A new kid on the block, Grand Union takes on the business district of Chancery Lane with a fresh, modern take on the classic London pub. So with this new concept in mind, we decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Located on a quiet side street, you descend a set of stairs, past a neon sign saying 'Show Time', and as the noise from inside increases you realise this is not your average drinks spot. With the flamboyant style of an eccentric British billionaire the décor is akin to a London pub but with subtle differences. With low lighting and wood-panelled walls, at first glance you might not notice any difference. Looking deeper however, the mismatched lampshades, fluorescent floral wallpaper, oriental fans and neon signs leave the place with an undeniably quirky feel while still retaining a sense of homely comfort.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
Turning up in the middle of the three hour happy hour (5pm-8pm) meant the place was buzzing with City workers and groups of girls happy to take advantage of the fantastic discount. The downstairs area is the place to be if you're looking for a sociable environment to enjoy some drinks and chat, while the upstairs area is better for conversation and ordering food. All the staff were very attentive and happy to make recommendations or even whip up something special just for you. The most popular part of the venue seemed to be the alfresco area which is bound to be a big hit in the summer. Grand Union seems to fit neatly into the category of places you visit just for a 'quick one' and end up staying till the last train home.
The Food & Drinks
The menu itself is full of stomach lining starters and hearty burgers, pizzas and succulent ribs. Starting out with the Kansas Sliders is a good option for a light bite, with the aubergine and goats cheese a fresh, juicy alternative to meat. The sharing pizza is a great choice for two people, with a thin crispy base, prosciutto, capers and olives it was both substantial and light enough to enjoy in a matter of minutes.
For those that have a sweet tooth there are plenty of treats like the Mai Tai and the Pina Colada while the stronger drinks come in the form of Cherry Manhattan - a pretty pink drink full of Jim Beam, and the Godfather - with Monkey Shoulder whisky and Disaronno. If you are a G&T fan ask for Emma, one of the bartenders, who makes a mean take on the classic by muddling and straining cucumber, filling the glass with cracked ice, Hendrix gin and topping it all off with tonic.
Grand Union Chancery Lane have grasped their market perfectly. A modern edge to a traditional pub draws in new customers, as well as those just seeking a pint in a good pub. Chancery Lane provides the perfect post-work wind down spot and a great place to stop during the day for some inventive cocktails and light bites.