I’ve lived and worked in London for 30 years, with varying degrees of disability, so choosing just 5 places is difficult. The dynamic nature of the city means that new places open all the time but BBS keeps up with the latest trends and places to go and we rate them on accessibility, style and facilities. Style is the prerequisite, which doesn’t necessarily mean expense! London is also home to some of the best chefs in the world so eating out has never been more delicious! So many places and not enough time, but I’ve got a current top 5:
The Paramount at Centre Point, Tottenham Court Rd. – a great place for cocktails as it has one of the best, if not THE BEST, view of London. Truly spectacular and the cocktails are interesting too, the nibbles not so, as they include the standard Hummus and olives. I’ve not eaten there but I would only go for drinks. It’s a bubbly crowd enthused by the view. It’s obviously accessible via a lift as it is 32 floors up!
To eat I love going to the ‘West End’ and the Pollen Street Social with Chef Patron Jason Atherton – he has truly inspirational dishes such as the ‘slow cooked egg, English breakfast’. There’s a buzz about the place and it’s easily accessible albeit through the kitchens. At least you get to see him at work. There’s also a disabled toilet so staying behind in the bar for late drinks is safe?!
Round the corner in Conduit St is another favourite haunt, Sketch. Unfortunately the Michelin Star restaurant upstairs is still inaccessible (initially highlighted in 2003 – maybe one day they’ll become 100% inclusive), but the Gallery downstairs (about 6/7 steps) is achievable with help from the staff and there’s a disabled toilet located just beside the East Bar. It has to be visited as it’s an art installation by Turner Prize Winner, Martin Creed where every item in the restaurant is different, down to the knives and forks. Open until 2 am with a DJ playing uber trendy music it’s great for a late night out.
The Art Deco Brasserie Zedel and its Crazy Coqs Cabaret in Piccadilly is a must for an all-encompassing night out with a restaurant, bar and cabaret all under one roof. All accessible via a lift and portable ramps.
For trendy drinks and bar snacks you can’t go wrong with The Zetter Town House in Clerkenwell. Don’t be put off by the collection of antiques; such as the stuffed and dressed cat or the boxing kangaroo, they merely add character. There’s no standing in this bar so everyone has to sit in a comfy chair or sofa, all at wheelchair height, so you don’t feel conspicuous. It is accessible with a disabled toilet downstairs via a lift. The staff look like they should be part of Mumford and Son and resemble 19th century workers, wearing an array of waistcoats, braces and collarless shirts. The nibbles are out of the ordinary and very tasty; I can recommend the ‘deep-fried anchovy olives’ and the ‘Parmesan shortbread’. The ‘Twinkle’ cocktail is also a must.
There are lots of places on my list such as the (open air) rooftop at the Boundary – a Conran hotel in Shoreditch; the Gilbert Scott Bar at St. Pancras with its new take on a British pub menu and the myriad of Brooklyn style restaurants that have popped up such as such as Polpo in Covent Garden.
As I said, so many places and too little time.
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