REVIEW: Steam & Rye, City
We’d been meaning to get to Kelly Brook’s Americana-themed drinking den for a while, but being ‘meedyah’ types, we’re ensconced in central and north London 9-5 (and a little wary of the City, in all honesty).
A trip to that part of London means heading to meet friends who work in the surrounding firms, who’ve been at Happy Hour since 5 (and thus usually starts at a nondescript bar with someone crying into a pint of Pinot Grigio, while the rest of the group bumps and grinds with a gang of suited bankers), then running off to Shoreditch in search of beardy boys.
Steam & Rye threw us off course – immediately different to past experiences, we knew we’d be staying all night. Beautiful (if a little icy) girls in glitzy flapper dresses greet you at the door then show you through to the bar (where ladies can enjoy 50% of all drinks every Wednesday if they’re ordering food) or dinner tables in the main room. High ceilings and neo-Gothic pillars create a lofty, grand feel – the former Bank of New York building was refurbished in 2013 to mimic palatial Grand Central station in New York (albeit with a bucking bronco and scantily-clad dancers).
Most tables and booths enjoy a good view of the small corner stage, where live music begins around 9pm (you can forget conversation over dinner – just stuff your face unashamedly as you bop to 90s covers). If you want a quieter experience (to start with, at least) you can book out a table or area in one of the smaller surrounding rooms.
The food menu is meat-focused, all-American options including doorstop-thick steaks, fresh Canadian lobsters, smoked BBQ ribs and deep-fried everything – all delicious, and well above the standard of bar food we’ve become used to alongside Happy Hour cocktails.
Oh, and about those – they’re brilliant, ridiculous, towering things – think entire Fab lollipops, gummy sweets and toasted marshmallows wedged into piles of whipped cream. They’re served up in everything from tin cans to fire buckets to huge shark and dinosaur heads, their mouths filled with straws for everyone to have a sip (these are served up to massive fanfare, dressed up waitresses waving around sparklers as the music cuts out to signal its arrival – not subtle).
Really, you can’t ask for more flair – unapologetically flashy and tons of fun, it’s the ideal venue for a night with the girls. We tried a George Washington (£12.50), with bubblegum Don Julio, Aperol, almond syrup, pineapple, cranberry and lime, served up in his very own head (you can order a Mount Rushmore for £50, all four ‘granite’ heads look awesome lined up on the bar). Other options include the Monica Lewinksy (dark chocolate sauce and Disaronno Amaretto) and ‘Maize Balls, a naughty mix of Mount Gay XO and popcorn syrup – see the full menu here.
A few of these each (Happy Hour is 4-8 on Thursdays – we recommend heading down then or things will get pricey, quickly) and there’s no need to run to Shoreditch to carry on the party – they’re open right up ’til 3am.
Address: 147 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4QT
Nearest tube: Bank