A stone’s throw from Edgeware Road tube station, Heist Bank is a welcoming and busy hive of fun, food and booze. On a blustery and wet Friday evening, we passed through the backstreets of Paddington, crossing over the brightly lit footbridge, to reach Heist Bank.

The Venue

Heist Bank stands just a few steps back from the waterfront, surrounded by sleek tower blocks and the cool, industrial-style backdrop of the Paddington Basin. However, Heist Bank gives the impression more of trendy East London than of suited-up business district hangout, and it echoes its Shoreditch style influences in its industrial chic interiors, relaxed vibes and great bar area.

Once inside, think post-industrial decor, graffiti scrawled walls and pop-art style posters. Combine that with a sprawling bar area, pool table and vintage table football and you get a feel for the Heist Bank vibe. We were led to the more restaurant style area to the left of the bar, where punters sat at trestle tables on wooden stools and behind which stood the open plan kitchen with its wood-fired pizza ovens.

Large open windows, industrial-style furnishings and funky post-modern artwork define Heist Bank's modern, playful look.

The Food & Drink

Heist Bank markets itself as a pizza and beer joint, and they do justice to both - serving up artisan, wood-fired pizzas with a wide selection of quality craft beers on tap. But don't be fooled - Heist Bank is much more than just pizza, and you'd be missing out big time if you didn't venture further down the menu to try some of the other highly appetising options available. I'm speaking in particular of the Small Plates on offer, which were delicious. The Maple Pea Hummus (£5)served with raw veggies and crispy lavosh bread, was great - full of flavour and refreshingly simple. There are also various cured meats and cheeses, for example Cornish seaweed & cider salami (£4.50). The N’duja croquettes (£5) are to die for, and are served with a tangy sorrel mayonnaise.

Perhaps we should have spun for continuing to sample the array of main menu dishes on offer, which boasted Pot Roast Lamb Shoulder with Artichokes and Berkswell Cheese and Roasted Butternut Squash with Feta, Chilli and Almonds. However, given the pizza-focused nature of Heist Bank, we opted for giving some of their dough-based creations a go. We went for one topped with wild mushroom, Bermondsey Frier and chervil (£10) and another with Hackney culatello, East Sussex wild garlic & fennel salami (£11). Needless to say, the pizzas lived up to their high reputation. It didn't take much persuading for us to take our leftovers home in boxes.

Drinks wise, I decided to try their large selection of gins and cocktails, whilst my friend delved into exploring the vast beer menu, sampling the guest beers on offer that evening. The refreshing and fruity Bramble cocktail (£9) was a good start, however other options such as their Dark & Stormy (£9) fell a little short of the mark. Similarly, when paying £9.50 for a gin and tonic I would usually expect it to be a little fancier. The beers did well however, and it's worth a trip for any connoisseur of hoppy brews who wants a great selection of craft beers and a bit of variety, served up in Heist Bank's cool bar and restaurant space.

Heist Bank's sourdough pizzas are topped with the finest local ingredients and cooked in giant wood-fired ovens behind the bar.

Atmosphere

As soon as you arrive at Heist Bank, the friendliness of the team, the chatty, laid back vibes and overall fun atmosphere are geared to putting you in a good mood. Music plays lightly throughout the venue and the atmosphere is buzzy and happily energetic. Friday night draws in a wide-ranging crowd of local after-work drinkers, friends starting a night-out in central London, couples and larger groups as well. It creates a great atmosphere and it's easy to see why this place is popular.

Downstairs there's a games room complete with vintage Nintendo consoles and french-style football tables. The various spaces available for private hire would all work well for parties with friends or work-dos and the setting is great as a chilled-out, fun party space. There's also the fact that Heist Bank dabbles in artisan floristry to add to its cheery character.

Heist Bank is the perfect place for after-work drinks with friends, combining a spacious bar and restaurant area with a great atmosphere and plenty of pizza and beer.

Summary

Heist Bank does a great job of drilling down on the casual dining and after-work drinks market. With wood-fired pizzas, a menu balancing cocktails and a wide selection of craft beers and a fun, energy-filled atmosphere, Heist Bank feels like a recipe for success.