Bars and pubs Covent Garden
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(16user reviews)
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Back in the late 1980s, this was the place to be. A hidden cellar with a faintly industrial feel, it carried with it a certain easy-going democracy, a welcome change from style-trial nightclubs and members-only enterprises such as the Groucho. After what seems a lifetime, it hasn’t changed a bit.

The 40-odd affordable cocktails (£5.50-£7.25), stencilled above the busy bar counter, are strong and served with ceremony: a Holy Freud Lemonade contains vodka, lychee, lemonade and elderberry, while mojitos come in several varieties. Some 15 types of bottled beer include Meantime, Budvar and Zywiec, while wine starts at a bargain £3.35 a glass.

Rotating art exhibitions dot the aged-concrete walls; it does, after all, say ‘Café Bar Gallery’ in red neon outside. Who’d have thought it would survive so long?



Venue name: Freud
Address: 198 Shaftesbury Avenue
Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Wed; 11am-1am Thur, Sat; 11am-2am Fri; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served noon-4.30pm daily
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Rd
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Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

Reading the reviews below, it seems like a Tastemaker haunt, so be ready for some extremely discerning clientelle... However, decend down the whisteria clad iron staircase into the depths of Central London basements and you will discover a hidden gem.  Established in the 80s, and not decorated then (or since!) this grimey little bar is a revalation amungst the glitz and glamour of some of the more "high-brow" establishments nearby.  You'll be greeted at the bar by efficient bar staff, who want to come and play and will happlily accept shots with you (if you make a big effort you may even find the odd one on the house).  Once you get over the fact that you're probably going to have to hover when you finally decide to break that golden seal, you realise that the drinks are reasonably priced, served just as you like them, and the service is very fast.  If there is no tables, fear not, the stairs at the back are always a good option.  It's let down only by the fact that unless you know it's there, it's not obvious.  A lot of people do poke their head in to see what is going on though.  Which is quite amusing to watch.

Emily W

Pared-down would be an understatement when describing Freud, this place is verging on grubby (especially the loos!) but it is the no-frills look that they're going for. Regardless, the cocktails are good and not too dear. No beers on tap though so if you're a big beer drinker i'd steer clear. It's a fun, bustling spot for an after work tipple with good music if you don't mind noise and a dingy loo! 


The cocktails are great and really reasonably priced! The atmosphere is very relaxed and the setting is pretty cool, its almost like a bar you would find in some European cities. My only complaints would be that some of the bar staff can be a little unfriendly and didn't think the bathrooms where in great shape

Thomas C

Went last night.  Very weak cocktails in a fairly grubby environment.  Left after one.  Won't be heading back

Luisa G

Very small, friendly staff, nice atmosphere, uncomfortable seating, cocktails were fine. Bit of a hidden find, which is nice once or twice, but not every week!

Ed. T

Came here on a weekday night and it was less busy than we expected it to be, managing to snag a table near the back for a small group of us. They have a huge cocktail and drinks menu, but all well priced (especially for the area it's in) and they're all made pretty well. 

This would be one of my more favourite bars in Covent Garden, but the decor as a concrete basement isn't the most welcoming, and the toilets are pretty dire (at least when I went). Sounds picky, but it's at odds with the friendly service, and there are still a fair few other venues in the Covent Garden area which offer a similar/better experience - especially given how busy it can get! 

Ioanna La

Vibrant and pleasant atmosphere, amazing cocktails! It is like a show watching when they are being made. The decoration is nothing exceptional and it is so busy all the time but still it's really nice with a great selection of cocktails!! Maybe one of the best cocktail bars in town and definitely one of my favourite.


one of my favourite places to chill in London

awesome cocktails, affordable prices and cool staff

and they play great music too


Alanna S

The drinks are awesome, but it's always really busy. Difficult to get a seat so you often end up perching in a corner awkwardly. 

Samantha H

Reliable strong cocktails at Freud!  Can't always get a seat but I have always found the clientèle to be friendly and willing to share the space!  Great bar and a stand out one in the area of chains! 

Staff Writer

I'd wanted to go to Freud for ages as so many friends recommended this place to me. I finally went there last week when my parents were visiting London. It was a little bit of a shock; I expected something more like LCC, not a concrete basement that was at that moment (5pm on Friday) completely empty. But soon we settled in, people started filling the tiny space and we got the best Margaritas I've ever drank, enjoying the snack of pistachios we got gratis. The staff are friendly and great professionals who could probably make cocktails even blindfolded. It's around £6.50 for a cocktail on average which is an amazing price for such a central area! Definitely worth visiting.

Charlotte B

I went there last night with friends who suggested it, thinking this would be a nice bar. It's not.

The cocktails are £6.25 to £7.75 which would be good value. However when you go down the stairs to the entrance opposite is the gents, an open archway stinking of piss; not the way I want to start an evening. Inside it's just a cramp concrete basement.

We got seats in the far left corner which held deep in the shadows an old suitcase with loads of cardboard boxes piled on top. If the staff can't be bother to clean up rubbish in the parts of the bar customers can actually see I'm not sure I want to see what the back is like.

Go if you like a bar that uses rubbish as décor.


My favourite cafe bar in London, good prices, great drinks, good staff, really chilled and possibly the coolest place in town. I just miss the telly and Father Ted with subtitles, ah the good old days!


I love this place. The cocktail are cheap and amazing! It can get a bit rammed on a friday or saturday night.... If you are there during the day pop in for a non alcoholic creamy soda. My fav.