The City’s appetite for new bars shows few signs of slowing down. The latest to set up shop is the Factory House in Lime Street, just next to Leadenhall Market. Capitalising on the worker chic movement as made fashionable by Danny Boyle at the Olympic opening ceremony, the Factory House aims to celebrate the age of the modern industrialists.
A subterranean venue, The Factory House feels part City gastro-bar and part museum, with a host of machines and inventions that echo the factory feel. Antique train station clocks have been reclaimed as wall sculptures; decorative gauges, pipe work and valves will adorn the walls; and a Victorian coffee roaster has been renovated as a functioning waiter station. My personal favourite was the old 'check in' clock at the entrance to determine the time you started and finished work. I could fancy one of those for my flat.
The wine on offer – mostly well-known, mostly Old World with a smattering of New World – is fairly City standard, albeit very good, with the Rioja Reserva, Sancerre and Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc my personal favourites. Cocktails are brought to you by the Fluid Movement, the cocktail kings behind some of the more famous drinking dens in East London. (You have been warned.) The food covers the spectrum of British cooking, from game to fowl to fish. By City standards, it's fairly priced, with most mains hovering around the £15 mark.
The waiting staff have that City polish and charm you expect in bars of this standard. And the punters. As it is right next to the Llloyds Building and Leadenhall Market, this is pinstripe territory. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, as the Factory House clearly knows its audience and has catered for it accordingly. The only criticism you might level at it is that being a basement bar, it doesn’t really account for drinking in the sun. However, given the summer that London has recently experienced, perhaps that’s a wise move.
The Factory House is a welcome addition to what had become a social no man's land. It is not, despite its industrial styling, in any way revolutionary, but it is definitely worth a visit. After all, there aren’t many places where you get to see the capitalists in a factory.