A rather peculiar location in Holborn, the fairy tale themed, ‘The Fable Bar and Restaurant’ certainly sticks out looks-wise among the other mundane, grey buildings. Its shiny, modern glass windowpanes are a paradox in comparison. Perhaps though, this strange positioning helps to highlight The Fable’s fantastical ethos, allowing visitors to escape the dreary reality we live in, and enter the world of fairy tales….
It was really like entering another world, as I pushed open the glass door I was handed a glass of delicious champagne, which accompanied me as I wandered around the enchanting first floor. Amongst the charmingly lit bar, there was the usual bar seating arrangements you’d see anywhere. However, one booth particularly caught my eye. A semi-circle shaped seat decorated and encased with around a hundred books, all about fairy tales and fables. I spoke to one of the staff members there who told me that she often wanted to just pull one of the books out and have a read. I made a joke about the whole display falling apart if she did, but she told me that the books were nailed together to prevent this from happening! So to all the Aristotle fans out there, I’m sorry to inform you that these books are just for decoration and not for reading!
The first floor is set out like a mezzanine, with steps leading to a flowery corner, in which guests can purchase or simply admire the bloomage. I must say that it gave the place a very nice, floral fragrance. As the night went on the place got busier and busier, filled with well-dressed businessmen and elegant cocktail dresses. In the corner a man dressed in a hat with small horns (think Puck from A Midsummer’s Night Dream) was mixing a very sweet cocktail called a Sugar Plum Fairy. A giant rectangle of ice sat amongst the plums, as he chipped away a few squares for our drinks. He finished them off with a feather, which added a nice touch to the cocktail. Now, as a bit of sweet-tooth gal, I like drinks with a sweeter taste to them, however, I have to say that the Sugar Plum Fairy was even a little too sugary for me, but hey, it did look nice.
We walked up the stairs to the next floor, which was set out much more formally, as it was the restaurant area. We didn’t stay too long on this floor as there wasn’t much to do, but perhaps that was because it was more of a restaurant atmosphere than a bar, and who wants to be in a restaurant without food!? This floor did, however, hold home to the best cocktail of the night, the Prince Charming – and we all need one of those in our life! This sweet, refreshing lemony drink was an absolute delight and yes, I did have another.
The balcony area on this floor was magnificent and the walls were covered with fairy tale-esque writings. I have to say though that the thumping, modern music didn’t fit in very well with this. We climbed the stairs once again to the top floor, which was laid out more like a formal bar, in comparison to downstairs’ more youthful bar. This floor probably had the most going on in terms of liveliness, with a few mixology areas. I’m still a little confused as to why Sherlock Holmes served me a cocktail, as he’s not really a fairy tale character, but he was a delightful chap. I think Sherlock should stick to solving crimes though, as his cocktails were especially unusual. I wasn’t too keen on his carrot and cucumber mixes….
During the night we met two storytellers, who captivated our imaginations with a series of fables…
This was a lovely touch, but again the thumping base really didn’t help to create the right atmosphere. Opposite Sherlock’s healthy cocktails, another cocktail stand stood. This was by far the most interesting to watch. Steam snaked from the kettle, as he poured this potion-like liquid into our glasses. This drink was known as, Nitro Punch, and it did certainly pack a punch, so it was just as well then that the canapés started to emerge. I was eagerly awaiting the food, but was left disappointed when presented with a simple boiled potato. I guess it did have a small dab of some sort of dressing on top…. As well as the potato, we were given a small portion of fish and chips, a tomato jelly-thing, a cheesecake dressed as a minute ice cream and some chocolates. I did, however, appreciate the fact that each of the canapés were served on an edible, soil-like base (I think it was cake). I just hope that their meals are better than their canapés are!
On leaving The Fable we were given goody bags and a basil, which seemed a bit sorry for itself. I did enjoy my night at The Fable, but it has to be said that the theme needs work. The place felt very confused between a modern, London bar and restaurant and an ‘other worldy’ fairy tale pub. By trying to cater to a wider audience, the place lost its identity and uniqueness. I expected something more old-worldy, like wooden trees engraved into the walls and flutes playing in the background.
I feel that there isn’t much to make The Fable stand out against the rest of the thriving London nightlife. But who knows, maybe the place will have its happily after ever in due course….
For more information about The Fable visit:
52 Holborn Viaduct
0845 468 0105
Mon – Weds: 7am – late
Thur & Fri: 7am – 1am
Sat: 9am – 1am
Sun: 9am – 6pm
*Images by Bethan Grylls