When a train station successfully spans the breadth of the river Thames, finding your way out of it can be a hurdle in itself. So when you do make your way out of the darkness, the last thing you need is a tough time locating a Blackfriars taxi. Addison Lee minicabs are easily pre-booked through our website or app to guarantee you the same level of service we’ve been providing Londoners for over 30 years. We pride ourselves on making sure every one of our cars and drivers adhere to the highest code of practice. Which include a non-negotiable dedication to comfort, reliability and complete safety for all our passengers. Chances are if you’ve travelled into London from anywhere as far south Brighton (or as north as Bedford) you’ll have passed through London Blackfriars expansive railway station. In 2009 the station was under pressure to ease the pressure on the Thameslink line’s ever increasing numbers of commuters. The problem was of course that this stylish corner of the City was already densely packed in between St Paul’s, Holborn and the river Thames. Their solution? A £550m expansion across the river. And in so doing becoming the only station to span the the Thames and feature exit points on both sides of the water. In fact, it’s the first bridge in London to house a building since the demolishing of London Bridge in 1831. Today the station sits proudly on Blackfriars Bridge. A modern phenomenon of glass and steel that serves the many commuters of London’s financial district and beyond. Not to mention the area itself. Step off on one side to the flourishing culture of Southwark. Including the Oxo tower, the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. On the other you’ll find the heady buzz of London’s financial district. Alive with bars and restaurants aplenty. Whichever side of the river you come up on, be sure to book an Addison Lee. And follow our Blackfriars taxi driver’s guide to the area for some hints and tips on where to eat, drink and relax in the area.
Where to drink
Blackfriars Wine Bar
You know when you spot a place – usually a restaurant or bar – and you just have to go inside. Blackfriars Wine Bar is one of those places. Built in the arches under the south side of the railway station, this unusual and quirky establishment is a firm favourite with anyone in the know. It goes without saying that that extensive wine list is of excellent quality but it’s their value for money that most happy punters are keen to write home about. Dark, moody, barely painted, it has the real feel of a typical London wine bar and if that all gets a bit much for you, you can even perch outside of you fancy.
80 Scoresby St, SE1 0XN
Another local oddity-slash-diamond in the rough is the ever popular Blackfriar. Built on the remains of a former friary (yes, that is where the area gets its name from), this place has been tastefully done up over the years to both preserve and lovingly poke fun at its ‘religious’ past. The ales are on constant rotation, as you’d expect from a place so endemically linked to the former craft of its Dominican inhabitants, and the food’s not bad either. Although it has to be said that most of its patrons come here for liquid rather than solid refreshment. All in all, tremendous fun if you’re in the area.
174 Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 4EG
If you’re not yet familiar with Ryan Chetiyawardana and his very particular brand of bars then prepare for a bit of a surprise. White Lyan (Dandelyan’s sister bar) doesn’t keep spirits. They also don’t hold mixers, straws, fruit or juices. And yet it’s still considered to be one of the most innovative and avant garde cocktail bars on the planet, serving up premixed bottles of cocktails. All made long before the bar opens. Dandelyan follow suit with an equally innovative – if a little more flashy – concept. The drinks all feature flavours you’d never even imagine, full stop. Oh and the drinks are out of this world. Seriously.
20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
Where to eat
Chinese Cricket Club
Named to commemorate the recently inaugurated Chinese national cricket team (seriously), this snappy little Chinese restaurant has been providing the City with Sichuan and Dim Sum by the plate-load since 2009. Decked out much as you’d expect for a Chinese, it’s got a touch of the fancy about it and being the sister restaurant of nearby cocktail bar Voltaire, you can also expect some interesting drinks. A monthly tea pairing menu fills the gap there. But there’s also an extensive and exciting wine list for anyone who fancies a tipple with their Dim Sum.
Crowne Plaza London, 19 New Bridge St, EC4V 6DB
Just a stone’s throw away from Blackfriars station is the always excellent Camino. Inspired by a roadtrip across Ibiza, the guys behind the scenes here created a restaurant and bar that embraces the spirit of tapas. By which we mean lots of great little dishes designed to compliment whatever great wine you happen to be drinking. Feel equally welcome to drop by for lunch or dinner. Or, if you’re not all that hungry then the bar has a terrific little happy hour on too. Head by with a big enough group and we thoroughly recommend the whole roasted suckling pig (serves 8), it’s a sensation.
33 Blackfriars Lane, EC4V 6EP
On the doorstep of St Paul’s you’ll find this delightful restaurant and bar. With a focus on using only fresh British produce, the guys behind the Happenstance claim that their food is a reflection of local trends and fashions. Meaning their food changes often and usually with no small amount of invention. They serve a breakfast menu, an all day menu and they even do a cracking Sunday Roast (which is rare for this part of town). It’s all very open plan and canteen style but not in an overly familiar way. More what you’d imagine the cafe at Google HQ to look like.
1 Ludgate Hill, EC4M 7AA
What to do
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Yes it’s touristy and yes it’s a bit of a cliché but whether or not they’ll admit it, plenty of Londoners have never even visited St Paul’s. Designed by the immortal (not literally) British architect Sir Christopher Wren, this iconic Anglican cathedral is built on Ludgate Hill. Which is actually one of the highest points in central London. The cathedral famously survived the Blitz during WWII, which given that it’s been around since 1763, was quite the relief. Visit solo or take the tour guide, it doesn’t matter which. Only the most cold hearted of souls could fail to be impressed by this incredible London landmark.
St. Paul's Churchyard, EC4M 8AD
Oxo Tower Wharf
As one of the most identifiable landmarks on the Thames skyline, the Oxo tower was always assured a place in London history. But did you know it was also designed as a crafty way to circumvent advertising laws? Today the Oxo Tower Wharf is a design space, used to house studios, cafes, exhibitions, galleries and shops. With everything from jewellery, clothing and homeware available for purchase throughout its extensive arcades. There’s also a great bar and restaurant which peers over the river Thames. Check the website to see what’s on.
Bargehouse Street, SE1 9PH
Skittle a little further along the Southbank and you’ll quickly run into the Tate Modern. Built in the former Bankside Power Station, it strikes just as an iconic chord with the Thames skyline as its neighbour. As one of the world’s largest exhibitions of modern art, the Tate Modern houses artwork from some of the world’s premier artists. Each of the floors has a different theme behind it which can – and do – change from time to time, but fortunately for the most part the gallery is completely free so you can come back whenever you like. Fancy a trip to visit the Tate Britain? Just grab the Tate to Tate Boat which runs every 40mins.
Bankside, SE1 9TG