The Roaring Twenties are still alive and well in London. With numerous speakeasies, live jazz bars, cabaret spots, and even vintage cinemas to choose from, here’s a list of our favourite spots that will transport you to the dazzling age of the 1920’s.
Speakeasy just screams 1920’s doesn’t it? This Shoreditch bar is tucked between a chicken shop and a cafe and is as unassuming as you can get. Once you’ve managed to locate the hidden entrance and descend down the stairs, the sounds of the live jazz band fill up the bar and transport you to the Roaring Twenties. The menu is split into pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, and Post-War libations. Nightjar hosts live music every night from some of the best jazz, swing, and blues musicians in the country for all of your prohibition revelry.
You’ll find Nightjar at 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB.
Based on the prohibition-era bars in Havana, Burlock is a haven for rum enthusiasts. This fun little joint is hidden in a basement just off Oxford Street and features vintage Cuban prints, live reggae music nights, and a sipping salon corner with authentic retro hairdryers. Burlock are experts on Cuba’s rich history of rum and which makes them the it place to go for top-notch rum-based cocktails, with a menu featuring some delicious Caribbean light bites too.
You’ll find Burlock at 31 Duke Street, W1U 1LG.
If you’re ever in need of a detective, Evans & Peel Detective Agency is at hand crack your case and serve you up some delicious tipples too. This Prohibition-style speakeasy can only be entered once you answer some questions from a detective about your case who will lead you to a hidden door through a bookcase, once you’re in, it’s time to enjoy some bootlegged liquor as 1920s live jazz and swing tunes plays on into the night. The menu at this watering hole is delightfully inventive as they’re named and inspired by bootleggers, illegal distillers, and bandits, with American bar snacks to nibble on.
You’ll find Evans & Peel Detective Agency at 310c Earls Court Road, SW5 9BA.
4. Electric Cinema
This entry is probably the most authentic one on the list, as the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill opened its door in February 27, 1911 with a showing of the 20-minute silent film Henry VIII starring Sir Herbert Tree. The cinema’s history is rich and impressive, the original cinema is still standing and operational after both World Wars and surviving The Blitz, became Britain’s first black-owned cinema in 1993 until 2000 when it was sold and leased to Soho House.
The cinema itself is gorgeously retro and wonderfully luxurious, with a choice of red velvet king-sized sofas that feature small lantern-lit tables for you to enjoy your burger, hotdog or nachos and a glass of champagne on as you enjoy your film. Footstools and cashmere blankets also accompany each sofa chair, and there are even red velvet beds to sprawl on if you’re lucky enough to nab them.
You’ll find Electric Cinema at 191 Portobello Road, W11 2ED.
5. Proud Cabaret City
Cabarets were of course all the rage during the Roaring Twenties, and a 1920s guide would surely be incomplete with one. Decadently over the top, Proud Cabaret City is not merely a show but an experience. Indulge in dinner by candlelight in a supper club style or a raucous drag brunch as the performers dazzle, enchant, and transport you to an era of illicit glamour. Prepare to see a whole lot of flapper dresses, fishnet stockings, and feathers.
You’ll find Cabaret City at 1 Mark Lane, EC3R 7AH.
6. American Bar at The Savoy
The American Bar at The Savoy is the longest surviving cocktail bar in London and is renowned across the world, with drinks so iconic that the bar even has its very own famed cocktail book. She is beauty, she is grace, The American Bar has all the class and art deco charms of the 1920s and was home to the most famous bartender in The Savoy, Harry Craddock, who served the bar during the 1920s and 30s. It is firmly placed in cocktail history being the birthplace of some of the most iconic and longest-surviving cocktails, and has played host to some of the most famous figures in history such as Winston Churchill, Neil Armstrong, and Ernest Hemingway.
You’ll find The American Bar at The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0EZ.
7. The Candlelight Club
There’s a speakeasy party and you’re invited. The Candlelight Club is an immersive pop-up Prohibition-era speakeasy where everyone must dress the part. The venue is completely lit by candles with a supper club style of dining. It’s a true Jazz Age experience with a live jazz band, retro DJ’s, and cabaret performances. Dancing is strongly encouraged. The Club has no permanent residence so its as if it doesn’t really exist, adding to the whole Prohibition speakeasy vibe.
8. Hoxley and Porter
Hoxley and Porter transport you to a 1920s luxury dining train carriage, which is fitting as it serves up dishes with influences from around Europe. The restaurant is decked out with 1920s glamour with leather and velvet seats, period lanterns and tropical plants but still feels cosy, and also features a dedicated cocktail lounge with an eccentric drinks list. They serve brunch, lunch, dinner, and Sunday roast so you’ll be spoilt for choice with their menus.
You’ll find Hoxley and Porter at 153 Upper Street, N1 1RA.