Ain't Nothin' But
- 020 7287 0514
- 20, Kingly St (map of this place)
- W1B 5QD
- Sunday 7.30pm-12,Mon-Wed 6pm-1am, Thurs 6pm-2am, Fri-Sat 6pm-3am
Blues Pub Behind Hamley's with live music every night. Decor is "traditional blues bar" with wallpaper consisting of sheet music of blues standards and posters for long gone blues events.
Serves real ale at reasonable prices (for the west end) - Adnams Bitter, Broadside, and London Pride were on at under three quid a pint when I was last there. They have a good selection of bottles and a couple of lagers on tap, along with an array of spirits and the obligatory selection of US whiskeys. They also sell cigarettes, bar t-shirts and CDs (both blues compilations and albums left behind by playing bands) behind the bar.
Food is available at 6.50 a plate; decent if not great curries and chillies, with good-sized portions.
The bar is laid out with the bar along the right hand side as you come in, with tables and stage at the far end. The bathrooms are down a narrow staircase and used to be full of interesting grafitti (although it's starting to come back after their last paint job). The stage end of the bar is packed with some trestles tables in the middle and booth-like seating along the sides - it is not very big and is a squash.
On busy nights (which can be any night, but always on a Friday and Saturday) the bar fills from about 5.30pm. People do leave around 8ish (before the music starts), but to get a good chance of getting a table for the evening it is advisable to get there before 6pm (although I've always seemed to end up at a table during the night so far - Billy).
The live music starts around 9; until then a good selection of recorded blues will be played. The music is always blues of one kind or another and they have a wide variety of bands, from regulars to touring artists - check the website for an upcoming list.
The whole place is pretty small and the stage is minute - consequently when the bands come on the atmosphere is close and friendly with larger bands spilling into the audience while they play.
As a non-smoker, I liked the fact that the ventilation system seemed to laugh at ciggie smoke, although the point could be made that it's not a blues club without a haze that you could cut with a knife...
(Billy - The smokey atmosphere may not be to everyone's taste, but it is the best blues bar that I have yet found in London, and I know of noone who hasn't enjoyed a night out there or even a swift half while wandering around town)
(I've found the staff to be incredibly rude the couple of times I've ventured in there. Which is unfortunate, because it's a great place for blues. - Chz)