Brits are not unknown for enjoying a bevvy or two, something to which previous generations can attest if we are to look at the vast number of historical bars and restaurants which are dotted throughout the UK. From historical taverns to vintage inspired cocktail bars, there are just too many to count. Contemporary style diners certainly have their place in the annals of brilliant design, but we just feel that it’s hard to find such characterful places as those which bear echos of the past. Below are some hidden – or not so hidden! – vintage gems for eating and drinking across the country.

  1. First up is Cahoots, a fairly fabulous 1940s creation right in the heart of Soho, London. During the war, it was used as an air raid shelter but nowadays evokes a far more jovial vibe! The dark political climate surrounding Brexit might stir in us similar escapist inclinations to those navigating post-war Britain. Themed bars can be off-putting but Cahoots is nothing but nostalgic charm and vintage chic. There’s nothing kitsch about its atmosphere, just good old fashioned cosy fun. It’s the perfect place to head for a dose of convivial cheer as you sip on (very reasonably priced!) old school cocktails… and we even hear talk of crisp sandwiches.

Get the look:

  • Popular mid century woods like teak will help you create a 1940s vibe; look for anything with a deep honeyed hue
  • Pair simple wooden furniture with densely pattern upholstery
  • Source some older or antique accessories to retain the more traditional air of the first half of the 20th century (like the antique clock below!)
Visit Cahoots here
Image: Evening Standard

Shop 1940s vintage finds here

2. Next we’re heading oop nurth to Manchester to The Molly House, which claims to be a haven for the ‘discerning, eccentric and alternative’. That sounds good to us! Located in Manchester Village, it’s filled to the brim with characterful vintage finds which fit snugly within the exposed brick interiors. Albeit a vintage location, there’s nothing twee about The Molly House. It’s a straight up, no nonsense solid English pub – but with extra gold spangle brownie points for its emphasis on vintage charm. Plus, it’s rolling in accolades for its beer.

Get the look:

  • Button-backed chesterfield furniture will help to recreate this traditional yet industrial vibe
  • If you have a fireplace, find an antique iron surround to add a historical edge
  • Use warm layered lighting across a variety of table, wall and hanging lights
Visit The Molly House here
Image: Quandoo.co.uk

Shop the vintage Chesterfield collection here

3. If you’re looking for pinkspiration, this is your stop. Sketch, a bar in a very swishy part of London, has run with the glamour stakes and come up with this undeniably fabulous baby pink afternoon tea bar. Scalloped Art Deco velvet seating is accompanied by elegant brassy notes. The design of Sketch brilliantly succeeds at bringing together qualities of glamour and playfulness at the same time. The truly unique interior may even distract you from the onslaught of mouth watering cakes and puddings. Look out also for the surrounding walls which are filled with humorous illustrations by the brilliant David Shrigley. Other than those, it’s pink errthang.

Get the look:

  • Have fun choosing furniture with playful contours, just like the scalloped seating below
  • Pair pastel hues with metallic accents to up the sophistication of the space
  • Find lighting with curvy post modern shapes… the celebrated globe chandeliers would be perfect!
Learn more about Sketch here
Image: ladieswhattravel.com
Image: davidshrigley.com

Shop pink vintage finds here

4. Newcastle-upon-Tyne can apparently lay claim to having Britain’s oldest dining room! Appropriately named Blackfriars, it’s located within the thick stone walls of a 13th century former medieval friary. King Henry III shot up north and spent a lot of time here during some of the rockier moments shared with our Scottish neighbours. It’s said that despite ongoing strife at the border, the king was quite the party man… it was even recorded that he had to make good the damage caused by his retinue! Today you can also make merry like a king whilst taking in the medieval surroundings and atmosphere.

Get the look:

  • Opt for rustic furniture: think stocky wooden chairs and farmhouse rectory tables
  • Look out for metallic accessories with a burnished patina, like old candlesticks
  • Unearth a large fur rug… a coarse sheep’s woollen rug will add to the timeworn feel of the space
Learn more about Blackfriars here
Image: blackfriarsrestaurant.co.uk

Shop antique furniture and accessories here

5. Liverpool definitely has a celebrated social scene but it also boasts some kooky vintage themed bars like this 1970s creation: Liverpool 53. The interior decor is accentuated throughout by the use of zingy colours and space age shapes. Flashes of electric blue and neon green meet with muted teal velvet upholstery to create this dynamic discotheque meets milkshake diner space.

Get the look:

  • Vibrant colour accents throughout the space will generate the same electric energy
  • Funky space age forms will create a 70s vibe
  • A disco ball light never goes amiss if you’re serious about creating a 70s dance club vibe

Images: designmynight.co.uk

Shop 1970s vintage here

Title image: ladieswhattravel.com