Saturday, 16 May 2015

Cahoots Bar

I met a friend up West the other week and as we ventured off Regent Street into the buzzing vibe of Kingly Court, we headed through a discreet doorway where we descended a staircase deep underground into a tube station. As we entered the Ticket Office, we suddenly found ourselves in 1940's post-war Britain. We had arrived at Cahoots. And the beginning of a rather splendid evening...

Cahoots is an elegant cocktail bar with a hint of speakeasy about it. Located in what was a genuine air raid shelter beneath the heart of London's West End, the space is now a 'disused' underground station complete with a tube carriage where you can sit and sip cocktails amongst the very authentic sand bags, posters and war-time decor. Despite being a 'theme' bar, this is a class act from the off. The attention to detail is magnificent, as are the extensive array of cocktails (and other beverages), all printed in the local Cahoots rag - 'The Kingly Court Herald'. Whether it's a refreshing 'Vera Lynn', a classic 'Gracie Fields', a peculiar 'Boiled Beef & Carrots' or a creative 'White Cloves of Dover' which tickles your cocktail tastebuds, with prices starting at a reasonable £8 a pop, there's no reason not to try a few!

If it's food you're after, then let's not forget you are now in Post-War Britain, so it's only fair to expect nothing more than rations. But when your ration tin comes filled with such creations as 'Crisp and Salad Cream' and 'Spam and Cheese' sandwiches, or 'Marmalade Crumpets', it's hard not to smile with childish delight.

The service at Cahoots was exceptional. Despite it being fully booked and busy pretty much all the time, everyone from the 'Station Guard' and 'Ticket Man' to the 'Train Staff' were courteous, friendly and accommodating. We had a particularly lovely table waitress who not only looked the part with her pinned-up hair, red lips and 1940's flair, but even her name, Phaedra, was fitting. As for the music, there's a whole lot of swing, jazz, lindy hop and late night electro-swing going on. Cahoots is a den of high spirits, snappy dressers, naughty scoundrels and elegant damsels. Whether you're enjoying jolly japes with friends in a tube carriage, or re-enacting 'Brief Encounter' in a cosy snug with your sweetheart, you'll find yourself oblivious to the world and era going on above ground. 

I totally loved Cahoots and it was so refreshing to find a unique place in the heart of W1 rather than having to venture to deepest Shoreditch for the quirk-factor. Although I bet the very convincing underground signs confuse the tourists no end. Which is probably part of the fun! It's a brilliant place. I loved it. Just go! Oh, and remember. It don't mean a thing, if you ain't got that... table booked in advance. Ha!

13 Kingly Court (somewhere beneath)
London W1B 5PG
020 7352 6200

Open 7 days a week from 5pm till late
Book in advance! (Strictly over 21's only)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Once Upon A Time At The Fairground

It was all the fun of the fair in downtown Peckham last night. Some friends and I headed to the legendary Bussey Building to check out Once Upon A Time At The Fairground. We grabbed a drink from one of the many bars, and went to explore the four floors of hedonistic madness. There were some brilliant outfits going on, including a bunch of jolly jesters. A healthy scattering of fairground ringmasters. A sexy wolf. And a blue-bearded lady.

We listened to a couple of live bands (Carousel were particularly good), and busted a few moves to one of the excellent DJ sets. After a quick go on the hoola-hoops, it was into the games room to partake in a few traditional fairground antics, including hoopla; coconut shy, and 'bounce the ball in the cup'. Lollipops and popcorn prizes were in abundance and then it was off to the photo booth for a quick group prop shot.


The final stop was the theatre room where we witnessed a Fatboy Slim dance-off, a few rounds of Musical Bingo and a lot of very intriguing characters taking part in the freak show. By then, the place was filling up nicely and all the hardcore party people were going for it. And time for me to quietly leave them to it...

Once Upon A Time are renown for organising high-production themed parties which take place in unusual spaces across London. I wonder what they'll be rolling out next. To find out more, check out their Facebook page here.

Miss Immy & her Fairground Friends were guests of Once Upon A Time At The Fairground

Monday, 8 December 2014

Dram & Smoke

It's been a while since I've been to a good pop-up restaurant, so I was very happy to dine at Dram & Smoke on Friday night. What a slick operation with its hidden warehouse location; cockle-warming arrival cocktail; fun Monkey Shoulder bar complete with log fire projection, and the main attraction, an excellent 5 course Scottish-inspired dinner.

My friend and I found our chilly way to Black Swan Yard and behind the large black doors, walked into a warm oasis of candle-lit calm. Monkey Shoulder whiskey is the name of the game at Dram & Smoke and if like me, you're not much of a whiskey fan, then you'll no doubt think again, as it featured in all the cocktails and was surprisingly delicious. Especially the welcome one which was a true Hot Toddy! We popped to the bar to order our wine for dinner, then took our seats at a shared table with a friendly bunch, and dinner was served.

Our Scottish feast kicked off with Haggis Bonbons and a homemade Dram & Smoke ketchup. Totally amazing! Followed by a Smoked Coley & Beetroot Salad which was also great. Then came the Smoked Bacon & Blue Cheese Porridge which I was quite hesitant about, as I really don't like blue cheese. But this was like nothing I've ever tasted and didn't touch the sides. The main course was a magnificent Venison Wellington which was cooked to perfection and served with a load of roast veg, but sadly no potatoes. For pudding, we tucked into a heavenly Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Mousse served with a slab of homemade, melt-in-the-mouth Scottish shortbread. And not forgetting the miniature bottle of Monkey Shoulder 'going home' present.

I was completely impressed with the entire evening. Great location, great ambience and terrific food. Dram & Smoke have got it totally sussed and I hope this won't be their last venture. They hosted a pop-up at a steelworks in Vauxhall last summer (which I sadly missed), so fingers crossed they've got a few more lined up for 2015. Their current pop up runs until 20th December, but I've an inkling they've probably sold out already. Which is very understandable. Maybe they'll be doing something epic for Burns Night!

Dram & Smoke
Black Swan Yard, SE1
(this is probably a temporary location, so check website for upcoming pop-up venues)

Approx £40 for a 5 course dinner including cocktail

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