Cellar Door

Zero Aldwych, Covent Garden, London

Teeny tiny venue with a huge heart...

Cellar Door picture

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Address:Zero Aldwych
Covent Garden
Map:Map & nearby
Venue Type:Bars
Region:Covent Garden
Nearest Station:Charing Cross
About: Intimate bar beneath the Aldwych - imagine 1930s Berlin meets New York basement dive! The bar boasts the sexiest toilets in London!!

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Nearby alternatives

  1. Dirty Martini (0.0 miles)
    Russell Street, Holborn, WC2B 5HZ
  2. Good Godfrey's (0.0 miles)
    Aldwych, WC2B 4DD
  3. Be At One (0.0 miles)
    Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7RQ

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How do you know it’s 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.

Cheeky! London's best burlesque shows
The staircase on the Strand doesn’t look like much but when you head below ground, the world of CellarDoor is an intoxicating one. Styled like a Berlin cabaret bar by way of New York, you’ll find live burlesque, drag and cabaret most nights of the week. Shows are mostly free and the Tuesday night open mic is particularly worth a visit.

The West End's top bars and clubs
Blink and you’ll miss the subterranean fun on offer at Cellar Door. Reachable via a staircase in Aldwych, this basement bar/club features cabaret, burlesque and live music nights that offer something a little different from the usual West End evening out.

Toilets with pazazz!
Cellar Door is another London venue that got its big break as a public toilet. However, it left that ugly stain on its resume behind years ago… didn’t it? Or not. Having transformed itself into a dapper subterranean cabaret club in Aldwych it only went and put in some incredible toilets to remind us of where it all began. These ones are nifty. The clear glass door will scare a few would-be toilet breakers but once locked, the glass will soon frost over and leave you with a misty mask behind which to do your thang. Just don’t forget to lock.

"Teeny tiny venue with a huge heart..."

Review Rating: 8 / 10
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Having an address which is "Zero Aldwych" is cute enough, but this teeny tiny venue with a huge heart is in a former gent's loo just outside One Aldwych. As you walk down the stairs, it's like stepping back in time through a number of cliches - the decor is red, red, red and there is glass everywhere giving the dark cavern an illusion of space.

When I was there with a couple of mates there was no live jazz music - although the venue is famous for this. Maybe we just arrived too early...

Anyway. We sampled enough cocktails on the menu to know that they do cocktails good - for example, Mack the Knife was a modern twist on old favourite whisky mack. My colleagues tried out mojitos and daiquiries - some of them looking rather bright and some of the them tasting rather zingy. We had some nibbles too.

The staff - or fallen angels as they are called who they have little red and black wings on their back for ease of recognition - are super friendly and just attentive enough. There was an interesting mix of fellow guests - after work crowd mostly. Not the hard core jazzies I witnessed a few weeks ago in the 606 Club in Chelsea.

But the big attraction for me was the world's first text message jukebox. You have a list of an eclectic range of tracks - fashion, travels with my aunt and songs to die for - being some of the themes. You then text the 4 digit code of the track you want to hear to the number provided. And not only do you get a very polite acknowledgement but you also get a further text when your track is about to be played. With my pals the selection included The Clash, Roxy Music, David Bowie and Duran Duran. Yes, I know this was not very jazzy and a bit 80s but that's what it felt like in a happy kinda retro way.

And then, when I read their site (I rarely read the web site before a visit as I fear it may colour my views) I learn that the founder of the bar is a former lawyer from a law firm with whom I was once associated. I didn't know they made lawyers from real people these days...

KimT reviewed Cellar Door on Fri 08 Aug 2008

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