Many would rather block out their daily commute through Waterloo station than visit a pub there, so I must admit when I first heard about Corney & Barrows newest venture, I was a little apprehensive. However with a strong reputation as well as two great bars already to the groups name, Cabin Bar has made a brave attempt to become a travellers sanctuary slap bang in the middle of a busy central London train station.
Ambience and Décor
Cabin Bar is located on the upper level of Waterloo station and if you don't look up you might just miss it! Once spotted however, the dimly lit little bar creates an inviting change from its fast food neighbours. From the moment you ascend the escalator, you realise Cabin Bar is not just another station boozer; a wine dispenser (a first to be found in a train station) as well as a mouth-watering selection of cheeses are proudly displayed at the entrance, eagerly waiting to be bought by busy travellers on the go. With no rush to get anywhere and an appetite building I proceeded straight to the bar; resembling an old train cabin, it sits proudly in the middle of the room surrounded by bar stools and a scatter of antique armchairs. The aesthetics of the bar are very pleasant and its easy to forget where you are, though those closer to the surrounding glass wall will soon be reminded of the hustle bustle of the station.
Clientele and Atmosphere
Open all day, the bar pulls in a mixed crowd; neighbouring office workers, couples on dates, groups of friends catching up over a glass of wine to seasoned commuters with time to kill. The cosy size of Cabin Bar creates a relaxed yet buzzing atmosphere, creating a welcomed alternative from the pubs close-by overflowing with punters for an after work drink. The attentive and friendly staff are also on hand to serve up drinks and snacks.
Food and Drink
With an extensive bar, The Cabin doesn't disappoint in drinks options made up of premium British ales, Champagne and cocktails. What the bar really excels in is its choice of wines. Reasonably priced and served by the glass (starting at £4) or bottle (£18), the list has something for every taste and wallet. My companion and I dived straight into a bottle of Argentinian Ruca Malen Malbec 2010 (£25); perfect to kick the evening off.
Because this bar really knows its wines, it came as no surprise that they also know there stuff about cheeses too. From Montgomerys Cheddar to Somerset Brie there is plenty to tuck in to along side a good glass. For those who are in no rush, the bar serves a selection of British small plates, such as Pork Apple Pork Pie (£5) and Honey Roasted Ham Hock Terrine (£5) as well as nice selection of small salad bowls. Having sampled both cheeses and small plates, I would suggest indulging in the selection of cheese served with crackers, walnut bread and pear chutney. It was simple but lovely. The busy traveller is also well looked after, with wine and cheese available to buy and take away making a nice change from the usual M&S picnic on the train.
Cabin Bar is a nice addition to the station and mainly appeals to commuters in search of something a little more refined than a Starbucks coffee, though its still a nice little hub all the same. If wine and a catch up in a rush are on the cards, then the bar is definitely a good choice, the same can be said for an after-work drink if its been one of those days.