A couple of minutes from Leicester Square tube, Moon Under Water offers cheap booze, reasonably priced pub grub and the perfect meeting spot if you're catching a film or play nearby.
This 20-year-old Wetherspoon’s boozer has one thing going for it; convenience. It sits next to the large Odeon that plays host to star-studded film premieres, and is a stone's throw from three other cinemas and a couple of West End theatres. Plus it's just a couple of minutes from Leicester Square station, so it couldn't be better situated for tempting passing tourists and those of us who only head into Leicester Square when we absolutely have to.
If you've got time to kill before a film starts and want a drink somewhere quick and easy without giving it too much thought, Moon Under Water makes perfect sense. Particularly when you factor in typical prices in this part of central London; you can always rely on Wetherspoon’s pubs to undercut the rest. The main issue with this pub, though, is its size. It's very small and is always packed, so you might find yourself spilling out into the tiny 'terrace' (some chairs on the street in front of the entrance) or sitting at the bar. Decor is fairly traditional with no real character or even background music.
The crowd is what you'd expect from a Wetherspoon’s pub in Leicester Square. A mix of tourists grabbing a drink in the first pub they've come across, groups of friends on their way to the cinema, or older types who just fancy a cheap pint and bite to eat. The vibe is quite lively and chatty and there's almost always somebody having lunch or dinner, making it tricky to grab a table. It's not an unpleasant atmosphere but you can't help feeling people are drinking here because it's handy. Nothing wrong with that though, and you could do worse than Moon Under Water for an easy option.
The menu is consistent with the rest of the chain, with a huge selection of affordable pub classics on offer throughout the day - though prices are higher than most of their London pubs due to the central location. For something hearty, go for sausages and mash, lasagne or chilli con carne, all for under £8. There are regular deals and special offers, like the Thursday curry club, which serves a choice of curry and drink along with naan bread and poppadoms for £6.99. Generally the quality of food is fairly good; don't expect anything fancy but it's tasty enough and you'll get decent sized portions.
There are plenty of beers to choose from, including Heineken, Fosters, Amstel and Carlsberg on draught, all around the £4 mark for a pint. They also offer regular guest ales from £3.15 a pint, and some specialist beers including Hoegaarden and Bitburger for around £4.30 each. A glass of house wine - Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio - goes for just £3.75, not bad for the area.
The Last Word
Moon Under Water is nothing particularly special, but location-wise, you couldn't get much better. Just a minute or two from Leicester Square station, you're sure to find yourself nearby looking for a cheap pub at one time or another, and this one is as good as the next.