Popular Theatreland haunt, Joe Allen, is leaving its basement home of 40 years to make way for a boutique hotel. Don’t worry though. Owners have already commenced work at a new location, only 25m down the street.
The restaurant will close its Exeter Street location from 27 July with plans to reopen around the corner at Burleigh Street in mid August.
I paid a visit for a “hardhat preview” of the Burleigh building site last week. During my tour, I was impressed with plans to adhere to an “ain’t broke/don’t fix” approach to decorating. Much of the furnishings and accoutrements including the original bar – and definitely all those old show posters – will be carried over to the fit out the Burleigh Street digs. New and improved? Not so much (which I reckon is a good news about this great restaurant). But word was the kitchen will get a major overhaul and there might be an expanded bar area too.
Afterward the tour, I dropped in the old Joe for one of my favourite burgers in London.
Ages before all of London went burger crazy and seemingly every other dining venue in town turned into a burger joint, Joe Allen was one of the very few places to go (that I knew of anyway) for a decent, juicy American style burger. To be sure there’s some serious competition today, but Joe Allen still boasts one of the best. But don’t look for it on the menu. It’s kind of an open secret. Do peruse the new drinks menu when the place reopens though as it’s supposed to receive an update with the move.
The new same old Joe Allen will be at Joe Allen, 2 Burleigh Street, WC2R 0JJ from mid August. Until then look for it at 13 Exeter Street, WC2E 7DT. Find out more at joeallen.co.uk.