dining.

Sarastro  126 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5SU
☏ 020 7836 0101

Deliciously flamboyant dining with Opera boxes and Turkish/Mediterranean menu. Live music and décor that’s in danger of upstaging the show!

The Bear & Staff 🍷 10-12 Bear St, London WC2H 7AS
☏ 020 7321 0814

Ignore the Garrick Arms beside the theatre, and head up Charing Cross Road to the Bear & Staff. Good pre-theatre menu and a decent choice for vegetarians!

Cork & Bottle Wine Bar 🍷 44-46 Cranbourn St, London WC2H 7AN
☏ 020 7734 7807
Enchanting bistro with a staggering selection of fine wines from around the world. Choose an honest Shepherd’s Pie or stylish Charcuterie.

The White Horse 🍷45 Rupert St, Soho, London W1D 7PB
☏ 020 7437 5745
The type of “spit & sawdust” pub that is fast disappearing as Soho increasingly becomes homogenised and rents go into the stratosphere.

Randall & Aubin  14- 16 Brewer St, London W1F 0SG
☏ 020 7287 4447

Seafood, oysters & modern British cuisine. Great atmosphere,  service and if you can stretch the budget, a mighty fine Lobster!

The Tom Cribb
🍷 36 Panton St, London SW1Y 4EA
☏ 020 7839 3801

Tom Cribb, one of the greatest boxers of all time, was once publican here. Inside, a warm welcome awaits with real ales and fish finger sandwiches.

Kanada-Ya  3 Panton St, London SW1Y 4DL
☏ 020 7930 3511

The best Ramen in London. Very small inside and at times you may have to queue. Busaba Eathai along the road is better for larger groups.


Vista - there's no better view of London
Vista – there’s no better view in Theatreland

Vista 🍷 2 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2TS
☏ 020 7870 2900

Blow the budget with cocktails at the nearby Trafalgar Hotel. The swanky rooftop Vista bar has panoramic views from Nelson’s Column to the Royal Opera House.

Chop Shop  66 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RF
☏ 020 7842 7501
A carnivore’s paradise. Pricey, but made up for with excellent service and being so close to the Theatre that you can almost smell the greasepaint.

The Lemon Tree
4 Bedfordbury, London WC2N 4BP
☏ 020 7831 1391
Pretty little pub right beside the Coliseum stage door. Outside you’ll often hear the sound of ENO’s singers wafting down from their dressing rooms.

Thai Pot  1 Bedfordbury, London WC2N 4BP
☏ 020 7379 4580

Established in 1992, again, this is right beside the stage door. The kitchen also supplies food for the Lemon Tree. Authentic Thai menu and great value.

The White Horse 🍷
16 Newburgh St, Soho, London W1F 7RY
☏ 020 7494 9748

Look for the art deco exterior and prancing horse. Yards from London’s iconic Carnaby St, chat over pint of real ale and a Gloucester Old Spot sausage.

22 Kingly St, London W1B 5QB
☏ 020 7420 9322

Set curiously around a 1960s retro/colonial style living room, you’ll be hard pushed to find better Indian cuisine anywhere in London.

The Wellington 🍷 351 Strand, London WC2R 0HS
☏ 020 7836 2789

Edwardian pub with marble exterior and long wooden bar. Terrace outside. Food has mixed reviews, but you can’t beat the location.

Joe Allen  13 Exeter St, London WC2E 7DT
☏ 020 7836 0651

See Duchess Theatre for details

The Lyric 🍷 37 Great Windmill St, London W1D 7LU
☏ 020 7434 0604

See Apollo Theatre for details

Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB
☏ 020 7734 2223

Choose from dozens of Italian classics, freshly prepared in an open kitchen. There’s a one-dish pre-theatre menu – or go Dutch and share a selection of the delicious small plates.


A truly grand experience on Drury Lane
Lowlander – A truly grand experience on Drury Lane

Lowlander Grand Café 🍷 36 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5RR
☏ 020 7379 7446

Super selection of Belgian Beers in a stylish and vibrant grand café. Go European with a Continental Sausage Platter or Vegetable Hutsepot.

Jar Kitchen  176 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5QF
☏ 020 7405 4255

Small, friendly restaurant with a local, seasonal and low waste philosophy. If that all sounds a bit serious, don’t worry: the food is fun & delicious. Limited opening hours – check online.

The Salisbury 🍷 90 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4AP
☏ 020 7836 5863

Victorian pub once known as “the Actor’s pub” and built on a former prize-fighting site. Etched glass and carved mahogany remain although fish & chips now replace the fisticuffs!

Koha Restaurant & Bar  11 St. Martins Ct, London WC2 4AJ
☏ 020 7497 0282

Better known as Café Koha, this family run Theatreland favourite sits in a little alleyway between two stage doors. Also home to the Show Off piano bar.

Cellar Door 🍷 
Zero Aldwych, London WC2E 7DN
☏ 020 7240 8848

Once a public toilet, this tiny subterranean cocktail bar now plays host to cabaret artistes and burlesque shows. Mirrored walls and dark interiors where once Wilde, Gielgud and Joe Orton loitered.

Joe Allen  13 Exeter St, London WC2E 7DT
☏ 020 7836 0651

See Duchess Theatre for details

The Penny
🍷 103 The Cut, London SE1 8NB
☏ 020 7928 2651

Beneath the Old Vic you’ll find a café and coffee shop which turns into a late night beer & wine bar attracting a funky crowd & the occasional thespian.

Meson Don Felipe  53 The Cut, London SE1 8LF
☏ 020 7928 3237

Classic Tapas bar/restaurant. Very laid back with live guitar music most nights and just a few minutes along The Cut from the theatre.

The Cask & Glass 🍷 39/41 Palace Street, Victoria SW1 5HN
☏ 020 7834 7630

Tiny little pub adorned with flower boxes and hanging baskets. Beloved of railway enthusiasts, locals and the odd escaped civil servant or MP.

Phoenix in Victoria  14 Palace St, London, Victoria SW1E 5JA
☏ 020 7828 8136

Busy gastro-pub serving Burgers, Steaks and Venison Stew. Mixed reviews, but right beside the theatre and sometimes there’s a lot to be said for proximity!

The Spice of Life
🍷 6 Moor St, London W1D 5NA
☏ 020 7437 7013

Victorian, wood panelled pub right beside the theatre, with a good selection of ale and live music in the basement. You might even bump in to the cast of Harry Potter.

Le Beaujolais  25 Litchfield St, London WC2H 9NJ
☏ 020 7836 2955
See Ambassadors Theatre for details


Perhaps our favourite London haunt - the lovely Ship Tavern
Perhaps our favourite London haunt – the lovely Ship Tavern

The Ship Tavern 🍷 12 Gate St, London WC2A 3HP
☏ 020 7405 1992

Mahogany-panelled 16th century pub, well worth the 5 minute walk past Lincoln’s Inn Fields onto Gate St to quaff a fine cask ale and snaffle a scotch egg
Coopers Restaurant  49 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PF
☏ 020 7831 6211

A well-kept secret, Coopers is the haunt of barristers from the nearby Inns of Court. Relaxed, unobtrusive service and great food. Open weekdays only.

Phoenix Artist Club
🍷 1 Phoenix St, London WC2H 8BU
☏ 020 7836 1077

Private Members club but open to the public before 8pm. Frequented by many a West End turn. Socialising  doesn’t get more theatrical than this.

Flat Iron  9 Denmark St, London WC2H 8LS
☏ Unknown – no booking required – just turn up.

Top notch steaks & unruffled service in an industrial/brick setting which still manages to keep a sense of style and flair. Great value.

The Queen’s Head 🍷 15 Denman St, London W1D 7HN
☏ 020 7437 1540

See Criterion Theatre for details

Brasserie Zédel  20 Sherwood St, London W1F 7ED
☏ 020 7734 4888

Grand art deco brasserie with à la carte and prix fixes menus from 11.30am-midnight. Home to Crazy Coqs, one of London’s foremost cabaret venues.

Gordon’s Wine Bar
🍷 47 Villiers St, London WC2N 6NE
☏ 020 7930 1408

Wonderfully atmospheric venue, full of candle-lit nooks and crannies. A simple bread and cheese plate for two goes perfectly with any of the fine wines on offer. Delightful terrace.

The Northall  Corinthia, 10a Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5AE
☏ 020 7321 3100

Lavish hotel restaurant with affordable Theatre Menu. High ceilings, great service and marvellous food. The perfect accompaniment to any theatre trip.

The Spice of Life 🍷 6 Moor St, London W1D 5NA
☏ 020 7437 7013

See Palace Theatre for details

Gauthier Soho
 21 Romilly St, London W1D 5AF
☏ 020 7494 3111

Michelin star dining in a fine Georgian townhouse. A home away from home – if you’re lucky enough to live with a Michelin-starred chef. Open Tue-Sat.

The Tom Cribb 🍷 36 Panton St, London SW1Y 4EA
☏ 020 7839 3801
See Harold Pinter Theatre for details

Busaba Eathai  35 Panton St, London SW1Y 4EA
☏ 020 7930 0088
Consistently great Thai treats from this reasonably priced chain. You’ll be hard pressed to find better food so close to Leicester Square.

The Theatre Café
☕ 66 Shaftesbury Ave, London, England W1D 6LX
☏ 020 7439 8861

Scrumptious cakes, coffee and fellow theatre lovers draped over sofas or sat along the benches in the windows. Great for watching theatricals go by.

Tao Tao Ju  15 Lisle Street, Chinatown, London WC2H 7BE
☏ 020 7734 8822

Cross Shaftesbury Avenue to experience the amazing sights and smells of Chinatown. Pass Gerrard St and turn left into Lisle St to find Tao Tao Ju – excellent Cantonese food in an upmarket setting.

The Coal Hole 🍷 91-92 Strand, London WC2R 0DW
☏ 020 7379 9883

Formerly the coal cellar from the Savoy Hotel, this enormous Victorian pub once hosted performances by Gilbert & Sullivan.

Simpsons in the Strand - how the other half lives.
Simpsons in the Strand. Head in early for an astonishingly hearty breakfast.

Simpson’s in the Strand  100 Strand, London WC2R 0EW
☏ 020 7836 9112

Beautiful Grand Divan where waiters bring silver-domed trolleys to your table to carve. Former haunt of Dickens, Bernard Shaw and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Old Crown
🍷 33 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1BH
☏ 020 7836 9121

The Crown at number 51 is great but we prefer The Old Crown on the corner of New Oxford & Museum Street. Comfy Chesterfields and haunted staircase.

Da Mario  63 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9AJ
☏ 020 7240 3632

Little family-run restaurant in London, serving great truffle pasta and the best Tiramisu outside of Mama Italia! Cosy, old-school and delicious.

The Two Brewers
🍷 40 Monmouth St, London WC2H 9EP
☏ 020 7836 7395

See Ambassadors Theatre for details

The Ivy  1-5 West St, London WC2H 9NQ
☏ 020 7836 4751

Harlequin windows and the chance to celebrity-spot. The Ivy’s name comes from WW2 when “we all clung together like ivy”. Advance booking essential.

Theatre re-named in 2017 – see THE OTHER PALACE

Nell of Old Drury
🍷 29 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JS
☏ 020 7836 5328
Rumour is there’s a secret passage from the Theatre into the pub cellar – probably true judging by the number of cast & crew that pop up! You can even order interval drinks!

The Crusting Pipe  27 Clare Market, Covent Garden WC2E 8RD
☏ 020 7836 1415

Located downstairs in Covent Garden’s historic Piazza. You’ll often hear string quartets playing and the occasional Opera Diva singing for their supper.

The Admiralty 🍷 66 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DS
☏ 020 7930 0066

Set over three floors, the perfect place to watch the tourists clambering over Trafalgar Square’s sleeping Lions. As you’d expect, busy at most times of day.

Brumus Bar & Restaurant  1 Suffolk Place, London SW1Y 4HX
☏ 020 7470 4007

Elegant restaurant in the lovely Haymarket Hotel, with staff who appreciate the importance of timing for pre-theatre dining. Great value fixed menu.

Walkers of Whitehall
🍷 15, Craig’s Court, Whitehall, London SW1A 2DD
☏ 020 7925 0090

Re-opened in June 2016 following a complete refurb. Lovely pub in a quiet courtyard which most people hurrying along Whitehall completely miss.

The atmospheric Cafe in the Crypt - refectory dining in style.
The atmospheric Cafe in the Crypt – refectory dining in style.

Café in the Crypt Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
☏ 020 7766 1158 – no reservations, just turn up.

Cross Trafalgar Square to the brick vaulted Café in the Crypt in nearby St Martin In The Fields. Basic self-service refectory, but so atmospheric.

The Nell Gwynne 🍷 1-2 Bull Inn Ct, London WC2R 0NP
☏ 020 7240 5579

See Adelphi Theatre for details

34-35 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7LB
☏ 020 7836 5314

The oldest restaurant in London. Excellent service and classic British menu.

Currently undergoing refurbishment – re-opens late 2017

Koha Restaurant & Bar 🍷 11 St. Martins Ct, London WC2 4AJ
☏ 020 7497 0282

See Noël Coward Theatre for details

J Sheekey Restaurant  28-32 St Martin’s Ct, London WC2N 4AL
☏ 020 7240 2565
Fine fish, oysters and fruits de mer. A favourite of actors & producers. Come for the set lunch menu and oyster bar – just don’t forget the show afterwards!

Have we missed your favourite Theatreland bar or restaurant? Let us know – we’re always looking for a great new spot to try!