What’s the one thing that’s even better than a bar? That’s right, a secret bar. Nothing tastes better than a double shot of vodka mixed with a splash of mystery. There are also the added elements of smugness and bragging rights at having found a hidden bar (although this article might eradicate some of their elusiveness so apologies in advance for stripping you of your secret knowledge), which make the prospect of spending the evening boozing and schmoozing in one so appealing. So, time to stop going to your regular, boring bars that everyone and their mother know about and to high-tail it down to one of London’s most exclusive drinking venues.
Experimental Cocktail Club
Tucked away behind a beaten up old door that looks more like the entrance to a disused squat than a drinking lounge, sits this little gem. Spread out across several floors, the Experimental Cocktail Club is always heaving with London’s most stylish drinkers. The cocktail menu is divine and there is always plenty of interesting chit chat flying around the room. Book in advance though because, despite being a secret bar, far too many people have discovered it.
BYOC @ The Juice Club
Located beneath what is ostensibly a healthy juice bar, this super secret speakeasy is uber cool and not just because it is secret and underground but also because you are allowed to bring your own alcohol! There is a cover charge of £20 and once you’re in the bar staff will take your tipple and transform it into a delicious cocktail for you using their various juices and syrups as mixers. With a gramophone and a fireplace on display, the whole place is basically a scene from Bugsy Malone.
CellarDoor, Zero Aldwych
Regular cabaret, DJ and Drag performances at CellarDoor
CellarDoor is an unfathomably chic bar situated in what was once an underground Victorian loo. With cabaret, DJs and drag shows appearing on a regular basis in this joint, it goes without saying that guests never have a dull moment here. Their drinks menu is pretty extensive but the real pièce de résistance here is the snuff that they sell behind the bar, transporting everyone who takes it right back to a different era.
Phoenix Artist Club
What’s more exclusive than a club that has a membership policy? Not much is the answer. The Phoenix Artist Club is decked out in quirky décor and has a great vibe, perfect for chilling after a trip to the theatre (even the casts frequent this joint on occasion). General entertainment includes cabaret, live bands and all sorts of other musical delights.
The New Evaristo Club
This impossibly difficult to find bar is a little different to anything else you might come across in Soho. Gone are the glitzy light fixtures and shiny floors of some of the more swanky bars and in their places are strung out, thread-bare carpets, peeling wallpaper and a ramshackle bar stocked with the most random selection of beverages imaginable. If you want to escape the heaving venues that dominate Soho, the New Evaristo Club on Greek Street is your place.
Possibly the most exclusive club in the West End, Gerry’s Club is the ultimate hangout spot for actors, producers, directors and, well, pretty much anyone involved in the Arts. The only problem is getting in. It operates a strict members only policy, although non-members are allowed in as guests of members. Great so I’ll just become a member. Not so fast. Membership is about as easy to get as a winning lottery ticket and those who apply must have a proposer and seconder who are already members. However, if you can jump over the all hurdles you’re sure to be in for a good night.
Amazing selection of Cocktails
While the Basement Sate bar is less secret than the others mentioned, it deserves a place on the list simply in honour of whichever genius decided to create a venue that serves cocktails AND desserts, the two most beautiful things on this humble planet. The menu is a wonder to behold and treats are served until midnight or 1:30am, depending on which day of the week it is.
Have you found any other hidden bars? Would you recommend any of the above? Leave a comment below.
Main Image Credit: Courtesy of Basement Sate
Image Credit: BYOC courtesy of BYOC Covent Garden
Image Credit: CellarDoor Entertainment courtesy of Design My Night
Image Credit: Phoenix Artist Club courtesy of Phoenix Artist Club
Image Credit: The New Evaristo Club courtesy of Design My Night
Image Credit: Gerry’s Club courtesy of Gerry’s Club
Image Credit: Cocktails courtesy of Basement Sate