Be At One has another string to its bow, this time hitting the streets of Soho. If you’re out on the town and aren’t sure if it’s a laid back pub or cool cocktail bar you’re after then this is the place for you.
This Be At One is conveniently located a couple of minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus, or a 10 minute stroll from Leicester Square. It’s a little off the beaten track, located as it is down Great Windmill Street, but you won’t be hunting around for hours to find it, just wander on down and you’ll soon see the large, blue building gleaming before you.
This place definitely appears to be pub-like both in its exterior and interior. Upon entering, you’re met with a large central bar with four serving points, which is the main focus of Be At One. There’s a circular walkway that goes all the way around the bar, allowing for a decent amount of seating and standing room without crowding the venue uncomfortably. The decor has aspects of a pub – gleaming woods, a focus on an old-style bar, wooden floors; but with touches of a bar – attractive silver hanging lights, mirrors and dark leather seating. It’s definitely the kind of place you walk into and feel at ease – leave your pretension at the door.
The whole philosophy of Be At One is about not being stuck up. The drinks are cheap and flow freely, the staff are friendly and up for a banter even when busy, the music is loud and pumping (just be prepared to shout to be heard), and the people are there to have fun. That said, for those of you who do prefer a bit of the high life, you won’t feel claustrophobic here, it’s not an old man pub or a cheap and nasty bar. It’s the kind of place you could bring a date if you weren’t sure of their preferences – are they a pub or a bar kind of person? Do they like pints or cocktails? This is the perfect amalgamation – the best of both worlds.
The service is worthy of note. The staff are all full time and competent (having each undergone a six week training course) - they spot who’s been waiting the longest and make sure you’re looked after. It also helps that they’re very easy on the eye (keep a look out for the Orlando Bloom looky likey, girls!).
Cocktails are where Be At One Soho excels. With a huge menu spanning every type of cocktail you can imagine, you’ll find your favourite classics alongside unusual offerings such as the E-Poo – cue immature giggling! The menu is bright, colourful and easy to follow, being divided into fresh fruit specialities, disco, classics, ice cream (oh yes!), Champagne, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey, shooters, non alcoholic, and, handily if you’re overwhelmed, the bartenders’ favourites. Although they’re not necessarily high-end quality cocktails, for the price (just £5-£7 a pop and a buy one get one free happy hour), they are incredible value and extraordinarily tasty. From the notoriously difficult to get right White Russian (which, impressively, comes layered), to the classic mojito, they compete with the big boys in terms of producing drinks you sip and are immediately impressed with.
If you’re up for exploring the menu, try twists on the usual with the frozen mango bellini – an exotic blend of Stolichnaya vodka blended with mango puree and mango liqueur, topped with Prosecco. Tropical in flavour, the texture of the ice makes it more akin to a Slush Puppy, allowing you to relive fond memories of your youth whilst tasting the gentle flavour of the alcohol coming through. If you’re more into your sweet, creamier cocktails then be sure to try the Truffle (Tuaca liqueur and amaretto shaken with liquid chocolate and a dash of cream, served straight up) or the Expresso (Stolichnaya vodka, Kahlua and expresso slightly sweetened and shaken with ice). Similar in taste, both are sweet without being sickly - go for the Truffle if you like chocolate flavours or the Expresso if you prefer it tempered by a slightly bitter coffee taste.
If cocktails aren’t your thing, there is also a selection of beers, spirits and mixers and wine. Just don’t expect anything mind-blowing, the house red has a slightly unpleasant vinegary aftertaste – splurge and get a named glass of wine if that’s what you’re after (ask the bar staff for help if you’re unsure, they can offer recommendations that will suit you better). Really, this place is all about the cocktails – you’d be nuts not to go for them!
The Last Word
Be At One has well and truly crashed into the Central London scene. If you don’t want to fork out ridiculous prices at venues all over Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, come here for delicious cocktails, friendly banter and a laid back vibe.