I first discovered Barts just over a year ago and it definitely remains one of my favourite London haunts. Secret speakeasy bars are popping up all over the place, but Barts was one of the first and is true to its speakeasy roots in that it's a bugger to find if you don't know where to look! 'Situated somewhere on Sloane Avenue' is about as much as you can expect. And I'm afraid I'm not going to give the game away, apart from a clue perhaps: Chelsea Cloisters.
Barts is surprisingly small, with a wonderful warm, inviting feel. There are a handful of tables and chairs in varying styles, shapes and sizes, plus a small outdoor area ideal for al fresco drinking.
It really is advisable to get there early (or book ahead) in order to secure yourself a pew, as it can get pretty busy. But if you can't get a seat, fret not campers because the vibe of Barts is so buzzy, you'll probably have more fun drinking and mingling on foot.
There is a well-stocked bar including everything from good old fashioned plonk and beer to curious cocktails served in teapots. On the wall is a medicine cabinet appropriately labelled 'Thirst Aid' inside which are kept the ingredients for a shot of magical Moonshine. If you're feeling peckish, Barts does some mighty fine snacks including the tastiest miniature quails egg Scotch eggs I've ever tried. And Barts wouldn't be Barts without the staff. Every time I've been there (and I can tell you, it's been so often that I've earned myself a private entry pass), the guys and gals behind the bar never hesitate to give you a warm welcome and are continuously friendly and attentive throughout the evening, however busy and raucous it gets.
The decor is wonderful - an eccentric home from home full of eclectic madness on the walls including old clocks, vintage luggage racks, typewriters, enamel signs, stuffed animals and a graffitied Mona Lisa. Tuesday night is music night with an interesting array of live music ranging from acoustic and folk to jazz and rock.
And if the decor, music, cocktails and fine snacks aren't enough to satiate your playful appetite, you can always delve into the fabulous dressing-up box which is full of all sorts of nonsensical items of clothing and props. You'll totally dismiss the idea of dressing up on arrival. But by the end of the evening, you'll be sitting there quite merrily, sipping your third Park Avenue cocktail whilst donning a Viking helmet and a feather boa as if it's the most natural thing in the world. You will, because everybody does. That's Barts!
Now here's the good bit. If you head down to Barts on certain evenings between now and the end of March, you can have a drink on me! The dates will be randomly selected Sun -Wed evenings only, and the first date is Monday 31st January. You'll have to check my 'This Week's Special' page to be kept informed of which future dates apply. To get your free cocktail, just tell them 'Miss Immy sent you' when you arrive. Please note that the free cocktail applies to a maximum of 5 guests per group. Don't forget to leave a comment below telling me what you thought of it. Have fun!