The Refreshment Room is the latest in a long line of new drinking holes to open in Stratford over the past few years since the area boomed to become of London’s most popular destinations. Having recently moved to Stratford, I heard on the grape vine that The Refreshment Room was the place to go to avoid the crowds, enjoy some cheap but decent food and chill out with a beer.
A great, affordable bar in the heart of Stratford. Food offering is limited!
While most of the action is focused around the Olympic Park and the adjoining Westfield Stratford City (both heaving with tourists), the Refreshment Room is located in the older part of town (not heaving with tourists) but still close to the tube station. See the location of The Refreshment Room on google maps here. This new pub/bar replaces a failed establishment hilariously named ‘Stratford’s Got Swagga’ which sat empty for a few years, thankfully this new bar looks set to stay.
The entrance is deceptively small but leads into a large room where you’ll find a big bar, ample seating and a dining area laid out in an open plan style. Unlike most bars there are plenty of comfy sofa’s to choose from a s well as the standard table and chairs.
The interior is rustic, modern and quirky; interesting works of art adorn the walls, but are not so in your face to make you feel like you’re in a museum. There is music and a screen to watch sport if it’s on, but I should note that this definitely isn’t a sports bar. The atmosphere is relaxed but upbeat, you can tell this is where young Stratford locals like to go after work to avoid the maddening crowds that have invaded the rest of the area.
Drinks in The Refreshment Room are your standard London bar fare and there is nothing too special about the selection or the prices. Cocktails are two for £12 which I took full advantage of; they are trying to be slightly trendy by serving in old jam jars, which I guess is fine if that’s your sort of thing, but I find it a bit strange.
The drinks were good but not mind blowing, to be fair I didn’t expect them to be for £6 each. If your just popping in for a drink after work then the selection at The Refreshment room is great and cheap enough that you can afford a few rounds – just don’t expect anything too special.
This is why I wanted to go to The Refreshment Room, I’d heard the food was good, cheap and quick to arrive – tuns out all three are true!
If you want food you need to go to a little booth next to the bar where a member of staff will take your order and you’ll also pay in advance. All very quick and painless, however I was fortunate there was no queue as it seems like there is only 1 person dedicated to taking orders. I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, Rack of Ribs, and my friend ordered a veggie burger.
The food really didn’t take long to arrive – around 15 minutes. A turned around of this time brings up fears that microwaves were heavily involved in the making of the food, however the quality belayed this. As you can probably tell from the pictures, this food was freshly prepared on site, at least for the most part.
What let the food down a bit is that it was served on plastic plates wrapped in paper, which kind of cheapened the whole thing. Maybe this new bar hasn’t go around to ordering proper plates yet, but they really should make it a priority.
But then again, who cares what the food is served on when it tastes this good! Tender and moist (yes I hate that word too) the meat was up there with restaurants that charge twice the price. I was certainly impressed for what is essentially a bar that does a bit of grub and it’s not much more expensive than a Weatherspoons, but blows them out of the water when it comes to quality.
Here’s the Refreshment Room menu in case you were wondering what’s on offer. Not extensive, but enough to suite most appetites.
The refreshment room is a relaxed, modern and fun place to go. There drinks are reasonable, the food is great and thanks to its tucked away location, it’s rarely too crowded. The plastic plates and lack of waiters makes it a bit rough around the edges, but for a new bar trying to save money and focus on the quality of the product, I can forgive them. I’d definitely recommend checking out The Refreshment Room if you’re in Stratford and stuck for somewhere to have a pint and a bit to eat.
If you want to know more about The Refreshment Room, head over to their website: http://refreshmentroom-stratford.com/