Oct 26 17

Mabel’s Bar & Kitchen, Covent Garden, WC2

Jack Cutforth

If London were actually Hell, as set out in The Divine Comedy – no stay with me, come on I only write about two of these reviews a month so hear me out – you could make a good case for Covent Garden being the innermost circle of hell, it being pretty much in the centre. And if I’m correctly remembering the time I read most of the Wikipedia page about The Divine Comedy because I wanted to pretend I’d read it to impress someone because I’m an insufferable piece of shit, I believe the final circle of hell was also the worst.

Do you see? Do you see where this overwrought metaphor is going? I’m saying Covent Garden is bad by – and I believe no one has ever done anything like this – by comparing it to the last circle of Hell in The Divine Comedy. And much like Dante himself trudging through every circle of hell to get to the middle, where he fought Satan or something? I don’t know, I got distracted and somehow ended up on the Wikipedia page for Tamagotchis instead. But anyway, much like Dante you have journeyed through an endless stream of shit just to arrive at this obvious observation: Covent Garden is a bit rubbish, really.

Look, Covent Garden is fine if you’re visiting London for the day, yes. It’s fine. But – and I don’t want to come across as a metropolitan elite here, I’m really not, I’m just a down to earth guy, I put my ironic vintage charity shop dungarees on one leg at a time – but, it is rather aimed at tourists and as such might not be the best place to hang out if you’re not a tourist.

I’ve got nothing against tourists! I’m not sitting here in my tiny expensive rented accommodation, scoffing avocados and sourdough, I’m not sitting here rubbing my hands together figuring out how to subvert the Will Of The People™ and sneering at tourists who don’t know where to stand on the tube platform to be in line with the doors. I’M JUST SAYING if you asked me where to go for a beer in London, Covent Garden wouldn’t be the first place I suggest.

Having said all that, if you are in Covent Garden for some reason, you still might want a drink. So here’s a review of Mabel’s, which is a pub in Covent Garden.

It’s alright, actually, to be fair, Mabel’s, it’s really not bad. If you’re in Covent Garden and you’re in need of somewhere to drink, you could do much worse. It’s one of the roomier bars in Central London (though not as cavernous as Porterhouse which is opposite). It is one of those dark bars, very low window to wall ratio, and a lot of it is underground, which again is similar to Porterhouse. It’s got a few different areas, which are each a bit different: standard bar type area, more of a dancey clubby area, if you fancy a bit of variety while also staying in the same building all night.

They’ll do some of your standard lager beers, as well as cocktails. It’s more of a cocktail bar that has the decency to also serve pints than a pub that also does cocktails, really.

Here’s a great idea, that has occurred to literally every single person who has stood at a bar watching someone painstakingly twist bits of orange peel onto a cocktail they’ve been assembling for the best part of ten minutes, while all you want is a simple pint of beer: express lanes at the bar for non-cocktail drinkers. Look, don’t get me wrong, I love a cocktail. I’m not sitting at home, polishing my CAMRA approved pewter beer vessel, sneering at people who like to drink a pornstar martini. Cocktails combine a high alcohol content with an aura of sophistication that makes them ideal for functioning alcoholics. I’M JUST SAYING it seems only fair that if all I want is a pint, I shouldn’t have to wait behind someone who’s just ordered a round of drinks which each have more ingredients than a Georgian state banquet.

They also do food, mostly sharing platters, that sort of thing. All in all it’s a solid choice if you’re in Covent Garden, against your better judgment, and need somewhere to get drunk with a group of friends. Not exactly the place for a quiet pint, but if that’s what you’re after why are you in Covent Garden? Not that I’ve got anything against Covent Garden, I’M JUST SAYING ALRIGHT.

Beer: 2
Price: 3
Service: 3
Atmosphere: 4

Do they do food? Mostly sharing platters of brown carbs (this is not a criticism).
Are they in the 21st Century? Contactless accepted, no minimum.
Are there dogs? Probably dog friendly but not really the type of place you’d take your dog.
I want to smoke: Street outside.