Grand Union Paddington is one of a large family of popular bars that can be found throughout London. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Grand Union in Brixton – where I enjoyed one of the best nights out I have ever had in London – so expectations were certainly high.
The bar sits at the foot of the gorgeous and appropriately named Grand Union Canal. Given the spacious outdoor area, and views of a very tranquil canal, alfresco drinking is almost compulsory. The bar itself is adorned with interesting décor and furniture, and there are plenty of spaces for groups of any size. For larger groups, you can hire out purpose built areas – the ‘Snug’ and the ‘Pleasure Level’ - that overlook the rest of the bar. These roped off areas come complete with large chesterfields and tables – allowing you to create your own mini party. There are also smart booths for those hungry and smaller groups.
Grand Union Paddington is great for alfresco eating and drinking in London.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
The clientele seemed to fall into the 'after work drinkers' category, more than anything else. Though this isn’t a criticism, it does make it more difficult for a venue to build atmosphere – after work drinkers seldom stay in a bar until closing. Grand Union Bars are perfect for spending an entire evening until the early hours, reducing the need to move on to other bars or clubs. Paddington is a different experience; the fairly discrete and hidden location makes alfresco dining a calm and relaxing affair, while good drinks and a much more chilled vibe make it a great London bar.
The private areas allow guests to still be involved in the action.
The Food and Drinks
Grand Union Paddington boasts a lengthy cocktail list that is made up of both signature and classic cocktails. Not dissimilar to its sister bars, the staff are friendly and the service is spot on. A particular favourite was the Godfather (Monkey Shoulder whisky and Disaronno) and absolutely no complaints can be made about the Vodka Martini. There is also a selection of bottled and draught beer and a versatile wine list. The food menu is a cross section of everything that is currently popular in London – hot dogs, sliders, sharing platters, burgers, pizza, ribs and wings. Even vegetarians are covered, with the top salad selection. My Fully Loaded Burger was very tasty (mature cheddar, streaky bacon, onion rings and BBQ sauce), the sides were well-portioned and it came to the table in good time.
Everything is in place for Grand Union Paddington to be a front-runner in an area that is screaming for a great bar (much like its brothers and sisters), though its opening hours make it slightly more chilled and sedate. However with a good food and drinks menu it can still be considered a really good option for after work drinks in London.