20 August 2014

Dive Bar at Ape & Bird

142 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8HJ

Bars Covent Garden
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As The Marquis of Granby, this landmark pub was an institution back in the 60s and 70s, when Pink Floyd enigma Syd Barrett lived upstairs and The Sex Pistols drank here. Under new owner Russell Norman (Polpo, Mishkin's etc), Ape & Bird’s dimly lit, no-frills, dive bar looks much as such Soho drinking basements did circa God Save the Queen. Park up in tattered, semi-circular leather booths for Camden Hells lager, bottles of ‘Newkie Brown’ and Italian house white wine by the pichet that may be a bit too punk for palates more used to Pouilly Fumé. Cocktails include Americano, various juleps, damson sour and Cynar gin fizz. However, if you’re the sort of person who goes ape for showboating molecular nonsense, this grungy dive is not for you – despite the availability of Aperol spritzs and Earl Grey martinis. Still, it’s refreshing that some of the old muso-magnet’s soul has survived against the odds.

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