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Where can you find the Dusks at dusk on a Friday evening?? (That sounds a bit gothic doesn't it?). The answer is rather mundane. I often meet up with Duskman and tag along with his colleagues for drinks after work. He works on City Road, London so the choices are Old Street, City Road itself or round about Angel. More often than not we go to BRB (Bar Room Bar) @ the Arc (I know it as the Arc until I looked it up on the internet.) It's one of those trendy bars that just happen to be one of the dreaded chains. There are apparently 26 of them mostly in London but slowly creeping across the country. Just what we need. It is a place I go to but I can not quite understand the appeal.
The location of the bar is brilliant. It is very easy to find as it is two seconds from Angel Tube station on the Northern Line. You literally leave the station turn right and you are there. There are also plenty of buses going past so it is ultra easy to get to.
The décor is smart, chic but pretty unmemorable. It's all modern paintings and comfy brown sofas. There's a pool table at the back of the bar. I have only ever been to the venue on a Friday after work and it has always been heaving. I mange to get a seat about half the time I am there.
The atmosphere is quite buzzing with mostly indie music playing in the background. I am sure they played the whole of the first Stone Roses album the last time I was there. However due to the chatter of people unwinding for the weekend it is very much a case of name that tune as you only get the beat of the song or traces or melody and vocals.
If I am going to the Arc I do not tend to drink beer. It is definitely not a place where you would find a good pint of real ale. I'm not sure if I can even find some nice Belgian or wheat beer. It's a place where lager whether it be imported with a slice of lemon in the neck or your normal Carlsberg rules. I am sure they do one of the common garden lagers for about £2 a pint which is not bad for London. Due to this I tend to drink either spirits or cocktails when I go there. The staff are pretty good at learning new things so I taught them to make my favourite drink a Long Vodka and have mastered it well. The charge for getting this delicacy many miles from its Scottish home is £2.95 whilst a soda water and lime costs just over £1.
Like most bars of its type it has a decent enough cocktail and shooters list. I would advise you to go on Thursday when they are 2 for 1. (I have not been as we tend to go to a quiz night elsewhere). They do a range of long cocktails, pitchers, shooters, martinis and non alcoholic cocktails. I was quite tempted by a ginger berry (ginger beer and raspberry) but plumped for a cocktail I can not quite remember the name of on my last visit (I think spice was somewhere in the name of it). It had ginger beer, rum, orange liqueur, vanilla and lime and it was nice and different. I've also had a very sophisticated martini there. The long cocktails and martinis cost around about £5 whilst the ones without alcohol are about £2.50. Wine seems to be around £2.50 a glass but I never seem to drink wine in bars or pubs. I'm not sure why.
All this sipping or swigging cocktails makes me hungry. Luckily there is a menu consisting of pizzas, pastas wraps and other bar nibbles. You can just order at the bar and they will bring your food over to you. Be there on a Tuesday when it is 2 for 1 pizza all day. Duskmn say it is very busty at lunchtimes on Tuesdays with people taking advantage of this great offer. The pizzas are actually well priced with a 5" one costing just owe the £3 mark and a 12" pizza about £6. They are thin bases and you can see them being cooked in the pizza oven. I've not actually had a full pizza bit have tried a little bit of Duskman's and they are not bad. They have a decent choice of toppings with a handful of vegetarian ones.
I did not feel like pizza the day we ate there. Instead I had a bowl of nachos. (I think they cost about £6 they were ok but the cheese was processed cheese). I would not particularly recommend them and would go for the pizza instead.
The service is not bad considering how bust the place is. You can usually get served after a few minutes of waiting at the bar. I've found it good and helpful and was impressed that they remembered how to make my Long Vodka.
The bar does take credit and debit cadis you run out of cash but only on orders of £10 or over.
The Arc is very similar to a lot of these trendy bars. It's perfectly nice, the drinks are not too bad if a wee bit pricy (unless you can go on Thursdays). It is just that there is nothing distinctive I can say about it. I would recommend you try it there if you are at the Angel but I am sure are so many other places in London that I would prefer a whole lot more.