The Square Mile has hundreds of pubs, bars and restaurants, but who has time to sample all of them? We’ve scouted and rubbernecked our way through them to bring you the very best places around St Paul’s.
If you’re happy to book ahead or want to impress someone from out of town, then Madison remains the place to go. The rooftop bar and tapas restaurant is the best place in London to view St Paul’s Cathedral while sinking a sundowner: the cocktails are good and the beers are served in the Australian style, by the ‘schooner’ or two thirds of a pint. Don’t come here for a quiet tête-à-tête though – people book their drinking spots weeks in advance.
The delightfully designed Happenstance is one of St Paul’s most striking hotspots, a visual treat for anyone who likes their surroundings to be well thought-through. From a sophisticated cocktail at the mixology table to a bouquet created by the in-house florist, there are plenty of reasons to find a place in this excellent example of London chic.
Despite the name, this has always been a pub, and one which has embraced quirkiness in all its forms. The name derives from a 1997 Merchant Ivory movie that used the pub as a bookshop, and there are some delectable visual amuses bouches for patrons, including the reserved signs made from Scrabble letters and Star Wars references behind the bar, not to mention the great selection of beers.
Corney and Barrow Paternoster Square
The City bar chain has its high and low spots, but the Paternoster Square incarnation is one of the better versions. Come here for intimate booths and comfortable leather chairs, or venture al fresco to enjoy views of the cathedral from the tables on the square itself.
Paternoster Chop House
This is the place to come for classic British cuisine, with an emphasis on meat – the ‘Chop’ is not just for show and the menu includes black pudding as well as a section devoted to pies. The terrace is perfect for a view of the cathedral, and all it’s just a few minutes’ walk from LEO’s famous serviced offices in Octagon Point.
Bread Street Kitchen
Gordon Ramsay’s St Paul’s restaurant is as stylish as you would expect with its industrial style brasserie setting. The enormous venue is open plan all the way, with an open kitchen and full-length windows with the cathedral steps just outside. If you fancy cocktails with elegance and kick, Bread Street Kitchen is the place to come.
Fans of Jamie Oliver will enjoy his steakhouse and US-style barbeque eaterie overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral. The low-backed booths and broad tables make this ideal for groups who fancy a whisky or a whiskey: you’ll find rye and wheat bourbons, Scotch and Irish, as well as international blends and single malts. Barbecoa also carries an ever-changing range of hard-to-find craft beers from the US and beyond.
If you have the inclination to sample a variety of champagnes, then look no further than Searcys 1847. With 32 vintages available, there is no shortage of choice, whether you’re looking for a glass, a bottle or a magnum. Nebuchadnezzars are also available, all 15 litres of them, although you’ll have to pre-order.
These are some of the best bars and restaurants in St Paul’s for a relaxing drink after work, but if you’re scratching your head for ideas about entertaining clients close by your service office, then take a look at our guide to the Best places to entertain clients in Mayfair.