London is full of speakeasy-style bars and underground hideouts serving up killer cocktails. The Resident checks out 12 of the capital’s coolest low-key hangouts…
1 Below the Cut, Fulham
Underneath the popular restaurant Hanger Steak lies the cleverly named secret bar, Below the Cut. Head down to the stairs to the cosy hideout for delicious cocktails and a fun friendly atmosphere. The drinks menu has both classics and original creations. Try the Mai Tai, which is made from a secret recipe and set on fire in front of your very eyes for an extra flair, or the Old Fashioned, which is smooth with a citrusy tang that makes it especially delicious. For those looking for something light and fruity, the Lemon Cheesecake cocktail is a must!
461 North End Road, Fulham SW6 1NZ; hangersteak.co.uk
2 Trailer Happiness, Notting Hill
If you’re a fan of rum then Trailer Happiness is the bar for you. The Tiki style bar is passionate about the spirit with killer cocktails that go by the name of Hell in the Pacific and Dr. Fang, plus a Rum club that meets once a month. Plush chairs, a semi-private curtained off area and wood panelled walls all add to the ‘Tiki-tastic’ den atmosphere, plus live DJ’s play an infusion of genres on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
177 Portobello Road W11 2DY; 020 7041 9833; trailerhappiness.com
3 Evans and Peel Detective Agency, Earl’s Court
Take a step back in time to a 1920s detective agency set amongst the hustle and bustle of Earl’s Court. The Evans and Peel bar has fully embraced the speakeasy style with brown paper wrapped wine and beer bottles and a bookcase for a door. To enter you must make an appointment beforehand and then state your case to the detective at the door. Come prepared with a story and once you’re in, recline in the dimly lit interior with one of the bar’s many acclaimed cocktails.
310c Earls Court Road SW5 9BA; 020 7373 3573; evansandpeel.com
4 Call Me Mr Lucky, London Bridge
Call me Mr Lucky, hidden away in trendy eatery The Breakfast Club that has just arrived in London Bridge, is brought to you by the team behind Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town and King of Ladies Man. Aiming for a laid back vibe mixed with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, if you like tequila, this is especially the bar for you.
11 Southwark Street SE1 1RQ; callmemrlucky.com
5 Barts, Chelsea
Described as London’s worst kept secret, Barts Bar is actually very well-hidden, situated in an apartment block along Sloane Avenue. Owned by Chicago ‘gangster’ Uncle Bart, it was given a re-vamp earlier this year and is decked out with 1920s furniture, chintz wallpaper and antiques. The waiters and waitresses, who are dressed as American gangsters, serve you cocktails from large teacups and the experimental drinks are fresh and clever concoctions with a herbaceous organic menu grown from the bar’s very own garden.
Chelsea Cloisters, 87 Sloane Avenue SW3 3DW; 020 7581 3355; barts-london.com
6 Megaro Bar, King’s Cross
Megaro’s decadent film noir vibe has a theatrical feel: think vintage tripods, worn leather directors’ chairs and negatives dotted around the ‘dark room’. The cocktail menu is split into acts reinforcing the theme. With black and white pictures hanging and red velvet curtains draped in the ‘dark room’ it is the perfect place to wind down after work.
23-27 Euston Road NW1 2SD; 020 3432 5150; megarobar.co.uk
7 Rise 46, Clapham
Rise 46 provides live music throughout the week with ‘Jazz and Blues Thursdays’ every week reinforcing the 1920s speakeasy style of the bar. There are a wide range of cocktails on the menu with fun varieties from the Sweet Shop menu and the Tea Tray Sharers. Lively throughout the week, a DJ plays on the weekends mixing the old style with popular modern music, making it the perfect place to dance with your friends.
46 Battersea Rise SW11 1EE; 020 7228 7676; rise46.com
8 Chelsea Prayer Room at Goat’s Chelsea, Chelsea
Need to confess a misdeed or two? Head to this extremely private speakeasy located behind a secret door of the first floor of Goat’s Chelsea. Protected by an ever-changing code, you can atone your sins by dressing respectively and asking for forgiveness from the hostess at the entrance. The tiny den has its alcohol hidden in vintage medicine bottles and jazz playing in the background sets the super sultry setting.
333 Fulham Road SW10 9QL; 020 7352 1384; goatchelsea.com
9 69 Colebrooke Row, Islington
‘The bar with no name’ is hidden away in a backstreet in Islington – only identifiable by its lantern and burgundy awnings. Owned by Tony Conigliaro, the multi-award winning bartender and mixologist, you’re guaranteed an outstanding cocktail: something a little experimental if you go by the ingredients list – horseradish vodka anyone? Unlike the 20s influence of many of London’s speakeasies, inside you will find a 1950s style bar with a film noir feel.
69 Colebrook Row N1 8AA; 07540 528 593; 69colebrookerow.com
10 The Nightjar, Hoxton
Located on City Road in Shoreditch, this dimly lit underground popular speakeasy is open seven nights a week and has been decorated throughout to make you feel as if you have stepped back into the prohibition era. Live music lights up most evenings, from 20s and 30s swing and traditional New Orleans Blues bands to solo pianists and medleys of ballroom numbers from Cuba, America and beyond. The cocktails, which are divided into Pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, Post-War and Nightjar Signatures, are creative and presented with unusual garnishes.
129 City Road EC1V 1JB; 020 7253 4101; barnightjar.com
11 Coolooh Callay, Shoreditch
Colourful and eccentric, this international award-winning bar, split into three sections, has a secret lounge only accessible through a Narnia-style wardrobe. The Lewis Carroll themed interior of 80s style old school cassettes, red and white striped throne and large mirrors is a sight to behold but the reason why this bar has proven so popular since opening is for its consistently strong and innovative line-up of cocktails and spirits.
65 Rivington Street EC2A 3AY; 020 7739 4781; calloohcallaybar.com
12 TT Liquor, Shoreditch
TT Liquor is a liquor store, underground bar and cocktail school all in one. You can pop by to have drinks in one of their converted historic police cells, or attend a cocktail mixing class to learn how to make your own alcoholic masterpieces. This new East London hub has something to offer for every drink enthusiast and is definitely worth a visit.
17 Kingsland Road E2 8AA; ttliquor.co.uk