showcasing the best of the south west
Seeking Out London's Best Bars

Seeking Out London's Best Bars

London has a sophisticated cocktail scene that is revered worldwide. A claim which we at Country Calling gladly put to the test in our search through the city for our Top 10 Cocktail Bars in the South West line-up. After going through this list, we were intrigued by some of the bars that offered something a little more than just a spectacular cocktail, which lead us to the London Speakeasies.

Speakeasies are secret, hidden bars that arose in the 1920s in the midst of American Prohibition in order to keep people illegally liquored up. And even though drinking was certainly legal at this time in London, and secret bars of clandestine character make no historical sense whatsoever, these secretive dives and hidden watering holes are all the rage in modern day London. Some merely give you that Speakeasy feel, while others really make you work for it to find them and get in. Not quite a top 10, we've put together a list of 3 of our favorite secret bars in London

Best Unique Experience

Looking Glass

The Looking Glass offers a two-fold unique experience unlike any other bar you have frequented. First, the rather large looking glass hidden entrance offers an Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass inspired feel; merely pull the looking glass away from the wall and enter behind it. Also affectionately referred to as "Underland," this spot is in and of its own right a Wonderland, offering an other-worldly experience. Once you've taken that trip through the looking glass, you are greeted with a service that offers the second inspiration behind the name – your chance to sip and snip. And by snip, we mean get your hair cut. Fill your glass with a custom made elixir as you admire your reflection and new cut in the looking glass in front of you. Just because. Although bartenders and barbers may seem like a curiouser and curiouser combination, it certainly makes for an interesting, original experience – as long as the barber cutting your hair hasn't been drinking with you.

Best Ruse

Evans and Peel Detective Agency

Most of the secretive elements of this bar lie in its expertly constructed online presence. This secret bar, masquerading as a detective agency, has one of the most original websites we have ever seen, especially for a bar. If you want to make a reservation, you have to go to "make an appointment" and submit a case file. Detectives will then get back to you within 24 hours. Otherwise, for "urgent cases," you can phone them. This fun and fanciful bar serves up theatrics with their cocktails, which is evident from this expertly crafted online persona; right down to their social media networking, located under Twit-tawoh, where they ask the public to "follow us on your new-fangled devices," certainly a cheeky way to get more twitter followers. And with almost 3000 followers on their Twitter account, it seems to be working quite well – for a detective agency/secret bar anyway. Speaking of following; if you want to get into the bar, you will have to follow a detective from the detective office setting, through a secret bookcase and into the expertly decorated 1920s bar. Enjoy your evening with classic cocktails that are criminally delicious.

Best Hidden Entrance

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

Located underneath The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields, when you enter the establishment, you have to let a staff member know that you're "here to see The Mayor" – use those words exactly! The staff member will then escort you to the fridge. Yup, that's right, you have to pass through a SMEG fridge first in order to get into the bar. Once there, you can enjoy American-style diner food and drink creative American cocktails– keeping a little more in-tune with the American cultural connection. This secret entrance hiding in plain sight is intriguing, but so is the secretive passcode to get into the place. And with many diners up above completely oblivious to the goings on underneath, there is certainly an unbeatable Speakeasy feel here.

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