Pop down an unassuming door near some clip joints in Soho and you may find yourself in a production of Maria in Wonderland - for this was created by The Lovely Maria & Co. When you pop out at the bottom you'll find yourself in a slightly surreal bar that is a good stab at a genuinely friendly society of regulars and irregulars made up of trendy but unassuming individuals usually found chatting - this is not a cottage with a bar attached. Well, perhaps that over-romanticises it but…
...it's a rare find and a good place to go with your friends who don't want to have to wade through piss to get to a urinal populated by scary types.
Venue: The first thing that strikes you is the total lack of natural daylight. This means Maria, one of the proprietors is in completely control of the environment and she went for, how shall we put it: striking/ unusual. Whilst decorated many moons ago it hasn't particularly dated badly. Years after the original fit-out it still works: ambient lighting throughout gives this little cave a nice clean feel. Nooks and crannies combined with the subterranean surroundings give it a super sexy illegal drinking club feel.
Security: Thanks to it's growth through word of mouth, unassuming entrance and ability to repel the dreary we've never noticed any. We're sure they're able.
Staff: They can knock up a good cocktail or serve you pitcher with equal aplomb. When Maria's in residence, she'll be no doubt wow you with some number she's wearing. Given she's made a go of windowless cell, we're not surprised she and her partner have opened another bar called --- on Commercial Road that's also been a huge success.
Music: A bit loud and not your sex club sound. "Fashionable" or "what the young uns are listening to" might be one tag - tho wholly inadequate given a preference for the eclectic.
Punters/ atmosphere: Whilst it does get too busy and hot, it still maintains a civilised and friendly atmosphere – you'll feel like you're special here, part of a secret society hiding away from the feral mess waiting outside.
Yes, for this is bar has been driven by one woman, Maria, whose DNA has flavoured it throughout.