Clandestine bars, also known in the United States as speakeasies, are becoming the highest novelty for nighttime amusement in London. Although called clandestine; they are far from hidden. But they do not advertise and you would probably not recognize them at first glance. They are promoted the old fashion way: by word of mouth.
Some of these bars will only allow you inside if you know a certain password, and others will judge your attire; if not properly dressed, admission will be denied. These cocktail lounges use several disguises as part of their allure. They can be housed in an old laundromat, a hard to find apartment or a fictional detective agency.
These covert businesses serve cocktails with special glamour to a select clientele who wants to relive the atmosphere of the dangerous and captivating 1920s, when Prohibition was the law in the United States and guests whispered the names of legendary criminals as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano.
So come in, leave your hats and guns at the entrance … And enjoy!!
Ruby’s Dalston Cocktail Bar
76, Stoke Newington Road
It is located in London Borough of Hackney, in a remote area east of the city, pretending to be an old movie house. To gain access, you have to go through a guarded door in the basement. The antique furniture and bare walls, next to a room dimly lit by draped lamps, make it the ideal place to enjoy the delicious ‘blackberry mojitos’, served in old milk bottles, or cocktails with fresh fruit presented in metal cups.
Chelsea Cloisters, 87 Sloane Avenue
You’ll have to go to the posh neighborhood of Chelsea to enjoy one of London’s most famous speakeasies. But first you should take an imaginary journey to a Chicago bar from the 1920’s, run by a group of gangsters who, to avoid detection by police, installed their business in one of the many apartments in the area of Sloane Avenue, and named it Bart. The elegant interior is decorated with leather sofas and antiques. Patrons should not pass on the opportunity to enjoy some of their unusual cocktails such as the gone fishing, made with a variety of whisky that has a smoky flavor of Alaskan salmon. Of course, everything is served in deceiving tea cups, though, its location is probably the worst kept secret in all of London. Read more about the best bars in the world.
Evans & Peel Detective Agency
310c Earls Court Road
The detective agency Evans & Peel is not easy to find, as it is located in Royal Borough, a residential suburb of London where one doesn’t often encounter this kind of business. Once inside, keep in mind that you may be involved in a case of robbery or kidnapping, which will have to be solved by the expert detectives of Evans & Peel. But don’t worry because there will be no arrests. You will be able to enjoy the bar, hidden behind a bookcase, comfortably seated around office tables to drink delicious cocktails that will be presented in a police report. The animated musical and burlesque performances are what make this place so special. Read here about London’s legendary pubs. ■