31 Below, Marylebone
You can keep Oxford, Bond and Kensington - it's Marylebone High Street and its new watering hole, 31 Below, all the way for me!
You can keep your Oxford, Bond and Kensington High Streets – it’s Marylebone High Street all the way for me! There’s Anthropologie, Matches, Conran Shop and Peter Gordon’s The Providores for starters. Or maybe you’re in the mood for Skandium and Margaret Howell. Or if your budget is feeling a bit more high street than haute couture, you can still fill your boots with The White Company, Oliver Bonas and Space NK.
Whichever way you feel like playing it, I’ve found your watering spot. 31 Below, I’m all yours.
It describes itself as a neighourhood cafe and basement bar, but it’s the slickest, prettiest cafe I’ve seen! Neon signs, giant chandeliers, a sweeping bar upstairs and plenty of seating puts in casual restaurant territory though of course if you’re after a flat white and a platoon of pastries you can order that too. The top floor is fairly narrow and deep, whereas the basement zone has a more spacious, slightly industrial feel, with sofas to the right and barstool seating.
31 Below is part of the Coppa Club group which knows a thing or two about design – think those cool see through dining pods by Tower Bridge and the Grade II listed Great House in Sonning Common, Berkshire.
Buzzy but grown up – it was totally packed all day from 12pm so it’s not the sort of place you’ll be taking your hyperactive toddler. It’s the sort of place I’d book in for a long lunch with a girlfriend – to me the upper floor in particular feels bright and feminine. In the evening I’d imagine a more hip vibe, especially downstairs where the music cranks up.
SCOFF & QUAFF
No quaffing as it was a work do (does the G&T at the end count?) but the food was actually fantastic. Look at my salad! The menu is very picky and brunchy – sharing platters, loads of salads that you can mix and match with proteins (salmon, halloumi, chicken) for an extra fiver; and then there are the burgers, flat fry steaks and those easy-please staples. Come 6pm 31 Below becomes more bar oriented, and has the cocktail list to prove it with intoxicating names like Persephone’s Sour (BIRDS spirit, pomegranate, lemon, sugar, egg white, violet droplets) and Plum Manhattan (Bulleit Rye, plum liqueur, Belsazar Red Vermouth, plum bitters and Ardbeg Mist).
OUT AND ABOUT
Well, it’s central London innit. You can while away a whole day just on Marylebone High Street itself, but of course you’re also close to London Zoo, Regent’s Park, King’s Cross and all those cool new shops in Coal Drops Yard, Selfridges and all the W1 charms are literally a 5 minute cab ride.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Having a breakfast, brunch or lunch with your bezzies. Sitting out in the pavement seating feeling hip and vibrant. Doing the day to night thing – the bar cranks up in earnest at 6pm and closes at 11pm on Saturdays so you can be home with a cup of tea by midnight (come on, it can’t just be me who sees this as a benefit!). You can’t fault its position on the High Street. Anthropologie next door? I’ll take that.
Not for: Young children will love the spiral staircase downstairs and parents will spend their whole time trying to stop them from slipping through the slats. Keep this place for the grown-ups.
£££: Excellent value I think. My salad was £14 and delicious. Cocktails are £9.95 in the main which is incredibly good value for London.
31 Below, 31 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 4PP