142 Shaftesbury Avenue, (corner West St by Cambridge Circus), London, WC2H 8HJ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7836 3119
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Sat noon-11:30pm, Sun noon-19:30pm
Door: Open door
Style: Gastro pub
Recommended for: Aperitivos, Food
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Owned by: Russell Norman and Richard Beatty
Images By: diffordsguide.com
Previously a classic London boozer, this large Victorian pub spread over three floors has been gastrofied by Russell Norman and Richard Beatty, founders of the Polpo, Spuntino and Mishkin's restaurant chains. Ape & Bird has adopted the group's Polpo branding so follows an Italian Venetian theme with a menu offering cicchetti (small plates), meat balls and other typical Venetian cuisine (we liked the ox cheek polenta) as well as thin crust pizzas.
The Ape & Bird occupies a prime position on Shaftsbury Avenue, diagonally opposite the Palace Theatre, in the heart of the West End's tourist area so understandably its location has an impact on its mix of clientele. The airy ground-floor is split between gastro pub and dive bar - Victorian pub meets Venetian bàcari with utilitarian and reclaimed decor.
There are just four beers on draught but with the bottle brews the selection is varied and mostly from local breweries. And mixed drinks follow Polpo's Venetian theme with the likes of Spritz, Negronis, Cynar and Bellini. The wine list is short and to the point with a dozen Italian wines all available by the glass.