LOUNGE BOHEMIA: LONDON'S BEST KEPT BAR SECRET?
Lounge Bohemia is a buried treasure.
The discreet entrance at No1 Great Eastern St, decorated with newspapers from the three years of Czech revolution, leads down two flights of stairs to one of London’s least known but most stylish bars.
Although recently voted by CLASS magazine as one of the 50 best bars in the world, it remains a secret well kept by those in the know, not wanting to let their little hidey-hole become too popular. I only found out about it after being taken there by Nick Strangeway on Thursday (sorry for letting the cat out of the bag, Nick) and, after a welcome pint at The Wenlock, headed off to try it out again with HP in tow.
Czech owner and self-trained mixologist, Paul Tvaroh opened Lounge Bohemia in November 2007 after a number of years working at The Prague Bar on Shoreditch High St. He enforces a strict “no suits, no standing policy” which ensures a bar with a laid back atmosphere rather than a delivery system for booze for those on the lash.
The room is small, but comfortable with high design furnishings from the 60’s and 70’s and the excellent cocktails are served in beautiful stemware, which Paul has collected over the years. The menus are hidden inside hardcover editions of Czech classics.
The back bar is impressive and again, Paul does things differently, eschewing the normal horizontal selection of a wide spread of different brands instead choosing one brand for each spirit (Courvoisier, Stoli etc) and offering them from entry to elite levels. The Bar offers the widest range of Czech beers in town and Paul also has his own unique range of infused vodka, including a remarkable Digestive biscuit creation, which, he told me, Simon Difford has called one of the best he’s ever tasted.
Food is limited to canapés which serve only to take the edge of the alcohol, but like everything else in the bar they are well made and thoughtfully presented making this the perfect place to bookend a meal elsewhere, particularly as the service is equally thoughtful.
In an age of identikit bars and restaurants, places like Lounge Bohemia deserve to flourish and I hope at least some people reading this give it a try. As long as you tell them you read about it here, so DH can still get a table.