After Hours: Beer thieves and bad cover bands
November 15, 2006
LONDON — With beads of sweat running down his face, the singer distorted his voice to resemble the front man of the rock band Wheatus while performing at O’Neill’s pub in central London.
“I’m just a teenage dirt bag, baby. Listen to Iron Maiden, baby … with me,” the man bellowed out in a high-pitched voice to re-create the vocals in Wheatus’ 2000 song.
A crowded dance floor of tourists and locals jumped to the song and formed a pitiful mosh pit on the pub’s third floor, where the band called The Bears amplified its music on a recent Sunday night.
Following the Wheatus song, The Bears had partygoers rocking again to U2’s “Vertigo” and even Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” The band also played a crowd favorite, “Sweet Home Alabama,” made famous by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
It was only a Sunday night, but the pub’s three floors were full of people mingling and dancing. I didn’t agree with all the songs the band played, but it was easy to get caught up in the atmosphere and let loose.
Unfortunately, with a crowded establishment, places to sit are rare and waiting for a drink can take some time. Also, the live music is very loud upstairs, so don’t be surprised if you leave the pub with your ears ringing.
Wherever you decide to sit or stand, keep an eye on your drink. I left my pint of Stella Artois unsupervised, and the man sitting behind me snatched it up. When I asked him, “Why are you drinking my pint?” He replied in a calm, drunken tone that the beer belonged to him.
Even with a beer thief lurking about, the atmosphere at this pub couldn’t be better for a Sunday night. Young to middle-age partygoers enjoyed the live music and downed their drinks as if it were a Friday or Saturday night.
O’Neill’s pub is part of an Irish-themed chain of pubs in London. This O’Neill’s is located a few blocks northwest of Leicester Square, one of London’s nightlife hot spots.
Click here for previous After Hours reviews.
Location: 33 Wardour St., a few blocks northwest of Leicester Square.
Drinks: There is bottled and draft beer and pretty much every shot you can think of.
Food: Irish, American and English favorites, served every day until the pub closes.
Hours: The pub closes Mondays and Tuesdays at 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays it’s 3 a.m., and on Sundays it’s 12:30 a.m.
Clientele: Because of its location, the pub gets swamped with tourists. But there can be locals amid the picture-taking travelers.
Entertainment: The pub has live cover bands Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays. There are two disc jockeys that spin on Saturday nights.
Dress: No hats.