Spirit Logo of ecommerce in the City

2-5 Carthusian Steet, Smithfield, London EC1M 6EB

Riddle: Spot the Spirit (music) references.

The ancient among us will remember Spirit as a great 60s band. Hailing from Los Angeles, these guys were innovative, introducing concepts such as "Fresh Garbage" and reminding us misplaced Californians of sun shaded places off Route 1, such as "Topanga Canyon". Older readers may be amused to look 'em up in Online Records.

Though our older readers will be right cheesed off to hear it, it's clear from our younger readers' feedback that Spirit Bar has nothing whatsoever to do with that 60s phenomenon.

In the heart of the City (London, that is), just behind the Barbican centre, you can find the trendy ‘Spirit’. In fact, this venue, which opened in May 2000, offers some pretty nifty services, taking them farther along than their competitors. They offer future games like "bring your own laptop" and connect it (soon) to high-speed DSL lines. The principals, Robert Proudfoot (of raging success, Pizza Express) and Nick England with chef Robert Bowman, like the family that plays together, want to offer a good value, quality environment that attracts up-and-coming Internet entrepreneurs (if there are any left, following the Yahoo news). Robert has cooked on four continents, including Top of the World in the Anchorage Hilton - Alaska, the Luxor in Vienna (where he gained a Michelin Star) - Austria, and somewhere in Africa.

With blue and pale wood décor, neon lights and wall-to-wall pop art, this bar positively buzzes.

If you're there, watch out for personalities such as Britt Ekland, the Brand New Heavies, and the cast of Eastenders, who were with us for the relaunch party.

The cocktails are good, and the waiters cute (says Sophie, not Wal), although you may have to wait a bit for them to finish your concoction. But sit back on a big chair or sofa, and enjoy the ‘work hard, play hard’ ethic of the area in full force. The Spirit Cooler is a cocktail worth trying.

The twelve main courses, like twelve dreams, are varied, tasteful and interesting. A word to the wise though, we were offered oysters with our cocktails. Oyster lovers will know that they do not mix with hard liquor - everyone else, take note.

At lunchtime, head chef Robert Bowman provides a regularly changing menu of world foods for up to 60 covers. My mate Don, who regularly reminds me about of suprioroty of Chicago Pizzas, also keeps telling me that Chicago's "White Castles" (a small square beef burger, A.K.A. "sliders" or "gut bombs?") is much much better than any regular burger. Well I think I finally tasted them, courtesy of Robert and Spirit. Seriously good food - though small!

For riddle answers: Search "Spirit" in Online Records.

Tel: 0207 253 6009
Tel: 0207 336 0374
Tube: Barbican, Farringdon, St Paul's

email: spirit@spiritbar.com
Online: Spirit

Price per head: 12-15 (inc 1/2 bottle wine)

Hours: Mon-Wed 08:0023:00
Thu-Fri 08:00 00:00 midnight
Saturday 17:0000:00 midnight
Sunday 12:00 midday22:30

Sophie Chase-Borthwick & Wally Robertson, February, 2001

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