Ask for Janice

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Smithfield

As soon as you step into this bar-restaurant next to Smithfield Market, you might experience a sense of déjà vu. The enigmatic name, ‘secret’ basement bar, bare filament lightbulbs, white tiling, reclaimed furniture, food served on enamel plates or in little preservation jars. You’ll probably recognise these elements from countless other venues because Ask for Janice mines every bar trend going in London, resulting in something eerily familiar.

This venue is a new launch from the Urban Leisure Group, which owns a few unremarkable bars and pubs across the city. This all might sound like a recipe for disaster, but no: the execution’s done really well. Friendly service, real attention to detail, a place that’s light, bright and fun – Janice is a welcome host.

Coffee and pastries are served in the mornings; craft beers are available in 1/3 of a pint ‘flights’ (around £4.60 for three); and there are nearly 50 gins, with ‘perfect serves’ including Portobello Road gin with lemon and bitter orange,  tonic and lime (£9). The food is also more creative than might be expected, with small plates including beef croquettes with mustard, Clapton smoked salmon and lardo on toast.

To sum up: AFJ might be a by-the-numbers bar, but it still adds up to a quality experience.

Venue name: Ask for Janice
Contact:
Address: 50-52 Long Lane
London
EC1A 9EJ
Opening hours: 7.30am-midnight Mon-Fri
Transport: Tube: Barbican or Farringdon
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