Rude staff, sitting only and pretentious. Disappointing as I like to concept of the place, but whats the point in sitting in a nice place to be treated with disdain
Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Aug 14 2012
We’ve long been fans of Purl, one of London’s first speakeasy-type bars and begetter of both VOC and the Worship Street Whistling Shop. It’s become extremely popular, which means that booking is advisable – though walk-ins will be seated if there’s space. The layout of the bar, over a number of smallish spaces in a vaulted basement, gives the opportunity for genuine seclusion, if that’s what you’re looking for. And if you’re interested in cutting-edge cocktail making, you’re also in luck. Novel methods and unusual ingredients are used in many of their unique drinks, but they’re also unfailingly sound in the classics. We experienced slow service because they were understaffed that evening, but usually service is very efficient and always very friendly. The selection of spirits is both extensive, and outstanding. And the music is chosen by someone who has very good taste in jazz.
Purl 50 Blandford Street
Average User Rating
3.6 / 5
- 5 star:19
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:4
- 1 star:8
Nice idea, was very excited about a night out at Purl with my partner but left early, disappointed. The place was empty but it appeared to be an issue to move table as basement was dead. The strict front-of-house lady takes herself too seriously, then forgot to take our order and left us feeling very awkward for approaching the bar. Cocktails average and masked by gimmick presentation. Stayed for one, felt unwelcome and left. Waste of £30 & not a true prohibition bar, nobody dares move nor misbehave. They aren't joking when they say "strict table service." Don't bother, Steam Bar saved the night, positive comments likely to be from friends.
I had the worst cocktail ever at this place - it came with 'candied bacon' that was a cold, limp bit of soggy bacon that still have the congealed frying fat on it. TOTALLY gross. When I complained the waiter was incredibly rude to us and so we walked out. Disaster.
This is not just one of the best bars in London, it is one of the best in the world - and I have spent a lot of time in a lot of bars in a lot of countries! Sitting only (it has a restaurant licence - but nobody eats!) and you need to book in advance for a Friday or Saturday. However, it is well worth it, but you have to expect the unexpected with the cocktails with many of them involving dry ice, liquid nitrogen etc. If there is just two of you ask to sit at the bar and chat to the bartenders - brilliant. I will definitely be back on my next trip to London - in fact I might visit London just to go to this bar again.
This bar just gets better and better each time I visit. The atmosphere, drinks and staff are second to none. A slice of NYC in Marylebone! My only criticism would be that it would be great if it opened later than midnight. And to people like 'Jamie' below who say the drinks are unpleasant, maybe stick to your 'Sex on the Beach' and 241's at Wetherspoons as you clearly have no taste....
I think the best thing about Purl is definitely the atmosphere created by great music and décor. As for cocktails, the presentation is amazing, but some of them do not taste great. And yes, the bouncers can be very rude, which is totally unwarranted, as this is a bar after all, not a club and the people who go there are generally polite, well-off and do not cause problems.
A unique, imaginative and impressive bar. Have been here four or five times over the last few years and I have never been disappointed. To the commenters saying service was slow - granted, it's not the fastest in town, but these are drinks that take time to prepare and so should take time to drink and savour, rather than knock back in five minutes flat. One note of caution though: if you're a fan of sweet cocktails - Sea Breeze, Sex on the Beach, mojitos, etc - don't come here. Purl's cocktails will scare the pants off you.
Although theatrical half the cocktails we got were unpleasant. There is one thing combining flavours in unusual ways there is another making pleasant drinks. Make sure you don't get put in the vaults as they have no atmosphere, are very hot and you tend to be forgotten about. Not really worth the effort.
WOW is all i can say...show me one bar in the world that does what these guys do!!! the new menu is insane- i will keep on visiting this place... congrats to the owners
What an incredible experience on the weekend. Staff were amazing and the drinks to die for. Will definitely be back soon! thank you Purl
5 star service....this bar is getting better and better every time we come! there needs to be more purl's around london!!!!
people saying bad things about the drinks obviously don't appreciate cocktails. I've had the drinks mentioned below- they were outstanding, best cocktails I've ever tasted. maybe they are just beer and wine drinkers and need appreciate well made cocktails.
This is the best speakeasy style bar in London. Fact. Amazing combination of old school atmosphere with 'wow' drinks and theatre behind the bar. Try the Ceres Joker... a helium balloon garnish - awesome!
Almost didn't go based off some of the previous reviews about bad service. None the less I decided to book a table for nine people and hope for the best. In short we hard a brilliant time. We had a small alcove area booked for us which we ended up filling with 12 people with no mind from the poor waitress who looked after us. She herself was lovely, very welcoming and looked after our rowdy (yet friendly) group of people brilliantly. The drinks were fantastic, we really enjoyed them though some are obviously very strong and if you like your 'sweet can't taste the alcohol' type of cocktails then ask your server for a recommendation ;) All in all, brilliant place to go with old friends and new friends you want to impress. I loved it and recommend it. Especially loved it when my drunk musician friend decided to start playing the piano at the end and even the bouncers were impressed and started clapping.
Can't believe I have only just found this place.... Most imaginative cocktails I have ever seen This place is the best speakeasy I have ever been too and that includes PDT, death & co, little branch, milk and honey, ECC, night jar. PURL YOU ROCK MY WORLD
Still one of the best bars in London due to imaginative drinks, great music and a really nice intimate atmosphere. I was there last night and the Christmas decor is looking spot on too. Surprised TO only give it 3 stars?
Was beyond apprehensive post booking (and putting a credit card down as it was a party of 10) - and then reading reviews before attending - however we as a group of girls in our late 20s & early 30s absolutely LOVED the bar. Very cute / kitsch decor, lovely private alcove booths , really sweet staff and nice drinks. Had a really nice birthday and would definately be back. xx
most unbelievable bar. coming from australia i was told to visit Purl, i was blown away. i have never seen anything like it. thank you to the purl staff, they made us feel very welcome ( even though we didn't have a reservation)
lovely venue and great cocktails. the waitress Gemma was a STAR! Great experience, definitely worth going back :)
Started badly with an extremely rude doorman and continued with a rude and arrogant host! We (a hen party) were ushered into a booth (aka cave) and forgotten, managing to get only two drinks each in the 2 1/2 hours we were there. When the drinks did arrive the waitress poured one between two glasses and didn't even replace it (£11 a pop). The atmosphere was tired, the stale bread on the table worse and it completely deflated the hen 'high' we had been on! The host was even rude to the hen. All in all, a real shame and we won't be visiting again!
Purl is an outstanding bar. We first started going there when nobody else knew about it, and it would only be for selfish reasons that we say we wish it hadn't caught on! Its definitely a busier bar now than it was a year ago but the bar has evolved to cope with this. We always book as tables get snapped up quickly and love the fact that even though there is sometimes a small queue outside - it never feels packed out inside. The table service is a nice touch and the cocktails are definitely some of the best i've had. The staff there all seem to be knowledgable and really friendly - they've written down drinks recipes for us, and booked us taxi's - nothing seems too much trouble! I'm really sad to see the reviews below as this isn't the bar we know!! Purl isn't going to be quickly serving disco drinks over the bar to office parties - but that's why its one of the best bars in London!
We prebooked an area Purl which was great (a little cave that sat 12 peope). However, when we got there at our allotted time, we were left waiting for 20 minutes whilst they cleared the table from the previous guests. We were then told it was table service only and we were not able to order from the bar. This is absoloutely fine... when you get service! We were constantly trying to track our waiter down to order drinks/ask him to clear our full to the brim table. When he did finally show his face he told us he would be back... then dissapeared again!The waiter that was looking after our table had a major attitude problem and was too busy swanning around rather than doing his job which was looking after the guests in this very small bar. A night of lovely cocktails was ruined by a waiter who could do his job, we could of easily had double the amount of cocktails we did due to seriously slow service. The venue is nice, the waiter was not! Cocktails fun and interesting.
A victory of style over substance. Well presented cocktails that don’t actually taste very good. Funky décor but essentially a dark, humid, slightly stinky basement. A nice waitress but very slow service. Probably won’t go back.
i had never heard of purl until someone told me. we went down on the off chance that we could get a seat. unlike the below reviews. we were greeted by such a friendly girl and was swiftly seated at a vacant table. drinks were the best i have ever tasted ( and i travel the world). The service was great to. Staff were knowledgable. I will be back and will bring all my clients in.
I read the great reviews, and I was keen to try. Sadly, I was disappointed. I visited with three friends on a Thursday evening. There was no problem getting in and the bouncer was friendly. My drink - the Rum Grog - was quite good. My friends' drinks, I thought, were average. But, Purl sorely disappointed. Problems? 1) We arrived without reservations. The place was not busy and the waitress hesitated for far too long, staring at her nearly blank clipboard, before deciding to let us have a table. 2) We were led to a nice booth-style area in the basement. But, as commented in Timeout's review, the humidity (and, therefore, the smell) was slightly off-putting. Not enough to complain maybe, but not a great start. 3) We waited and waited and waited for ou orders to be taken. Eventually we gave up, and just as my friend had decided to find and order drinks at the bar, the waitress finally appeared. Once the waitress took our orders, we waited and waited and waited for the drinks to be served. We were literally at the point of just walking out, and refusing to pay, when she finally returned with the drinks. The waitress returned once to ask, in the most uninterested way, whether we liked the drinks. Needless to say, we reduced the optional service charge. London is full of bars; I would rather visit one that cares about customer satisfaction.
easily the best place to impress your friends for cocktails. i have never seen cocktails so visually stimulating before the staff i have on the numerous occasions i have been are incredibly knowledgable give it a try you wont be disappointed
I live around the corner and have visited several times. It's a good place to bring out-of-town friends or book for a special night. I'd like to go more often but, unfortunately, it's not a place where you can just drop in for a good drink. Bouncers - unnecessarily rude on several occasions. I understand that you should book ahead of time for this place, however, since I live a block away I do not think it is unreasonable to stop by and ask the bouncer if there is a free table or bar stool for a quick drink on a weeknight. If not, a simple no will do rather than a confrontation. Drinks - Original and very well done. Changing menu keeps it fresh. Waiters/Waitresses - Average Bartenders - Very knowledgeable and personable