The ‘nadir of the speakeasy trend’ – a mysterious cocktail bar masquerading convincingly as a detective agency. You have to make an appointment with an actual case to solve to drink here. I love secret and slightly ridiculous things so this went straight to the top of my to do list as soon as it opened.
You arrive to a subtle entrace labelled as a detective agency, with mysterious lighting. To gain entry you have to buzz and confirm you have an appointment (if you say reservation, they’ll act bemused). You are escorted in one appointment at a time, to a small cosy detective’s office – where the detective sitting at the desk will genuinely quiz you about your ‘case’. In our case, a lost cat… before being led through a secret door in a bookcase to the actual bar – which feels like a very authentic speakeasy. The whole experience is unbelievably weird, but quite fun. I think it would have had more impact if I didn’t know what was coming (my date didn’t know where we were going at all and he was very confused!) so take someone as a surprise.
They do sell food here but I’d recommend it more as a pre-dinner drink venue, as much of it’s ‘wow factor’ is in the getting through the door, rather than hanging around for an evening. The cocktail menu is limited, but they have proper cocktail waiters and thought has clearly gone into making the drinks fit in with the feel of the place. The cocktails are the vintage, masculine style (they pack a punch) so if you normally go for a Woo Woo, you might struggle!
This is a very cool concept and really different to anything else you’ll find in London – so as something a bit fun to do as part of a date, to really impress even though you’re just having a drink – I would highly recommend it. The fact that even after having been opened a while, they do the whole charade with every single party that arrives and always stay in character is really clever – and it would be great for guests from outside London to introduce some of our British quirkiness. The bar itself is very similar to a number of London’s other very cool speakeasies (Happpiness Forgets, Bar Nightjar etc.) so if it wasn’t for the entry mechanism it probably wouldn’t be worth trekking to Earl’s Court (where there isn’t much else ‘happening’ to follow it up with) but that would be my only criticism.
You want to add some excitement to just getting a cocktail..
Don’t go there if…
You need an actual crime investigating.
If you’re pretending to have been there don’t forget to mention
It’s not actually on Earl’s Court Road which is the address given (that’s part of the mystery) so allow a bit of time to find it! (I’m actually so anal, that I went ahead the hour before my date to make sure I knew where it was, to avoid awkwardness on the date…) My tip would be to look for a laundrette.
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