After consuming vast quantities of quality grub at classy fish restaurant Wheeler’s, best friend Diane and I decided that the night was still too young to turn in just yet, especially on a buzzing Saturday night, so we decided to head back one stop from our current position at Green Park, to the hub of the capital Oxford Circus, pumping with the lifeblood of party people and a far cry from the sedate cigar shops we’d just walked past.
Heading down Oxford Street, we stumbled down Poland Street to find sophisticated Soho cocktail bar and authentic Italian pizzeria B-Soho. On entering, the quirky cool jazz vibe cocooned us instantly and drew us in to the bar at the far end of venue. Spotlight bulbs illuminated the ceiling with a dull atmospheric glow, humming gently over a selection of button studded leather couches in deep masculine shades of rust red and chocolate brown, accompanied by chunky wooden furniture, Mediterranean wall mural and background music that still enabled you to hold a conversation easily.
The décor had a distinct air of an exclusive study in an imposing manor house, a large cream roman numeral clock taking up one wall, surrounded by wood piles suitable for throwing on to a log fire somewhere. B-Soho definitely had that welcoming feel, luring you in to settle in the group friendly sofa areas, although there were also cosy tables for two available, with hard chairs and table lamps. There was also a downstairs area available, which I think was more for the dining customers, as B-Soho also offer a mix of Italian specialities to tempt the taste buds, although we were both so stuffed from our impressive meal we couldn’t even contemplate food in the slightest.
When we arrived, the bar level was still rather empty, so we decided to check out their exclusive cocktail menu, that contains 30 signature creations. With both of us being adamant cocktail lovers, we took the bound menu extremely seriously, reading through the pages of categories with increasing interest and indecisiveness. Diane went for a This is England, found on the ‘Long, Fruity and Refreshing’ page and advertised as tasting like a summer’s day. This gin based beverage also contained lemon, sugar, elderflower, cloudy apple juice and peach for really light and gentle flavours. I also stuck with this category of cocktail, instead opting for a Russian Spring Punch, offering a direct hit of vodka, lemon, sugar, raspberry and blackcurrant liqueur, finished with sweet Prosecco. At £9.50 a drink, it was what you would expect to pay in a London venue compared to our home town in Essex, so we didn’t really bat an eyelid at the prices – all of which seemed to be around this mark anyway for the cocktails.
I thoroughly loved my cocktail – it was really sweet and strong with such a buzz of fruity flavour, especially the raspberry, which I really enjoyed. Presented in tall glasses, complete with bobbing fruit, crushed ice and the very necessary straws, we slurped away happily. Settled on a large sofa area initially (before being moved to a smaller table to make room for a much larger group), we reclined comfortably and could chat easily, completely in our own little world without being interrupted or pestered too much which I liked. The cocktail menu offered fantastic variety and it took us ages to finally decide on what alcoholic treat to choose.
On the whole, I thought this venue was fantastic and would definitely be worth a return visit with a few more girlfriends. The vibe was really laid back and comfortable, yet offering that special snazz and quirk with the personality that boomed off the pages of the cocktail menu. The only downside was the rudeness of one of the waitresses as we were leaving. Since they had brought our drinks to our table, when we asked for the bill they had added a service charge. Our cocktails came to £19, and they added a service charge of £2.34. Due to the change we had, we left a £20 note, giving them some tip but not their full asking amount. On picking up the money as we were putting on our coats, she asked whether or not we were paying service charge. I thought this was incredibly rude considering service charge is a discretionary payment and one that is totally decided by the customer based on experience. If I knew she was going to question her tip, I wouldn’t have left anything more at all. Although our visit ended on this sour note, I still thought the venue is one to remember, especially because of its nearness to Oxford Circus , and you can’t deny the cocktails were professionally prepared, imaginatively thought out and tasted awesome.