Having lived in this city for almost three years now and it has never ceased to surprise me. There is always something being transformed, being created and re-created and the way Londoners are so blase about stuff happening around them seems to indicate change is nothing new.
Try wearing your loudest shirt or a pikachu costume onto the tube – no one will bat an eye lid. You want to have your morning espresso in a historic underground toilet? Sure, there’s one just down the road.
For a city with such high population density, London doesn’t have much room for new things, so it has learned to recycle and transform the old into exciting venues to hang out, and that includes transforming some of the disused underground facilities into trendy bars and restaurants.
Let’s get underground in London!
Transforming London’s underground toilets
You might be very familiar with the Underground network – the oldest metro system in the world that is still transporting millions to work/school/home/play each day.
However it’s not that underground I wanted to talk about. It’s the underground toilets, also one of the world’s oldest public toilet system, being transformed into trendy and fashionable cafes and bars across the city.
Have your coffee wedged between old ceramic urinals, or enjoy a cocktail in disused underground cubicles. Don’t worry, I have been told they have all been thoroughly sanitised!
Here are the three underground toilets to visit for great coffee!
This is my favourite, because it feels so authentically urinal. The Attendant converted an old Victorian men’s toilet into a trendy cafe, serving up some excellent espresso and light lunches.
Either sit at one of the original urinals or under the flush, get in with the toilet-osphere!
27A Foley St, London W1W 6DY
WC Wine and Charcuterie
What does WC stand for? Wine and Charcuterie of course!
This little place in Clapham Common is pretty funky, and have really good cheese and charcuterie selections on the menu. The decor is no longer as ‘toilety’ as the Attendant above but you can still see where the cubicles might have been.
Clapham Common South Side, London SW4 7AA
Ladies & Gentlemen
Snug underground opposite the Kentish Town Forum, this is another Victorian lavatory that is now THE place to be for cocktails in the neighbourhood. From homemade liquors to Gin, all served in this very hip establishment.
Making use of disused tube and tube stations
Other than toilets, there are heaps of underground trains and closed tube station tunnels that were simply sitting around doing nothing. So, in need of entertainment space, London is putting these disused facilities to good use!
This is a bit of a secret bar in an abandoned Underground station, where the venue has been completely decked out in the station’s former glory, with ticket halls and escalators!
A fantastic 1940s-themed cocktail bar with live music shows and regular events.
13 Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW
And it looks like more will be coming, according to this report by The Times back in 2015!
Want more underground action? Time Out has a good list of Secret Bars for your next trip to London.