London's Best Speak- easies
All In London's list of London's best Speak- easies
We're not talking Fat Sam, here (that said, wouldn't you ever love to set a splurge gun on those spiky hairdos who push in front of you at the bar?)... n'no, we're talking a new wave of speakeasy-inspired venues which currently has London in its thrall.
Speakeasies came into being in 1920's Prohibition America and were haunts where citizens sneakily partook of the odd illegal tipple.
Skip forward to modern day London and you'll find achingly cool venues serving up teacups brimming with gin, suave jazz musicians and a glitzy, retro dress code.
Any body who is anybody,
Will soon walk through that door...
At Fat Sam's Grand Slam Speakeasy.
65 Rivington Street EC2A 3AYThe separate bar at Callooh Callay truly delivers in conceptual speakeasy style. A guest barman or connoisseur takes charge every month and concocts a menu to inspire the crowd of members. Membership is free; you just have to prove yourself a discerning drinker first.
The Nightjar 7/10Our Rating
129 City Road EC1V
1JBHidden amongst an array of typical London shop fronts is the Nightjar. A cocktail bar first, speakeasy second, itís a surprise thereís any room for anybody here such are the levels of style that ooze from every facet. If youíre looking to impress someone, this is the place.
Happiness Forgets 7/10Our Rating
8 - 9 Hoxton Square N1 6NUJust being hidden away below street level doesnít qualify you for Ďspeakeasyí status, but candlelights, hushed atmospheres, blood red walls and great cocktails do. Happiness Forgets is the Hoxton Square hangout that gets all the punters begging for more. As careful with the bar's soundtrack as they are with the cocktails.
Drink Shop & Do
9 Caledonian Road Islington N1 9DXLook beyond the shop and the goodies that fill it up and make your way to the seating section where youíll be served cocktails to your hearts content Ė having offered up payment first, of course. It may not be a speakeasy in anything like the true sense, but its fun and whoever thought of putting a bar in the middle of a shop?
Experimental Cocktail Club
13A Gerrard Street W1D 6HBBook ahead to avoid disappointment at what is surely one of Londonís most Ďauthenticí speaks. The Experimental Cocktail Club is a dazzling mixture of hidden doorways and antique chic, wrapped up with an atmosphere that puts you someway back to the swinging Twenties. For the barman, cocktails are a serious business, and it shows.
Cellar Door 8/10Our Rating
Zero Aldwych WC2E 7DNHow do you know itís there? Easy, follow the arrow at street level that points downwards like bright neon love. The sultry basement presents seedy drag, burlesque and lounge acts that give you that feeling of being up to no good.
Bourne & Hollingsworth 8/10Our Rating
28 Rathbone Place W1T 1JFFitzrovia sits well with the whole speakeasy revival for some reason. Perhaps itís the plethora of basements that look so enticing in the way their hand railed steps lead downwards. Bourne and Hollingsworth is at the bottom of one of these flights of concrete and when you find it youíll thank the stars. On first look it boasts style and refinement, but look a little closer and thereís an amazing worn in appeal to it all. Take a gin cocktail in a teacup and enjoy the spirit.
Ruby's Basement Bar 9/10Our Rating
76 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XBVintage milk bottles as drinking vessels, candlelight, and quiet music to encourage conversation - what more could you want from a speakeasy style bar? Rubyís makes a killer blueberry mojito, thatís all you need to know.
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town 8/10Our Rating
12-16 Artillery Lane E1 7LSItís gaudy and ever so slightly tacky, but how can you help but love entering the Mayor of Scaredy Cat through its Smeg Fridge entrance? The atmosphere here is less hushed back alley and more basement club at times, but the cocktails are spot on the money.