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Written by Luke Bull - 09 October 2023

6 New openings in Covent Garden

Wedged between Leicester Square, The Strand and Seven Dials, Covent Garden is in good company. Whilst the grand plaza is a historic and recognisable London space, new blood is always welcome. We've got the lowdown on the new faces that are worth braving the crowds for.

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Penelopes London new openings

1. A new Spanish-Israeli restaurant in Covent Garden: Penelope's

Covent Garden, London

Hotel AMANO is a true Covent Garden Treasure. Their killer rooftop/basement bar combo means alcoholics afflicted by vertigo and claustrophobia can find somewhere to drink, but it's their new food opening that's got us really excited. Enter Peneople's.

Fusion cooking is by means a new occurrence in London (it can sometimes feel harder to find a non-fusion spot in the Capital). The curious combination of Israeli and Spanish food, though, is a genuinely novel addition to the landscape.

The food itself sounds incredible: Spanish tapas sits alongside Laffa bread (a large, thin flatbread normally cooked in a taboon), and Roasted Israeli aubergine can be enjoyed with a deep-bodied Rioja. Yeah, we're excited.


2. A Covent Garden bar for music lovers: Stereo

Covent Garden, London

Secreted under the Iconic bustle of Covent Garden Market, Stereo seeks to distinguish itself from the endless raft of London bars through a carefully curated combination of music, drinks and food.

Taking inspiration from 'the vibrant late-night cultures of New York and London' (read: a normal bar), the venue pairs high-end bar food, like ox-cheek nachos and quality cheeseburgers, alongside local beers and cocktails.

The normal then, so far. Where Stereo sets itself apart is, tellingly, in its music; creating a music venue that carefully considers its house band, DJ selection and nurtures local talent is not something done easily. Doing all this in the mad churn of Covent Garden feels like an exercise in futility. Full credit to Stereo, then, for pulling it off and showing there is space for venues that care even in the most chaotic of London areas. We can't wait to see what else they offer.

3. A green social club in Covent Garden: Outcrop

Covent Garden, London

Riding high on London's wave of eco-conscious venues, Outcrop seeks to bring people together under the nobel arts of eating, drinking and having fun.

Opening its doors on June 23 for three months, running four days a week, Outcrop is a pop-up restaurant and arts space that will see its lucky punters tuck into some Thai food whilst enjoying the courtyard area of 180 at the Strand. The idea seems to be a celebration of the natural world through food, music and art – we look forward to seeing what, exactly, this entails.

4. A decadent new bar in a historic location: Common Decency

Covent Garden, London

Declaring itself to be an 'intimate subterranean bar' in London's West Wed, Common Decency is anything but common. You'll find it located in the Nomad Hotel which, interestingly enough is the old Bow Street magistrates court where Oscar Wilde was held –thankfully the decadence remains whilst the bigotry has been excised.

The menu reads and tastes well for somewhere that worryingly promises 'avant grade' cocktails: their signature cocktails are based around a singular ingredient. Choosing Butternut Squash, for example, will bag you either a heady mix of rum, sherry, spiced pear and yrs, squash or a milk punch which pairs vermouth, rum and , again, butternut squash.

It's unapologetically expensive (£18 for a cocktail seems almost a parody of London prices) and takes its craft very seriously. A fitting tribute to the great writer himself, then.

Xi’an BiangBiang Noodles Covent Garden

5. A loved London casual dining experience comes to Covent Garden: Xi’an BiangBiang Noodles

Covent Garden, London

Xi’an BiangBiang Noodles is essentially what all great casual dining should be. A limited menu, in a clean, simple setting with a bill at the end that doesn't finally make you leave London for cheaper shores in, Peterborough or somewhere.

In this case, the food worth shouting about comes in the form of hand-pulled noodles and light, puffy dumplings, all washed down with a cold beer. That's pretty much it, and it's a combination that has served the Spitalfields venue very well.

Covent Garden has gained an icon here, and we wait to try it. Also, don't wear anything white, it's a joyously messy affair.

Alligator bar covent garden

6. A New Orleans-style place to drink in Covent Garden: The Alligator Bar

Covent Garden, London

A long-standing drinking hole in Covent Garden, The Alligator Bar on West Street (just below Shaftesbury Avenue), has had a revamp by Louie, a New Orleans-inspired joint that is bringing live music, creole cuisine and a whole lot of wicker furniture to Covent Garden.

You can find The Alligator Bar on the ground floor, and make sure to make full use of the comfy outdoor area just next to the well-stocked bar.

Covent Garden's best new venues

The iconic square in the heart of London's West End gets a bad rap. Traditionally known for its street performers, high-street venues and tourists, the historic marketplace has a few new secrets up its sleeve. We're keeping tabs on the Garden, alerting you to every new bar, recent restaurant and refurbished venue. Here are Covent Garden's best new openings.

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