Copa de Cava, St Pauls
Laid back modern Spain meets olde world England in this city bar without too many of the city slickers. Right underneath Camino in St Paul’s, this bar proclaims itself the nation’s first cava bar.With the sun blazing on date night (blaze may be a bit strong, but you know) I did wonder whether some kind of champagne-fuelled picnic might be more in order than a cavern deep beneath the streets of Blackfriars. But with the cava (and lots of it) flowing and a chilled-out clientele Copa feels like a cool Spanish mesón with the added English accent or two. This is a place to linger. That said, its location definitely makes it a spot for after-work eating and drinking rather than a weekend detour.
You only need a reminder of this joint’s name to make your choices. It’s either cava or cava. Don’t order a bottle; for a sophisticated excuse to ramp up the drinking and to convince your date you’re the expert, order as many varieties of Copa de Cava’s huge selection of the sparkling stuff and choose a perfectly-proportioned plate to go with each. Sip on a brut with the super fresh sea bass ceviche or a rosado with juicy king prawns. If you think ordering a glass of pink is distinctly unbecoming of a gentleman, it’s safe to say Copa de Cava’s pick is definitely a different league to your Blossom Hill cherryade. Your date will be more than impressed that you’re more than just a pint of Stella kind of guy. Back to the food, a word of warning: oysters might normally be a sure-fire aphrodisiac, but you might want to think again. With their lemon foam, these sea monsters had more than a soupçon of Fairy Liquid at the bottom of your kitchen sink. Not quite so hot.
So there’s still a long way to go till Friday. But it’s been a couple of days since that oh-so-civilised Sunday evening rendezvous. You need something not too over the top. And the pub definitely won’t cut it. Stroll in and get one of the cosy little corner spots. Don’t bother with the reservation –make it seem like you’re an ocean of calm among the throng of suited and booted stress milling about the streets above. Take the orders slow, make the drinks plentiful and prop yourselves up here for the evening. It may start off seeming like a refined choice but with the amount of cava you’ll be sipping on at this place, there’s a high chance your date will be following you home. But, by the same measure, you’ll be lucky to remember where you live.
Part of the Camino chain, it may not be the coolest new bar on the block.