Wednesday 3 December 2008

Skate Cafe and Bar, Somerset House, The Strand, central London

In a cobbled square enclosed by the neo-classical splendour of Somerset House, the Skate Cafe and Bar is housed in a glass-panelled prefabricated building well-placed to watch the thrills and spills on the adjacent temporary ice rink. Skate's adjustable stools, arranged around small round tables, rise and fall with the tweak of a lever, creating much amusement for kids. Not quite so entertaining is the sometimes chaotic service at the bar or the sometimes high prices - £1.20 for a pretentious bag of crisps, £2.40 for a cappuccino in a takeaway cup or £3.20 for a cold(!) pint of London Pride in a plastic glass. Still, the bar also serves hot dogs, soup and other comfort food at more reasonable prices, while the loud pop music and the buzz of excitable skaters, including the odd recognisable television actor, makes for a good atmosphere. Set in a fine location, Skate is a good spot for winter people watching. 7/10