From the folks who gave you The Piano Works, Studio 88 is the new place for live entertainment
Tucked away down a side street of Leicester Square (Whitcomb St, to be precise) is a warren underground rooms that play host to the latest addition to the London nightclub scene, Studio 88. Here you’ll find not one, but two grand pianos, led by pitch-perfect vocalists and backed by an enthusiastic full house band. The concept: write your requests on the napkins of your (individually designed) table and vote with your song sheet. You select the pianist, who also happens to be a talented singer, and wait for your song to come up. The entire evening is filled with music – all from a crowd-sourced playlist.
The name – Studio 88 – is inspired by the number of keys on a keyboard, taking note of the success of big sister The Piano Works, the Farringdon music venue. In the latest concept bar from founder Alan Lorrimer, Studio 88 aims to keep alive some of the magic of live music in the face of a sadly declining industry; 50 London venues have shut up shop over the last 10 years. Yet Studio 88 employs over 50 musicians, helping to sustain the musical creativity of the capital.
And then there are the cocktails. Did we mention the cocktails? Specifically, did we mention the Espresso Martinis? Because they’re probably the best Espresso Martinis in town. The classic Cosmos come a close second. All served up by a team of talented bartenders who were probably told that luscious locks and handlebar moustaches were mandatory for the job. The Autograph Collection, a series of signature cocktails inspired by the world’s most famous recording studios, offers experimental numbers like Pinewood and Abbey Road or Motown’s historical HQ, Hitsville USA.
If you’re feeling peckish, the bar also has a quirky California Cone-based theme running through the menu. Practically every dish is packed into a bamboo cone with fusion Californian flavours like chipotle yoghurt, miso pork with black bean and yummy veggie shitake mushrooms. These bite-sized delights can be purchased form the roaming usherettes or, if you’re very organised, you can book ahead and get six of a kind with a dessert cone and a glass of prosecco for a bargain £25.
Studio 88 is a spectacular space that pays homage to the best of London’s creativity, with a raised performance stage, musically-synced tables and state-of-the-art LED lighting that create a truly immersive effect. “Part bar, part restaurant, part party, part concert”, as it describes itself, Studio 88 is perfect for night a on the town with all your favourite tunes.