A great chance to rub shoulders with theatre folk from across the industry. This is a favourite of performers, directors and stage hands alike. One of the West End’s best loved haunts, the Players Bar showcases singers and pianists and comes to life just as the many theatres in the area are closing their doors.
Nestled happily under the arches of Charing Cross railway station, this bar sits under the New Players Theatre and has all the old world London charm that is to be expected from such a historic location. Sitting next to notorious gay nightclub Heaven, the bar can often be overshadowed but attracts a bustling and enthusiastic crowd of post theatre clients.
Small and cosy, the Players Bar retains its original brick work interior and is a great setting for cosy romantic nights, especially early in the evening when chairs and tables are easy to come across. Like all arch conversions, the bar has a slightly dungeon like feel that lends itself happily to late night drinking.
There are frequent piano and cabaret performances at this cosy bar. It’s a bit of a pick and mix and you can never be sure what will greet you. Performers are usually drowned out by a noisy throng of excited bar dwellers, particularly as the evening wears on, so don’t expect to sit back and watch quietly in the late hours.
The Players Bar is somewhat chameleon-like in its ability to transform from quiet and cosy piano bar in the early evening, to bustling and eclectic night spot as the theatres close their doors. The bar staff are always friendly and there is a fun and personable attitude throughout.
The food menu here takes a modern look at standard bar food, seamlessly mixing old English favourites such as beef, onion and red wine pie with a more American flavour in their wide range of burgers and specialist sandwiches. There is an extensive list of fresh salads, the crispy calamari salad with a caper and lemon dressing is particularly tasty and smells wonderful enough to make your fellow diners green with food envy.
The starters’ menu doubles as a tapas menu and extends the dining options further. All in all there is a good range of modestly priced and varied food that should suit all different appetites and diets.
All the standard bottled and tap beers can be found behind this smart looking wooden bar, and there is a decent wine list as well, with white, red and rose available by the glass or by the bottle. It’s not a place to sip on an elaborate cocktail, but all standard mixed drinks are reasonably priced, as are wine and beer. The choices are limited and predictable, with all the favourites and little else. Champagne and sparkling wine are readily available and reasonable, just don’t expect anything too elaborate.
The Last Word
The Players Bar treads a fine line between high energy social spot and chilled out piano bar. There is always something happening, the drinks are reasonably priced and there is a fair selection of wine and beer. The atmosphere of this bar is friendly and relaxed, making it a great place to grab a quiet after work drink or to party into the night with a fun, young, understated, local crowd.