Whether you’re tasked with the office Christmas party (our condolences), arranging birthday drinks with the squad, or showing your out-of-town BFF the bright lights of the city, there’s a LOT riding on where exactly you take them – namely, your job, your social ranking, and the longevity of your friendship. No, really.

 

Take them to some run-of-the-mill, phony-shabby-chic, does-this-actually-have -gin-in-it chain (you know the one), and lose any self-respect you thought you once had. Check in to that all-singing, all-dancing, free-shot-if-you’re-in-a-skirt club on the high-street, and you might be surprised by the total lack of atmosphere inside…. despite what the seemingly trustworthy tout said. Instead, it’s time to wander off the beaten path; introducing the wonderfully whacky, quizzically quirky, sensationally secretive London bars you almost certainly didn’t know existed.

 
 

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, Liverpool Street

 

Heard about the Breakfast Club on Liverpool Street? Pretty deec, right? But did you know about the venue’s hidden underground bar, only accessible via an otherwise completely inconspicuous Smeg fridge door, but only if you've whispered the words ‘I want to see the Mayor’ to a barman known only as Henri. Yeah, sure you did.

 

Once permitted entry to the basement, expect much in the way of wooden beams, exposed brickwork, suspended lightbulbs, and, um, mounted moose heads. As for drinks, we for ones are highly tempted by the rose-tea infused vodka, though the ‘Aloe, Is It Me You’re Looking For’ is almost worth ordering for the name alone. Fridge doors, hey? Bet C.S Lewis wish he’d thought of that…

 

mayor of scaredy cat town secret quirky london bar

 
 

The Magic Roundabout, Old Street

 

Follow a secret stairway through Old Street station and come out in a totally unique, open-air party space, jam-packed with artisanal coffee stands, award-winning street food vendors, and enough locally-brewed craft beer to drown the entire Shoreditch hipster population together. Or, at least, so the legend goes.
 
Known only as the Magic Roundabout, ‘eats, beats, booze’ is its motto, so if that’s the sort of trinity you can get behind, best fetch your oyster card and a copy of the Old Street station blueprints, quick!

 

the magic roundabout secret quirky london bar

 
 

Cellar Door, Aldwych

 

Located in a converted Victorian toilet (and no, we’re not yanking your chain), Cellar Door is an extremely intimate cocktail bar that taps into a 1920’s cabaret vibe. Hosting live acts most nights and a jukebox system you can control via an app, this purple-bathed chrome-flushed den should be number 1 on your list. We’ll stop now.

 

cellar door secret quirky london bar

 
 

Evans & Peel Detective Agency, Kensington

 

Complete a case file online. Receive confirmation of your appointment. Arrive at the film-noir-styled office, and endure the detective's interrogation. Assuming you pass, then and only then will he reveal the secret passageway, concealed by a hinged bookcase, that leads through to the bar.
 
Evans & Peel takes the dramatics seriously, so if you can keep a straight face, the experience makes for pure snapchat-gold if a friend's unaware of the set-up. Not to mention, the uber-atmospheric speakeasy setting, mouth-watering cocktails and American smoke-house menu. Case closed.

 

evans and peel detective agency secret quirky london bar

 
 

Know any secret London bars yourself? While we’re completely aware it sort of defeats the object, jot them down in the comment box below and we promise not to shout about them from the rooftops. And if you ARE planning to paint the town red sometime soon, best make a quick trip to our going-out category first, overflowing with pleated playsuits, metallic midi skirts and glitter bodycon dresses. London won’t know what hit it.

 
 

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