Drinks in London's West End rarely come cheap. Even less so in the environs of Leicester Square, arguably the city's biggest tourist trap and certainly a magnetic draw for boozy, boisterous groups of townies on their 'big night out' in the capital. If I sound like I've taken against Leicester Square, that's because, its smart recent refurbishment notwithstanding, it's a HELLHOLE, of sleazy bars and overpriced cinemas.
If you find yourself in the area - perhaps you're waiting for a pre-theatre drink with a friend, or you've found yourself there after a bookshop crawl down Charing Cross Road - there's only one place I'd recommend you spend any time. In fact, I hesitate to do so, because it's such a quiet, reasonably priced refuge that I'm not sure I want any more people going there. But here we go: against my better judgement, I introduce you to the Cork and Bottle. It's a basement level wine bar, and most people walk straight past its frontage (between a ticket agency and a pizza stall) without even noticing it. Down its metal spiral staircase, the cosy bar serves a great list of wines from around £4 a glass (as well as by the carafe and the bottle), and alongside an interesting menu it does a fabulous cheese platter (your choice from an extensive selection).
I've told you. Now please don't go and leave the rest of us in peace.