McQueen Shoreditch was a hugely popular venue in East London through the mid to late 2010s. A great place to relax and play a little pool after work, McQueen blended neon-drenched decor with an extensive cocktail list.
The bar took its name from silver screen legend Steve McQueen. The venue’s style took more than a few pointers from Steve’s era of classic Hollywood cool, blending it with a trendy Shoreditch aesthetic. Drinkers and pool-players could relax surrounded by exposed brickwork, expensive brown leather, and no shortage of pictures of Steve himself.
The multiple rooms of the venue included a restaurant, a lounge bar and a club. With reasonable by-the-hour rates for pool tables, McQueen was known as a fantastic spot for sinking a few balls and a few pints with mates after work, or at the weekend.
McQueen didn’t short-change its diners either, with a worldly menu that took cues from many different cuisines. Whether you fancied a juicy steak with truffle mash or some lime and chilli squid, the chefs at McQueen could cater for you.
If you spent any time socialising in East London in recent years, you may well know this already. Indeed, McQueen Shoreditch may have been near the top of your list of post-pandemic nightspots to visit. However, you may not be aware that things have changed. If you head down to Tabernacle Street, you’ll no longer find McQueen at 55-61, but instead its regeneration. A rejigged, retooled venue for the post-lockdown era. Could it be one of the best Shoreditch cocktail bars? It’s in with a shout, for sure.
So what’s the deal? Let us fill in the blanks as we introduce you to The Q, Shoreditch.
A look inside The Q.
McQueen Shoreditch reinvented: The Q Shoreditch
The Q originally made its debut in September 2020, though you may not have clocked it in the brief between-lockdowns window. The venue is set for its big reopening on May 17th when restrictions lift, so now’s the time to get booking if you want to be first to experience what’s on offer.
Pool and bottomless pool brunch at The Q
So what’s the deal with The Q? Never fear – it’s still got everything that made McQueen so popular. For starters, it’s still a pool bar (The Q… the “cue”… geddit?). The Q plays host to no fewer than eleven pool tables, so there’s plenty of room for you to get in there and challenge your mates to a few rounds of killer. There’s a mixture of English pool tables and the larger American style of table, for a more luxurious game.
You can hire a table for a set time or a whole day if you want to. Though if you want to go all out – and we would humbly suggest that, in fact, you do – then the only option is The Q’s Bottomless Pool Brunch. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you can get two hours of unlimited pool, with an hour of unlimited Prosecco and unlimited pizza. There will be a DJ spinning throughout. Could there be a better way to start – or finish – a weekend?
Fancy trying a trick shot?
Gaming at The Q
If pool isn’t your thing, The Q has plentiful other gaming options. The Lounge and VIP Area house several gaming tables that are attended by professional croupiers, bringing some of that Vegas glam to Shoreditch.
Maybe you’ll try your luck on the roulette wheel. Or you might prefer to stick or twist with a few games of blackjack. Of course, there’s always the option to channel your inner 007 and go for a few rounds of poker.
The sessions will always be attended by a professional croupier, and you can make your bottomless brunch a gaming session rather than a pool session if you prefer. Just go slow on the prosecco – at least slow enough that you can still reliably add up to 21!
Spin the wheel and try your luck at roulette.
Food at The Q
McQueen Shoreditch was famous for its sumptuous menu, and The Q is upholding a fine tradition. Diners and drinkers have absolutely loads to choose from.
First up is the artisan pizza selection. The taglia-style thin-crust creations are served hot from the clay oven, and there’s no shortage of choice when it comes to toppings. We’re particularly intrigued by the “3 Pepper”, which is adorned with a smorgasbord of grilled peppers. But there’s also the deli-style “VIP”, with parma ham and rocket, or the eponymous “Q” that’s loaded with beef meatballs, bacon and cream, topped off with a little oregano. Gluten-free bases are also available.
The pizzas come in large 11-inch sizes – perfect for sharing!
If you’re not in the mood for pizza, then the burger selection at The Q is dazzling. You can get them as a selection of mini sliders, or in full-size form, but it’s the choice that’ll have you salivating.
Can you choose between pork belly or 24-hour braised short rib? If not (we can’t) then go for the sliders and get both! We have to say as well, that the dirty bacon and cheese burger looks like a seriously indulgent treat. It’s even topped off with a fried egg!
It’s not all about the meat. For vegetarians, there’s the portobello mushroom burger, finished with black garlic mayonnaise and a confit of red pepper and mozzarella. For the vegans, there’s the roasted pumpkin burger, with crispy potatoes, caramelised roscoff onions and salsa rossa.
Don’t sleep on the tapas, too! For a fixed price per head, you can sample a set menu that includes calamari, pan-fried chorizitos, deep-fried brie, patatas bravas, and… well, we could go on. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of choice when it comes to what to munch at The Q!
Drinks at The Q
Just like McQueen Shoreditch, The Q boasts a dazzling cocktail menu with a mix of classics and bespoke creations. We’d definitely advocate branching out and trying one of the team’s signature creations – there are too many for us to list here, and you’re sure to find something you like!
As a starting point, try the Balabushka, which blends Puerto de Indias strawberry gin, crème de fraise, watermelon, pomegranate and lime. The name comes from George Balabushka, a Russian maker of pool cues, referred to as the Stradivarius of sticks!
Alternately, why not try the Double Dutch Sour? It mixes Nicholson’s Gin, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice, The Q’s own Earl Grey syrup, egg white, bitters and CBD oil. We can’t promise it’ll improve your pool shots, but you can be sure it’ll taste good.
Done sampling cocktails? It’s time to head off for a dance with live DJ sets through the night, and a wide selection of beers, wines and champagnes to keep you going. The venue owners promise socially distanced dancers, European trick-shot specialist stopping by the pool tables, and lots, lots more.
There are already plenty of events on the slate for The Q when it opens, and it’s promising to be one of Shoreditch’s must-visit venues for the post-lockdown summer. Will The Q live up to the legacy of McQueen Shoreditch? We’re pretty confident it will, but you’ll have to visit to know for sure…
The Q Shoreditch is due to reopen on May 17th, 2021. You’ll find it at 55-61 Tabernacle Street, London EC2A 4AA. Nearest tube station: Old Street. q-shoreditch.com.
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