The area in Soho where Peel Street is cut off in the middle by a flight of stairs and breaks into a cul-de-sac has turned into a microcosm all of its own. Patrons from relaxed bars like VCNCY and Peel Fresco spill out on to the pavement, creating a convivial street party atmosphere. Replacing the space that once housed Tam Tam bar is Bobby’s Rabble, a joint which captures the uniquely friendly neighbourhood vibe that reverberates up and down Peel Street.
To those who don’t know, Peel Street is named after Sir Robert Peel, a statesman who twice served as Prime Minister of the UK in the 1830s and 1840s. The name Bobby is another nod to the celebrated politician. Rabble, however, refers to the 40 people who financially invested in the bar. There’s no rabble inside, though, despite there being a decent crowd on our visit. Everyone seems to know each other, in fact, which gives the bar a familiar community atmosphere. However, those who aren’t part of the gang are still made to feel welcome.
The tiny space is dark and ambient, with black walls and a huge stylised graphic of Sir Bobby Peel adorning the back wall. The menu sports a decent selection of IPAs alongside the usual cocktail suspects and a fairly robust whisky selection. We go with the classics and order an old-fashioned ($110) and a whisky sour ($90). The old-fashioned goes down smooth, thanks to the almost caramel-like Buffalo Trace bourbon. And the whisky sour is pretty decent too. Sadly, the egg whites lack a bit of texture and fail to entirely smooth the drink, but overall it’s a pleasant tipple.
Bobby’s already appears to be an apt addition to the Peel Street gang and expands Soho’s steadily growing collection of pretension-free neighbourhood bars. Plus, with a $50 happy hour all day Monday to Wednesday, this may be one of Central’s most wallet-friendly watering holes to date.