London's Dreamy 'Secret Garden' Bar And Cafe Is In A Historic Theater

The city of London holds countless secrets tucked within its fabric. Stories have unfolded for generations within the grand domes, curving marbled staircases, and velvet-clad seating of world-renowned theatres, including the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Perching magnificently within the Covent Garden area of London's West End, the famous performance venue has been around in one form or another for almost 400 years, according to LW Theatres. Far from a stuffy, aging beauty with fading glory, the Theatre Royal has emerged from a full renovation by the new owner, none other than Andrew Lloyd Webber.

It's now affectionately known as The Lane and has morphed into way more than a place to experience plays and musicals. It now flings its doors open every day to the public for wining, dining, dancing, and high-tea sipping, regardless of whether or not you're attending a production. It retains its grand-dame persona in many ways, but each venue within the venue harbors its own personality — including the ever-green foliage-draped secret garden bar and café with an unsurprisingly appropriate moniker: The Garden. This is where people in London gather, gossip, celebrate, commiserate, and tuck themselves away from the world amidst lush greenery, local florals, soaring ceilings, quaint ivy-clad brick walls, and cozy tables both indoors and out.

All day indulgence

Whether an early bird or late bloomer, there's a place at The Garden tables for anyone who cares to linger. The botanically themed space opens for breakfast and stays that way through evening cocktails, in what The Lane calls "espresso to espresso martinis." If you get a whim or need a break from shopping on Drury Lane, walk-ins are welcome, but you might want to reserve a spot in this burgeoning new London space that opened in the summer of 2021, per LW Theatres.

All-day menus for food and drink include coffee concoctions from Extract Coffee Roasters and a brunch menu featuring pastries, Belgian waffles with smoked salmon, and a breakfast bap stuffed with Cumberland sausage. The never-ending food spreads include light bites such as truffle & pecorino roasted nuts and classic British fare like sausage rolls, baked truffled brie, and roasted parsnips. A SquareMeal review notes the impressive cheese board, and not just for the soft and hard cheeses with names like Ossau Iratty and St. Marcelin Fermier. The board itself is crafted from wood taken from a former iteration of the actual Theatre Royal stage.

Cocktails get their own menu at The Garden, which makes room for a handful of wines, beers, ciders, and espresso drinks. The secret garden vibe gets a nod with the cocktails named English Garden, Bramble Negroni, and Spiced Pumpkin Margarita. And then there's the Pineapple Penicillin with 16-year Lagavulin, no explanation for the name. Feel free to ask.

The Garden has company

A Facebook video post by The Lane highlights the expanded dining, drinking, and entertainment options within the newly revamped theatre. In addition to The Garden for all-day eating and gathering with friends, Cecil Beaton Bar offers a sleek environment that takes cocktails to new levels with names like Pink Prince Charming, Cleopatra, and Eliza Doolittle from "My Fair Lady," whose outfit Beaton designed. The same fun without alcohol comes with the appropriately named Peter Pan or Coco cocktails. The bar gets its name from photographer and costume designer Cecil Beaton, well-known in high society and London's theatre world. The centrally located Rotunda Bar is for champagne sipping beneath an art-endowed dome showcasing Shakespeare scenes.

Guests can also indulge in an elaborate English afternoon tea in The Grand Saloon, an opulent lounge featuring finger sandwiches, curated teas, and fancy desserts by London bakery and "Queen of Cakes" Lily Vanilli. Chandeliers, regal furnishings, and fine art clad the saloon in a mixture of elegance and over-the-top indulgence. Teapots, cups, and dishes showcase scenes and costumes from countless Theatre Royal productions over hundreds of years, per Food & Wine, as well as mythical characters created by U.K. interior designers Kit and Willow Kemp. Yes, it's a high-brow English tea, with custom fine bone china — but it still resides in a theatre, after all. There's even a children's menu for afternoon tea, which includes scrumptious lovelies such as sticky toffee pudding, mini sausage rolls, and ice cream with sprinkles.