The Best Speakeasies in London
Speakeasies came to prominence in the US prohibition era where they were also known by the names blind pig or blind tiger. They were the secret to illegally serve and consume alcohol, in times where it was strictly forbidden. The name derives from the fact that guests had to speak quietly to not raise the attention of the bypassing pedestrians. They were hard to find and only accessible for those in the know. Speakeasies were mostly run by criminal gangs and famous bad guys like Al Capone are known to have been some of their best customers who therefore contributed to the enormous boom in organised crime in America in the early 20th century.
Today in Britain, a typical Speakeasy is mostly tucked away in quiet side streets and stands for a classic retro-design, intimacy, originality, quality cocktails and discretion. Here are some of the most recommended speakeasy-inspired bars in the British capital.
Worship Street Whistling Shop
This secret cellar spot is hidden in an unassuming side street where hardly anyone passes by after 7pm. The intricately designed drinks menu is a stunner as well as the quality of the signature classic and modern cocktails. The bar is particularly famous for it’s innovative approach to creating British classics – whatever drink you love, you are sure to find it here. The room in a cellar is hardly bigger than a usual living room and has a cosy feel to it. Leather seating and an antique yet modern décor completes the inviting ambience.
Although located below a popular Thai restaurant on busy Hoxton Square, this speakeasy inspired cocktail bar succeeds in being unassuming and intimate. The interior of this cellar room is unadorned and rustic and the staff is incredibly friendly and professional. Happiness forgets stands out for it’s excellent list of signature cocktails.
This is a more creative approach to a traditional speakeasy-styled bar. The furniture does not match and the décor is rather quirky. An array of backlit bottles with the finest liquors are highlighted by an above positioned collection of golden framed pictures. The well trained bar staff creates one of London’s best cocktail selections what gives this bar the reputation of being one of the city’s best bars. It can get very crowded on weekends whereas this is the perfect spot to escape the urban hustle and bustle during the week.
Milk & Honey
This basement establishment on Blandfort Street in Soho is about the closest you can get to the original style of the US prohibition-era. Tucked away behind an unmarked entry door the interior is hard to see as the light is dimmed so low, that you might need a candle to read the list of extraordinary cocktails this bar is famous for. It is so dark, that you will find it difficult to even see your drink or companions. Most of the time, Milk & Honey is a member’s club so that it might be difficult to get in. Reservations should be made one day in advance.
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