So if you have been hanging out with me for a while over here, the following will come as no surprise. I love a bar that is a bit different. Anything a little quirky, or with a theme, I am there. I have already shared my love of historic pubs in London, and some of my favourite London rooftop bars. Now it is the turn of some of my well loved, (and well visited), themed London bars to have their moment in the spotlight! Let me introduce you to some of Londons most quirky bars! Ohhhh how I have missed thee……
Worth noting – If you are planning a night out in London, it is always wise to check if bookings are needed. I have linked to the websites of every venu I have mentioned, so you can make enquiries. Enjoy!
Themed bars have become quite the thing in recent years. The opulent glamour of the speak easy bars. The leg warmer adorned patrons of the 80’s bars. My own first introduction to themed nights out was the countless fancy dress parties that my family had. My Dad has a huge family, and it seemed that every month one of his sisters was having a house party. It was always fancy dress. I always think themes, costumes, interactive nights out always break the ice quickly. Everyone is more relaxed when they and their mate are dressed up as Noddy and Big Ears…..
Now, with these themed London bars, you do not have to dress up. But many of them do have the vibe where you would not be out of place if you did. What they do all pretty much assure though, is a great night out. So here we go. As we begin to peep out from lockdown, here are my suggestions for 8 themed London bars not to be missed.
Themed London Bars – My Picks
212 Brick Lane, London E1 6SA
Nearest Station – Shoreditch High Street (rail)
I LOVE this prison themed bar. The bar was inspired by popular films and TV shows that brought us prison stories that we seemingly, could not get enough of. After donning your prison issue orange boiler suit, you will start “doing your time”. You will be put in a cell with your mates, and the mischeif begins. Smuggling in the hard liquor is your mission. Once you are past the warden, the bootlegger gang will create cocktails with what you have. There are no set drinks menus behind bars, nay nay, it is purely what mix can be created with your smuggled booze. It is so much fun and I urge you to add it to your list
Worth noting – There is a second “prison” Alcotraz been opened in Brighton!
25-26 Lime Street, London EC3M 7HR
Nearest Tube – Monument on the Cirlce line
Your introduction to The Bootlegger is the stuff themed bars are made of. You need to first find the secret door to make your way into this London bar. With it’s nod to roaring 1920’s glamour, it has a speakeasy theme throughout. Retro and fun, this prohibition style bar serves classy cocktails as well as the usual wine and beer offerings. With various nights throughout the year making it the venue for live music, it really has captured the high jinx of prohibition London.
20 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London. WC2E 9HP
Nearest Tube – Covent Garden on the Piccadilly line
Blame Gloria has been the venue of choice amongst my girl friends for many nights out. This converted cellar is a frenzy of psychedelic colour. In fact, the wallpaper in the bar was actually based on a floral jacket worn by Jimi Hendrix! How cool is that! The colours reflect the riot of fun held here. From drag act disco brunches, cocktail master classes and disco balls a-plenty, you cannot fail to have a great time here. Dust off the sequins, grab a tinsel wig and head off to Blame Gloria for the best post-lockdown time!
5 Kingley Street, Carnaby, London. W1B 5PF
Nearest Tube – Oxford Circus on the Central, Bakerloo or Victoria line
So, I know I should not have favourites, but……. I think Cahoots holds a special place in my heart. It is so much fun! Stepping through it’s doors is an absolute throw back to the 1940’s. Set in an abandonded train station, Cahoots is one of the best themed London bars. It has 3 areas, the underground, the ticket hall and the control room. All have their charm but I especially love the control room. The walls are covered with old switchboards and wires, flashing lights and all manor of 1940’s equipment. This is also where they have live music and later night tipples. No detail is left unattended at Cahoots, and it is a must visit. Nik and I actually have a night out planned for there soon. Our boys gifted us a Bootlegger Breakout package from there for Christmas!
The Breakfast Club, 12-16 Artillery Lane E1 7LS
Nearest Tube – Liverpool Street on the Circle line.
Come to meet The Mayor via the fridge…..
If you are looking for one of the best themed London bars with it’s entrance, shall we say, secret, then I got you covered. I mean, who would even suspect that you go through a Smeg fridge to get into the bar??? You enter The Breakfast Club and tell a member of staff that you are “here to see the Mayor”. A slight nod of the head, and you will be led to the fridge. Walk through it, and you are in the dimly lit heart of The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. The decor is eclectic to put it mildly. Strange wall art, bizarre sculptures and a mis match of vintage furniture. I love the decor! The cocktail menu is weird and wonderful too. With names like Hangmans Daughter, (masala chai with tequila, cbd oil and agave) or the rum based Scaredy Papa, you can guarantee you wil not find drinks like it elsewhere.
Chelsea Fun House, 459 Kings Road, Chelsea, London.
Nearest Tube – Fulham Broadway on the District Line
The Bletchley is set over 3 floors of a 19th century renaissance revival building. A WW2 inspired, immersive themed bar. You can wear your normal clothes, but you do get a military jacket to wear to help you look the part! The Bletchley does something pretty special. They never make the same drink twice! Using The Enigma machine, you work out the code to help the mixologisits make your secret recipe cocktail! They make every drink unique and personalised to everyone that walks into this fabulous fun bar. They even have a cocktail bunker! If you really want to throw yourself into the full experience of The Bletchley, I would recommend booking the Full Cryptic Experience. At £36 pp, it includes the jacket hire, welcome drink, and cocktails in the bunker. If you are feeling fancy, you can even splash the cash on a £100 cocktail………..
Treehouse Hotel, 14-15 Langham Place, London W1B 2QS
Nearest Tube – Oxford Circus on the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines
I love The Nest. It is a bar I frequent a fair bit when I am in Town. Infact, I wrote an entire blog post on it! Although it does have a strong theme, it is not as immersive as the others in this post. You just dress in your normal clothes, (or a little dressy if you fancy it). The inspiration for rooftop bar The Nest, is a treehouse. You go up to the bar, (on the 16th floor of the Treehouse Hotel), via a lift that is disigned to look like the inside of a tree trunk. Walking in to the bar, you are met with foliage, flora and fauna at every eye level. It is gorgeous! With its casual luxury feel, amazing coctail menu and amazing London views, it is the fanciest treehouse I’v ever been in!
28-30 Houndsditch, London EC3A 7DB
Nearest Tube – Liverpool Street or Aldgate. Both on the circle line.
If you have always fancied being an outlaw in the Wild West, now is your moment! The Moonshine Saloon combines theatre, with equisite cocktails a plenty! You and your bottle of illegal moonshine, will make your way to the bar, where a unique cocktail will be rustled up for you. Then, take a seat and try your luck at a card or dice game with “the locals”. Depending on how immersive you want your night to be, you can even be part of the dramatics and be assigned a character to play. You can be The Mayor, The Deputy Sheriff, or even a Brothel Keeer……..We were due to go here just before lockdown was announced again here in the UK, so it is still on my list. I have only got as far as the outside at the moment. It is so weird to see it set amongst the ultra modern buildings of London surrounding it! It looks so good though, so I really wanted to include it in my list.
Themed London Bars…In conclusion
I had so much fun writing this post! It took me back down memory lane to some fabulous nights out! Remember those people? Nights out? Soon my lovely friends, soon… I really hope I have given you a little inspiration for a future soiree in London. I think I may even do a second part to this post. There are so many themed London bars that I love! Maybe I will bring you a part two! If you are not local to London, why not have a look in your own area to see what is on offer. Themed and quirky bars are so popular now. You might just find one local-ish to you!
I would love to hear which one you like the sound of best. Or if you have any others that I should try. I have a few on my list already, but always happy to investigate more! Let me know.