Whatever happened to just ‘stumbling’ upon a bar? Perhaps our need for quirkiness and exclusivity that has led to the increasing number of boozers that are hidden behind fridges and require you to knock the door three times, spin around and ask for Bill the buxom barman to whip you up an Old Fashioned. The bars listed below exist just above eye level or a street back from the one you’re walking on – hidden to the extent that you may not actually know they’re there. But, no passwords involved.
1. The Tale Bar at The Playboy Club, Mayfair
Don’t judge a bunny by its tail! The cocktail lounge and bar at the Mayfair club (the only remaining Playboy club in the whole of Europe), is an extremely classy affair. Newly refurbished and complete with delectable beverage menus, Tale’s bar is tucked away near Green Park and open to the public. The quirky decor pays homage to the history of the iconic brand, with vintage portraits of some fabulous bunnies. The Playboy Club also frequently run events, which are also open to the public. This month they have a Cabaret night on 17th June, as well as a ladies’ night on 30th June, where the Tale Bar will be transformed into a cocktail-filled beauty salon. Yaaaaas.
14 Old Park Ln, London W1K 1ND
2. The Blind Pig, Soho
Tucked away above Soho’s renowned Social Eating House, you’ll find The Blind Pig behind the hog door knocker on Poland Street. The bar itself is a Prohibition-inspired haunt, where you can sip on some sensational alcoholic creations. Pictured above is the rather extravagant Silver Screen, made with popcorn-washed Bourbon, cola reduction, “3D bitters”, lemon oils and (the main thing) additional SNACKS.
58 Poland St, London W1F 7NR
3. NightJar, Hoxton
Behind some unassuming double wooden doors, the very successful NightJar awaits in its dimly-lit glory. Its discreet nature has proved to be extremely popular – since opening in 2010, it’s now highly recommend to book online in advance to guarantee yourself a table (they have a no standing policy). Quick heads up, there is a cover charge per person when you reserve a spot and the deposit will get taken if you don’t show up. So leave the flaky friends out of this one.
129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB
4. Behind This Wall, Hackney
There’s no hiding Behind This Wall – the entrance flaunts itself below the glowing ‘bar’ sign (which we’re sure you’ll have an instinctive urge to walk towards). Make your way down a flight of stairs and you’ll find yourself in this simple, but wonderful drinking and dining establishment. Bonus for seafood lovers: they have a Happy Hour of £1 oysters, from 6-7pm every day.
129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB
5. First Aid Box, Herne Hill
A health cafe and coffee shop by day, a devilishly creative boozer by night. The First Aid Box in Herne Hill is here to give your body everything it needs (especially if that’s a stiff shot of liquor before bed time – doctor’s orders!). If you fancy drinking a pineapple flavoured cocktail from a drip bag, then you have to try the Thirst Aid.
119 Dulwich Rd, London SE24 0NG
6. Vista Bar @ Trafalgar Hotel
If you’ve somehow found yourself walking through Trafalgar Square, then look up to the skies and you’ll see Vista. Located above the Trafalgar Hotel, here you’ll find some breathtaking panoramic views of London’s iconic landmarks. You certainly won’t need to stretch your neck up to see the top of Nelson’s Column. Instead, you can look at Admiral with ease, glass of Prosecco in hand. There’s also a cracking lunchtime deal on Fever, where you can get a meal and a beer for only £9.99!
2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London SW1A 2TS