Want to know whether a bar, restaurant or club is suitable for that girly chat or romantic meal, check our reviews below. Each review has a talk or a dance rating rating out of 5. 


Rotary Bar and Diner, Rotary Room and Village Underground - 22/02/13

70 City Road EC1Y 2BJ and  54 Holywell Ln  Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PQ

I’ve been looking forward to this evening for a while. It had the perfect combination of drinks, dining and dancing.  I wanted to enjoy/remember everything until the end so decided on taking it easy and going home after work, having some snacks before the epic night ahead.

I had booked Rotary bar and diner early that week and managed to get a table for 8 at 9.30pm. I was very excited to see the new place and try out the food at a bargain price (50% off). I am fully aware that soft openings can be risky and getting the last table on a soft opening night was probably a step too far.  We arrived early to be met by a bouncer who made it all seem bit more secretive than it needed to be as we told him we had already booked a table.  On arriving the general feeling was slightly tense verging on panic, the person I was supposed to talk to re my booking was looking close to a breakdown. So we left it and ordered a cocktail at the bar. No queuing for drinks and the 2 bartenders seemed to be coping very well. We all ordered one of the £10 (pint of) cocktails, mine was a mojito and was delicious and wasn’t overloaded with ice.  Some complaints in the group that the choice of container (a sliver cup) was not that appropriate given the freezing temperature and the length of drink, but I think that was nit picking.  The noise level was perfect for me as it had some music for atmosphere but 6 of us could easily stand around the bar chatting.

Only a chip photo too hungry to take a burger photoAfter a few conversations and some worrying looks, I was reassured we would get seated and get some food. We decided to seat ourselves down as the waitresses were running all over the place. Unusually we were all pretty chilled we knew it was a test run and made sure we hadn’t come starving. By the time we ordered there was not too much on the menu left, but I got what I wanted a burger and chips. After hearing complaints of an hour and a half wait for food we were expecting the worst, but actually got our food in 10 minutes. The burgers were very tasty and everyone agreed the chips were divine.  Obviously the experience wasn’t a true reflection of what it will be like once open, but considering they did 250 covers when they expecting 100 (as seen on their twitter) they coped very well. Once the service matches the food it will be a great stop off before or after the partying round old street.

Talk Rating: 4/5

The Rotary Bar & Diner on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Rotary Room (pictures to be added soon)

Once we had eaten the place was pretty quiet and at 11, they asked us to move downstairs to the members bar.  It is slightly hidden away and so as not to ruin it for us members I  won’t divulge exactly how you get in. I am a member so was excited to see this new addition to the Rushmore group. My husband described the décor as Cheers, which I think is very harsh. I liked the mirrors, wood and vintage styling. It was much bigger than expected too. I was drinking wine so will comment at a later date on the cocktails. I think it is a great addition to the Rushmore group and will be able to give a better review when I return somewhat more sober.

Talk Rating: 4/5


Village Underground

Once suitably oiled at about 12.30, we decided the queues (we’d been warned)  might have gone down at Village underground . We got there just before 1 and the queues were round the block, I had thought this may happen as they were asking for your payment card and ID with your ticket, which is not very practical to get a 1,000 people in.  We luckily didn’t queue as on the guest list. The venue is great once you get in, no long queues to the bar and not too packed (not sure if that was because everyone was outside), the high vaulted ceilings felt more spacious that clubs under arches usually are.  I didn’t venture to the toilets, but from what I heard this could do with sprucing up. Sound system was good and plenty loud enough to dance but not ear bleeding. Recommend venue if they sort out the queues.

Dance rating: 4/5


Barbados – January 2013

I’ve been away in Barbados so a quick post on some restaurants I went to, no talk ratings as nearly all these places were outside without music. However if you are going anytime soon, this list gives many varied places to go to for all budgets.

Brady’s bar in Six Men’s Bay – Located in the north west of the island. Braddy's is an unassuming beachside bar where the locals drink beer and play dominoes. It is a bit too rustic for some tastes, but does cheap tasty food (only at the weekends as it is a Fish Fry) in true authentic Bajan style.

Brady's Bar in Moontown

Roundhouse in Bathseba – good but standard fare, you come for the amazing views and rum punch.  Need to book on Sundays if you want an outside table.

Best things about the round house the view and the rum

Mertons in Moonbay then St Elmo’s  - Located in the north west of the island slightly less ramshackle then Brady’s, has waitress service. Still cheap though open most nights I think, but definitely during the fish fry. Opposite is a shop, bakery and bar all in one they do Karaoke some nights. Otherwise lots of men watch the latest cricket/football game there.

Sand Dune restaurant on East Coast Road – a low cost good stop off if travelling along the west coast. They offer a range of sandwiches, fish and stews. Not the quickest service but reasonably priced and a real taste of Bajan home cooking.

Fish pot in Good little harbour – Just after six men’s bay and before moon town on the north east side. Amazing food and fish on the expensive side, but worth it for the views and the service is also good. For a dramatic entrance come by boat and park outside.

Courtesy of the Fish Pot
Ragamuffins,  Holetown – the area has some nice restaurants, but you need to pay a bit more to get anything haute cuisine, the middle of the road places are very average. We had a curry and it was perfectly serviceable but at a steep £17 it was pricey for what it was.
Lexy’s piano bar – a cringe worthy bar if you want some night life in the week.

Cutters, Crane beach Deli shop on the side of the road, close to the lovely beaches of foul bay, bottom bay and crane beach all lovely. They do a selection of salads and sandwiches as well as daily specials. The deli deliver to the beach if you call ahead and they do a cracking rum punch.

Fishermans PubAtlantis, Bathesba – sister restaurant to the fish pot.  Quality food with amazing views of the rugged East coast. Can get very busy would recommend you book if you want a prime spot on the sea front.

Fishermans pub, Speightstown. A low key pub with an amazing views serves a selection of food (canteen style) open 6 days a week. Cheap and tasty.

Mullins beach restaurant on Mullins beach.  A lovely restaurant casual in the day but very smart at night with more sophisticated food. Great views across the sea too.

Tiki Bar, Holetown.  A paired down version of Mahiki, with treasure chests and more bamboo matting then you shake a stick. Fun place but watch the rum place, I think they do it in litres. Tiki bar light and Rum Punch tankard


Brunch at Caravan - 19/01/13

Caravan, Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QD

Outside Caravan in the snow

I have tried a couple of times to have brunch here, but their no reservations policy is contrary to my sleeping as much as possible policy, each time I have got there and the queue has come out of the door and have given up.  So when a friend suggested brunch last Sunday I thought the snow may have put people off.  I arrived at 10.45 and as my friend wasn’t there I was told I couldn’t sit down and would need to sit at a high table at the bar, which was more than adequate.    Within the 5 minutes that it took for my friend to arrive the place has filled and my table was looking pretty good.  A slight irritant were the amount of people saying that their party was all there which they weren’t, but still being seated.  They say on the website they don’t do this or maybe this is hard to police, any how we were fine.

Takeaway coffee menuThe atmosphere is quite frenetic as it got busier, a lot of people had decided to meet at 11, as by 11:30 most people had been seated and things had calmed down.  My decaff coffee was good, usually a sign of a good coffee house is the decaff; do they get it out of a packet or grind it there. The food came promptly and looked delicious I had order scrambled eggs on rye with smoked salmon. The scrambled eggs were incredibly flavoursome, when I make them at home they can often lack a bit of flavour; I think these had a bit of cream and chives added in. They had also caught the perfect moisture balance, no one wants over cooked dry scrambled eggs, but I have had terribly undercooked ones at the Ritz , which were inedible. Finally  they were piping hot which can be difficult with the freezing conditions. All in all a great dish finished with a side of tomatoes. My friend had the ham hock hash with poached eggs and hollandaise. A fattier option, but a very tasty one.  The only slight black mark on the place was that we asked for a bloody mary, a stable in brunch land and were told they could only do virgin ones until 12.00 – tres disappointing.

I would be back for brunch every week if it weren’t for the queues, instead may try dinner when I can book.

Talk rating: 4/5 (could be difficult if situated at the bar next to the coffee machine)

Caravan Exmouth Market on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Hawksmoor Air Street - 5a Air Street, London, W1J 0AD


5a Air Street, London, W1J 0AD

I am a fan of Hawksmoor and I needed to be to bear the rain and sale shoppers that occupied Regent Street the week after Xmas. It was crazy with tourists and I stupidly thought that it was equidistant to Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus – it isn’t.  I should know this, I have been to two previous restaurants that resided here neither particularly memorable.  The lobby was the perfect antidote to the craziness outside, our coats were taken and we were directed to the bar to meet the rest of the party. Although I didn’t stay in the bar I was really impressed by the size and style of it, unlike Spitalfields bar there was plenty of space to stand which is preferable when meeting up with a group .  I am rarely in the area, but if stuck in sale hell again will pop in for a restorative cocktail.

We were seated at large crescent booth which fitted our group of 7 and baby very comfortably. The restaurant was very quiet which I was slightly surprised about given the craziness outside. The diners had been strategically split into those with kids and those without.  Even though there were a number of children dotted about the tables were well spaced out and it was not noticeable.  If only other restaurants would use the same common sense. There has been so much written about the food that there seems little point going into too much detail. The standard was up there with the other establishments, the new fish dishes are a great addition for those not that mad about steak.  My only slightly negative was that when we ordered the rib eye they suggested we go medium rare instead of rare. My husband stuck to his rare and I wish I had, it just isn’t as tender and am not sure that it has the extra flavour that they were purporting.  Also a special mention must go to the new Rolo dessert. 3 homemade rolo’s thrice the size of a packet one.  They were delicious, relatively cheap and perfectly sized for those not wanting a massive dessert.

Bit of rubbish picture of the Ribeye

After great service that we made of point of mentioning, we got a panicked maitre d finding running down the stairs saying we had underpaid by over £100 after some receipt checking it was resolved (there cock up, very apologetic),  slightly embarassing but not enough to take the edge of the lunch.

Air Street has a relaxed atmosphere with glam surroundings and great acoustics; we could easily talk across the table for 8, even with some chattering kids present. The noise level probably rises in the evenings, but the signs were good. Just seen they have launched a bar menu there too, will definitely try.

Talk Rating: 5/5 (probably less in the evening)


Is Sunday the new Saturday?

Thursday has been the new Friday for ages,  I’m now floating the idea that Sunday is the new Saturday.  I have had some great enjoyable Sunday evenings,  this is why I think Sunday should be your favourite night out:

- It is perfectly acceptable to get on the hard liquor early, usually in the guise of a healthy looking bloody Mary

- It is that much quieter everywhere, no long queues at the bar or stalking for tables– which means going to multiple places and trying trendy places you can’t usual get into is easier.

- It feels like a bonus day out, by making the most of Sunday it lengthens the weekend. Much better than giving in to that sinking feeling that the weekend is over with Antiques Roadshow watching.

- Unlike a Saturday you don’t have to invite the world, no one is offended if you have an amazing Sunday and they weren’t invited.

- You can go out and avoid the out of towners and Stag/ Hen parties

- Don’t need to get buy a new outfit, don the heels, lashes and makeup.

- You can have your hangover in worktime ;)

Below are few recent Sundays with their reviews. Any great Sunday suggestions please let me know….

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