London is crawling with cocktail hideaways, if you only know where to look. Lucky for you, we've got a long list of the city's best speakeasies in our little black book, and we're no good at keeping secrets...
Cavita in Marylebone may just be the best Mexican restaurant in London - and yes, we can confirm that the food is bangin'. But the real reason to check it out? It's Mayahuel, the speakeasy hidden below the main resto. This place is all about Mexican spirits, from tequila and mezcal to sotol and raicilla. The cocktails are divine and the bar snacks are next-level - it's the perfect date-night spot when ya wanna splash out a little.
60 Wigmore St, London W1U 2RZ
BrewDog's massive Waterloo pub may be heaving, but this modern speakeasy hidden inside it is a great escape. Find the vintage telephone on the first floor and sweet-talk the operator into letting you in - with its intimate, moody atmosphere and super-creative drinks, you'll be living it up in style.
Unit G, Waterloo Station, 01 The Sidings, London SE1 7BH
A solid BarChick fave, located just off Soho Square. Head into Milroy’s, London’s oldest whisky shop, and say you’re going to The Vault. You’ll be pointed in the direction of a bookcase. Push it open and head down a dark and narrow neon-lit stairway into this little speakeasy. The staff are laid-back and up for giving impromptu cocktail lessons when the bar is quiet. As in the shop upstairs, whisky is the thing here - we're a fan of The Smoking Gun, where your whisky is smoked right in front of your eyes. Oh, and give the house dog Chester a pat - you’ll find him sipping water Martinis by the bar. Woof.
3 Greet Street, Soho, W1D 4NX
Under a kebab shop in Shoreditch, you’ll find this gem. The peeling corridor looks a bit sketchy, but the bar downstairs is bangin’. Go for the set tasting cocktail menu of five boozy courses that will blow your mind. Its theme changes every few months - we tried forest-themed drinks and found ourselves eating edible tree sap and a jelly ball of gin on a leaf. Insane, and we loved it.
1e Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3EJ
A classic secret bar you’ve gotta try. Buzz the bell and head down for your "appointment" with the detective. This is where the imagination cogs need to turn - you gotta get your role play on and talk to Mr Detective about a case that needs solving. He’ll spin you some chat, lead you to a secret hideaway behind a bookcase (classic), and in you go to a huge candlelit speakeasy. This place has "impress your date" written all over it.
310c Earls Ct Rd, SW5 9BA
Veer off where the Liverpool Street area meets Aldgate, and you’ll find this awesome lil booze den. It’s well hidden, so keep your eyes peeled. Find a run-down building with a cheap-looking suit shop. You’ll spot a subtle entrance - scoot in there and down to the bar. Hello, speakeasy! It’s all candlelit, and we like the nod to the old suit storage space it used to be, with umbrellas hanging from the ceiling and fabric reels by the bar.
29 Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1 7TB
It all looks suspicious: the door is right next to a sex shop, with a sign that states "This is not a brothel, there are no prostitutes at this address". Nope, nothin' to see here... except loads of epic cocktails and killer desserts. That's our kinda naughty.
8 Broadwick St, W1F 8HN
Kings Cross ain’t just a wasteland of mega-chains, it’s also home to one of the coolest members' bars in London. It’s a rad 1970s-style lair with awesome staff - you’ll be best mates with them by 4am closing. They make bad-ass cocktails, and there’s even the option to pimp your own drink if you wanna go rogue.
Keystone Crescent, N1 9DT
Chinatown has a boozy secret in a former gambling den - just look for the jade-coloured door and you'll enter into 1920s Shanghai, where you’ll find legendary bar staff and epic dim sum. Pow. There are floors of fun to be had, and each room has its own personality. If you can find Peony, the speakeasy within a speakeasy (meta, right?), then you've nailed your visit.
15-16 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE
You’ll find the entrance to this New York-style speakeasy wedged between two cafes. It’s big time, so get dressed up and get involved. There are all sorts of ingenious cocktail creations on the menu, and it's all about live music, so expect an eclectic mix of gypsy swing, jazz and American classics. And get booking, for god’s sake - it’s the kinda place with a waiting list. In more of a Soho speakeasy kinda mood? Check out the newer outpost of Nightjar tucked away in Carnaby Street.
129 City Road, EC1V 1JB
Hunt down the weird telephone/TARDIS keypad on a door on Kingsland Road. Type in a special code and get down to this makeshift bar that’s straight out of Las Ramblas in Barcelona. It’s very bare-bones, but who cares at 4am? Plus it has a kick-ass late-night two-for-one happy hour between 11pm and midnight. Snack on churros and chocolate, then dance it off to the bangers spun by the DJ in the corner. It’s a small dance floor, but everyone in there is a looker, so you won’t mind getting close.
232 Kingsland Road, E2 8AX
Not many people know about this one. Walk through the neon revolving doors at St Martin’s Lane Hotel and look around for a golden hand sticking out of a wall. Yeah, it's random. Give it a shake, and it’ll open up an entrance to this slick secret bar - we're talkin' lots of shiny gold decor and smart leather seats. On Martini Mondays, rock up and design your own drink according to your mood. It’s worth going at least once with a date to impress them with that awesome entrance.
St Martin’s Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s, WC2N 4HX
We all know Soho hides a saucy secret or two - that's why we love it so much. Part of chef Jason Atherton's Social Eating House restaurant, The Blind Pig is hidden above a swinging opticians sign on Poland Street. Tricky stuff. The space itself is brooding and sexy, but it's still relaxed, so you can kick back with some of their music-inspired cocktails and while away the evening.
58 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7NR
The swinging '60s is an era we can get down with - and if a clandestine trip to Disrepute is as close as we’re gonna get, so be it. This opulent vaulted den is tucked beneath Soho’s Kingly Court and just oozes sex appeal. Yeah, it’s a member’s club, no, they won’t turn you away if you smile sweetly and ask to try the cocktails. You’ll find us nestled in one of the plush pink velvet booths beneath the alcoves, sipping on a TWA - a twist on an Old Fashioned that's toffee-sweet and smoother than George Clooney after a wet shave.
4 Kingly St, Soho, London W1B 5PW
Head through the black door on Goodge Street and you’re in the former home of the rev, where it's all distressed decor and shabby-chic speakeasy style. The sexy drinks more than make up for peeling wallpaper - get down with the kitchen-inspired Chère Suzette which comes with a flaming boozy crepe on the side. Preach.
32 Goodge St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2QJ
BarChick isn’t usually one for undertaking a challenge before getting our drinks, but the search for this speakeasy style bar through a large 1930s apartment building is worth it. For one thing, there’s a fancy dress box. Uh, hello, sequins and tassels - we’re all about nailing Prohibition-era party glamour. Take a trip back in time, get your moves out for the era-appropriate music, and excuse us if we show a little leg during the Charleston. It’s thirsty work, so grab one of the famous Barts Teas served in vintage teapots.
Chelsea Cloisters, Sloane Ave, London SW3 3DW
Somewhere in Brixton, there’s a door. Behind the door, there’s a staircase. Ascend it and you’ll find yourself at one of the most killer parties south of the river. The Beast of Brixton serves potent cocktails for the seasoned drinker, all set to banging music that throbs over two floors. No half-arsed Mojitos or sad Cosmos found here - the menu is on point and carefully considered, and includes smash hits like their Frozen Marg slushies. Definitely adults only, definitely worth the brain freeze for that booze hit.
89B Acre Ln, Brixton, London SW2 5TN