Being this central in London can cost you. But if there’s one place we don’t think it should break the bank it’s on the price of a Fitzrovia taxi. Plenty of Fitzrovia taxi drivers will charge you extra just for the privilege of being ‘so central’, and if they’re busy, they’ll gladly stick a ‘surge charge’ onto your fare as well. At Addison Lee we’re different. We don’t believe in charging our customers more, ever. And on top of that we’re 30% cheaper than a black cab. So follow this, our Fitzrovia guide to the best bars, brasseries, bistros and BT towers in the area, and we can guarantee you’ll have a great time without necessarily spending all your hard earned pennies. Split across the boroughs of Camden and Westminster, Fitzrovia was always going to be a desirable area. But just what is it that makes it so special? Is it the lively shops of Tottenham Court Road, the quaint bars and restaurants of Charlotte St, or just its proximity to Soho and the West End? Of course, in London – as in anywhere – location is key and when you consider that this part of town includes five major tube stations in its relatively modest catchment area, you begin to get an idea of how well connected it really is. In spite of its location, traffic, business and desirability, we still always like to think of Fitzrovia as Soho’s quieter, more civilised neighbour. A place with just as much about it, but with less of the frightful hubbub. It counts literary giants like George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf amongst its former residents (they actually lived in the same house, but at different times). And the worldwide sensation that is Coldplay allegedly met one another on the campus of University College London. Step into the shoes of our Fitzrovia taxi drivers and follow in the footsteps of the city’s glammest and glitziest as you explore WC1 as it’s meant to be seen. All you’ll need now is an Addison Lee.
Where to drink
Reverend JW Simpson
Everything about the good Reverend’s place is like a dream from an age gone by. From the moment you walk down and into its scruffy belly, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported into something from 1920s Paris. Everything in here from the shabby but delicate glassware to the peeling wallpaper has been carefully engineered to elicit emotions of fond nostalgia from its customers. The drinks – we are here to tell you – are out of this world. And what makes it even better is that every time we come back, the menu seems to have shifted. It may only be a stone’s throw from busy Tottenham Court Rd but you’ll never feel like it.
32 Goodge St, W1T 2QJ
London Cocktail Club
The LCC have enjoyed such rapid and rising success since their inception in 2008 that it’s no real wonder there are now some six venues (at the time of writing) in London alone. Set up by maverick mixologist JJ Goodman at the tender age of 24, these bars combine a love of all things good and boozy with a wholehearted commitment to throwing the best possible party. The barstaff have all been hired to reflect those particular traits, and are just as glad to make you a martini as they are to sling shots along the bar with punchy gusto. They also have a happy hour every weeknight that’s worth the money alone.
61 Goodge St, W1T 1TL
Lodged on the corner of alway animated Charlotte St is the ever popular Draft House. It may be small inside but like most places in Fitzrovia, its clientele tend to spill out onto the pavement come 5pm every evening. The motif is simple, they serve excellent beer (and the occasional burger to soak it up with). The Draft House is the kind of place where you won’t have heard of any of the beers they’re serving but with a little help from their friendly bar staff, you’ll soon be face deep in an explosion of hops and flavour. Don’t hold back is our advice. These guys take the production, service and even proper storage of their ales so seriously you almost certainly can’t go wrong.
43 Goodge St, W1T 1TA
Where to eat
Charlotte Street is alive with places to eat. In fact, walk up it once and you’ll probably feel a little overwhelmed, not knowing which of the terraced eateries you want to throw your money at first. This, of course is usually no bad thing. But it can lead you to jumping the gun. We advise you stop, take a deep breath and seek out Barnyard. Set up by the guys behind Michelin-starred Dabbous, Barnyard is light on attitude, heavy on flavour. The restaurant’s small but charming, with a rusty iron and stained oak aesthetic. They generally serve small sharer plates that combine to create a terrific meal. And their drinks menu is equally epic. Boasting the best (only?) Shandy menu you’ll find in London.
18 Charlotte St, W1T 2LY
Mac & Wild
When it opened in 2015, Mac and Wild sort of went under the radar for a little while. It was only after a few glowing write ups that people really started to take notice of this classy Fitzrovia steak house. With a strong emphasis on everything Scottish, Mac & Wild serve up beef and venison sourced exclusively from their farms north of the wall. The restaurant itself is snug but sophisticated with low lighting and carved wooden tables. While the menu is kept as simple as possible, paying due diligence to the meat and the meat only. They also have an incredible scotch whisky selection for afters. Watch out for the giant stag outside.
65 Great Titchfield St, W1W 7PS
Since it opened in 2012 it has been famously difficult to get a table at chef Ollie Dabbous’ eponymous Fitzrovia restaurant. But now things have quietened down (a bit), it’s well worth a stab at getting a table. If the entrance and decor are a little over-refined and stale, the food is anything but. A wild tapestry of colour, aromas and exhilarating flavours arrive on your plate course after course, especially if you go for the tasting menu. And there’s clearly a reason this place picked up its well deserved Michelin star a couple of years back. For those in need of a drink before or after their meal, there’s a fantastic basement bar which serves cocktails of a similar quality.
39 Whitfield St, London WIT 2SF
What to do
People have a love/hate relationship with shopping in central London. For some it’s a pilgrimage, performed clinically; visiting each shop on their personal radar one by one like a trained assassin. For others it’s a smash and grab job, carried out with all the random accuracy of a bludgeoning troll. However you choose to do it, there’s no denying the hotbed of retail opportunity in Fitzrovia. Tottenham Court Road is alive with shops both well known and boutique and if you can carefully navigate the hordes (we use the back streets) you’re bound to find everything you’re looking for.
Grant Museum of Zoology
Smuggled away inside the University College of London is The Grant Museum of Zoology. Originally a teaching collection, the museum was founded in 1828. Since then it’s grown into a collection of some 68,000 specimens of some of the world’s rarest creatures. Including some which are now extinct (The famous Dodo for instance). The museum appeals to the inner Indiana Jones in all of us by being as creepy, dark and shadowy as a scene from one of his films, and it’s hard not to get consumed by the spooky atmosphere of it all. A great afternoon out with the kids or without.
21 University St, WC1E 6DE
Technically on Oxford Street so we’re slightly cheating here, you’ll find the famous Jazz venue the 100 Club. Open since 1942, it has endured and hurdled all kinds of problems and reasons for it to shut down over the years. And yet it endures. Today it plays pretty much every kind of music and even hosts legendary comedy nights through the week as well. The 100 has staged some of the biggest names in music over the past eighty or so years, and continues to offer a great outlet for creative types of all kinds. Come to say you did, stay because it’s awesome.
100 Oxford St, W1D 1LL