where shall we meet? Vats Wine Bar, WC1

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The Independent Culture
The first thing you notice about Vats is that there's wood everywhere. This two-room Bloomsbury bar has more wood in its decor than you could...well...shake a stick at. And very mellow it is, too: just the place, with its wall- benches and old tables, for students to take aged relatives to without alarming them. Which is not to say it's dull. Bloomsbury still attracts its fair share of eccentrics, and a bar where they give you a free bowl of Twiglets with your plonk is almost guaranteed to act as a magnet. If you don't fancy earwigging them, the back room has a few attractive glassed booths where the romantic can carry out an assignation in relative peace.

Vats Wine Bar, 51 Lambs Conduit St, WC1 (071-242 8963)