This alternative gay scene favourite offers a great antidote to the Soho mainstream with cheap drinks, good music and astonishingly friendly staff and punters.
Located in a bit of a grimy alleyway just off The Strand, The Retro Bar is a short walk from Embankment or Charing Cross tube stations. Identified by small black signs, it’s easy enough to find if you look out for the alleyway at the corner of the entrance to Superdrug. Once inside, it’s split into two bars. Downstairs gets packed from early on with the after work crowd, soon joined by nighttime revellers, but if you want to escape the noisy music or are looking for somewhere to sit, there’s usually room upstairs. Decorated with gay friendly, black and white pop icon prints, there’s a shabby chic feel with mismatched seating and a slightly grubby vibe.
The Retro Bar attracts a varied crowd with everyone from skinny jean clad hipsters to middle aged ale drinkers. It’s largely gay, with a good split between men and women, and the vibe is friendly and sociable. The bar staff are a particular delight, they take pride in where they work and enjoy stopping to chat with their regular customers whenever the busy bar allows.
Eschewing the usual, The Retro Bar plays a retrospective of '70s and '80s pop with Blondie, Depeche Mode and David Bowie all on heavy rotation. As well as weekend DJ nights, there’s a quiz night on Tuesdays and karaoke on Wednesdays.
With regular drink promotions throughout the week and prices for draught lager at under £3, The Retro Bar is a bargain for such a central location. You can also expect a fully stocked bar of alcopops, wine and soft drinks.
The Last Word
The Retro Bar is well-loved by its regulars for its justifiably proud and friendly staff, classy music choices and fair drinks prices. An alternative venue that can please everyone.