Where: Match Bar, Margaret Street How much: Small plates for around a fiver each, platters for £14
Come here if: you want to date or meet like it's 2001
One of the original London style bars. Tricked out like a Manhattan cocktail lounge with lowslung seating, exposed brick and tile walls, lighting turned low. Recent renovations have seen the intallation of comfortable booths on the lower level as well as a revamp of the menu, now matching City sister Giant Robot, though if you've been there in the last five years, I'd be surprised if you could tell the difference.
The cocktail menu is a strong feature. Pages of classics vie with house specials behind the well stocked bar. As many purveyors of high strength liquids they fair less well with the grape and grain, beer limited to a measly selection of three bottles (one of them a weissbier) and wine proffered without comment by grape variety. Whiskey and Amaretto Sours go down well (the latter definitely not my choice) and the dirty martini, a good test of any bar, is competent, though I'm not offered a choice of preferred brand.
Foodwise, they go with small plates. It's beer fodder at best, hearty, stodgy and male (even more surprising given the office girl and post shop clientele. I'd have thought they'd be crying out for something small, wholesome and Asian, rather than cannonball-esque mini burgers, heavy (though tasty) deep fried rice and mozzarella balls and sharing platters of charcuterie. Don't get me wrong, it's well enough done, though more suitable for soaking up pints than the cocktails more regularly quaffed. Slightly bland crostini and an odd, almost chemical guacamole are best avoided.