When you’re not mixing a drink at home and fancy hitting the best bars in town, BarChick has got your back. BarChick is a guide to the best bars in the world, with city guides to over 50 cities around the globe, so who better to ask for the best secret drinking spots around the UK? Download their new bar finder app to be pointed in the direction of the very best bars.
Let’s be honest, all good stories start and end with a dirty secret… and these drinking dens are no exception. With their roots placed firmly in the prohibition era, expect covert entrances, candlelight and an indecent amount of booze. Whether it’s the frost, your ex or your boss you’re hiding from the only thing that will find you here is a damn good time!
Below Bar at Pelicans & Parrots, London
A rude-boy rum bar masquerades as a glittering vintage shop on the Kingsland Road. Grab something sequined and make your way to the fitting room before sashaying down the secret staircase to the sound of 90s hip-hop. The crowd looks like a snapshot of the cast from the Fresh Prince of Belair and if you’ve been looking for somewhere to wear that windbreaker and parachute pants then you just found it. The DJ can be found voguing in the corner. Order a posh Piña Colada (in a martini glass, babes) and step right up - the dance floor is your catwalk.
81 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, London, N16 8AD
El Bandito, Liverpool
A hidden entrance, rickety stairs and a down and dirty tequila and mezcal selection; El Bandito is everything BarChick looks for in late night visit to the dark side. No bigger than your bedroom, the walls are lined with old movie posters that are hardly visible in the low light. Tall mates should look out for low hanging beams. Allow the doorman to draw the curtain across the front door and buckle up, you’re here for the long haul… even on Sunday nights this place doesn’t kick out until way after the witching hour.
41B Slater St, Liverpool, L1 4BX
Check out the BarChick Liverpool city guide
When the posh people want to play they take their speakeasy game to Barts, an exuberant little joint cleverly concealed in a block of portered flats in Chelsea. Drink shots from teacups before diving head first into the fancy dress box; BarChick is particularly fond of the leather lederhosen, so don’t go nicking them. Chintz wallpaper, antiques and stuffed animals all add to the allure and the portrait of Uncle Bart crowns this place the most louche of them all. Cancel dinner reservations and go for the cheesy Pickled Ploughman made with Sipsmith’s gin, Chambord, blue Stilton, grapes, honey and grenadine - you won’t regret it.
Chelsea Cloisters, London, SW3 3DW
An unmarked door in Chinatown marks the spot. The Experimental Cocktail Club fast became the hottest ticket in town when it opened back in the day. Unsurprisingly really, as its run by the same group of Parisians who are celebrated for transforming Paris’ cocktail scene. Spread over two storeys, climb a crooked staircase and sip concoctions by candlelight, if you make it in. Dress a little sexier, turn up early or book ahead. Space here is tight and they have been known to send you home if they don’t like the look of you. C’est la vie.
13a Gerrard Street, London, W1D 5PS
More hidden than Narnia, we’re not joking when we say this is a speakeasy. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself lurking on a street corner listening for the sound of music in the hope that it’ll point you in the right direction, even BarChick is susceptible to this sort of seediness from time to time. Sneak in and don’t make a song and dance about it. Bramble is cool and no one needs to know you’ve arrived. The guys behind the bar will chuck anything into the mix, and they’re not shy about it. The bar is covered in Ribena, yoghurt and god knows what else so why not add to the mess by sitting pretty at it?
16a Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JE
Check out the BarChick Edinburgh city guide