8 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 8HN (Map)
One of Soho’s best kept secrets The Player is part of the Match Bar Group and one of a chain of private members clubs including the famed Milk and Honey just round the corner. But the good news is that until 11 pm every night The Player is open to all. Not a lot of people know that. Which only adds to The Player’s reputation for cool.
It takes a bit of finding but once you’re in, it’s lounge lizard heaven. Music is funky jazzy lounge style with top guest DJs. The bar has low ceilings, dim lighting and chic retro styling. There are lots of hidden little nooks and comfy leather armchairs in which you can curl up and enjoy spectacularly good Asian influenced bar food and fabulous cocktails. And the cocktails really are out of this world, not surprising really since this bar was originally established by the legendary Dick Bradsell and the current cocktail list has been designed by cocktail god Dale deGroff. It’s big on gin with all the major brands gleaming out from the bar back and Plymouth Gin a real star of the show. Try the London Buck Highball, a delicious long mix of gin, lemon juice and ginger ale. The Clover Club, a classic cocktail made with grenadine syrup, egg white and lemon juice is a specialty here whilst the Raspberry Collins is just the way it should be.
The Player is the last word in chic and attracts a pretty cool crowd of trends-setters and media types. In fact it’s on the list of the top 100 best things about London and is often used for bartender competitions and stylish launches. It’s quite small however so if you’re going to make a night of it, best to ring ahead and book a table.