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What used to be a prison has been converted into a Champagne and cigar bar at the edge of the City. It's an ideal spot for post-work drinks – the private VIP vault areas can be reserved for groups while the bar offerings run from cocktails, starting at £9, to a range of Champagne, from £11 for a glass to £1,200 for a Cuvée Louise Brut 1990 Jeroboam. The food menu includes club sandwiches, somerset brie with spicey orange marmalade or Indian aloo tikki with mint and cucumber yogurt.

Venue name: Voltaire
Address: Crowne Plaza Hotel
Transport: Tube: Blackfriars; Rail: Blackfriars

Average User Rating

2.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
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Charly Lester


1 of 1 found helpful
Staff Writer

Nice concept, cute vaults and awesome champagne ... But appalling service - to the point of laughable. I wasn't given a menu, and our chips appeared with duck scratchings on - which were yummy, but which no one thought to tell us about beforehand! Such a shame as its a place with great potential, but I won't be going back.

ana m

Went for a couple of rum cocktails as part of #rumweek. The cocktails themselves weren't amazing, they were passable at best, and the venue was a bit bland, not much of an atmosphere going on. The bar staff weren’t particularly friendly or inviting. 

There were quite cool outdoor intimate alcoves with prison-style doors though, where people could sit (equipped with heaters, so you wouldn't get too cold – we were in ‘the thinkers’ alcove). These included CD players and a connection for USB cables, and supposedly had Bluetooth enabled too, though we tried to connect with our phones but couldn't – it would be a great touch to be able to play your own tunes if it worked!


Set in the Crowne Plaza Hotel,Blackfriars, blink and you will miss this little gem of luxury!

Fantastic bespoke cocktails and a large variety of wines, spirits this is a fantastic venue for post work drinks and a date if you are looking to impress!

The converted, heated vaults outdoors again offer that little bit of quirkiness, available to book if you want somewhere a little more private.

Food menu looks great although I just wanted the cocktails :)

Tamara B

I really enjoyed sinking back into the high backed, plush, cavernous armchairs. The rum however... The rum cocktails weren't bad. They were sweet and vaguely pleasing. The venue was somewhat generic and bland. As it's in a hotel and slightly below ground floor, for it to be interesting I would suggest some more quirky touches to the decor might be needed. Service was good when it was provided - there were loooong waits.


So where to start?

The venue was amazing. Voltaire was a prison that turned into a chichi champagne, whiskey and cocktail bar... with gorgeous passage and vaults behind the bar. 

But the #rum based cocktails for #rumweek was less than impressive. We tried the Lamb's Punch first - which was supposedly contemporary and created - according to the barman - in 36 hours by him and the manager. One sip and my #plus1 reaction was Omg this is SWEET. it was sweet and ladened with cherry. The second sip made you nostalgic for cherry flavoured cough syrup which I never did like anyway. 

We paced ourselves and waited to order the second round - the more traditional Lamb's rum based martini-which was rumoured to be sour - but no it was sweet too. In fact it was more syrupy than the first one. It transported me straight to a wintery night in Bavaria, where the dink du jour would have been Schnapps except I was in London, in a gorgeous October evening and there were photos of the new James Bond movie everywhere and it makes me want a proper martini. This one just lacks in sophistication and finesse. In fact they might as well just call it Lamb;s Cherry Schnapps.

The service was Appalling with a capital A. The barman was sour - maybe that's what they meant by the more traditional concoction being sour - it was shaken by a surfaced barman. After the fabulous week that was London Cocktail Week - where all the barmen were brilliant, engaging, gorgeous and funny - this one came across like he either woke up at the wrong side of the bed or is still dealing with his Monday issues. The waitress I spoke to about the nachos was also rude.

And the other thing, do not order the nachos - it is terrible.

Will I come again? maybe but only for the novelty of the vault, the historical fact that it was once a prison BUT when I do, we will just be ordering champagne or whiskey because I do not want to be served by a precious barman or another rude waitress.

Mei M

Very classy place for drinks after work if your office is in the City. The atmosphere reminded me of some nice bars I've been to in Milan and the bartenders seemed to be very experienced - service was impeccable. It also feels like the kind of place you would go for a little special occasion - lights and decorations make it a wonderful nest to chill out away from the crowds above ground. 

Can't say much about food as we just ordered some nibbles, but everything we had (chips & cheesy nachos with guac) was really good and arrived super quickly.

A very unique feature are the vaults, that can be booked for private parties. 

Another thing I really liked is that even though the place is quite elegant, I didn't feel underdressed coming back from work. You can have a drink, relax and unwind before boarding your train back home. Definitelly worth a visit!

Chantel Louise

Fantastic bar - booked one of the vaults which are great for an intimate drinks venue! Staff were very attentive! Highly recommended!