6 Wonderful London Bars That Were Once Public Toilets


These former toilets will have you flushed with excitement…

Secret London is not in the business of telling you to loiter about in public toilets. But when they’ve since been converted into cocktail bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, we’ll make an exception, and recommend that you spend a penny at these spots.

1. WC, Clapham Common

Photo: @_datenight_ldn

Once a water closet, now a wine and charcuterie bar (hence the WC). The wine menu draws from both Old World and New World vineyards, and the cheese and charcuterie boards are perfect for sharing. All in all, it makes a pretty lovely spot for a date – so long as you explain that it’s no longer a toilet first…

Clapham Common South Side, SW4 7AA. Nearest station is Clapham Common.

2. Ladies & Gentlemen, Kentish Town

Photo: @ladiesandgentlemenbar

Kentish Town’s best cocktail bar also happens to be a former Victorian lavatory. Mercifully, the only thing in the tanks down here is gin, which Ladies & Gentlemen distil in their very own copper still. On the menu are a range of inventive cocktails, using spirits including potato vodka and Irish poitín – we can heartily recommend the 5 Boroughs, with a naughty kick of absinthe. They also score points for the use of their illuminated sign, which proudly displays a new witticism each week. As you can see:

ladies and gents bar

2 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, NW5 1QU. Nearest station is Kentish Town.

3. CellarDoor, Aldwych

Photo: @stanimir_16

Somewhere on the scale between a suave 30s hangout and a New York dive bar lies CellarDoor. Hidden beneath Aldwych, this disused toilet may be small, but it packs a punch, with cabaret, burlesque, and live music in the calendar. They’ve also got a burlesque-themed afternoon tea, which sounds positively titivating.

Wellington Street, WC2E 7DN. Nearest stations are Temple and Covent Garden. 

4. Attendant, Fitzrovia

Photo: @beantheredrankthat_

Unlike the previous trio, Attendant isn’t a late-night spot. In fact, you’re more likely to head here early in the morning for a bracing cup of coffee – you’re probably going to need it to survive neighbouring Oxford Street. Breakfast, brunch favourites, and sandwiches appear on the menu, and it’s literally the only time we’re going to recommend you eat a stack of waffles in a Victorian bog. Quite literally in the bog, as the urinals have been converted into marble-topped tables.

27A Foley Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 6DY. Nearest stations are Goodge Street and Oxford Circus. 

5. Bermondsey Arts Club, Bermondsey

Photo: @richardgladman

Small and suave, The Bermondsey Arts Club is a superb Southwark hideaway. Order a Sage of Consent, or a Negroni Wit Attitude, and settle back for live music performances, or just for a quiet evening drink. You can also become a member (for free), which gets you discounts, priority reservations, and discounts on special events.

102a Tower Bridge Road, SE1 4TP. Nearest station is Borough.

6. Chiringuito, Bethnal Green

Photo: @chiringuito_ldn

The new loo on the block, Chiringuito takes inspiration from the beachfront bars and restaurants of sunny Spain. As such, finding on in an old toilet on the Costa Del Bethnal Green is unusual to say the least, but we’ll roll with it. Particularly since the menu offers manchego with honey and figs, fish tacos, and pork belly marinted in pisco, as well as goblets of gin & tonic.

Museum Gardens, E2 9PA. Nearest station is Bethnal Green.

Featured image: @wcclapham

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