Langton deserves a drink…
Langton went out after work for some much-needed ‘field research’ at a couple of city centre bars the other night and was struck by the difference between the two.
- This boasted a stylish assortment of characterful chairs and discreet designer lighting. Pre-booking appeared to make up a good chunk of the trade – almost all of the sleek wooden tables were reserved for meals and various parties. Knives and forks were set out in rustic containers atop each table and all the menus came on clipboards.
- A Christmas tree stood proudly by the door, next to a staircase bedecked in festive fairy lights. The atmosphere was buzzing, the trendy-looking bar staff were rushed off their feet, new boys such as Meantime sat on tap and the mix of men to women was close to 50:50. Langton bought pints at £5.10 a pop and received its change in a twee little tray. It didn’t leave a tip but this was the very definition of a 2010’s City of London bar.
- Wobbling over to Site #2, less than a minute’s walk away, was as close to time travelling as Langton is ever likely to get. This unit was more akin to an old-school 1980’s wet-led boozer. It was Del Boy chic, replete with resident ruffle-haired alcoholic. Unlike Site #1, the very idea of pre-booking for a quality meal felt like a concept from the future.
- A lonely bartender stood behind a sticky bar with a limited selection of five or so generic drinks, of which the two good ones were off. The beers we selected were slightly cheaper, but only by 5% or so. The chairs were worn, and not in the designer way, and the clientele was almost exclusively guys (Langton settled on a not-so-scientific figure of 80% male).
- The lighting was dim, but not dim enough to disguise the fact that the walls could do with another lick of paint – any capex spent on this site would most likely be catch-up spend, rather than the profit-driving kind and, as this looked to have cumulated over the years, the first few tens of thousands would go nowhere.
- Langton couldn’t help but conclude these neglected, throwback units are a wasted opportunity, particularly in the Capital where skyrocketing rents mean that opportunity costs are highest.
- So, go on then, have a guess – which sites are we talking about? Answers on the back of a post card…