If you live in or near London and you have never been to a speakeasy, you are well and truly missing out! Low lighting, delectable cocktails and early 1900’s decor make speakeasy’s like nothing else you could imagine. They’re often bustling, with many establishments taking reservations beforehand so it’s useful to check out if your speakeasy is by appointment only.
Here are three speakeasy’s in West London that you MUST check out.
‘Cahoots’ in Kingly Court is not one that needs a reservation, however on a busy Friday or Saturday night it may be wise, if you don’t want to queue. You will be transported into a 1940’s tube station built in an abandoned air raid shelter from World War II. Cahoots greets you with a uniformed train guard and a vintage style ticket booth.
All of the female staff are also dressed in character, red lipstick and hair rollers galore! To make the experience as authentic as possible, the seat’s have been recreated using real fabric from the London Underground.
There is complimentary popcorn upon arrival and you will find yourself constantly looking around the room at the interior design and vintage style posters covering the walls, it is exactly how you would expect a 1940’s & 50’s tube station to appear. You may find your drink being served to you in an ‘old-school’ style glass milk bottle, a “rations” tin or a china tea cup. Most of the cocktails on the extensive cocktail menu range between £8-£10, which many would agree is a good price for a speakeasy in Soho.
However, for the more discerning customers there are cocktails ranging between £11-£25. Cahoots bar menu offers ‘ration style’ light bites and bar snacks that echo 1940’s cuisine, ‘with a twist.’ Cahoots is a lively and loud atmosphere on a Friday or Saturday night, perfect with a group of friends.
If you want to visit: 13 Kingly St, London W1B 5PG
Take a peak at the website: http://cahoots-london.com
Evans and Peel Detective Agency
Probably one of the most fun and quirky procedures you will encounter in order to access a speakeasy in London. Away from the hustle and bustle of Soho, Evans and Peel is hidden amongst residential streets, just off of Earl’s Court Road.
If you’re looking to confuse and bewilder your friends then book this on your own and take them here by disguising it with another name so they can’t research it beforehand. You must book an appointment before arrival by calling this number 020 7373 3573 or on the website, www.evansandpeel.com. You will be asked to leave your name and “state a case,” in which you will have to make up a fake case such as your dog being stolen or a friend being kidnapped.
The entrance and exterior of the building is quite easy to miss so make sure you have your maps to hand! Upon finding Evans & Peel you will ring the bell and be buzzed in, you will then be greeted by an actor posing as a “detective,” his outfit is fully reminiscent of the speakeasy era. The detective will ask you to state your case, followed further by some questions upon you will have to play along (you can have a lot of fun here!). Then finally, you will be allowed in via a secret bookcase.
Once inside you can order food and drink. “Sliders” range from £5-£8, they are more on the side of snacking food and smaller than most would expect, so if you’re heading here for a more substantial fill, be prepared to order about 6, which they do for £25. The food is an eclectic mix of mini versions of burgers, pulled pork buns and cheese based dishes amongst other things.
The cocktail menu is less extensive that Cahoots and the cocktails range from £10-£11. We felt slightly rushed to finish by the staff due to it being such a busy attraction with reservations obviously being in demand, however it is definitely worth a visit.
If you want to visit: 310c Earls Ct Rd, London SW5 9BA
Take a peak at the website: www.evansandpeel.com
The Vault (Milroy’s of Soho)
Behind the bookcase – The Vault
This is one for the whisky lovers! The Vault is an underground speakeasy hidden gem concealed by a bookcase (much like Evans and Peel). You may be more familiar with Milroy’s of Soho, London’s oldest whisky bar. However, if you enter Milroy’s (no reservation needed) and advance straight past the bar and towards the bookshelf at the back, give it a gentle push, walk down the stairs and you will find yourself in an intimate speakeasy. I found myself relaxing on the sofa with a cocktail, and I never wanted to leave.
The staff were attentive, approaching us to take more orders once we had finished our drinks, meaning we didn’t even have to order at the bar or search for a member of staff – total relaxation. Cocktails range between £9.5-£11.5. Even though it is a whisky shop, there are still gin, vodka and rum based cocktails to tickle your tastebuds if whisky doesn’t take your fancy.
Relaxing in The Vault
I have discovered from speakeasy bar hopping around London that many of the cocktails contain egg white, this is actually a tradition that dates back further than a century! Don’t be afraid to try, the egg white gives the cocktail a rich, creamy texture and can also provide a frothy topping. I would recommend “Apple of My Eye” if you’re an egg white virgin and looking for a new experience.
If you want to visit: 3 Greek St, London W1D 4NX
Take a peak at the website: http://thevaultsoho.co.uk