Polo Bar, Liverpool Street

What kind of food do you eat at 3am? Kebab? Chips? A whole chocolate cake?

Often, the answer is all three. That’s because at 3am, most people’s facets are numbed by alcohol to the point where the usual discerning boundaries of  the human stomach do not apply. While you may have begun your jovial evening at the local brasserie, sipping champagne and hoovering up swathes of cured ham and caviar-topped oysters, eight pints down the line you will probably be more tantalised by ribbons of shaved animal product (TM), doused in an almost indistinguishable array of neon coloured emulsion and administered to your face whilst leaning against a bus stop.

Yes, I know we can all recall great nights that follow a similar trajectory, but Liverpool Street’s Polo Bar wants to offer you something a little better. This 24-hour café has an open door policy that will happily furnish you all kinds of delights to keep that grumbling alcoholic gremlin in your belly at bay. It has actually been a staple in the area since the 1950s, keeping local crowds happy through breakfast, lunch, dinner and the early hours.

Stupidly, I went along at 6pm, which meant I had to be all serious and sober and actually review it. But I’m glad I did. Inside you’ll find a comforting and familiar design festooned with off-white tiles and exposed brick and wood, and the whole atmosphere is very much like an upmarket café should be.

The menu is also pitched pretty much spot on: no fancy touches here, nor are there any fancy prices. 24/7 breakfast plates take centre stage, covering staples such as the full English (£6.50 and up depending on your choices), bacon sandwiches (£3+) eggs many ways (£8+), and porridge or pancakes (£4+). I tried the self-titled  Polo Bar English breakfast on my visit, and was very impressed with the quality at the price. I should mention that there was a mistake with my order at first, but once I pointed it out they were quick to rectify, so all was forgiven.

Head to ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’ (lest we not forget, there is no concept of time at Polo Bar) on the menu and you will see a range of burgers and sandwiches (£5.50+) or classic main meals. The latter includes old favourites such as sausage and mash, fish and chips or cottage pie, setting you back from about £8 and up, and I have to say my companion’s chicken and mushroom pie was sturdy, tasty and again good quality at this price point.

On top of all the food – and I bet some of you have been waiting for this Polo Bar also offers a 24-hour license, thus if you still haven’t had enough wobbly water for one evening/morning (I am not here to judge) they will be happy to bring you something a little stronger than tea while you wolf down your porridge.

All things considered, I can see Polo Bar having a valuable stake in the area. Its breakfasts are certainly worth a visit, and a lunchtime jaunt with co-workers would also appeal to many. That being said, I’d skip dinner time as there are countless other choices in the area that are better suited for early evening.

But you shouldn’t feel guilty: you’ll be coming back at 3am for a bacon sandwich and a beer anyway, and that alone is the real trump card that Polo Bar should feel very well-deserved to play.

Polo Bar
176 Bishopsgate
Liverpool Street

Tel: 020 7283 4889


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