Top Hidden Bars In London
It’s in human nature to be intrigued by things that are out of our reach, or even if it just seems like it. It’s similar with the best hidden bars in London. They aren’t really secret, but just the visuals of these venues and the procedures needed to get inside are so unique and movie-like, it’s hard not to be charmed by them. Decades ago mobsters and criminals used shady dark bars as their hangouts. Some even had hidden rooms, compartments, or secret getaway tunnels and exits. Today it’s all just a novelty, but some will find these bars to be so full of charm they’ll fall in love with the concept. Right up there with the New York, Berlin and Barcelona bars is of course London too. Some might even argue that London is light years ahead of these cities. But this isn’t a competition. Because London would win hands down! There’s simply no denying that chilling out with friends in such a secret or hidden London bar is way cooler than spending a day in a beer garden. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s your thing, it’s just not as cool, that’s all. Here are our picks for London’s best hidden bars.
The Portside Parlour is located in a basement area of a completely unassuming bar. Make your way to the toilet and you’ll be treated to a rare sight. Flush the toilet and what happens next will make you feel like you’re in a Scooby Doo mystery story. Except there are no villains that need to be caught, rather you will be exposed to a real gem amongst London bars where the cocktails are not only mouth-watering and delicious, they also hit hard if you want them to.
Visiting address: Rivington Street 14, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3DU
Evans & Peel
Among all the theme bars in the world, this one probably makes the biggest effort. This detective agency won’t investigate whether your wife is cheating on you, but if she is, there’s a chance she was meeting her lover here. All joking aside, it’s rare that a regular bar can offer this kind of fun and thrilling drama to their patrons. It’s best to make reservations beforehand, because the place can get busy.
Visiting address: Earl’s Court Road 310C, London, SW5 9BA
If you’re a C.S. Lewis fan, the Callooh Callay is the perfect place to experience a Narnia like atmosphere and vibe. It’s quirky, with some drinks being served in gramophones believe it or not. It stands out from all the other bars in most respects. Nothing about it is conventional and boring which makes it so interesting. Just because it’s “out there” doesn’t mean this hidden bar isn’t cool. If you like giving alternative venues a try, this one might just be a keeper.
Visiting address: Rivington Street 65, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY
Japan has never been known for its abilities to create quality whiskey or spirits. But apparently they can be damn good at it. If you visit the Mizuwari you’ll get a taste of the finest Japanese made whiskeys, just be careful, some of them can be very potent. It”s located underneath a Japanese restaurant hidden from sight. The venue focuses heavily on people who have a dark sense of humor, and this vibe will either appeal to you or it won’t. But even if you’re just intrigued by the idea of Japanese whiskey you should give this “secret” bar a try.
Visiting address: Old Compton Street 16, London, W1D 4TL
Everyone likes an underdog. And if you’re an individual who likes trying out new alcoholic concoctions there’s a great reason why to root for this UnderDog. They specialize in what they call beer cocktails. It might sound strange to the purists and traditionalists out there, but some of these cocktails taste better than you could imagine. Breaking all the rules can sometimes lead to great innovations and discoveries.
Visiting address: Bethnal Green Road 51-55, Shoreditch, London, E1 6LA
Because of its limited capacity it’s best to make reservations just in case. Other than its size it’s difficult not to be seduced by its simplistic and intimate charm. An intimate environment like this is the perfect place for a quiet date with a special lady. Talk your night away while flirting and sipping out cocktails made by mixologist experts that take great pride in what they do. Rarely is a bar this relaxed and laid back.
Visiting address: Hoxton Square 8-9, London, N1 6NU
Freud Cafe London
Just on the top of Monmouth street, underneath the pavement of Shaftesbury Avenue lies a now legendary venue called Freud. It opened its doors in 1986 and ever since they’ve been wooing their fellow Londoners with some of the finest cocktails around. One of the reasons it’s so lively and popular is due to its location, but it stayed a popular bar because of great service, quality cocktails and tasty snacks.
Visiting address: Shaftesbury Avenue 198, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 8LJ
The Luggage Room
Whether this bar should be considered a hidden one or not is debatable. But what isn’t debatable and questionable is the quality and service a person gets in this place. One of London’s finer bar establishments is truly awe-inspiring. It’s easy being seduced by its classiness and sheer indulgent atmosphere. If you want to experience the finer things in life without a big fuss, the Luggage Room will become your favorite bar in the world.
Visiting address: Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 6JP
Rules Cocktail Bar
There’s always something powerful about an establishment that simply refuses to change. Irreverence can be a charming attitude and approach to have, especially when it’s done the English way. Or the proper way, to be more precise. This is the quintessential British bar that’s simply too stubborn to be changed by the 21st century. Civilized, calm and charming but also light-hearted, this bar is what the world needs more of.
Visiting address: 35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7LB
It’s been said (by the PR manager of this bar) that this London speakeasy is owned and run by Chicago mobsters looking to spread their business into the British isles. How convincing that story sounds doesn’t matter a single bit because Barts oozes with the 1920’s style prohibition era atmosphere. On occasion you will find yourself wondering whether you’re on a movie set. The cocktails are made with premium Russian vodka and are mixed together by masters. After all is said and done, the Barts bar deserves a to be on the list of the best hidden London bars.
Visiting address: Chelsea Cloisters, Sloane Avenue 87, London, SW3 3DW