I love the Waterloo area, and in particular The Cut. You get a real mix of people here in the evenings, from the after-workers, the locals, the guests at the numerous hotels in the area, to the pre and post-theatre crowd. Having worked in the area for some time, I’ve personally road-tested anywhere that’s worth going to in Waterloo – and some places that aren’t! My difficulty for this article was getting down to only five as there are so many good places – so I cheated – a bit!
The Bars of Isabella Street
Here’s where I stretched the numbers – this is more of an urban oasis than a street, located at the back of Southwark Station, where three bars have created a beautiful mini-jungle next to the railway arches. The three – Thai Silk, Jack’s Bar and Ev – all have different themes (Thai, American and Turkish/Mediterranean) but all have a vibrant atmosphere where you can dine, as well as drink, at reasonable prices.
The Windmill – The Cut
My favourite pub in the area is the best place to watch sport, with plenty of big screens for uninterrupted viewing of Premier League, Six Nations and so on (best to reserve a table as it packs out). Its USP is the brilliant Thai food which you can order at your table.
The Young Vic – The Cut
Surprisingly good restaurant and bar which always has a good ambience due to the theatre-going crowd, you can watch the world go by from the sunny upstairs terrace.
Cubana – Lower Marsh
If you’ve had a bad week at the office, this is the place to go on a Friday evening – it’s noisy, it’s manic and the jugs of cocktails keep coming. Be careful though not to stand too close to the bar as the end of happy hour approaches at 7pm as you’ll be trampled in the crush! The Cuban-themed street food is quite decent too – not that you’ll notice the difference after a few Cubana Mojitos. Buzzing!
Baltic – Blackfriars Rd
At the other end of the scale, and the other end of The Cut, is Baltic. Cool, sophisticated and understated, you can taste a variety of vodkas, along with cocktails (all at £8.50) and Polish/East European food sitting at the long bar or dining in the restaurant area at the rear. Every Sunday evening Baltic presents jazz with free entry from 7pm.
Whatever your taste in drinking or dining, you’ll find somewhere that suits in Waterloo – cheers!