It’s always the case. When you’re least expecting to stumble upon a hidden gem – you don’t just stumble but trip with gracelessness. The hidden gem I am referring to in this case is Panda & Sons. Although this ‘trip’ almost resulted unrewarded as this place is so well hidden that even a local on the look-out almost missed it.
Panda & Sons is located on the corner of Queen Street, neatly tucked between an estate agent and newsagent with the frontage disguised as an old fashioned Barber shop so you’d be forgiven if you walked past without even giving it a second glance. You’ll need to sharpen your wits to work out how to actually access the bar (I’m not going to spoil it for you as your drink will feel more deserved if you do this yourself!) however this is the first (of many) clever and charming characteristics the bar presents.
Once inside the cavernous bar you instantly feel comfortable, with welcoming and knowledgeable staff to help guide you through the extensive cocktail menu. We only had a glass of wine; however the friend who introduced me to the bar indulged in a cocktail on her last visit. She said it was superb and the presentation was fab; served smoking and in a bird cage. It appears that the drinks themselves are a work of art. All of this is washed down with what seemed to be an endless supply of popcorn (complimentary and replenished on a regular basis). Nice touch.
Décor is Speakeasy style; vintage standing lamps, with a mix of big comfy seats and more traditional chairs and tables. I loved the mirror in the ladies toilets which had four different hairstyles printed on so you could check how you’d look adorning a different style. Cute!
A good selection of wine is served in 125ml, 175ml, 500ml carafe or bottle with prices from about £4.00 for a 175ml so reasonable in relation to the prices of the nearby bars on George Street.
Cocktails (long) start from £7.00 and there is a great selection of alcohol mixes with shorts also on the menu.
I haven’t eaten there but I think light bites are served. I was more interested in the drinks menu to pay attention to the food!
The VieAmhor apartments are located in the centre of the old town with Panda situated in the heart of the new town which is maybe about 15 – 30 minute walk (depending which apartment you’re staying in). So I’d recommend paying this place a visit after a hard day of shopping on George Street.
Casual catch up with friends or couples who want to get cosy.
I’d highly recommend this bar in winter, given its warm cosy basement set up. However, I’ll need to revisit in summer to see how they make it just as appealing on a bright sunny day.
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