Russell Norman’s first gastropub Polpo at Ape & Bird is pretty spectacular in its scope, combining a restaurant, back bar and dive bar down below.
In the bottom bar, Norman’s obsession with Italy still shines through in classic Aperol Spritz and Americano cocktails, while more inventive drinks include a delicious Cynar Gin Fizz – the artichoke liqueur gives this Prosecco-topped cocktail an enjoyable bitter edge. On tap in the pub is Camden Hells lager, but perhaps wine is a better match for the likes of Cumberland sausage and mash and an ever-popular pie of the day.
Positioned in the heart of theatreland, you’ll find a steady flow of tourists, as well as followers of Russell Norman’s London foodie efforts – don’t be surprised to see the man himself delivering orders to tables. As ever, expect buttoned-leather banquettes, art deco ceiling tiles and Venetian chandeliers.
Best Bars tip: Take a seat at the bar, a prime position for insider menu tips from super-friendly bar staff.
— Laura Richards, @Lala_Richards