Beneath the Old Vic theatre, this cafe and coffee shop becomes a wine and craft-beer spot by night.
Penny Bar Picture Gallery
All In London Review
The Penny Bar has swapped the low lit lounge style for craft beer, toasties and Macbooks
White washed walls, a plywood bar front and some well-appointed down lighting strips the space back to the verge of dull but does just enough to keep on the right side of minimalist style. Some mourn the loss of the old place but times change and the new canteen café/bar does a good job of opening itself up to a wider demographic. Coffee, cake and pastries are served in the daytime and for something heavier to snack on we can recommend the mushroom and melted cheese toastie for a pre-show evening meal.
Naturally, the place appeals to a laptop wielding, horn-rimmed glasses wearing crowd who feel at home in a theatre bar even when not in the process of watching theatre, which seems like the Penny Bar’s whole raison d’etre. We drink Sierra Nevada from the bottle – because it’s that kind of place – and sample the Freedom Organic Helles. The higher quality beverage is a reminder that change is good, offering a slight softening of the blow that Penny has undoubtedly lost a bit of its soul. Move with the times and you’ll find something to like in the Old Vic’s basement bar, yearn for the past and be glad you still have the option of some of Soho’s chintzy subterranean artist’s bars.
Reviewed by T.A.O
Published on Nov 15, 2016