‘Upcycling’ furniture and reliving decades past through vintage second-hand shops couldn’t be more in fashion at the moment.
It’s become in vogue to stock up in charity shops, invest in weathered bric-a-brac and embrace the old as new, and this frugal throwback style is helping to give bar institutions like the LS6 Cafe in Hyde Park an enduring sense of cool.
Some might see it as cluttered, while others may say it’s full of character, but LS6 – known to many as the Clock Cafe – is an expansive venue that feels cosy throughout, all the while decked in unusual trinkets, mismatched furniture and, of course, a truck load of clocks.
A thick-set wooden bar lined with handpumps and backed with spirit-laden shelves is central to the venue, which on one side is full of red leather booths and banquettes while the other features tall blue wooden booths ripe for diners.
We popped in for a midweek drink and took up pews on a comfy, if slightly tired, banquette that overlooked the main bar space which was occupied by the Alligator Gumbo jazz band, giving the place a charming retro soundtrack.
Other cute touches turn this Hyde Park stalwart into more than just a bar. Its pastel green and blue walls make a space full of bric-a-brac feel quite an airy venue, although the random framed pictures of flowers, the odd collection of mannequin heads above the entrance and the multicoloured hanging plastic shades – some with working bulbs, some without – are strange but playful features.
Situated in the student heartlands of Hyde Park, it’s awash with care-free young people out for a social drink or bite to eat while plenty of students sit in to make the most of the free wifi.
Its food menu is also popular, and there is even a table full of fresh cakes in the centre of the bar for those feeling peckish.
Once seated we were handed a pretty broad drinks menu that specialises in a broad range of around 15 bottled beers and ciders.
That is complimented by around half a dozen draught choices costing from £3 per pint including guest ales, Tuborg and Mahou beers. You can also choose from a selection of eight red, rose, white and sparkling wines costing from £3.70 for a medium glass, while £6 cocktails can be ordered on request and non-alcoholic milkshakes and smoothies offer a different kind of treat.
We went for a pint of Somersby cider, which confusing came from both a Thatcher’s Gold branded tap and in a Thatcher’s glass, along with a bottle of Timmermans peach beer and a frothy chocolate milkshake.
The service was friendly and relaxed and the bill came to a good value £10.40, which happily came with a couple of free mints.
There’s a lot to like at LS6. Its quirky style, good value menu and open-to-all nature make it easy to see why it’s proven such an enduring part of the Hyde Park area.
A care-free, relaxed and somewhat creative feel to the place sees it offer something far removed from many clean-cut city bars or even those trying to capitalise on the cool young people LS6 effortlessly attracts.
Bearing all that in mind, there’s not much point visiting if you’re after a sophisticated drink. It’s more of a local – somewhere where you feel at home and can enjoy like-minded company.