As soon as you step into Vaulty Towers in Lower Marsh, Waterloo, you will appreciate this is no ordinary bar. It is a theatre lover’s paradise, as props from various productions from the Vaults nearby must have been transported over to this bar. The giant hands above the exit are a sight to behold, along with disco balls, neon signs and retro-looking chandeliers. There is a gigantic moon by the bar, no doubt many people have tried to sit on.
The other thing you may notice is how incredibly busy this bar is, they are reserved signs on tables everywhere as early as 18:00 on weekdays. As soon as people exit their seats, more people arrive almost instantly. You do wonder where have all these people come from as there are not many offices in the area. It does, however, make for an extremely energetic and convivial atmosphere.
Given the theatrical decor and the popularity of the bar, you would think the food might be an afterthought, but it is, in fact, one of the top offerings you will find in Waterloo or in fact South London. Perhaps, it shouldn’t be a surprise, as it is run by Chavdar Todorov and Steve Estevez from PopCo, a private events and catering company.
For starters, the hummus had finely grounded chickpeas packed with delightful spices and freshly made pita bread. Whilst Padrón peppers with simple smoked salt is the ideal starter/snack to order to accompany your pints of beer or glasses of wine.
Prices might be marginally on the high side, but you will appreciate this isn’t your typical pub grub. Their beef burger used dry-aged Galloway beef chuck and marinated in Shaoxing wine. It had been rubbed and smoked for 16 hours before pulling. The brioche bun was incredibly spongy and helped to soak up all the flavours from the beef burger.
For those with bigger appetites, they do have big plate options to choose from. My guest chose a free range chicken leg filled with intense jerk spices and came with a side of house slaw and sweet potato fries.
It isn’t just about culinary merriment here, there is also the secret cellar, which is a lair of mystery and deception. Yes, you have to descend a dark, spooky staircase with a sign saying ‘Do not enter’. We saw a spectacular show from Vincent Hedan, who had come all the way from France. He is their country’s answer to our Derren Brown. Apart from mind-boggling card tricks, he managed to recite random numbers from π from up to 10,000 digits and guessed people’s wine preferences from simple, scrunched up pieces of paper.
Forget the London Eye, the real star attraction of Waterloo is Vaulty Towers. Make sure you make a booking with them today.