There are two entities in Wimbledon that would, in my opinion, not look out of place in the middle of the West End.

One, quite naturally, is the fabulous New Wimbledon Theatre, arguably one of the finest performance venues in the city.

The other lies directly opposite, an ultra-trendy restaurant and bar that goes by the name Cento.

What a sight this sparkling, modern and strangely extrinsic joint provides as it sits, somewhat grandly, alongside the various charity shops and newsagents that make up that part of the main drag. Nonetheless, this place is popular as a venue for pre-theatre drinks and dining.

Cento has three floors. There is an Italian restaurant, a basement cocktail bar and dance area, and two mezzanine spaces for general partying.

The restaurant is always popular, but the bar, which can be found at the bottom of a staircase directly next to the entrance, really comes alive on Friday and Saturday nights.

I have visited both the restaurant and the bar, and can recommend both whole heartedly.

The bar is not your real ale/all-dayer kind of place. Far from it, cocktails are very much the order of the day here, and you would be mad to wander into this joint expecting to find Doom Bar on tap.

There is an extensive cocktail and wine list, and plenty of bottled beers on offer.

Cento’s real strength is its delivery and execution of two key areas – friendliness of staff and atmosphere.

The staff here are the friendliest I have come across in two years of bar and restaurant reviewing in Wimbledon.

From the cheerful front-of-house man (whose job, presumably, is to stand there greeting people – am I in Wimbledon or New York?) to the waiters and bar staff, everyone is talkative, smiley and attentive, and seem very happy in their work. Such was their enthusiasm, I am tempted to round up every bartender and waiter in Wimbledon and frogmarch them to Cento to allow them a glimpse of how this sort of thing should be done.

The other thing I like is the bar is not completely rammed, and doesn’t seem to attract loudmouth townies, like most bars in town. This is a classy place full of classy people.

The bar furniture is bright red and there are lots of glass ornaments, mirrors and fancy lighting effects everywhere. Everything looks new, and the trendy feel is enhanced by the manner of the patrons who visit.

As I alluded to earlier, Cento seems a bit out of place in its surroundings at the bottom end of The Broadway, but that can’t be helped.

Cento, 100 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1RH

How the pub rates out of five:

DECOR: XXXXX Everything looks brand new and the place seems to have been modelled on an upmarket Manhattan bar.

DRINK: XXXX Cocktails, bottled beer and wine are the order of the day.

ATMOSPHERE: XXXX Fantastic. Not too rowdy, more laid-back and easygoing.

PRICE: XXX Not too over the top.

STAFF: XXXXX Imperious. The friendliest and politest bunch of workers you could hope to find.