This week marked the opening of Bloomberg Arcade, bringing with it 10 restaurants for business lunches, private dining and exclusive hire. 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
Part of the allure of Bank for tech businesses, restaurateurs and developers has been the availability of grand, underused spaces – spaces that would cost a fortune in Shoreditch or Soho. ‘The City is the oldest part of London, so in a way it’s a return to how things used to be,’ says Deborah Kelly, head of UK sales at London & Partners. ‘London is always evolving and it’s great to see some of Bank’s iconic and beautiful buildings being transformed into hospitality and event spaces.’
Gareth Banner, MD at The Ned, cites the regeneration of east London and the 2012 Games as a reason for the city’s ‘centre of gravity’ shifting east of its traditional central-London orientation.
He adds that, ‘The City is actually extremely handsome and far better connected with public transport than a lot of people realise.’
Banner goes on to namecheck his ‘shiny new neighbour, Bloomberg’, which is soon to house 4,000 or so employees in a £1bn Foster + Partners-designed complex. Importantly, though, there’ll be 10 restaurants on the ground-floor arcade open for business lunches, private dining and exclusive hire. And there’s not a Strada in sight: the restaurant lineup includes the likes of hip food-truck pioneers Bleecker Burger, Homeslice pizza and Ahi Poké.
‘In selecting the restaurants for Bloomberg Arcade, we wanted to find people doing something creative, and we wanted diversity,’ says Richard Vines, Bloomberg’s food critic and arcade curator.
‘Another sandwich shop or coffee bar wasn’t good enough; we were after people with new ideas and approaches to food, world cuisines and different styles of service. Choosing the restaurants was like playing a food version of fantasy football and we got some of the biggest names in the business.’
Vinoteca, the first property to open here, is a vast glass-and-steel space reminiscent of their Granary Square property. Gazing out from my window seat, it’s easy to draw parallels with King’s Cross: once a grey, gritty transport hub; now a buzzing drinking, dining and events destination.
Read the final part of this three-part series to see how the area’s atmosphere is changing too.