Ask for Janice

  • Bars and pubs
14 Love It

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
Address: 50-52 Long Lane
Opening hours: 7.30am-midnight Mon-Fri
Transport: Tube: Barbican/Farringdon
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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

My go-to spot after a long day at work (next door). Food is simple and delicious, the mile-long gin list never disappoints, coffee’s on point and beer is, well, beer. The pop-up cocktail bar downstairs is a nice way to continue the evening or simply hide from daylight. Highly recommend the badger hummus thing. (Just make sure you ask for some extra extra bread.)


Eleanor F
Staff Writer

Relaxed, alternative atmosphere and good food in a slightly sparse venue and location, Ask for Janice feels as quirky as it's name. 

Staff WriterStaff Comp

Nice atmosphere and great service, the food was pretty good as well!.

Charly Lester
moderatorStaff Writer

Interesting mix of food, relaxed atmosphere, and chilled staff.  Service could be a bit more on the ball, and would have liked to see some more green stuff on the menu.