This week marked the opening of Bloomberg Arcade, bringing with it 10 independent restaurants. But this is just the latest in a slew of hip new venues luring groups to this once-formal corner of the City
Words Anna Hart
You can always take the pulse of a place by sitting at the bar alone at 3pm on a Thursday. Sipping a pickled martini at the marble-top bar of Zobler’s – the NYC-inspired deli in The Ned – it’s hard to believe I’m within spitting distance of Bank tube station. Until recently, the area had a reputation for being a staid, suits-only place – with an eerie 28 Days Later vibe on the weekends.
‘Traditionally, Bank has catered to local workers, mostly in the finance industry,’ says Deborah Kelly, head of UK sales at London & Partners. But things are changing. ‘It’s the convergence of a whole lot of factors that’s transforming Bank,’ she says. ‘The neighbourhood sits at the junction of the City and Shoreditch/Old Street, which are key areas for finance and tech. This has made Bank appealing for start-ups and has, in turn, attracted young and trendy crowds. The fact that the area is so well connected is obviously a plus.’
This afternoon, with The Ned’s cool low-level lighting, lively din of conversation and clatter of high heels, it could be 11pm in Soho – or, indeed, in Bank. After-hours, it was once a sea of blue suits and pencil skirts, but the City’s beating heart is fast becoming London’s newest nightlife nucleus. And where nightlife goes, event spaces follow. Soho House group’s headline-grabbing venue could be the poster boy for the area’s renaissance, but a string of other openings are turning heads too.
Camm & Hooper is preparing its third City venue in three years with the takeover of Grace Hall, an old Leadenhall bank, which most recently housed the bar-restaurant Steam & Rye.
‘Our City venues are not solely focused on traditional corporate events,’ says Darren Hart, director of sales at Camm & Hooper. ‘Since the opening of Banking Hall
, we have seen increased desire from a plethora of new sectors looking for beautiful spaces, which the City has in abundance.’
Across the company’s other venues, such as Victorian Bath House
, they’ve hosted everything from shows during London Fashion Week to big-hitter brand launches in the tech, food and beverage, and consumer-product markets. They’ve even provided the setting for a recent Rolling Stones music video.
Read on to see how Bloomberg’s opening will change the area further still