Tucked away on a charming, cobbled square in Clerkenwell is a picture-perfect row of townhouses. Among that picture-perfect row of townhouses is an enticing blue door. And beyond that enticing blue door is what I can only describe as a mildly chaotic treasure trove – but in the best way, you know?
It’s not often that you get the chance to snoop around one of those ginormous Georgian townhouses (believe me – I’ve spent enough time wandering the fanciest streets of central London, hoping for an invite to know) but at this particular townhouse; everybody is welcome. The Zetter Townhouse makes you feel like you’re being warmly welcomed in to the weird and wonderful home of a kooky relative (I mean, none of my relatives own a townhouse in central London but I’ll use my imagination for this one).
The moment you step through the door and into the cocktail bar, you’re encompassed by elaborate décor, quirky antiques, hand-painted murals, and a whole lot of taxidermy. That’s right: ‘more is more’ was clearly the approach taken when it came to the interior design of this place, and they certainly had no intention of shying away from their soft spot for stuffed animals.
The whole concept is based on the fictional character of Aunt Wilhelmina (the kind of aunt you only see a few times a year, who wears an excessive amount of bangles and has a suspicious amount of money, I reckon). The cocktail bar (AKA Wilhelmina’s Lounge) is jam-packed with various bits and bobs, each of which help paint the picture of this eccentric aunt who is the heart and soul of the entire establishment.
Anyway, onto the important stuff: the cocktails – although it’s easy to forget that’s why your here with the sheer amount there is to look at. With a menu created by a molecular mixologist, you just know that you’re in for a treat when it comes to the drinks. We’re talking an apothecary-style counter serving creative concoctions, made from tinctures, bitters and homemade cordials. With an ever-changing ‘cocktail of the week‘, you never quite know what to expect, and the drinks are just as theatrical and interesting as the interiors, but of course, we’d expect nothing less from good old Aunt Wilhelmina.
A menu of mouth-watering small plates has been perfectly curated to compliment the cocktails and there’s live music every Wednesday, so it’s ever-so easy to while away a whole evening inside the townhouse. There’s also a delectable afternoon tea on offer during the daytime. The best part? When you inevitably decide you don’t want to leave, you can stay the night in one of the thirteen bedrooms available. Yippee!
The whole place offers an unforgettably immersive experience for its visitors, and you can’t help but get swept up in to the drama and passion of it all. Especially if you like your tequila with a side of taxidermy.