The Toucan Bar

Posted on May 28, 2013

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I thought today I would do a review of a pub I use when I venture into London. I was going to do this a month ago when I was briefly there but time as always got away from me so here goes.

Picture courtesy of www.coolplaces.co.uk

Picture courtesy of http://www.coolplaces.co.uk


Now, I rarely go to London these days for to be frank, it doesn’t hold much of an appeal to me anymore as it did in my late teens and early twenties. It’s far too big and at time tiresome but when I do go I usually stick to the same areas or may go somewhere different if I am in the mood. It usually depends on who I am with and the way the day or night is going which tends to be chaotic and a little mad but fun mostly. Sometimes they end up wild and I head home disappointed. Only London does this to me and nowhere else. I have a love/hate relationship with it and it’s people who can be either beautiful, fun and kind or just plain miserable and angry, but what can you expect from a capital city?

Anyway, one of these places I like to go and relax over a pint of Guinness is the Toucan Bar or just plain Toucan in Carlisle Street, SoHo.

It is a very small pub with two levels and Guinness paraphernalia surrounds you no matter where you seem to look. This is not done in a tacky way at all, far from it, but done in a way to celebrate the the king of stouts and the man who made it; Arthur Guinness; a god amongst men.

Picture taken by the author Darren Greenidge

Picture taken by the author Darren Greenidge


The upstairs is very small and there’s barely room to swing a mouse but that doesn’t matter for it is very homely and when busy, which it often gets in the evenings from 6pm; a certain buzz hits you and you feel almost at home there.
This applies to the downstairs bar which is very comfortable and welcoming with its full size Guinness bar stools that I so very much want one of. They apparently are about £100 each and the seats are either made from leather or another fabric. They are very soft and comfortable and I could have sat on them all day with a pint in my hand!
I wanted one and still do and was reliably informed that they would could be delivered to my door should I wish to purchase one. hey were selling fast but I had the impression that more could be made and would be made.

The lady behind the bar whose name I forget (please forgive me if you’re reading this) told me and my erstwhile friend that they had the most Irish whiskey’s in London of which some were very rare indeed and very expensive. She gave me a whiskey menu that they never usually let out of the bar but as I said I would do a review for the pub she obliged me.

All whiskey’s are served in 35ml measures as they should be but you can ask for 25ml if you wish. They have ninety-three on their menu of which the cheapest £3.50 and the most expensive doesn’t actually have a price but says POA next to it. This is Old Midleton Whiskey from Cork and I have seen this before as I have many of them but not all. I could talk about whiskey all day but this is about the pub itself. Whiskey though does play a huge part there along with Guinness of course.
They also have their own Whiskey where the grain is selected for the Toucan by Clontarf Irish Whiskey Single Grain.
I am sure Ireland has just over two hundred whiskey’s in total with sadly only four main distillers and a number of small independent ones that haven’t been swallowed up by the corporate monster. Yet…

Picture from the author and menu courtesy of Toucan Bar, SoHo

Picture from the author and menu courtesy of Toucan Bar, SoHo


The Toucan also does food but not on a grand scale; just snacks and so on but enough to feed the hunger pains. The Toucan is after all a pub and not a restaurant.
Drinks tend to be expensive but let’s not forget it is SoHo and of course London. Guinness does seem to be the only drink that doesn’t have a fixed price for bars seem to charge what they want but at an average price of four pounds it has to be tolerated for now. Once it reaches the five pounds mark then I will sadly have to stop drinking it and retire my liver for a well earned rest!

So that’s it really. To sum up; the Toucan is a very nice little pub that I found a few years back by a happy mistake when looking for another Irish bar ironically. I recommend it highly and for you Irish out there, it does Tayto’s crisps and the Smokey Bacon are still divine! I for one shall always use it as will my friend.
Oh and something I learned later after leaving was that the brilliant Jimi Hendrix played there apparently which is very cool indeed.

Do yourself a favour and go if you are in the area. The address and contact details are as follows:

Picture courtesy of the author and Toucan Bar, SoHo, London

Picture courtesy of the author and Toucan Bar, SoHo, London


The Toucan Bar
19 Carlisle Street
Soho
London
W1D 3BY

020 7437 4123

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