There's been an explosion of 'secret' venues over the last few years, popping up behind hidden doors, in basements and down alleyways. It all sounds a little unusual, but some amazing spots lie in these covert places, just waiting to be found by those in the know.
We all need a little mystery and excitement in our lives, so here are seven of the best bars for you to enjoy or use to create an event with a little je ne sais quoi...you'll just have to find them first.
1. Looking Glass Cocktail Club
In a stylish speakeasy bar in the heart of Shoreditch lies a secret room. Behind an opulent floor to ceiling looking glass you’ll step into a wonderfully eccentric, secret world inspired by Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland.
An evening here is a whimsical journey, accompanied by delicious cocktails with tags that say ‘drink me’...it would be rude not to.
2. Keystone Crescent
A secret grey door and a keypad to let yourself in, it doesn't get much more exclusive than that.
The lounge bar, a hidden oasis from the hustle and bustle of King's Cross above, is beautifully designed with a retro vibe. It's a perfect place to relax with 'like-minded young professionals' and prides itself on its lack of pretension, that is usually associated with private members clubs. It's ideal for birthdays and intimate events with an exclusive feel.
Set in the 1920s prohibition era, Bart’s is run by ‘Chicago gangsters’ involved in illicit bootlegging activity. To keep their operation secret, the bar is located in a Sloane Avenue apartment, dressed up as the residence of Uncle Bart.
The decor could be described as junk-shop chic with chintz wallpaper, stuffed animal heads and cuckoo clocks, it’s certainly eccentric. There’s also an extensive list of cocktails, some served in top hats and teapots, by bartenders in 1920s get-up.
Oh and don’t forget to join in the fun by throwing on something from the well-stocked trunk of fancy dress.
4. Purl London
Named after a 19th century drink sold on the streets of London, Purl is an underground 1920’s speakeasy you should know about.
It’s got a broody atmosphere, with leather booths and vintage furniture that you can sit back and relax in whilst watching an array of interesting and experimental cocktails being made.
Chandeliers, photos of gangsters adorning the walls and dimmed lighting transport you to a sophisticated prohibition era bar.
Unassumingly nestled between a chicken shop and a newsagents is this hidden gem. An homage to the prohibition era (and they totally nail it), Nightjar is beautifully cosy yet stylish speakeasy bar.
Hailed as one of the best bars in London, the cocktails are award-winning and often contain surprising ingredients (sea plankton anyone?). Perfect for weddings, corporate events or extra special parties, this hidden spot is a true destination bar.
6. Opium Chinatown
Find it behind a jade door in Chinatown, when the amber light is on, you can go in.
Spread over three floors of a townhouse, a labyrinth of rooms make up this intriguing venue. East meets West in this Chinese-influenced bar, you can sit in retro armchairs as the smell of incense drifts by, try dim sum in the Dining Room and mysterious concoctions in the Apothecary Bar.
Visiting the toilets is also an experience as you’ll be greeted by rather loud Mandarin announcements over the speakers.
7. The Lucky Pig
A set of fairy lights adorning the staircase down to the venue are the only indicator that The Lucky Pig exists. Once you’ve found it, hidden down a back street in Fitzrovia, you’ll be greeted by a 1920s style bar with exposed brickwork, shabby-chic decoration and cosy corners.
A solid list of classic cocktails and live music at the weekends make The Lucky Pig a classy affair and a great venue for events.
For more amazing venues, head to hirespace.com