All Bar One Appold Street offers a break from the grind for the office-bound of the area.
All Bar One Appold Street is, as the name implies, located on Appold Street, less than a ten minute walk north from Liverpool Street station. Unless you work in the area it’s unlikely you’ll know where it is, a lone bastion of a bar amongst endless office buildings – but this does make its frontage, with elegant wall-mounted white lamps and utilitarian white and wood outdoor tables, easier to spot.
Inside, a few steps lead you up into the bar with wooden floors and plenty of spaced out seating. If you have a bigger party the bar stool height, gold metal topped longer tables will accommodate near the bar, whilst to the right and near the windows a number of similarly tall wooden tables and low-backed stools can seat four comfortably. Further from the bar things are a little more relaxed and a small alcove with an inbuilt row of seating against a wall providing the most luxuriously padded experience in the bar.
Scattered about the bar are a number of upright logs with glass vase encased candles, various mirrors, coat hooks on columns and a number of blackboards. Industrial look metal boxes on the ceiling illuminate the whole area brightly with halogen light, as do hanging lamps above the serving area. The ubiquitous All Bar One railway clock can be found to the right of the entrance, set back a little from the bar. The bar itself is just to your right when you walk in, with the wall behind covered in shelves of wine, complete with ladders for the higher shelves. It’s a nice effect and gives the bar some welcome cosiness.
Its location means that All Bar One Appold Street largely attracts those looking for an after work drink, but unlike some of the higher end city venues you won’t feel out of place if you’re not in an expensive suit. It is a clean-cut lot you’ll find here, though. Music isn’t the focus, and neither are sports or gaming; what you’ll find is a place with plenty of room where you can get your drink easily and have a conversation with friends (that you can hear without shouting) with a minimum of fuss.
Friendly, knowledgeable staff make the ordering quick and easy, and they prove very helpful if you want to know more about something on the menu. Overall, the service is excellent; during the week you’ll be able to find a seat with ease, too, though you can expect the mainstays of Friday and Saturday night to be busier.
All Bar One’s standard food menu is broad with classic mains, burgers and sandwiches alongside a wide selection of tapas and the more unusual skewers – five are available with a choice of five accompaniments ranging from spiced rice to organic beetroot.
The tapas is a highlight, with at times unbelievably large servings. The calamari with lemon and lime mayonnaise (£3.90), for example, comes in a serving that would rival most entree sizes, and is delicious, avoiding the rubbery trap into which poorly prepared calamari falls. Likewise, the chicken quesadilla (£4.85) is brimming with juicy, flavourful chicken and accompanied by a sour cream dip that has clearly been made with similar care. The tortilla strips (£3.90) are an unusual inclusion, offering a plate of both flour and corn tortillas prepared in easily manageable strips with plenty of guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream. The dips are all well done but unless you’re craving tortillas it does feel a little basic.
The skewers are an interesting addition and provide a welcome dash of creative flair to a bar menu. The chargrilled tiger prawns (£7.90) with fattoush offers two skewers of prawns criss-crossed over a bed of chunky cut cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and red peppers with a lemon and herb dressing. It’s a colourful dish whose presentation would feel at home in a proper restaurant, and the prawns are cooked to perfection. Most fattoush recipes call for small pieces of crisp pitta to be scattered throughout; this dish serves them as wedge-shaped pieces on the side, and without any sort of dipping sauce you might be unsure what precisely you are to do with them.
On the more usual side of the menu the chargrilled lamb burger (£7.95) with fries and tzatziki dip is acceptable but tends toward the bland; it’s large and the patty has an interesting mix of flavours, but ultimately it’s a little dry (though you do receive plenty of hot crispy shoestring fries). For a quicker snack you can grab a bowl of olives from behind the bar for £1.50, in a tangy lemon and thyme marinade which complements their flavour beautifully. It’s worth noting too that while the menu lists breakfasts they are not available here.
All Bar One’s wine list is sizeable with house wines in five of the main varieties ranging from £1.95-£2.75 for a 175ml glass, encompassing 14 whites, 13 reds and three roses. Five Champagnes are also available. The wine list is divided into classic, bold (full-flavoured) and distinctive varieties with brief descriptions of each, making selection easy and encouraging the exploring of new flavours.
Take the opportunity and branch out into something more ‘bold’, for example the Sicilian Fiano (£14.45) a combination of Riesling and Sauvignon, which offers an easy drink with just that little bit more character from the Riesling’s spice. The wine list’s helpful information combined with the knowledgeable staff should put you at ease if you feel like broadening your horizons.
All Bar One also offers a very wide range of beer and cider, with a large draught selection including Duvel Green, Becks Vier, Amstel, Staropramen, Erdinger, London Pride, Guinness, Heineken, Adnmas East Green, Peroni, Paulaner and Aspall Suffolk Cyder. These are complemented by a great range of bottled beer. Spirits and mixers are also available, although they are not the main focus.
The Last Word
At the end of the day, if you don’t work nearby or know someone who does it’s unlikely you’ll ever set foot in All Bar One Appold Street, simply because of where it is. However, for those who do, it’s a refreshing escape from both the office and overly fancy City bars.