An ornate, dimly-lit bar counter with bottles on shelves behind it An ornate, dimly-lit bar counter with bottles on shelves behind it

Where to find London's best secret bars

Sometimes, a door is just a door. And sometimes, it's the portal to a boozy haven where those in the know come to indulge in whispered secrets and mysterious potions. Those who take a look around the capital and think there can’t possibly be any more bars are in for a surprise, as the city hides a whole other world of clandestine speakeasies, hidden bars and concealed drinking dens to suit all tastes. Read on to learn all about the most secret bars in London, how to find them, which password opens the door and everything else you need to know to get in.

In this guide
  1. The best speakeasies in London
    1. Experimental Cocktail Club – Mixology experiments in Chinatown
    2. Rooms by the Hour – Secret adult cinema bar
    3. Happiness Forgets – Award-winning cocktail bar
    4. Behind This Wall – Lo-fi on the down-low
    5. El Bar de Cavita – The basement of Mexican spirits
    6. Disrepute – The basement speakeasy that rocked politics
    7. The Blind Pig – Look for the blindfolded pig
    8. CellarDoor – Underground excess
    9. Barts – Gangster's paradise
    10. Nightjar – Late-night jazz
    11. Cahoots – Popular themed party station
    12. Discount Suit Company – The suit makes the man, but not the bar
    13. New Evaristo Club – Soho's best-kept secret
    14. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town – Cool cats only
    15. Found – Cosy nooks and crannies
    16. The Luggage Room – Hotel secret
    17. Blind Spot – Do the secret handshake
    18. Evans & Peel Detective Agency – Put your sleuthing skills to use
    19. Lounge Bohemia – Molecular mysteries
    20. The Natural Philosopher – Nature's secrets
    21. Callooh Callay – Secrets within secrets
    22. Looking Glass Cocktail Club – Go through the looking glass
    23. Call Me Mr Lucky – Are you feeling lucky?
    24. Opium – Welcome to 1920s Shanghai
    25. Supermax – Italo disco haven
    26. Silverleaf – Minimalist luxury
    27. Keystone Crescent – Members' club for those in the know
    28. La Muse Bar – You'll never have a bad hair day here
    29. Bermondsey Arts Club – Hidden members bar
    30. Holy Brew – Spiritual speakeasy in Wimbledon
    31. Lost Property Office – Leave your luggage at the door
    32. The Midnight Apothecary – Secret garden bar on a rooftop

The best speakeasies in London

Experimental Cocktail Club

Mixology experiments in Chinatown

Consider yourself lucky or very talented if you manage to find the Experimental Cocktail Club on your first try. Behind the inconspicuous front door in Chinatown, you’ll find a plush cocktail bar that crafts stunning concoctions from unique ingredients – the spirits on offer include quite a number of rare bottles.

Rooms by the Hour

Secret adult cinema bar

Slide into one of the private cabins for up to eight people at this mischievous cocktail bar beneath Pix in Soho and you’ll be faced with three buttons – one to dim the lights, one to have the server take your order, and one to play naughty adult films from the 1970s on the screen. Entry to this former adult cinema is via a red telephone, and the whole experience stays on the tasteful side throughout.

Happiness Forgets – Secret bars
Happiness Forgets
Happiness Forgets – Secret bars
Happiness Forgets
Happiness Forgets – Secret bars
Happiness Forgets
Happiness Forgets – Secret bars
Happiness Forgets
Happiness Forgets – Secret bars
Happiness Forgets
Happiness Forgets – Secret bars
Happiness Forgets

Happiness Forgets

Award-winning cocktail bar

One of the best bars in world isn’t the best-kept secret, but perhaps the clue is in the name, as the masterful mixology under the watchful eyes of owner Alastair Burgess has likely caused many a blacked-out night. The compact basement dive in Hoxton manages to be both fun and polished, with the staff willing to mix you a drink based on whatever vague description you come up with.

Behind This Wall

Lo-fi on the down-low

The hip, knowledgeable, vinyl-collecting art student of London’s cocktail scene, but without the pretentiousness that’s often associated with such types. Behind This Wall is an informal basement cocktail bar beneath the Narrow Way in Hackney. It boasts a bespoke hi-fi system from vintage composite parts, but lacks a fixed drinks list – the expert bartenders will make whichever cocktail you request or suggest a suitable alternative.

El Bar de Cavita

The basement of Mexican spirits

Part of a recent buzzy restaurant opening, El Bar de Cavita doesn't exactly keep a low profile. It's still easy to miss, however, tucked away as it is beneath the refined Cavita restaurant. The speakeasy mezcaleria in the basement has an authentic vibe and is dedicated to mezcal and margaritas, with Mexican street food providing the ideal pairing.

Disrepute

The basement speakeasy that rocked politics

An infamous 1960s private basement club that launched the Profumo political scandal, this drinking den beneath Kingly Court recalls that period of time with its glitzy interior and leather booths. It has improved its reputation considerably since then, however, as it’s considered one of the best cocktail bars in the UK. Choose your so-called narrative cocktail through short descriptions of various characters, and pass a discreet message to a patron who catches your eye on the notepaper provided for that very purpose.

The Blind Pig

Look for the blindfolded pig

The Blind Pig is secreted away above Social Eating House, with only a blindfolded pig knocker on a door hinting at its location. The award-winning speakeasy serves creative cocktails, fine wines and beer in a dim interior with vintage decor, mirrored ceilings and wooden furnishings. Peruse the rather impressive themed cocktail lists at your leisure and enjoy.

CellarDoor

Underground excess

CellarDoor is an intimate 1930s-style, Berlin-meets-NYC cocktail bar in a former loo that was supposedly used by Oscar Wilde and John Gielgud, among others. The lascivious venue beneath Aldwych Street hosts live music, cabaret, drag shows, burlesque and other entertaining performances every night, accompanied by classic cocktails, house concoctions and even snuff.

Barts

Gangster's paradise

A lavish speakeasy, supposedly the first such establishment in London and ostentatiously decorated with all sorts of knickknacks, Barts is styled as a gangster’s lair during the prohibition era. You can enter it from the lobby of the Chelsea Cloisters apartment building, after the doorman has peeped through the door and given you a once-over. Inside, you’ll find expertly mixed cocktails, fine wines and more.

Nightjar

Late-night jazz

With just a small burnished plaque denoting the entrance, it’s easy to miss Nightjar as you walk by, but the original Shoreditch speakeasy has been a firm favourite of music and cocktail fans for years. Try different cocktails from ages past while listening to jazz and blues in a contemporary setting. For a special treat, open up a liquid time capsule with vintage spirits from the 1930s!

Cahoots

Popular themed party station

Located inside the disused Kingly Court tube station, Cahoots is a unique, 1940s-themed drinking den in Soho. During WW2, it was used as an emergency air raid shelter, and the new owners used the various things left behind since then to keep the character of the place alive. Cahoots spans three different areas, serving rations and cocktails, throwing parties into the night, and hosting live music and other entertainment.

Discount Suit Company

The suit makes the man, but not the bar

This well-camouflaged establishment might look more disused than discount from the exterior, but venture through the small black door and you’ll find a cosy bar serving classically inspired cocktails, playing soul and rock ‘n’ roll music and occasionally even co-hosting Jack the Ripper tours that explore the history of the infamous murderer who operated in the area.

New Evaristo Club

Soho's best-kept secret

The New Evaristo Club is a legendary bastion of old-school Soho debauchery, secreted away behind a nondescript blue door and down a dodgy staircase. Having started out as a gambling den decades ago, this modest jazz bar has hosted famed patrons such as Anthony Bourdain and Jarvis Cocker, yet retains a cosy, familiar vibe. There are drinks, there’s jazz, and you can enjoy both in peace.

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

Cool cats only

To get into Scaredy Cat Town, you'll need to ask to see the mayor at The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane. The staff will usher you through what appears to be just regular ole Smeg fridge. Inside, however, a dimly-lit, exposed brickwork speakeasy awaits, filled with vintage furniture. There’s a bunch of innovative cocktails on the menu, for example, the Chiquita with whiskey, Advocaat, Licor 43, banana, lemon and sugar.

Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found
Found – Secret bars
Found

Found

Cosy nooks and crannies

To find Found, look for the retro lamp above a doorway in Ravey Street. Walk down the stairs to find yourself in a welcoming speakeasy that believes what really defines a bar is the right combo of service and substance. The unpretentious venue features four rooms, including cosy nooks where you can plot away in privacy, and serves a concise, well-rounded menu of cocktails with intriguing twists.

The Luggage Room

Hotel secret

Launched in a former luggage storage room over a decade ago, this discreet yet popular hotel bar is effortlessly sleek and refined. The Luggage Room comes equipped with a “roaring ‘20s” soundtrack, comfy leather seats, and a marble bar. The authentic speakeasy atmosphere is further enhanced by a menu of classic cocktails. Providing a quiet oasis from the hectic surrounding area, this is an intimate spot that doesn’t shy away from decadence.

Blind Spot

Do the secret handshake

Blind Spot extends a helping hand to guide you – quite literally, as this deluxe speakeasy at the St Martin’s Lane hotel is located beyond a door with a handle that’s shaped like a golden hand. Grasp it and enter a glitzy late-night drinking lair with a weekly live jazz band. The cocktails are inspired by and named after exotic, distant locations such as Kyoto and Mexico City – and England’s own Taunton. You can also nibble on an assortment of international bites.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

Put your sleuthing skills to use

Evans & Peel Detective Agency is a cocktail bar that masquerades as a private eye’s office and leans deep into the bit. You’ll have to convince the front desk that you have an appointment before you’re granted access to a unique speakeasy. There’s a varied choice of cocktails to Humphrey Bogart over, including supposedly the best Old Fashioned in the world. The Agency dabbles in regular live music as well.

Lounge Bohemia

Molecular mysteries

At the intersection of science, art and drinking, you’ll find Lounge Bohemia, a laid-back Soviet-era speakeasy with comfy sofas, vintage recliners and dim lighting. To find the bar, however, takes a bit of work – as is often the case, look for a nondescript door, but above all, don’t forget to make an appointment beforehand. The hush-hush cocktail bar explores the art of bartending with the use of molecular mixology, mind-bending arrangements and exciting flavours. 

The Natural Philosopher

Nature's secrets

Especially useful if you need some IT help with your laptop, this lush cocktail bar with charming furnishings and a welcoming vibe is found through an Apple Mac repair shop. The drinks menu at this hidden gem draws on the natural environment for its inspiration, using foraged ingredients to mix refreshing herbal potions. Changing the seasonal drinks menu weekly, The Natural Philosopher emphasises obscure botanicals and intriguing flavours.

Callooh Callay

Secrets within secrets

This Lewis Carroll-themed cocktail bar in Shoreditch, comfortably decked out in rich colours, tomes and booths, hides not one but two clandestine bars. To enter the first one, walk through the wardrobe, then continue up the stairs behind the curtain to get to the Jubjub bar – you'll need to apply for a key via the website, however. Once there, you can enjoy inventive drinks in a secretive setting.

Looking Glass Cocktail Club

Go through the looking glass

Lewis Carroll’s works sure seem to fire up bar proprietors’ imaginations with images of hidden worlds. This other Hackney Wonderland-themed cocktail bar hides a secret behind a large mirror, while the absinthe and eclectic cocktails on the menu will soon have you chasing the white rabbit. The snug cocktail lounge features exposed brickwork, quirky decor and retro furniture, hosting events such as drag bingo to keep the fun times going late into the night.

Call Me Mr Lucky

Are you feeling lucky?

Another one of The Breakfast Club’s little secrets, Call Me Mr Lucky is a fun, tequila-fuelled dive in London Bridge where lucksacks can test the fates with the help of dice or a wheel of fortune that determines how many shots you get. To get inside, tell the staff at the café out front you’re there to get lucky and you’ll be led through.

Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium
Opium – Secret bars
Opium

Opium

Welcome to 1920s Shanghai

Spanning two floors behind a mysterious jade green door in Chinatown, the Opium cocktail and dim sum parlour houses no fewer than three bars. The two main ones are the comfy Academy lounge with sofas and the bright Apothecary with a tea parlour. The Peony Bar, however, is hidden behind red curtains and is a small, intimate affair for up to 30 guests. The whole place is styled after 1920s Shanghai and serves unique contemporary cocktails.

Supermax

Italo disco haven

This neon-lit basement bar is hidden beneath the Happy Face pizzeria in King’s Cross and specialises in vermouth-based cocktails. Its Aperitivo Hour is just the thing for unwinding after work, combining expertly mixed drinks with plates of Italian nibbles. Later on, the top-notch sound system keeps the party going with Italo disco bangers.

Silverleaf

Minimalist luxury

A lavish cocktail bar that offers a multi-sensory experience to its guests, Silverleaf finds inspiration in nature. The drinks highlight minimalist presentation and unexpected ingredients such as sake and miso, and are creatively depicted on the menu with textural paint swatches. Located at a luxurious hotel, Silverleaf itself isn't a secret, but it does hide a hidden area ... 

Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent
Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent
Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent
Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent
Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent
Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent
Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent
Keystone Crescent – Secret bars
Keystone Crescent

Keystone Crescent

Members' club for those in the know

This drinking den and members’ club beneath the streets of King’s Cross is open to anyone in the know – you’re free to pop in for a drink, host a special event or attend one of the exclusive members’ events, from monthly mixers to masterclasses. Behind the nondescript front door you’ll find different spaces with a comforting mid-century theme, as well as creative cocktails and bar snacks.

La Muse Bar

You'll never have a bad hair day here

You can be sure you'll always look your best at La Muse Bar in Islington, seeing as this speakeasy is hidden behind a curtain in an actual hair salon. After you've gussied yourself up at Le Chapeau Cloche, head to the back and relax in the concealed cocktail and wine bar. French-inspired snacks are served as well, and the cosy ambiance makes for a top date night choice.

Bermondsey Arts Club

Hidden members bar

Despite its location at a busy junction, you could easily miss Bermondsey Arts Club because it's located in a former public toilet. This cosy and intimate bar has Art Deco decor and an exclusive feel. It's a members club that's open to those in the creative industries. Membership is free and gives you access to the bar's original and affordable drinks, as well as events. There's live jazz every Wednesday too.

Holy Brew

Spiritual speakeasy in Wimbledon

Holy Brew is a speakeasy that draws inspiration from the ancient Hindu deities of drinking. Innovative cocktails infused with Indian spices and flavours whisk you away to a realm of vivid colours and exotic tastes, honouring the traditions of ancient India. Holy Brew boasts a refined and welcoming ambience where people from all walks of life gather. This hidden Wimbledon bar is tucked away inside Dalchini, an Indo-Chinese fusion restaurant.

Lost Property Office

Leave your luggage at the door

Similar to most lost property offices, the Lost Property Office at Waterloo Station is a place to search for something missing. However, this one is different - here, you come to find a good time, not your luggage. Tucked away inside the huge Waterloo BrewDog, this speakeasy cocktail bar is just a staircase and a phone call away. The chic, dimly-lit space is also available for private hire.

The Midnight Apothecary

Secret garden bar on a rooftop

The Midnight Apothecary is a hidden garden oasis atop the Thames Tunnel Shaft at the Brunel Museum. This verdant retreat, created by award-winning gardener Lottie Muir, offers seasonal botanical cocktails made from garden-grown or locally-foraged ingredients. The outdoor pop-up bar features firepits for toasting marshmallows, adding a cosy touch to the enchanting atmosphere.

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Editors

At Thatsup, we have extensive experience of guiding our readers to a city’s hidden gems. Since 2008, our editors have been writing insightful guides covering restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and hairdressers, among other things. Our guides consist of carefully selected tips based on our local knowledge and are regularly updated with the help of our focus group, where we collectively discuss selections and content. We are constantly working to inspire and provide you with the best possible experience, no matter where you are or what you are looking for.