The Refinery, Regent’s Place (nearest tube Warren Street)
City boys and girls have become quite familiar with the Drake & Morgan group’s work thanks in no small part to the enduring success of bar-restaurants like The Anthologist and The Folly. The group has built its reputation on offering bustling but good-looking and casual venues to have a drink and a bite after work. Now the workers of Regent’s Place, a redevelopment straddling Great Portland Street, Warwick Street and Euston, can enjoy a pleasant after work alternative to uninspiring chains like All Bar One and Corney & Barrow by dropping into the group’s latest offering – The Refinery.
The venue sticks to the D&M group’s classic formula of extravagant light fittings, dimmed for effect with a large bar area packed with groups of colleagues and couples and a smaller restaurant section with candlelit tables and a large open kitchen – prime midweek after work date territory. There is a smaller, quieter bar at the back of the restaurant if you feel like getting slightly more intimate.
It’s midweek and you’ve had a tough day at work. Ask for the extensive and surprisingly good quality wine list and pick a decent bottle of red to get you started. Order a small plate (the flat breads are excellent) to share if you’re peckish and if you’re both keen to continue with proceedings after that, it might be time to look at the cocktail menu and order something slightly more substantial to eat. The Refinery does casual dining well – don’t expect anything gourmet, but do expect decent quality burgers, steaks and sandwiches. The portions are healthy and will help to soak up that midweek Malbec.
Let’s be honest, like its sister bar-restaurants, the Refinery is no place for romance. It’s hump day and you’ve decided to swerve the Champions League match on TV because the girl you matched with on that new dating app (you know, the one that’s way cooler than Tinder, Happn and Badoo) has agreed to meet you for an after work drink. You’re not convinced but you’re willing to give it a go – a casual half bottle of red on a Wednesday can’t hurt, can it? Meet at the bar straight after work and grab a seat in the busier bar area. Order that bottle of red and if it’s going well, suggest that you look at the food menu to prolong the evening and absorb the booze. You don’t want to be too hungover for your busy Thursday at work.
It is most definitely a post-work haunt and romance is will be at a premium. The food is unlikely to impress your date if she spends her weekends hanging out at Broadway Market.
1. Midweek is not an easy sell but if you decide to meet on a Thursday (normally The Refinery’s busiest night) and make it on to the second bottle and/or the cocktail menu then you can never say never.