Please note, Worship Street Whistling Shop is now closed. Time Out London Editors, November 2018.
Make like Bugs Bunny and eat your carrots before descending the stairs to Worship Street Whistling Shop: it’s so dark you can barely see your feet. But the descent is worth the danger. You enter an equally dim room with the full complement of faux-speakeasy decorations. There are various seating options, some offering so much shadowy seclusion that you could conceive or even give birth to a child and no one would notice.
The drinks here have always been right out there, both in conception and presentation. But even when they sound wacky, they have a tendency to taste great. Despite looking a little tired in places (a rumpled, stained drinks menu, for instance), this place is still whistling a happy tune.
|Venue name:||Worship Street Whistling Shop|
63 Worship Street
|Opening hours:||Open 5pm-midnight Tue, 5pm-1am Wed, Thur; 5pm-2am Fri, Sat. Food served 5-10pm Tue-Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Old Street tube/rail|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.7 / 5
- 5 star:11
- 4 star:7
- 3 star:9
- 2 star:4
- 1 star:19
If you have any sense of style and any self respect, then avoid this place at all cost!! The so-called cocktails completely lack taste, the atmosphere is nerdy and the service is less than average. There are too many great cocktails bars in London to waste your time with this place!
Yes it's pricey, and admittedly some of the cocktails are a bit hit and miss but personally I loved it for the atmosphere.
Love this place! Cocktails are unique and different (and strong!) and it has a great atmosphere - I love the quirky decor. Staff excellent and very helpful, well worth a visit. It is expensive but you probably only need about 2 cocktails; mine lasted me most of the night!
I visited here the first Thursday of the new year, and had mixed feelings about it to be honest. It first of all bears mention that the staff are great - really friendly, speedy, skilled and keen to give table service. It was clear to me they were passionate about their work, which is not always the case. The young chap who served us was charming and sweet - he spoke us through the quirky uniform they wear (braces/waistcoats which are a great touch) and even made me my own delicious "special white wine cocktail" when I was struggling to choose between wine or a cocktail. The atmosphere in the place was not dead, but it risked being dead as it was extremely mellow - we were one of three groups in there at 8:30 pm I believe, which is pretty empty! The same member of staff we had spoken with explained that this was because of a recent discontinuation of live music, but that soon the bar would be getting some bands back in. It looked very short of business to me and like I say very quiet, but luckily on this occasion the lack of liveliness suited me as I was having a heart-to-heart with a friend I hadn't seen in years... and the fantastic staff and their animated, welcoming attitude made up for the lack of vibrancy elsewhere. I would finally add that it is just ludicrously dark in there - I literally couldn't read the drinks menus without holding them an inch from my face! I'm all for super low lighting for atmosphere, but this was just a bit silly. Especially when you've already had a few, not exactly helpful.
Had a great experience here with my girlfriend last week. Attentive staff and the lab tour was brilliant. Drinks were slightly on the 'this end of shoreditch' side of expensiveness.
I was in there a couple of days before christmas and although the venue was extremely busy I had a great time. I didnt have a booking but thought I would chance my arm and the mairtre d informed me they were fully booked however after about 15minutes managed to get me a table. We ended up spending the whole evening there and even tried a new beer. The girls drunk cocktails and loved them. Only down side was the girls complained about the toilets.
I don't know what has happened to this place but it has gone dramatically downhill. Went there a few times in 2011 and it was fantastic but after my visit last night I won't be returning. More than half of the drinks I asked for of the menu were not available (and this wasn't even late in the evening) including their so called signature drink. I don't know if we got a bad barman but the drinks we received were poorly mixed that we could only stomach about a third of them. I didn't have the service charge issue that some other people have commented on at least. Time to find somewhere new.
I was so disappointed by this bar which looks fantastic when you get there. We were sitting 20mins before we went to get our own menu (we were waiting for a friend so this didn't bother us too much but still poor form) it then took the waitress a good 15 minutes to come over after we asked to order despite the bar being almost empty. They were also out of three of the things on the menu. But I was happy to overlook most of this till we came to pay and the waitress pointed out the 16% service charge! WHAT SERVICE?! Had I been more brazen I would have refused point blank and I wish I had...such a disappointment for a place with so much character
LISTEN TO THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS HERE We booked a table as a treat, thinking it would be a secret hideaway. Instead we got post-work pub levels of busyness, understaffed and overcrowded, with no attempt at anything like the table service booking a table implies. My cocktail, described with a million adjectives, tasted like a very poor white wine spritzer - at £10! My boyfriend's martini was fine - not amazing, fine and also came with a hefty price tag for a *tiny* glass. Can't say stay away more strongly. Overcrowded, overpriced, overinflated ego.
vaccuous, pretentious, dull, overpriced, with awful customer service. Up until this point, I could have deluded myself into thinking fine, i'll pay premium prices for considered and meticulously crafted cocktail 'experiences', but after being told in no uncertain terms that the ingredients 'didnt matter', and that its quite often made with several ingredients missing i thought what the hell is the point?!?!?! the drinks themselves were poor, I had an exploded martini that was neither exploded nor explosive. Just mediocre. and expensive. if they arent taking their drinks seriously how am i supposed to take them seriously, and why should I pay their premium? An insulting and belittling experience, I will not go back.
Went in last Wednesday with a group of five people. I'd already read both positive and negative reviews on here beforehand so was a little apprehensive. However; on this occasion the service was warm, friendly and prompt, the drinks certainly weren't run-of-the-mill, and we all enjoyed trying out the various concoctions and general vibe of the place. From my experience I'd recommend on a week-night for sure.
Went here on 19th October for friend's birthday where we had reserved a table. They had triple booked our table. When we politely asked staff about asking people to move from our reserved table they said we were causing a disturbance and asked us in an aggressive manner to leave the premises. VERY disappointed with the whole experience - bar staff were arrogant, managerial staff were outright rude. Had a cocktail that I could not even drink as so unpleasant tasting and when i tried to return it i was met with "what do you expect me to do about it?". Would not recommend this to anyone. Ruined my friend's birthday.
Can't stress how awful this place is. Although the bar area is nice to look at the service was terrible. The people who work there were slow, unfriendly and unprofessional. It was such a disappointment which was a shame as we were there for a friends birthday. The cocktails sound better than they taste too.
Went in last night having heard great things and was massively disappointed. Served a very watery Americano in what looked like a test tube, the sort of drink the barman would get thrown back at him if he tried to give it to anyone from Milan. Then moved onto a house cocktail that tasted simply of sherbert and was again served in ridiculously cheap looking/feeling glasses. This on top of service which was as unfriendly as it was slow with top-dollar prices to boot and you've got a great receptive for a woeful experience. Give this place a wide berth and head to the bar at Hawksmoor instead. Five stars from Time Out?! Weird
What a disappointment. I went here on Saturday with a friend as a recce for celebratory night out. On walking into the bar, it was full of promises and really did live up to it's 'gin saloon' styling. However, after waiting for nearly half an hour at the busy bar and unable to even get sight of the cocktail menu in this whole time we were met with 3 bar staff sarcastically stating what bad service they were giving (which in fact they were). Just at the point of being able to order a drink, the staff then decided to serve two people who had barged their way through the queue. I couldn't put up with such bad service anymore, and certainly wasn't going to give them any of my cash, so walked out and headed to Drink, Shop, Do instead where the service is great and has fantastic atmosphere. Needless to say, I will not be going there again nor would I recommend anyone else going there.
Went here last night having booked a table for 8 people. The place itself looks great with an old fashioned speakeasy vibe. However, as others have said, the service is very unpleasant. Our waitress was snooty and condescending throughout. When asked what was in one of the cocktails she said "look at the menu - it's on there". More disappointingly, for a place that seems to pride itself on its ground-breaking drinks, the cocktails were average at best. I'll avoid this place in the future, there's far better cocktail bars in London, in terms of both drinks and service.
I have enjoyed drinks here on previous occasions, but it seems that now either the staff have changed, or they have forgotten how to mix staple cocktails. The cocktails were disgustingly sugary, or just plain mis-made. I wont return.
first impression of the bar was that it was pretty small, I was approached my a member of bar staff who asked me if i had a reservation. To my sup raise we were led round the corner where the bar opens up into a victorian looking lounge that still maintains the warmth of a sitting room. Loved the street lamp and organ. The drinks were unlike anything we had experienced before with friendly staff who were helpful with explanations and recommendations. Great bar for people of all ages looking for something that is far from run of the mill.
I went in here last night with my friend - but was quite disappointed. Firstly, the atmosphere was not what I expected- but I can still live with it but the drinks were awful. We ordered margaritas the first round and they were just too strong and I thought something was wrong with my taste buds until I ordered a daiquiri. It was like rose water- not a daiquiri. Also half way through the drink, I saw my glass was cracked- so had to take it to the bar and asked for half of my money - the guy didn't want to do but ended up giving me £5. In addition, the daiquiri glass was not even even full- since drinks are quite important for a bar, I would not go here again!
I wanted to go back to this bar and again was not disappointed by the experience! No Essex girls screaming, enough space to enjoy the atmosphere and our lovely drinks. Our cocktails were delicious, gin fizz and Panacca in particular. Service was friendly , professional and very helpful. Well it was on a Saturday night and maybe this is what explains the variety of comments! Will definitely go back...on a Saturday night!
Every time we go here it's exceptional. Great staff, incredible drinks (seriously the best I have had in London) and a wonderful atmosphere.
Awful service, inebriated bar staff and a maître d’ that had zero customer service skills. The First time we visited here in the summer it was a great experience but they have been overtaken by their own self-importance. We were taken of our table that we had booked only for it to sit empty for an hour. Don’t bother wasting your money here.
I went here almost a year ago and I was very impressed, sadly it's now ruined by the customers. It could be a great speakeasy style bar but they let in anyone it seems now. It's stripped the place of any class, it's full of braying city types on a friday and the essex crowd on a saturday. The drinks are still great but it's hard to enjoy with screeching women wanting something pink and sweet to drink or the geezers wanting a "proper" drink i.e. lager. You can't move and if you're not sat down then you're likely to get knocked and pushed by the aforementioned customers. It's a shame, if they were a bit more discerning about who and how many people they let in then it could be something great instead of just another bar in the city full of loud muppets.
Its not often you go to a bar with a lab... this is something special. Really nice balance of relaxed atmosphere with ultra sophisticated drinks. The waiter also told me there is a multi-sensory cocktail emporium launching soon - will definitely be booking in for that. Good work!
Went here for after work drinks to celebrate a birthday on Tuesday 21st February. The venue had ZERO atmosphere, ridiculously over priced! £13.00 + for a warm beer and a small warm glass of white wine. You only had a choice of one Red or White by the glass. Service well below average! If this venue is going to charge it's premium prices, you at least need good quality, customer service and atmosphere. After one round our party of 20 moved upstairs to the BlueBerry bar, which was better in all ways!
The booking system is a nightmare- and they need to be clearer about the reserved area. But then I supose it's like in a restaurant. The drinks were excellent, and the service was suprising and refreshing for london. The things that matter were exemplery- the drinks and the service. The other stuff- music, booking- not so bohtered.
Mixed feelings about this place; first time i went last year it was great - good service, nice atmosphere. Went again recently and it was poor; waitress was deliberately awkward about the 'reserved area'..service at the bar was ok, but with added service charges some of the cocktails get pretty overpriced. Egg-Nog curdled immediately, and there was loud cheesy music. Really annoying how London venues often do this - great start, then they get complacent and lazy. It's gone from a place I'd told my friends about to somewhere I'd suggest they avoided.
Awful service. The bar staff are incredibly rude and thinking they are beyond the job they are employed to do. We were a group of 15 who all work in the area and will not be recommending it to anyone.
Very good Gin and Whisky lists, but frankly wierd tasting cocktails - all the bar staff seem kool-aid convinced that they are the best thing ever, and we really tried to like them - but even so, piney cider Wassail with an actual sprig of christmas fir stuck in it tasted more like toilet cleaner frankly, or air freshener; the Gin fizz was pretty much like lemsip; notwithstanding the odd inclusion of olive oil as an emulsion. Just wierdness. Otherwise, a nice enough basement bar; exposed brick, candles, a bit of laboratory looking stuff in the corner, where the wierd tasting experiments come from; otherwise, music = not very victorian, and the place is stuffed full of suits - not surprising since it's right next to the city I guess, still not what we expected from the review. Perhaps it has changed since it made it big in Time Out...perhaps not. At most one or two lost-looking hipsters. The suits were well behaved, to be fair. We experienced VERY friendly barstaff - bordering on harassment . . .
Good coctails, terrible service. When we tried to make a booking in advance for a large group, we were told that the big central table was already booked, then we asked what our other options were, a very pretentious person on the phone told us that they would decide when we would get there and there was no such thing as booking a specific table, but of course had no answer for how the central table was booked if you couldn't book a specific table. we ended up reserving space for 15 people, but only got seating for 8. when we asked the person in charge, she smiled and said they usually sit 20 people there as if we were idiots. I'm not going there again.
You know when a bar just gets it right?? This is one of those occasions. Drinks menus is incredibly well thought out and there's a great contrast here between the old fashioned furniture and the lab with all its polished tiles and glass bits and pieces. My favourite bar in London.
After reading the glowing review of The Whistling Shop on Time Out, I was keen to try it out. I booked a table for me and 3 friends for 10.30pm on a Saturday night. Due to getting stuck in traffic om the way there we arrived 15-20 minutes late. On arrival I spoke to the woman managing the reserved section of the bar, explaining that I ahd booked and apologising for being late. I told her my name and she said I hadn't booked a table, although I assured her I had and had an email confirming it from the bar. She went off somewhere for Bout 20 seconds, then came back and told me the table was gone and I could wait in the unreserved section of the bar for a table to become available. I asked her how long they kept tables for but instead of answering she told me again our table was gone. I repeated my question to be told 15-20 minutes which it was clear the woman only said because that's how late we were! The trsnage thing was that the were a number of free tables in the resreved area which never filled up but for some reason she didn't want ti give to us! We instead sat in the unreserved area of the bar where there were at least 3 free tables and ordered a round of drinks. The cocktails were interesting but nothing too special, althoughbthe staff at the bar were friendly unlike their female colleague manging the other section of the bar. I didn't particularly like the atmosphere of the bar, it's clearly trying to do Victoriana but not really pulling it off. It felt dingy rather than cosy. I don't think I'd go again.
Don't bother. I wouldn't mind it being so out of the way if the cocktails were immense or the bar was extra special/ really victorianna. Neither of these apply. Plus the barmen are rude. Fail on all accounts
The reservations system here is frustrating. When you call up, you are redirected to book online - but this means if you have a party larger than 5 you have to book several tables. Of course, when we arrived this meant that our tables were not situated close by to each other, even though we had requested so in the notes. Also, the tables only have a time limit of 2 hours. I think this works great in a restaurant, where meals draw to a natural conclusion. However, when you're drinking, most people will continue drinking for the whole evening if they have a nice table to sit around. The 2 hour limit - whilst very fair towards customers so everyone can experience being seated - is frustrating and cuts short a good night. If those are the rules, then those are the rules - but after being ousted after our 2 hour slot, we left and spent our money elsewhere instead of staying on at the Whistling Shop. On the subject of cocktails - they are pricey, but well made. They aren't showy cocktails either - all of the drinks were served plainly and simply. The range of cocktails is eclectic, but certainly not as tasty as the ones on the menu at the nearby Nightjar where the service, drinks and ambience impressed me more than the Whistling Shop. I'm not sure I'd return in a hurry... and if I did, it would certainly be in a smaller group and on a quieter evening.
Went there early last Friday night. Was promptly greeted by a bartender who brought over menus and tea, which was great. However, we then waited around for 20 minutes to have someone come over and take our orders (we had to go up to the bar). I am understanding if there are tons of people in the place and it is dinner hour, but it was about 5:30, fairly empty and there were plenty of staff available (or so it seemed). Strangely, our glasses were whisked away within one minute of finishing, which implies the bar back service is strong. Drinks were well-made, but not awe-inspiring for a craft-cocktail or speakeasy joint. Atmosphere was alright, keep in mind it was early, and the place was decently appointed. Nothing was bad, but nothing was outstanding either. For Time-Out's best new bar, I expected a heck of a lot more. Finally, they tacked on a 12.5% service charge. I'm from the other side of the pond, so I am well used to doubling the first number; but adding a service charge, especially when no service was provided, is difficult to swallow. Poor service + service charge is how I will remember WSWS.
A very enjoyable evening was spoiled by being massively overcharged for drinks charged at 50% more than clearly advertised on the drinks list on their website. Two bottles of Ridgeview sparkling wine quoted at £30 each (without any reference to it being an introductory or promotional price subject to change) was charged on my bill at £45 each. It was pointed out that this price war quoted on the list in the bar but I had no reason to think it would be different from the prices shown on the contradictory website. I would recommend anyone visiting be very careful to check they don't also fall for this sharp practice that does an otherwise good venue no credit.
I went there last night and it was heaving. Bartenders were incredible- no wait at the bar, great drinks and nice crowd. be back as soon as i can.
I came here with high expectations and to be honest was a bit disappointed. The drinks selection is interesting and well put together, the cockail I had was delicious. However, I think what let's the whole experience down is the atmosphere and feel of the place. I understand it used to be a wine bar, and it still feels a bit like that (with music to match). If you are going to charge that amount for drinks and try and sell the victorian gin palace thing, it needs to immerse you into a different kind of world/environment. The building blocks are there, but needs investment to really make it interesting
you are kidding aren't you!!! This place creams all over colebrooke row!!!! Best drinks in London closesly followed by their other bar Purl! Fluid Movement are absolute legends
Fun, lovely looking place, good drinks liked the Cats cream thingy served (by a cute bartender.. 4 stars for that..) although they seem to have taken a lot of their format/ideas from 69 Colebrooke row its still worth a visit..... if only for the cute bartender....
easily the best drinks in town. not too fussed by the decor or the music but it's definitely not ugly. great atmosphere and friendly helpful staff. food is great with the drinks. what more can you want? this is a place that puts london up on the worldwide rankings.
amazing drinks, amazing food and any bar that has a lab on show is a must see!! Wow I was mermerised by the place from start to finish Fluid movement boys ROCK!! Thank you
I've been here twice in the last two weeks and will be back again soon! incredible drinks (best in London at the moment) and delightful staff. Personally I loved the music and the decor too. My advice is to get in there before everyone else finds out!
Dark and empty with little atmosphere when we visited, but I can see it has potential. The drinks are great too. I liked it, but there are better speakeasies out there.
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