Reviewed by Darryl Ryznar
Archer Street can easily be described as an ‘experiential cocktail bar’. With a couple of outlets, the Soho branch is located in Soho (obviously), in the heart of the West End tucked away on its namesake street in amongst the theatres, close to underground stations, bus stops and the tourist haven that is Shaftesbury Avenue.
From the outside, the grey façade gave nothing away of what the night would entail, aside from a small queue of about 9 people deep, it looked like any central London bar – as they say though, you should never judge a book by its cover. As we joined the queue, we became aware of the thudding bass and voices of the venues’ revellers. When we reached the front of the queue, we were enthusiastically greeted by Jamie, whom I can assume was a manager / higher up. He directed us to take our jackets upstairs to the complimentary cloakroom (nice touch!) and then guided us through the throngs of people to our table, which was in front of the DJ booth.
The room was cosy and noisy – sofas and soft furnishings gave the bar a feel of a living room, but the loud music, low lighting and bustling crowd also made it feel a million miles away from the comfort of a living room! The clientele was mostly late 20s and upwards, dressed to the nines and all ready for a good time – there were people already dancing on the tables, bearing in mind it was only 8pm, but never fear, as this is encouraged by Archer Street (although, you’re not allowed to dance with any glassware in your hands).
We absorbed the atmosphere in Archer Street, relaxing into our bar stool chairs, and then made for the drinks menu. It was actually quite difficult to pick from the vast menu, however we eventually settled on a Minogue (Patron Silver Tequila mixed with watermelon, Lanique Rose, grenadine and chilli bitters, topped with a little cloud of candy floss) and a Twain (Nori infused Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice and soda, garnished with Samphire). Our waitress took our order quickly and then, as the opening notes of Abba’s classic Dancing Queen played, she was suddenly up on the table next to us, singing along!
This isn’t uncommon in Archer Street and in fact, is one of its key elements – the staff are all from West End shows, song / dance academies and professional theatres, and boy can they put on a show! The DJ and staff lined up party classics and west end favourites for the entire night – the River Deep, Mountain High duet between the two waitresses was a particular highlight (shout out to Hannah’s amazing voice!).
We spent the evening watching the crowd and the entertainment, with various cocktails, and a lovely mixed charcuterie and cheese platter – admittedly I don’t think you would go there for dinner, per se, but a nibble while you enjoy the entertainment definitely goes down a treat.
Overall, we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening – the entertaining staff, the classic tunes and the delicious cocktails made for a fun evening. It was a little on the pricey side, however as you’re paying for both the entertainment and the alcohol, it’s pretty much worth it. An ideal location for after work drinks, a birthday celebration or if you’re in central London looking for a fun drink and some dancing before 9pm.
For more information, to view menus or to male a booking visit archerstreet.co.uk.
Archer Street Soho, 3-4 Archer Street, South Soho, W1D 7AP | 020 7734 3342