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Cafe des Amis

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published September 15th 2010
The thing about taking the stairs down to the nicely lit bar below Café des Amis is that it often smells pretty strongly of cheese. There's no untoward reason for it - they serve a really good selection of cheeses which they often have out on display on a marble slab - it's a very French thing to do - it's just that when it gets a bit warm they start to do that thing that cheese does: whiff. But don't let that put you off if you're into drinking good wines in a quiet spot. And a quiet spot is hard to find in Covent Garden.

The des Amis décor is plush but not too plush: padded benches and tables line the walls or you can sit at the bar, which takes up all the space in the centre of the small, low roofed room. The lighting is favourable for an intimate tête-à-tête, and it's probably a good place to bring a date or to come after the theatre - a lot of musicians use it, so don't be surprised if you see a dickie suit or too, they're just the Royal Opera House Orchestra.

Though the wine list seems to fill most of the menu they do serve beers and spirits as well but you do have to pay nice wine bar prices. As well as the tempting cheese, the menu has other French style nibbles, like French onion soup and plates of sliced meats.
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Why? One of the few spots for a quiet drink in Covent Garden
When: 11:30 until 1AM - last orders at 12:30
Phone: 0207 379 3444
Where: 11-14 Hanover Place, WC2E 9JP
Cost: About £5 for a glass of wine
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