One of my most favourite bar discoveries was here. But you gotta hop a plane to London. First off, let me tell you we’re not talking London Pub here nor a swoosh designer place. The bar at St. John Restaurant is unique in that the space is a covered alleyway so it feels like you’re sitting on a narrow European street.
To your right is the restaurant’s bakery, opposite is the bar and behind you is the restaurant itself. The whole place is painted white so bottles of wine, loaves of bread and blackboards jump out inviting you to have it all. And I tell you I did.
On a Thursday evening I took up position at the bar and helped-out passing drinks to the after-work folks who turned the place into one great party scene. On Friday I returned for a quiet lunch – a little apprehensive that the place may not work in this context, but it did. St John has ‘the bones’ as they say – it’s perfect with or without crowds. As with all good bars the drink and foods are the owners picks. A dozen or two little-known wines from the south of France. Which is what you need to partner the unusual cuts of meat – or ‘nose to tail dining’ as it’s called. But if you’re not up for pig’s head, bone marrow, or ox heart, there’s more regular salads and sandwiches. Everything I tried was delish. The main thing is you are invited into new territory… and isn’t that what going out is all about? A young staff will gladly sample you any wine, and then sell you a bottle or two to go too at retail. All prices are reasonable for London. The restaurant itself is next door, up a few steps and watching the customers come and go is just another part of the fun of hanging out at my bar.
I struggled at first to figure out why St. John bar feels French. There’s no French décor as we know it, but maybe it’s the sound of corks popping and of human interaction.That’s French!