Chalton Street’s historic boozer with the slightly confusing name (harking back to when it was the only place for a coffee in the area, and largely frequented by foreigners) has a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Did you know, for instance, that if you push back one particular bookshelf near the back of the bar, it will reveal a hidden staircase? Follow the steps up into a series of four rooms and the urban pub suddenly feels like a country house, many miles away from the hubbub of Euston and King’s Cross down below.
The secret warren of rooms, known as ‘Ssshh’, are used for meetings, special events, dinners and occasional supper clubs. We think the best space is the ‘Kitchen’ – with its big table and farmhouse decor – having enjoyed a Farmed & Foraged event there, back when owners the Yummy Pubs first took over, hosted by James Fraser of the group’s rural sister pub in Kent, The Grove Ferry.
Meanwhile, if you choose instead to head down into the pub’s basement, low key ‘speakeasy’ The Cost Kettle has been serving up strong libations set amongst a mish-mash of eclectic styles, colours and textures, from glass cabinets to reclaimed chairs. “Unlike some speakeasies it’s not too dark,” owner Anthony told us when they launched, “the idea is for it to be a civilised spot to enjoy a fine cocktail – rather than get drunk.”
The drinks menu boasts the usual range of nonthreatening options, from French Martinis to Mojitos; prices hover upwards of £8. Plus it’s open pretty late – around 2am as long as it’s busy enough.
And finally, if you haven’t actually been to the upstairs pub, that’s worth a snoop too. Spacious, with a buzzy post-work front terrace and a cute courtyard garden out back, It can get packed with suits and meeja types, particularly as the weekend approaches. Food is a large selection of ‘British Tapas’, so think bite-sized sharing plates of whitebait, pigs in blankets or black pudding scotch eggs.
“There are three unique areas to the pub all under one roof, and each one completely different to the other,” says Anthony. A genuinely different kind of boozer, in a great location under the trees in front of the regular market along Chalton Street.