Unsung and charming, this theatre bar provides free entertainment of its own as well as a relaxing pre-show atmosphere.
The Theatre Royal can be found just off Great Eastern Street, not far from the sprawling Stratford station complex. The whole Grade II
listed building is a remnant of times past, and the small bar and green asphalt courtyard have been engulfed on all sides by a cinema
multiplex, car park and rows of new flats. Inside the bar however, not a lot seems to have changed for years, with its low ceilings,
wicker chairs and pews, and a uniform, slightly claustrophobic dark red colour scheme.
Accessible via the outside seating area or through the main theatre foyer, the bar retains a certain charm and affords an intimate
atmosphere, with dim lighting and framed cast photos and flyers from previous events lining the walls. The cramped wooden bar itself
runs the length of the far wall, while a very small stage complete with upright piano is situated in the opposite corner, for nightly
A welcome antidote to the sensory overload of nearby Westfield, the Theatre Royal bar is usually quite subdued, weekends and late
nights aside, and is the perfect setting for a pre-show catch-up. The service is as unpretentious as the surroundings, and there is
regular free entertainment most evenings, in the form of up-and-coming comedians and musicians plying their trade on the tiny stage.
Perhaps not worth the trip unless you’re planning on seeing a show afterwards, but a rare island of tranquility nonetheless.
Honest and cheap, the food at the Theatre Royal bar is more than adequate for pre-show sustenance. Caribbean-themed, with plantain,
patties and jerk chicken making regular appearances, the menu consists of burgers (£5-£6), curry (£7), omelettes, salads, jacket
potatoes (£5-£6) and sandwiches, with a token selection of starters and desserts, all dispensed from the glass-fronted counter
adjacent to the bar.
Not much by way of variety in terms of drinks, but the price is right, with pints of Worthingtons, Carling, Grolsch and Magners
costing between £2.80-£3.40. Likewise, a perfunctory selection of wines and spirits seems designed to help spectators get in the mood
before a show without breaking the bank.
The Last Word
Homely and relaxed, this theatre bar certainly fulfills its primary purpose of creating pre-show bonhomie, despite certain
shortcomings as a venue in its own right.