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Hidden basement bars
  • Hip, Sip & Stumble Upon London's Best Speakeasy Bars

    The Under Raidar bootleggers just took a trip across the pond to discover and experience London's best hidden speakeasy bars and, for a country that never even had a prohibition, we were mightily impressed - once we found them that is!

    The London cocktail scene is booming and they've crafted prohibition bars down to a fine art. The bartenders don't just create luscious libations, with experimental twists, they perform mind-blowing cocktail showmanship. After experiencing some of London's most captivating cocktail theatrics it proved Stateside to be a little wet behind the ears. 

    After a lot of drinking researching, which involved a lot of drinking researching some more, we're giving you the low-down and thirsty on a selection of London's best hidden nightlife spots for whenever you cross the pond. So let's get your drink-hole a little bit wet because, after reading this, there won't be a dry mouth or eye in the house. 

    Thirst up is:

    1. Purl, Marylebone: Where Prohibition That Takes You Aback

    Tucked away in the heart of Marylebone, in a vaulted Georgian basement, we stumbled upon Purl - an innovative and multi-sensory 1920s prohibition bar. Look for the sign and descend down the dark stairs to enter the secret prohibition nirvana where anything could potentially go up in smoke or out with a bang!


    Here's the full exposé of Purl's multi-sensory stimulation (with eye-gasmic photo evidence).


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    Smoking cold


    2. Nightjar, Hoxton: The Speakeasy That's No Fly-By-Night.


    Behind an unassuming black door, a stone’s throw from Old Street, you’ll look for find  London’s highly acclaimed prohibition bar that lives and breathes in the basement below. At the bottom of a tall, dark staircase is a door that leads to a world where the 1920s is very much alive and thriving – but ever so spectacularly.....


    Here’s what you'll find inside Nightjar; a bar that yells speakeasy and serves you the 1920s in the glassiest of ways.

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    Stairs down to Nightjar


    3. Bart's, Kensington: Worst Kept Secret. Best Inside Job.

    Just another upscale apartment building in South Kensington is what you won’t be expecting on your quest to find Bart’s. It might take you a little while but once you find it your thirst will be overly quenched. Charming, magical, nostalgic, innovative are words that come to mind because Bart’s crafts something quite enchanting......

    Get the full inside information on Bart's (with glorious photo evidence) here.

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    4. Looking Glass Cocktail Club, Hoxton: Sip Through The Looking Glass

    As we passed Looking Glass Cocktail Club all was not what met the eye which called for a more investigative look through the looking glass. Like any professional drunks speakeasy bar avengers we set out on our peripatetic quest to see what was behind this chic and antique newly-opened 1920s cocktail bar...


    Get the full backstory of what you'll find behind (and through) the looking glass.


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    Step through the looking glass to find...


    5. Milk & Honey, Soho: 
    Soho's Secret Speakeasy That's Pure To The Pour 

    Walking in Soho, on a Saturday night, we were looking for Milk & Honey to make our 10.30pm reservation. After scaling streets across the world looking for hidden bars (and considering ourselves experts) we still love the thrill of discovery. We automatically look for inconspicuous entrances/doors/windows but Milk & Honey challenged us. We retraced our steps and finally saw an unmarked maroon door that looked like any other. No sign, no number, just a rectangular glass peephole showed us we'd arrived.  

    Read the fully poured version of events at Milk & Honey right here.

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    In the bar of Milk & Honey


    6. Bourne & Hollingsworth, Fitzrovia - Teatime With A Twist


    On the corner of Rathbone Place in Fiztrovia it looks like the old Bourne & Hollingsworth department store. Get a little closer and you’ll see it is, in fact, a mural, a facade, a hoax even. We took flight down the metal stairs to reveal a basement cocktail bar, decorated as an old English tea room, with a fireplace and classic floral wallpaper reminiscent of your Grandma’s house - but this is not your Grandma's house.

    See the full English teatime tale of what makes Bourne & Hollingsworth well worth a visit! 

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    A storefront with a backstory


    7 & 8. London Cocktail Club, London - Get in the club

    The London Cocktail Club is rather special; they’re a club you’re going to want to experience again and again for the many adventures that await! They are not just one, but 4 bars, with different themes, different personalities and wickedly different drinks. You need to visit each one to really soak up their individual personalities and definitely their drinks.

    Access the full low-down on London Cocktail Club right here! 

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    If you drink you already belong


    Under Raidar are your prime prohibition bar source. We're dedicated to bringing you top secret nightlife in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Seattle and New York. We're expanding into more and more cities and dedicated to the art of the modern-day speakeasy bar. Find easy. Drink easy. Speakeasy. 


    Shhhhhhhh!

    Discover the best secret nightlife: www.underraidar.com

    TW: @underraidar.com  FB: facebook.com/underraidar

    Ph: (+1) 310 689 9438

  • Purl - Where Prohibition Takes You Aback

    Tucked away in the heart of Marylebone, in a vaulted Georgian basement, we stumbled upon Purl - an innovative and multi-sensory 1920s prohibition bar. Look for the sign and descend down the dark stairs to enter the secret prohibition nirvana where anything could potentially go up in smoke or out with a bang! 

    As you enter the secret underground prohibition portal, where you can speak as easy as you can drink, you’ll feel as though you just traveled back to the 1920s (not that you remember them of course). This is how Purl makes you speak easier, drink easier and sets the modern-day speakeasy bar pretty high - in every sense.



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    Globally inconspicuous

    Purl is a magical world of whirled creations mixed with multi-sensory cocktail theater that flows as spectacularly as the drinks. In keeping with the theme of 19th century birth of cocktails, along with pre-prohibition cocktail culture and the art deco period, Purl is immersed in authenticity; an old style telephone booth, vintage telephones, cameras and other 19th century paraphernalia adorn the basement space.

    Purl is engulfed in atmospheric lighting and the interior features exposed brickwork, vintage-style leather seating and cozy cellar caves with glamorous chandeliers. We loved the vintage globe that inconspicuously houses their vast array of bespoke bitters and the hanging tea cups above the bar.



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    Oh becave will you!


    As for the 'tipple whammies'; Purl doesn’t just craft exquisite cocktails but they create an unforgettable drinxperience with creative, inventive flavors in each sumptuous cocktail.

    What got our juices flowing was how experimental and truly exceptional the drinks were. Purl’s twist on Prohibition era libations is an ever-evolving cocktail list, with a mixture of hardcore classics, and forward-thinking sensory peculiarities incorporating foams, caviar, homemade infusions, home-aged bitters, ice carving and even liquid nitrogen.  Every cocktail enthralls every sense from concept to sip; if you love 1920s speakeasy bars Purl takes you back - and certainly aback.



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    Mr Hyde, I'll see you through the smoke



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    Testing, testing, one two entICE


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    Cocktails are poppin'


    Extra Tidbit 

    “It’s in keeping with our theme of late 19th century birth of cocktails along with pre-prohibition cocktail culture and the art deco period…plus Purl is a nice word (it’s also the sound that water makes when it flows over rocks).

    Full Frontal Exposure: www.underraidar.com/purl 

    TW: @Purllondon   FB: PurlLondon

    50-54 Blandford St., London W1U 7HX      (+44) 020 7935 0835


    Purls of wisdom and other discovered London speakeasies are here. 

  • Nightjar - The Speakeasy Bar That's No Fly-By-Night

    Behind an unassuming black door, a stone’s throw from Old Street, you’ll find (and look for) London’s highly acclaimed prohibition bar that lives and breathes in the basement below. At the bottom of a tall, dark staircase is a door that leads to a world where the 1920s is very much alive and thriving ever so spectacularly.

    Nightjar has crafted something quite unique with a 1920s speakeasy vibe you’ll want to bottle but, trust us, you’re going to want to stick with the glass in here. Nightjar only does exceptional; the imbibing offerings alone are worthy of imblblical Revelations boasting pre-prohibition, prohibition, post-war drinks and signatures. 


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    Where all the magic is crafted


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    It's all tin ceilings & mirrors

    The live old school 1920s jazz, with a 40s bent, permeates the space bouncing off the tin ceilings and illuminating the dim lighting. You’ll be taken aback with every craftier cocktail, that'll keep you wetter than a shark, and create more of an impression than a Cezanne piece. It’s evident that Nightjar’s cocktails are inspired by industries like chocolatiers, perfumiers and patisseries, rather than other bars, as each drink boasts a sumptuous edibility.  

    Nightjar's libation creations put them on an untouchable bar that’s only within reach when the drink is right in front of you. They use ingredients that you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other bar; purple yam marmalade, purple carrot juice, gooseberry jam and inventive infusions and foams that’ll have you frothing at the mouth in excitement. It’s an injustice to use the word ‘garnish’ to describe their elaborate beautification of each cocktail; candied crab apples, orange-blossom smoked candy floss and egg shells filled with chocolate mini eggs are just a few examples. We don't want to spoil all the surprises that await.


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    Gar-niche garnishes



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    The Naked Lady (looks as good as she tastes)



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    12 Mile Limit (drink this like there are no limits)


    Nightjar is a bar you’ll want to discover, revel in and maybe even rebel at. If a picture speaks 1000 words then ours only speaks 999. You'll need to fly on over to Nightjar and see for yourself. We promise that your mouth will remain ajar in amazement all night.


    Full Frontal Exposureunderraidar.com/nightjar

    TW: @Barnightjar   FB: facebook.com/barnightjar

    Nightjar - 129 City Road, London EC1V 1JB (+44) 20 7253 4101


    For the full inside 'swoop' on more secret speakeasy bars in London check this out.

     

  • Bourne & Hollingsworth - Teatime With A Twist

    On the corner of Rathbone Place in Fiztrovia it looks like the old Bourne & Hollingsworth department store. Get a little closer and you’ll see it is, in fact, a mural, a facade, a hoax even. We took flight down the metal stairs to reveal a basement cocktail bar, decorated as an old English tea room, with a fireplace and classic floral wallpaper reminiscent of your Grandma’s house - but this is not your Grandma’s house.

    It’s furnished with mismatched tables and chairs that are somehow imperfectly perfect. White tablecloths dress the tables, (they’re clearly waiting for you) with aptly selected comfy touches that are oh so welcoming. 

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    Just an affront


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    More tea, liquor?


    The bar itself is a small a hatch in the wall but the magic they craft behind there is tantamount to a storm in a teacup (they serve many cocktails in china teacups.) It’s a rather splendid way for a spot of afternoon gin, or bourbon, or anything that takes your fancy - and they have a lot to fancy there.

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    It’s pretty mantel in there



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    Better than your Granny’s bar


    If you like origami you’ll love their menu; a folded 4x4 square that unfolds into a box shape (sans lid) with detailed hand-drawn artwork to perfectly compliment their splendid array of libations. Believe us you’re going to be rather taken with this bar, that’ll charm the socks off you, and after a few of these cocktails maybe more will be charmed off. At Bourne & Hollingsworth your teatime pleasure just tippled. 


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    Mocha Cocktail


    We wanted to make sure we really tried and tested their libation selection and we’re proud to share our delightful divulgences. 

    Junipear: Gin mixed with pear puree, lemon juice, herbal liqueur, lengthened with lemonade and finished with a blackberry liqueur.

    Hudson Cobbler: Bourbon & Drambuie with lemon bitters, seasonal fruit & berries. 

    Chimps Tea: Monkey Shoulder scotch whisky & peach liquor, lemon juice, Earl Grey tea syrup, orange zest. You wouldn’t get this in an Olde English Tea Shoppe. 

    Storm In A Mug: Dark rum & Sailor spiced rum shaken with raspberries, lime juice & spiced English Breakfast tea and topped with ginger beer.

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    A smashing cuppa 



    A visit to B & H is a teatime you won’t forget but totally not a place for tea-totals. This bar tops everything guaran’tea’d.


    Full Frontal Exposure: underraidar.com/bourneandhollingsworth

    TW: @bandhgroup   FB: facebook.com/bourneandhollingsworth


    Bourne & Hollingsworth: 28 Rathbone Pl, London W1T 1JF

    (+44) 20 7636 8228


    For more London Underground bars take this click-trip to see other secret speakeasy bars we stumbled upon.