Please note, Canvas Bar is now closed. Time Out London Editors.
Stretched on to the frame of a former local boozer, Canvas Bar has a lot going for it. The location, so close to Old Street station you could crawl there in three minutes, gives it access to waves of the Shoreditch-bound. The secondhand décor is attractive – check out the colourful, mismatched Italian floor tiles in particular. Staff are incredibly friendly and obliging. There is a changing selection of pictures by young artists dotted around the walls. And there’s a deliberate policy of keeping the volume down on the sound system, so customers can hear each other speak. (Other bars, listen up! We don’t all like having to shout to make ourselves heard.)
The cocktail list (£7.50-£10) has high ambitions for creativity and originality, but an attempt to order off-menu came to grief: staff had never heard of the Planter’s Punch, a 100-year-old classic cocktail that should form part of any bartender’s repertoire. But a ‘Vic’s Mai Tai’ was competently made, even if it didn’t follow the unsurpassable Trader Vic’s recipe.
Early-ish on a Thursday, the place was already respectably full. Tall glasses of beer were much in evidence, as was a mixed crowd of local scene-types and affable folk in business attire. Fridays and Saturdays are DJ nights, and the 180-capacity room gets pretty heaving. During the rest of the week, despite the competition, I’d be happy to come and drink here.