The Handbook
The Handbook
By | 19th January 2009

Barts is a quirky new 'speak easy' style bar on the prestigious Sloane Avenue in the heart of Chelsea. It is the brainchild of Duncan Stirling and Charlie Gilkes, the young duo behind Sloane Square nightclub, Kitts.

The pair were inspired by many of the venues they had visited around the world, from New York to Tokyo. As Charlie says, “part of New York's excitement is that it's full of surprises, and some of the best bars and restaurants are where you'd least expect them.” Among other places, they were especially intrigued by a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan called 'L'Esquina. Charlie recalls “from the street it just looked like your typical greasy spoon café but once inside there is a non descript door at the back which leads you into the most amazingly decadent restaurant. It was totally surreal and very exciting and we felt that London could accommodate this sort of concept.”

Barts Club is named after the exclusive Caribbean island of St Barts, just as Kitts nightclub was named after St Kitts. To find this secret bar you have to walk through a large 1930's apartment building until you come to an imposing black door with a lantern and small inconspicuous sign. Guests are asked to ring a bell to alert a member of staff, who will peer through the doors grate and determine whether there is space to accommodate. Regulars and loyal supporters will be rewarded with key cards so they can swipe a reader to gain access.

The venue is in stark contrast to the building and the surrounding area. The walls are packed with an eccentric range of old paintings, tin signs, cuckoo clocks, stuffed animal heads and a quirky selection of antique ornaments. Vintage Mickey Mouse wallpaper meets a thunderbirds graffiti mural while retro televisions showing classic movies such as ET, The Goonies and Back to the Future entertain those who grew up in the 70's , 80's and early 90's. The venue will be brought to life through an eclectic mix of music played on the jukebox and by the Brockmans fancy dress box (supported by the eccentric gin brand); which is an old fashioned trunk filled with an eclectic mix of wigs, costumes and hats.

Barts Night Club, Sloane Avenue opens in March 2009.