Success in leafy Sutton

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Leafy Sutton in Surrey was the revamped All Bar One I visited to gauge how the brand has been updated. Friday evening at 6.30pm, the branch was about...

Leafy Sutton in Surrey was the revamped All Bar One I visited to gauge how the brand has been updated. Friday evening at 6.30pm, the branch was about half as busy as the JD Wetherspoon across the road. But, then again, the difference in spend level at the two sites must have been much smaller than bodies alone would suggest. And in terms of customer type, the two bars were as segmented as a Terry's Chocolate Orange. All Bar One remains resolutely at the premium end of the high-street bar market, confident enough to charge what its aspirational customers will willingly pay. In design terms, the new-look feels like a complete success. The Sutton branch is both more modern and warmer than the old design. Noticeable changes include the introduction of giant earthenware pots, luxuriant greenery, Revolution Bar-style leather seating, the ubiquitous gastro-pub olive-green paint scheme, greater use of partitioning and singleton-friendly stools galore. The draught lager ­ aside from a cursory Carling pump ­ is all continental. And interestingly, all glassware is branded and there were plenty of guys clasping far-from-macho bulbous Leffe glass. The sharing menu has been given a brighter spotlight ­ the word "sharing" is emblazoned on the exterior windows. But it is a great idea ­ who hasn't longed for the variety and cheapness offered by tapas? My food took 23 minutes to arrive and read better ­ spicy meatballs with tomatoes, oregano and melted mozzarella, Thai marinated chicken with a sweet chilli dipping sauce (£8) ­ than it tasted. Shame the deli buffet is restricted to Canary Wharf and shame that other company sites have been converted to its dreary postcode concept and not new-style All Bar Ones.

Related topics: Other operators

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