It may call itself a café and serve coffee and tea during the day but by night this subterranean bar’s liquid offerings are shaken and stirred.
Notoriously hard to find, Freud lies beneath the pavement of London’s lively Shaftesbury Avenue, at the tip of Monmouth Street; look out for the red neon sign and then watch your step as you navigate the steep flight of stairs to the industrial-style cellar below. There’s a smattering of tables, benches and chairs but come Friday and Saturday be prepared to stand (or at least perch on a stone step). The space also doubles as a gallery: the concrete walls are hung with ever-changing artworks.
Freud was founded as the UK’s first café-bar in 1986 and has been serving some 40 cocktails ever since, the names of which are stencilled in white chalk on a blackboard behind the well-stocked bar. If you’re after something long and fruity, opt for the Holy Freud Lemonade, which contains a generous splash of vodka topped with lychee liqueur, lemonade and elderberry. Another favourite: the Jamaican Mule, with white and dark rums, Disaronno, Grand Marnier and a glug of ginger beer. Plus, if you’re feeling adventurous why not try the rum-and-brandy Nosedive, the coconut-soaked Kicking Turkey or the peachy Painter’s Punch.
Freud Café, 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JL.
Photo: Freud Café.