Best Restaurants For Pre Theatre (And For A Drink Afterwards)

Words by
Andy Morris

31st August 2022

The best places to wine and dine and discuss what you've just seen on stage.

The secret to a great pre-theatre dinner is finding somewhere close enough to the venue to relax but not so near that you risk running into the cast. As London theatres gear up for their biggest season in years, we select the pubs and restaurants that fit the bill.

Best Pre Theatre Restaurant near Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Two years and £60 million in the making, Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Lane" will host four different drink and dining venues: The Garden, The Rotunda Bar, Cecil Beaton and Grand Saloon. The only entry on this list located within the theatre itself, the Garden is the standout: a secluded flower-filled setting serving sharing boards, barista coffee, tea, and cocktails, with cakes and pastries.

Best Pre Theatre Restaurant near The Lyceum
A London theatreland favourite since 1977, Joe Allen is once again in rude health, thanks to the involvement of Russell Norman and executive chef Gary Lee, former head chef of the original Ivy for the past 17 years. Expect transatlantic favourites, strong cocktails, vintage posters and an exemplary burger, an open-secret for decades.

Best Pre Theatre Restaurant Near The Almeida
The Baring
With experience at both Dabbous and the Bull and Last, chef Rob Tecwyn and general manager Adam Symonds’ new neighbourhood pub is perfect for an early supper. Start with the smoked eel & pig cheek terrine, then follow it with roasted gurnard, Tropea onion & taramasalata. Go easy on the local ales if you’re planning on seeing anything particularly emotional or memorable.

Best Pre Theatre Restaurant Near The Young Vic
The Anchor & Hope
Set to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2023, the platonic ideal of a south London pub with wonderful food and a genuinely warm welcome - it was always full of surprises, offering on-brand offal and local ales far earlier than the competition. If you can, try the salt cod brandade and then order the seven hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder - and then pop in for a ‘Check Point IPA’ post performance.

Best Pre Theatre Restaurant Near The Old Vic
Flat Iron
Now that the much missed Hello Darling! Has closed, your best bet is the 10th Flat Iron restaurant in London, located a short stroll away down Lower Marsh street. By now you should know what to expect: terrific cuts of meat, beef dripping chips, soft serve chocolate ice cream. The results are pretty much failsafe, even if you’re on a tight turnaround

Best Pre Theatre Near The Bush Theatre
Found in the
Dorsett City Hotel, this requires a degree of planning but is well worth the effort. If you’re with experienced Chinese gourmands they’ll probably know this place already and have already picked from the abalone, pig tongue and “country-style” chicken. If not, order the roast duck in advance - it is one of the absolute best in London and makes for a fun and frivolous start to an evening out.

Best Pre Theatre Restaurant Near The National
Le Pont De La Tour Bistrot
Located next to the original Le Pont de la Tour restaurant, the Bistrot opened this summer to huge acclaim: spectacular views over the Thames and Tower Bridge and an affordable, seasonable menu. Opt for a French classic (duck confit, rabbit parmentier, ray wing au poivre), enjoy the jazz and then stroll back to see the full blown farce of  Jack Absolute.

Best Pre Theatre Restaurant Near the Dominion Theatre
Small plates in a comfortable setting, a characterful townhouse on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia is an ideal location before you subject yourself to either Grease or Elf, recreating live on stage. Expect  Sicilian-inspired dishes from southern Africa and Northern Italy - the crab pasta served in a shell is a genuine showstopper. Caution: you may be late as it is so hard to leave.