N.B. I was going to put that heading in capital letters, but I felt that would come across slightly accusatory and aggressive! Like ‘WHY AREN’T YOU…’ like that normally precedes phrases like: cleaning you room/listening to me/able to have an adult conversation.
Instead, this ‘Why aren’t you…?’ feature will be my recommendations for the week! Essentially, it’s a very self-indulgent task: I tell you what I’m watching, where I’m eating, and other things, so I can talk to more people about them 😉 Each week, I’ll put the focus on one recommendation in particular, and fittingly this week’s spotlight is theatre themed…
Why aren’t you at: The Theatre Cafe?
Seriously. Why aren’t you there? Like right now? Go, go there right now!
I first heard that this place would be opening back in December, and for some reason it’s taken me this long to go. But now I’ve been once, I can pretty much guarantee that any time I’m in the area for a show or need somewhere to go to do some PhD prep, I’ll be there. And why, you ask. Well, 1) It’s theatre themed, and 2) to quote SNL’s Stefon…
Free wi-fi. Great food. Free posters. Musical themed drinks. Free wi-fi. An iPad where you can choose music to listen to, from like every musical. Free wi-fi. West End memorabilia everywhere. iPads at your table. A table where you can book tickets to a show. Did I mention the free wi-fi?
Located opposite the Queen’s Theatre (aka the Les Mis one), this cafe is a great place to go for a coffee, a catch up and a pre-show snack. The staff a super friendly, chatty and organised. When I went on Tuesday, I had a nice chat with one of them about War Horse, and they even provide you with FREE rubber bands for the FREE posters! I know some theatres which sell posters of their shows which don’t provide rubber bands, and I know this may seem a bit pedantic, but you don’t know pain until you spend £10 on a poster only to get it home and find it’s all creased!
The food and drinks are reasonably priced and delicious. I got a chocolate chip cookie and my friend Jas opted for a bakewell slice, but they also do sandwiches and healthy alternatives. We sat at a table in the centre, and you are literally surrounded by West End memorabilia! As if the giant THEATRE sign lit up wasn’t enough of a hint as to the theme of the cafe, the tables are covered in leaflets and posters from shows, including Kiss Me Kate, Once and Deathtrap. The last one didn’t actually say the name of the show on it but had the actors Jonathan Groff and Simon Russell Beale, and when we tried to remember what it was called, my friend said, ‘The one with the shovel’, while I gestured ‘The one with the curtains’!
The walls too are covered in memorabilia, and above us were some posters from the original London production of Into the Woods and a broom from Stomp (although I did say to my friend, couldn’t anyone just get a broom or dustbin lid and say, ‘Look, it’s from Stomp‘). You can’t escape the theme, even in the toilets the connections continue (I say that like it’s a bad thing, when really it’s awesome!) Finally, next to where you can book tickets is an iPad (it’s located on the back wall, just behind my right shoulder in the next picture), where you can choose the music you want to listen to. And it’s all from musicals! While we were there, we listened to some Rent, Miss Saigon, Hairspray and a lot of Mamma Mia!, as someone had selected the whole album! Didn’t see Spring Awakening or Assassins on there (which are my favourites, and if they could add them that would make it even more awesome), but there is something there for everyone to choose from.
This place is amazing: great food, surroundings any theatre-lover will revel in, and a great atmosphere! An example of this came when the place got a bit busy: all of the tables were pretty full, so a group of girls asked if they could share the table with a guy sitting on his own. He kindly agreed, and they then spent the next 20 minutes all talking together and sharing their favourite shows/songs. I don’t think something like that would EVER happen in Starbucks, do you?