Steam & Rye

Bars and pubs , Cocktail bars Aldgate
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(14 user reviews)
1 Love It
Save it
Ming Tang-Evans
Book a table

Book now

New bars open all the time in the City, but they’re usually the inoffensive sort in which deals can be struck, expense accounts can be rinsed and clients’ arses can be kissed. It’s not that this vast new bar-restaurant-club is actually offensive, but its boldness stands out a mile in the Square Mile. In a real sign of the times, the former starched and formal Prism restaurant has been converted into… well, it’s a bit of a mash-up.

What I can tell you for sure is that it’s a joint venture fronted by former topless model and actress Kelly Brook and her business partner, serial bar-opener Nick House – the man behind the gloriously kitsch Mahiki and Whisky Mist.

And the bar’s every bit as eccentric as that collaboration makes it sound. There’s a vaguely 1940s US theme (the building used to house the Bank of New York), which somehow involves upside-down Statues of Liberty, a mechanical bull, railway carriage seating, massive Stars and Stripes, a menu of lobster, burgers and other meat-heavy treats, loud live music and taxidermy. Cocktails range from the classics such as Sazeracs to the frankly ridiculous: some are served in spurred boots garnished with a sheriffs badges, or in fake-money-stuffed briefcases, or come with sparklers atop like the ’80s never went away. Steam & Rye hasn’t so much jumped on the US food-and-drink bandwagon as done it up like a carnival float and driven it away at high speed.

The basement, however, is comparatively restrained, a long, dimly lit space where, as long as you avoid the novelty receptacles, you can drink with dignity. Service, from waistcoated staff, is accomplished. But Steam & Rye is intended as pure, unabashed entertainment – it’s the sort of place to loosen your tie and pretend tomorrow’s 9am start isn’t happening.

Reviewed by Euan Ferguson

PS in April 2014 Steam & Rye added a bucking mechanical bull to the attractions - making this the first bar in London where watching bankers being tossed off is a spectator sport.

 

Venue name: Steam & Rye
Contact:
Address: 147 Leadenhall St
London
EC3V 4QT
Opening hours: 4pm-3am Mon-Fri; 6pm-3am Sat.
Transport: Tube: Bank tube/DLR
Price: Drinks and dinner for two with service: around £60.
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

2.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:6
LiveReviews|14
1 person listening
Lizzie W
Tastemaker

Steam & Rye is noisy. Really noisy. I'd therefore recommend avoiding if you are going for a catch up with friends. The place itself is biiiig, with a huge space for groups to mingle around high tables (would be great for lively after work drinks) and a long bar. They serve some fantastic sounding cocktails - of course that comes with slower service - at standard London prices (£8-10). I found the lady behind the bar very rude and huffy, in fact all the waitressing staff were very pushy (not sure if it was mainly because we were at the back near the kitchens so were constantly getting barged out the way for service). I had one cocktail which was some version of a martini. It was good but they plopped a marshmallow on top then covered it in sprinkles - bit odd. I didn't eat so can't comment on food but I imagine it is mediocre. The main thing about this place is the vibe and the entertainment. Every 30 minutes of so cabaret dancers performto classics and then later on in the evening there is a live band.

Overall a fun place but lacking good service.

Rellie Loves
Tastemaker

I guess the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” comes into full effect here. I expected a bog-standard Southern American restaurant and cocktail bar with mediocre food and extortionate prices being in the city. What I got was far from that. Steam and Rye is an experience. On entrance, you immediately feel as though you’ve hopped on a plane and landed in 1920’s New York. An exclusive club that only the cool kids know about. Doormen, grand décor, moody lighting, high ceilings and pillars, American flags draped high and staff dressed in glamorous vintage attire. We had an early dinner booking at 6pm, so it was the calm before the storm. The venue is split over three floors interlinked by spiral staircases – a small private dining room upstairs known as the ‘Cargo Hold’, the main bar/stage area designed like Grand Central Station and a cool basement ‘Cocktail Carriage’ with drinking booths. The Cargo Carriage was overflowing with vintage suitcases, barrels, taxidermy, leather armchairs, bird cages and all manner of eccentric odds and ends! With only 4 tables and a private bar, it felt quite intimate. We had a waitress dressed to the nines who was attentive and polite. Happy Hour ends at 7pm, so we got acquainted with the cocktail menu immediately! I’d recommend the sweet and sophisticated Mile High and the Mississippi Lullaby, served with flaming rum. Don’t be surprised if your cocktail of choice comes in a cowboy boot, camera lens, bucket or popcorn box! The food took a while to come – but was wholly worth it. Huge portions of rustic BBQ ribs and generous sides to choose from including the most sinful Mac n Cheese. There’s a 2-hour turnaround so we headed to the basement for a while and enjoyed the music as things got more lively past 8pm. We know America does nothing by halves and this place is loud and proud – ridiculous even. For a taste of vintage America, it’s quite the experience.


Tips: Strict booking system - £10pp holding deposit in case of no-shows. They also hold the table for 15 mins before giving your table away!


50% off cocktails until 7pm

S O

RUDE CLOAKROOM STAFF, RUDE WAITRESSES, RACIST ANGRY BOUNCERS.

Gabriela A

Absolutely awful service, very rude staff from door to back of the house. 

Terrible, paranoid, rude and racist security staff.  

Disgusting place to go to. Avoid at all costs. 

Gabriela A

Absolutely awful service, very rude staff from door to back of the house. 

Terrible, paranoid, rude and racist security staff.  

Disgusting place to go to. Avoid at all costs. 

Catherine A

Steam and Rye doesn't take itself too seriously, and caters well to large groups who flock to it in droves.  The food was surprisingly good, and the service excellent.  The weekend crowd was decidedly bridge-and-tunnel, so over-dressed and over-tanned is the order of the day.  But a nice atmosphere and suitably cheesy band make it a great 'one stop shop' for dinner and an evening out.

Monica

I have been to Steam and Rye on numerous occasions and it's always a great and fun-filled night out in a beautiful, unique venue. The food is cooked to perfection and the steaks are absolutely beautiful. The portions are very generous and you get a lot of food for the price you pay! I have also tried the BBQ ribs, who are very tender and authentic. My friend had lobsters, and said they were delicious! The service is great and the waiting staff fun, charismatic and attentive. Some of the waitresses were even dancing in the aisles - which is something you definitely won't come across in your average steak restaurant! To accompany our dinner we had some amazing, quirky cocktails. They are served in all kinds of unique and creative ways, everything from boots via popcorn cups to shark heads! Later in the night they have dancers, great live music and bartenders doing fire breathing - there is always something to look at! Only downside I would mention is that the music is louder than you would imagine in a normal restaurant, so it isn't the place to go for a romantic date, but if you want a fun, impressive dinner out with friends, it is the perfect place to be! You will certainly never get bored! Overall; Great food, quirky cocktails, good service in a one-of-a-kind venue with the full package! Absolutely worth checking out!

Sarah

Just had lunch here with 12 of my team for Christmas after only booking it a couple of days ago. It was a set menu, all correspondence was fast and easy thanks to the staff from the restaurant. We picked what we wanted beforehand, sent it back and turned up to sit in a room upstairs (Which is fabulous, you feel like you're on the set of a movie!!! Love the stuffed animals, suitcases and general interesting things to look at) Service was fast, food amazing, drinks good and reasonably priced for the Christmas period. Well done for getting it right. All of my team said they loved it -Thanks Steam and Rye!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah

I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch here with a friend on 10th December. This was only the second day that this place was open for lunch sittings, so I expected it to be below par, but you know what........... it was fabulous. The waiter chatty, the food was great, fast service, lovely cocktail and good atmosphere. 4 stars rather than 5 because as great as everything was, I think some items are a little over priced (Or you had to add chips to a burger, for example which I think is a bit of a con) But still, I'd recommend it - Not really that much else like this in the city, so I'm happy to report it's worth the trip

James Collier

Amazing night at Steam and Rye. The place was very, very busy, but our waiter was attentive and super friendly. The food was great - sharing platter, rib eye and, surprisingly, the Mac n' Cheese were highlights! Had an amazing cocktail that was served in cowboys boots, among others. There was live music which really gave the place a unique feel for dinner/drinks. Will visit again for sure next time I am in the city!

Shirt & Tie

Great atmosphere, and superb service (The reviews below must be for somewhere else, they couldn't have been better when I visited). Lots of novelty (sparklers and drinks props are order of the day), but well placed here and offers something that the city was totally devoid of. Particularly like the US lagers, fresh cocktails and the food, which is top notch (pork ribs alone are worth trying). Curmudgeonly city types will inevitably hate it ,but it is a hugely welcome alternative to the very limited offerings of years gone by for those with a lighthearted attitude and loose tie knot. Long may it prosper.

Tina Debolla

Absolutely awful. Avoid at all costs!!! Bad service. Rude workers and waste if time and money. The only thing that's nice is the decor but everything else is diabolical. My advice go on look around then run out while you can get away

Matt

Just A.N.Other city pulling joint, indistinguishable for all the others only by the incredibly poor music policy. It's also virtually identical to it's predecessor, a new bar frontage and some American flags seemingly the only change. Depressing.

Amanda
0 of 1 found helpful

I went to Steam and Rye with a group of friends to celebrate an engagement. It was an awful dining experience, probably one of the worst I have had in London. From 7:30 onwards a band started playing but the volume was ridiculous, we were unable to have a conversation and the waiting staff couldn't even hear us to take our orders. After trying to complain to a member of management (I don't think she heard half of what I was saying), I was told it was a "loud music venue". If this is the case I would recommend they edit their website which gives the impression that the venue is a restaurant/bar. The food was tasty but our money could definitely have been better spent elsewhere.