The Happenstance

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The Happenstance image 1

Address: 1a Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AA, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)845 468 0104
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-late; Sat 10am-late; Sun 10am-6pm
Door: Open door
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu


This large bar and restaurant is nestled in the shadows of St Paul's Cathedral. Owned by rapidly growing bar group Drake & Morgan, and with sister sites in the Square Mile including The Drift, The Folly and The Anthologist, The Happenstance carries on the group's ethos that mixes kitsch style with a creative cocktail menu. Inside you'll find a long bar with high tables, a pick-and-mix selection of odd tables and brightly coloured loveseats, and a dining room towards the back with open kitchen. The look is a fun mix of vintage French chemist, Italian deli, English country house and a splash of '70s style. There's even an in-bar florist.

While beer and champagne quaffing City workers are to be expected and well-catered for, there's also a voluminous cocktail menu, with drinkers guided through the selection with a bulls eye-style flavour map. The selection mixes classics with botanically inspired confections and out-and-out novelty acts, building on a fairground theme kick-started at The Drift, utilising everything from fat-washing to homemade bitters and served in an inspired selection of vessels, from pretty ceramics to plastic bags and sharing cocktails served in miniature bathtubs.

Unfortunately, the drinks themselves can be hit and miss, the quirkiness becoming self-indulgent and apparently blinding bartenders from balance, but otherwise a refreshing change in the Square Mile.