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66-70 Brewer Street
020 7292 3518
Like an upscale, arty members club that’s open to allcomers, the quintessentially cool basement bar at Hix Soho is as sharp as a Paul Smith Paisley shirt, as comfy as John Lobb ankle boots, as classic as a camel Crombie and as relaxed as your best, lived-in denims – the sort of wardrobe that understated core Hixters cleave to. Hix’s similarly stylish cocktails are a mix of familiar friends (Hanky Panky, Zombie, Gin Punch à la Terrington) and future ‘bezzies’ such as Dorset Donkey (a Black Cow vodka, cherry and sage mule). True to his West Country roots, the chef/ patron's list also includes cider-based swallows such as Temperley Sour. Prices are Soho average for above-average ‘snax’ of whipped squash with ricotta and toasted walnuts, steak tartare, chips with curry sauce, rock samphire pakoras or Essex cockle popcorn – a steal at three for a tenner.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
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66-70 Brewer Street
020 7292 3518
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 204m
Leicester Square Tube Station 493m
Piccadilly Theatre 109m
Beak Street 165m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
As thesaurus.com doesn't recognise “louche” and thinks I am looking for either douche, lecher or sloucher I have to hand it to the previous reviewer that “louche” is absolutely the correct word For Mark's Bar at Hix and there is no alternative (although I think this is a perfect venue for both lechers and slouchers). I love this dark, divey atmosphere, surprisingly as usually I would feel uncomfortable in such a “cool” place but everyone is super friendly (probably because you have to bunk up on tables and if you're sat, like me, on one of the squashy sofas and your head appears to be nestling up to the bum of some poor girl on a bar stool behind then the only thing to do is smile and down another cocktail). The cocktail list is one of the more interesting and unusual ones, even for cocktail-loving London, but for me it's a failure of over-complication: every cocktail is constituted of so many ingredients, many of which are off beat or unknown with utterly unhelpful descriptions, that I find something which puts me off almost every one of them. Only one appealed (or rather didn't contain anything unappealing) but I did enjoy it: a refreshing sweet and sharp sherry cobbler served over plenty of ice. It takes an age for drinks to come, a fault no doubt of slow barmen dealing with convoluted combinations rather than the waitresses who seemed friendly and efficient enough to me (extra water came when asked and our orders were taken swiftly, twice, despite it being the busy Saturday 7/8pm slot). A key ingredient in getting a venue properly louche (and profitable?) is assisting patrons in throwing as much liquor down their throats as humanly possible in the shortest time available and in this I think Mark's Bar should heed the old KISS adage. Still, emerging from a dim basement into a light summer city evening makes me feel like a properly dirty boozehound so full marks anyway for seediness.
Food + drink: 4
This is a good bar, and managed properly it would be a great bar. The drinks are consistent, importantly. The feel of the place is satisfyingly louche. The atmosphere is often buzzy and friendly, yet sometimes it seems like the customers are younger and drunker than usual; I will allow that this is an impression I get borne of my increasing years… For me, the only real problem is the service, which can be surly and patronising on the front desk, and can be haphazard downstairs – sometimes excellent, but too often too casual.
Food + drink: 2
I have visited Hix's Bar twice and have the same experience on both occasions, rip off price food and drinks, average to sullen service.
I really like the design of the space and the atmosphere is good but I would suggest you go to BobBob Ricards if you want something in the local area which is of a good quality for a more reasonable price.
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