I've never been in - a friend and I wanted to go, but we were told there was a £15 cover charge! It was about 8 in the evening. So, I've never been back. That was a couple of years ago, so things my have changed, but £15 is too much!
270 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 2UQ
“We are handily located in the boutique end of Upper St near Highbury Tube station. The area is a perfect fit for us with lots of independent shops full of character such as Montes Deli, Sefton & the Wine Sampler. There is a real community spirit here...” more...
13 reviews of The Player in English
Reviewed using iPhone. Get the app
The Player is another old haunt of mine; I’ve been coming since it 1st opened in 1998 though less frequently than I did in my younger days. Happily I can say the standard has never dropped. On Saturday I opted for one of their well-mixed cocktails called a Devils Kiss – a peachy, gingery very alcoholic concoction served with a wedge of lime and I don’t remember what else now but I can vouch that it went down a treat! You can eat here but I have never done so – so can’t comment, though judging by what was passing us on waiters trays it looked like good, traditional bar offerings and I imagine as this place has always had such a good name for drinks it won’t allow itself to be let down by bad food. I think this place has some history links to the wonderful Dicks bar at The Atlantic – another favourite place that is sadly no more, but if, like me you were in fashion, advertising or the media in the 90’s you would have probably spent many a happy night there and have several raucous tales to tell. Maybe this is why I’m so fond of The Player, unlike many cocktail bars who wanted to be the must go hot spot it just concentrated on being really good - which is why even after 13 years or so my friends and I will often still meet here before walking on to another part of Soho to dine. The décor does not seem to have changed much to me, but I’m sure things have been renewed and upholstered and I’m sure the DJ was not always there, but that may just be me or it may have been different nights of the week that I was coming? You enter via a small doorway on Broadwick St near Agent Provocateur and I’m sure those not in the know it must look like you’re entering something a little raunchy! I think it may be a membership place, thought I have never been asked to produce anything to prove this. Once down the flight of stairs your greeted by quiet a big bar considering the size of the room (its small) and lots of smiling staff who ask if you have a reservation (it’s probably a good idea to book a table on a weekend as it no fun standing in your glad rags and heels especially after a few of their killer cocktails!) The seating is a mix of low stools, velvet booths and various size tables, music is at a talkable level and the whole place has a lounge style feel to it. There is something that always feels quiet luxurious to me about the place though it’s not something I can put my finger on, maybe it’s the people I always come with or the crowd that frequent the bar as the look, though well thought out and well done is not what I’d call sumptuous. It definitely y has its own sense of style (that has been copied by many other bars over the years) and there is a confidence in what it’s doing – a great place to start an evening. I think a table of 6 of us had 2 cocktails each (one may have been drinking champagne and it came to about £140)
This place is indeed a hidden gem. Despite only working five minutes walk away and being armed with the address and a map, I still managed to walk past the door at least twice before finding my way inside!
But once I was inside, it was worth the confusion. It's a basement bar, and that gives it a cosy, informal feel like being in someone's lounge, a vibe added to by the kitsch seventies decor.
I was here for a private function, so I can't comment on the food and drink prices, but everything I tried was delicious; from the small snacky items like the spring rolls to fab fresh cocktails. The staff were friendly and seemed very knowledgeable about their booze, although I can imagine they don't have much time for banter when the place is busy!
Basement cocktail bar with a great drinks list and good service. Visited on a Wednesday night when there were enough people for an atmosphere but not too many to distract the bar staff from showering us with attention. Prices were around 6 or 7 pounds - not bad for Soho. You don't have to be a member to reserve a table, at least not on week nights. Well done.
Reviewed using Android. Get the app
We got in here a little early so missed the hoardes - i can imagine it becoming pretty cloggeed later in the evening with its downstairs basement-esque feel. Trot down a narrow stair case from a small door on a Soho street and it opens out to a coktail lounge with circular tables and little round stools. I was really impressed by the depth of boozey knowledge sported by the staff - one of our party was specifically after a whisky and found himself a touch in the deep end when offered 14 different varieties all with different qualities. I went for the far’a’fafa (or similar) cocktail which was fruity, sweet and well mixed. Standard London extortionate rates for drinks here but at least its within a classy environment with great restrooms.
I came with work a few weeks ago and I think it’s a real hidden gem.
The doorway is so subtle i almost missed it but once in, the cocktails made me glad we had found it!
Penicillin was my fave, a mix of whisky, ginger, lemon and honey - it will definately sooth any illness.
Little pots of french fries are great to nibble on as you sip and look at the beautiful people who glide by.
The Player is like the VIP lounge of the coolest nightclub you've ever been to. A cross between 1970s New York and 1980s Miami meets St Tropez, with a heavy dose of early 21st Century London thrown in for good measure.
The music is underground, retro, modern, kitsch but cool, the best tunes you've never heard. Cosmic Disco, Electro Funk, Deep House, Wonky Pop, and more.
The drinks are phenomenal. The head-bartenders role reads like a who's who of the drinks industry, and the current incumbent is probably the best of the bunch. All our juices are freshly squeezed daily, we only use the finest ingredients and our bartender training is rightly recognised as the best in the industry.
We're probably not for everyone, but if you like great drinks and even better music we're definitely worth checking out.
Not sure I would agree with previous review. Once again this used to be a really good bar before the wonderful people at timeout and the evening standard told the world and his wife about it! Dont get me wrong the bar staff are pretty good and can knock up any cocktail on demand but theres far better places in London now, Decor is nothing special, can get way to busy towards end of week. Spend a bit of cash, make a true members bar and not a part time one and this could find its former glory once again! Would stop by for drink pre dinner with date I wasnt to worried about impressing that much!
generally a really good place for a night out, has a really extensive cocktail range, ive tried many of them and they have all been really delicious. the staff are skilled with the drinks but not so much with the customers. they are very rude a lot, unless you are very obviously rich and handsome! try to get their attention and keep it otherwise you will spend the whole night being completely ignored.
Brought to you by the same people who created Milk & Honey (New York & London) and the Match bars, this cosy basement hideaway is the place to go for delicious fresh cocktails, friendly, knowledgeable service from people who are properly passionate about their booze, and a tequila selection that's almost unmatched in London.
It's a great place to bring a date after dinner, especially if you remember to reserve a table. Non-members can reserve tables, but members get preference so in practice it's difficult to get in at the weekend.
The Player gets crowded and noisy late and on weekends, but the music's generally fairly laid-back and the crowd is friendly. Still, I recommend going earlier in the week (Mon-Wed) to fully enjoy the atmosphere without having to shout.
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