From fancy dress to film night, everyone loves a theme – and London’s bars and restaurants are no exception. With so many new hotspots opening every day, it’s no wonder that more and more of them are showing off their unique character to stand out from the crowd. Which is seriously good news in The Handbook’s opinion! Here are the top eight themed restaurants and bars:
What: Blitz-themed underground jive bar
Why: Swing music is so hot right now – and where better to enjoy it than at a proper forties swing club? Styled to look like an abandoned London Underground station, Cahoots has a truly immersive atmosphere. With cockney sing-a-longs, eletcro-swing DJ sets and vintage theatre performances, Cahoots is a real belter. Just be sure to listen out for the air-raid siren…
Where: Kingly Court, 13 Kingly St, London W1B 5PG
What: Lewis Carroll-themed cocktail bar
Why: Alice in Wonderland meets Pulp Fiction. Sound good? It is. One of the first themed bars in Shoreditch, Callooh Callay have one of the most comprehensive cocktail menus in town. And they’ve won the ‘Best Cocktail Menu in the World’ at the Tales of Cocktail awards to prove it. Drink up!
Where: 65 Rivington St, London EC2A 3AY
Trader Vic's London
Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
What: Tiki-drenched bar and restaurant
Why: Stepping in to Trader Vic’s for the first time is a moment you won’t forget in a hurry. Genuine canoes, totems and sea shells from the South Pacific cover every inch of the tables, bar-tops and walls, immersing you in tiki culture. Mai Tai classes, Tiki cinema and a generous happy hour will make you want to say ‘Aloha!’ again and again.
Where: 22 Park Lane, London
What: Charming bar and restaurant based around fairytales
Why: We all love a good fairytale, and The Fable is one big celebration of folklore. Pages of novels line the walls, stacks of books form seating areas, and there are even actual typewriters on the tables. And an excellent food and drinks menu will leave you happily ever after…
Where: 52 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2FD
What: Atmospheric bar based around the British Empire
Why: Ever wondered what it would be like to drink in an 18th century Oriental bar? Of course you have. An outrageous Dutch East India Company theme is just the beginning – VOC’s intimate, finely decorated speakeasy-style bar will have you open-mouthed. Make sure you try the Boston Flip – bourbon mixed with Madeira wine, black treacle, egg white and a dusting of cocoa. Genius!
Where: 2 Varnishers' Yard, London N1 9AW
Mr. Fogg’s Residence
What: The imaginary abode of a Victorian explorer
Why: Pushing aside the thick velvet curtain at Mr Fogg’s you feel like you’ve entered a time machine. No surface is untouched by memorabilia or antiques, from a time when the eccentric and fictional Mr Phileas Fogg travelled the world. Imaginative cocktails, of course, some of which are served in a teapot.
Where: 15 Bruton Lane, London W1J 6JD
The Aviary Bar
What: Unbelievable underwater-themed bar
Why: With its very own aquarium, The Aviary Bar take their underwater theme to the next level. Alcove booth seating, top cocktails and a fully-fledged nightclub make The Aviary a real favourite. Best of all, it’s open until 4am!
Where: 16 Little Portland St, London W1W 8BP
What: Circus-themed bar and kitchen
Why: For a bit of big top glamour, look no further – Trapeze have brought the circus to town! Spread out over two levels, Trapeze is one of those places you just have to see. Faded fairground decor, quirky live DJs and even a basement club all add up to a seriously strange night out.
Where: 89 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3HX
Hoxley & Porter
What: Victorian-explorer themed bar
Why: Secretive Hoxley & Porter tell the story of Hoxley, a mysterious British businessman who disappeared after finding a legendary diamond in South Africa. We’re not sure about diamonds, but in Hoxley & Porter you’ll find some inspiring cocktails and sumptuous turn-of-the-century decor. There’s even a train porter to show you to your seats. Marvellous!
Where: 153 Upper St