Everywhere you look in London there are bars, the streets are filled with them, but what about the places you aren’t looking? The drinking spots hidden away behind closed doors, masquerading as shops, pharmacies and abandoned buildings. Here are 10 of London’s top hidden bars…which admittedly aren’t so hidden anymore.
What: Look Again
Why: When you’re looking for a good ruse, we find that a boutique tea counter is a good disguise – no one will suspect that behind it lies a cocktail bar influenced by the British Empire and its ancient tea trade. So, if you happen to be in St Martins Lane Hotel, pull the secret gold handle at said tea counter and see where you end up…we’ll tell you, it’s opulent speakeasy, Blind Spot serves up cocktails inspired by twenty -five different destinations including Stockholm, which is a drink of fennel-infused Absolut Elyx, anise syrup, apple cider, lemon juice and egg white; whereas London is made from Earl Grey tea-infused Beefeater gin, raisin syrup, Pimm’s No.1, lemon juice and egg white.
Where: 45 St. Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, WC2N 4HX
What: The Not so Religious Prayer Room
Why: Next time you go to Goat in Fulham, ask if you can go to the Chelsea Prayer Room. You’ll be led to a door that is protected by an ever-changing code, through that door is a corridor and at the end of that corridor is a room, a room whose sole purpose (according to the website) is ‘cocktails, cocktails, cocktails.’ We can also testify to this – the only praying you’ll be doing is that you don’t have a hangover the next day. You can hire it out for a party, but with dark corners and an intimate atmosphere we say take a date.
Where: 333 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW10 9QL
What: The Champagne Room
Why: The Champagne Room, what a name for a room. It says what it does and it does what it says. Hidden within The Connaught Hotel, this intimate bar serves up eight prestige Champagnes, fine wines and rare spirits which are exclusive to the hotel and they’re all served in bespoke crystal Baccarat glasses. Fancy.
Where: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL
What: Hidden Wine Cellar
Why: Beneath The Stafford London lies its 380 year old wine cellar. Built in the 17th Century by Lord Francis Godolphin, the cellar was used as an air-raid shelter in World War II (you can see some of the artefacts left behind by American and Canadian officers during their time), now they are used for wine tasting and wine-pairing events with the Master Sommelier, Gino Nardella. And with the cellar able to store up to 8,000 bottles of the finest wine, that’s a lot of wine to try.
Where: 16-18 St James's Place, Mayfair, London, SW1A 1NJ
What: Somewhere in Brixton
Why: Somewhere in Brixton (89B Acre Lane, soz but you will actually need to know where it is so you can go) there’s a door and behind that door is a flight of stairs that will take you to two floors of live music, cocktails and food. A homely little spot, you’ll find sofas and a fire, but also wallpaper adorned with gold skull – they’ve got to have a beastly side to it after all. Encouraging our sinful sides through tequila, it’s said they do a pretty good Frozen Margarita…
Where: 89B Acre Lane, Brixton, SW2 5TN
What: Fulham's Best Kept Secret
Why: Fulham, home to the Made in Chelsea cast, Chelsea football team and a few good pubs…is what most people think, but dig a little deeper and it also has it’s hidden bars, they’re just so well hidden that you really have to be in the know. Cellar (formerly Below the Cut) is a 1920s basement bar beneath Hanger, the steak restaurant on North End Road. The cosy little spot serves up a bottomless brunch at the weekend, has live music and makes cocktails like the Hanger Old Fashioned made from bacon infused bourbon, bitters, maple syrup and pork scratchings.
Where: 461-465 North End Road, Fulham, SW6 1NZ
What: Fun in a Pharmacy
Why: Evans & Peel Detective Agency is one of London’s most famous hidden bars, but now they are getting a sibling bar, in the form of Evans & Peel Pharmacy, which is set to open at the end of this month. Hidden in Chiswick and disguised as a 1920s pharmacy, the legendary pharmacist will show you to the bar if you know the password, whilst the windows will stay blacked out to protect its secret. Inside they’re serving variations on the classic Old Fashioned and American grilled cheese sandwiches in cigar boxes filled with smoke… as you do.
Opens 21st August 2017
Where: 42 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, W4 2HD
What: The Mac Repair Shop
Why: Don’t go looking for The Natural Philosopher, you won’t find it, instead keep your eyes peel for a Mac repair shop on Hackney Road. Head down the stairs and there you’ll find a sunken bar, so yes you will be looking down at the bar staff’s heads. Rather like a grandma’s sitting room stuck in a time warp the bar is decorated with wing back chairs, grandfather clocks, deep red walls and chintzy lightshades.
Where: 489 Hackney Road, E2 9ED
What: Down a Corridor
Why: Somewhere in Shoreditch is Lounge Bohemia. Don’t be alarmed by the red lit corridor you have to walk down to get to it, yes you feel like you are going somewhere rather dubious and might not return, but what lies beneath is truly worth it. The small room is filled with retro sofas and chairs, thermos flasks filled with water stand on each table and guests can enjoy canapés on arrival. The Handbook loves the salted caramel shots, and the presentation of the cocktails, in pieces of bark, and mysteriously swirling in smoke
Where: 1E Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3EJ
What: The Member's Bar
Why: Hidden on Poland Street, member’s bar, Milk & Honey is one of Soho’s best kept secrets. If you’re not a member then you can still visit, you’ll just need to make reservations in the earlier half of the week. Once inside head to The Red Room for unrivalled cocktails and just make sure to observe the house rules which include no name-dropping, no talking about fighting and men not introducing themselves to ladies – we’re not sure what would happen if these rules were broken, but we’re not going to try.
Where: 61 Poland Street, W1F 7NU
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