In austerity London, you can expect a degree of fanfare when a closed-down pub on the edge of Chinatown reopens. In the case of The Blue Posts on Rupert Street, that excitement is doubled, since the people behind hit restaurants The Palomar and The Barbary now hold the lease to the 275-year-old pub.
They’ve sliced and diced the space to cram in a cocktail bar up top and a tiny restaurant in what was once the beer cellar, with the ground level remaining a pub – of sorts. I say ‘of sorts’ because despite all the hospitality know-how, the place felt fairly inhospitable, lacking the heart or warmth you’d expect from a pub. It’s a narrow, somewhat grey space with a seriously chilly draft that meant our coats remained on for most of our stay. There’s little room for large groups, who have to cosy up on high leather stools around brushed-metal tables. Service at the bar is muted. Really, there’s little that’s pubby about it.
Of course, the food and drink make a visit worth your while. Beer is on point; when we were there a stout from Titanic Brewery was going down well, while an IPA from Battersea’s Mondo and cider from Walthamstow’s The Real Al Company provided back-up. There’s real ale from Sambrook’s and the wines we sampled were quality drops, keenly priced for this part of town. As for bar snacks, it’s pub grub of the upmarket kind – harissa nuts, anchovy ‘soldiers’ and little chunks of longaniza sausage were totally on the money.
So drop by The Blue Posts for a posh drink and snacks in a petite bar setting. If it’s two pints of lager and a packet of crisps you’re after, save it for the next trip down the Dog & Duck.