Located at 5 Houghton Street, a small independent British-style café sits next to the entrance of the Old Building. Sooraya Walker meets António, the manager of Wright’s Bar, an LSE campus stalwart that has been hugely popular with students, staff and visitors for decades.
Wright’s Bar, with its familiar red, white and black storefront sign is fondly remembered by alumni for its value-friendly menu and warm customer service. Despite the enormous architectural changes in the spaces surrounding the café, especially on Houghton Street over the past decade, Wright’s (as it’s affectionately known) remains like an old friend, unchanged in character and charm. The manager António would know — today he celebrates 27 years working there!
“At age 19 I came from Portugal alone to find work. I’d been in England for four years and worked in two restaurants before working at LSE. I spent half a year in South Kensington doing washing up, then came to the Leicester Square Expresso Bar doing cafés before coming to Wright’s,” recalls António, who arrived in London in 1990.
When António started at Wright’s, Guiseppe was working as the manager and the café had already been opened for some time. Little is known about who founded the café and when, but according to António, it’s been open for “100 years, more or less.”
Asked what makes Wright’s so special, António says, “it’s the friendly people, and the students are nice. Everything changes outside but Wright’s Bar stays the same. Everything about Wright’s makes it special. It’s been here (at LSE) a long time, and people come in after 20 years and say, ‘you’re still here!’ It’s nice.”
António won’t reveal if any famous clientele have visited Wright’s, but unsurprisingly the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough period and he looks forward to a return to normalcy: “There’s just been less business, less people. It has been difficult. So, we’re just looking to get back into business. I hope to get back to business, and I’m looking forward to September.”
Congratulations to António on his incredible work anniversary at Wright’s Bar, which we hope continues to be part of the LSE experience for many years to come. Say hello to António next time you visit!
Such fond memories and so much nostalgia with the Wright’s! I remember this was the go to place when I barely had a few minutes between lectures and needed a good cup of coffee to wake me up 🙂
At times when the cold and wet winter evenings would cast a dismal spell on me, this was the place to go. The atmosphere was always buzzing and a warm welcome would await to wipe the stress away!
Tomato sauce flavoured crisp sandwich and a cup of tea – breakfast of champions ! Proper cafe
I LOVE Wright’s Bar. It is the most comforting place at LSE. Nothing beats a chip butty and a nice cup of builders tea at Wright’s for a pick-me-up. Antonio and his team are lovely.
Still remember the wonderful Teresa who always brought in a bubbly breeze of lightheartedness. Wright’s was THE place for a quick chat and coffee between lectures
The LSE published some oral histories a few years ago – from memory Wrights Bar opened in 1944 and the original owner/manager was Mr Wright!
It was certainly still going strong 2003 – 2006 when I was a regular….