New Bloomsbury Set

By Maeve
76 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AG
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Mon-Sat 4-11pm, Sun 2-10.30pm (with occasional late licenses)
How much?
£7.50, spirits £4.50-8

I lived near here back in the day when the evening’s highlights were watching ladies of the night getting familiar with their punters in the car park. Nothing captures the overwhelming improvement to this neighbourhood more than the excellent New Bloomsbury Set, a basement level gay-friendly bar. It’s sophisticated but still relaxed and intimate. There’s a splendid selection of cocktails (including their unique honey and vodka-laced Guilty Act), spirits, teas and coffee and snacks. Two cosy alcoves provide pillows and TVs for some private film watching, an ideal spot to catch up with friends, knock off some work (they have WiFi) or indulge in a quiet read. With a handful of memberships still up for grabs, if only these charming fellas had set this gaff up in Virginia Woolf’s time, she maybe wouldn’t have seen the need to walk into that river… / Eamon Downes