Carnaby Street is filled with amazing shops, restaurants, and some even better bars so we’ve picked out just a few that should suit everyone’s taste. From blues bars to rum kitchens to post-war 1940; you will find something right up your street.
Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues does what it says on the tin – it’s a blues club that hosts both local and American acts nightly, with open-to-the-public jam sessions on Monday and Sunday. The owners of this well-known blues bar took its name from the Georgia White tune that goes by ‘The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ But…’ The quirky cabin-like bar counter is home to the likes of Adnams Bitter and Broadside, as well as Bitburger, Murphy’s and Mad Goose Purity, all of which are dispensed and swiftly taken to a saloon-style back room where you can drink the night away. It’s also where the live music takes place on most nights during the week, performed by those who are excited to grace the stage of such an establishment to equal reception from tourists and local enthusiasts that line the bar. Not only is the bar quirky, the staircase down to the toilets is decorated with caricatures of great names in the music business. Make sure you arrive early to get a table at the front as it can get overcrowded, then sit back and enjoy while sipping your whiskey in style with good music surrounding you.
If you’re looking for something a little different, a little bit more exclusive, then tucked away on the bustling Kingly Street, you’ll find Bag O’Nails. This is a private members club offering a luxury experience ‘like no other’. If you do become a member, then as well as access to the club, your membership will offer you a variety of services from booking theatre tickets to hotel rooms, too – much like a fun, music-loving concierge. Bag O’Nails is a venue adorned with much musical heritage dating back almost a century. Having re-opened its uber-famous doors in early 2013, Bag O’Nails soon established itself as the leading karaoke club in town. Occasionally to pay tribute to its unique heritage direct from the ‘Swinging Sixties’, their prestigious members can enjoy quality live music.
Antidote is a rustic-feeling wine bar with a restaurant. It boasts a cozy and vibrant atmosphere where you can drink a glass or two after a long day of shopping in the Carnaby Street area. Antidote consists of two floors and features an outdoor terrace, which is perfect for the summer nights. Antidote has been pleasing wine-drinkers and diners alike for over 15 years with its constant menu changes and presenting the finest seasonal produce to pair with the wine of your choice. The wine selection here is taken very seriously, which is why we rate it so highly. Not only does it feature organic and biodynamic wines from small artisans in France, it also offers a large variety from other countries.
Since it burst onto the Carnaby Street scene back in 2009, Cirque Le Soir has continued to grow into a full-blown, crazy circus, high-class cocktail bar; just what a world-class club should be. If you’re looking for a show, there is a plethora of differing performers, ranging from the seductive to the freaky. Or if you’re looking for something a little more light-hearted, then the funfair area makes for a great seating destination for you. Beer pong, arcade games, fortune tellers and makeup artists are all ready and waiting to offer you a night you will not forget in a hurry. Whatever kind of late-night fun you’re on the lookout for, Cirque Le Soit can guarantee to provide it. What are you waiting for?
The newest bar of pure imagination to burst onto the London cocktail scene, Cahoots has caused something of a stir. Officially booked up for weeks, those who make it in will soon see why it’s worth the wait. Housed in a former air raid shelter now decked out like a 40s tube station, stepping into this bar is like stepping into a slice of post-war London. The ‘newspaper’ cocktail menu is on point, the staff is firmly in character and while costumes aren’t compulsory, they are definitely welcomed.
Shampers is an independent restaurant and bar that has been under the same ownership for over 25 years. The majority of its 200-strong wine menu are made by small growers, most of whom follow the rules of organic and/or biodynamic practices and 40 of these wines can be enjoyed by the glass. The menu features plenty of daily specials, many of which are similar to a tapas style, and can be enjoyed in the chill bar area upstairs to be paired with your wine. Rumour has it that it offers one of Soho’s best cheese plates, which pairs excellently with a glass of the house port.
With a separate entrance at either end and a few scattered outdoor tables on Kingly Court, Two Floors feels a lot more open than it is. The first floor will give you those Shoreditch hipster-style vibes with a rotation of young artists’ work offsetting a dark interior. The short row of taps upon the bar only show two Red Stripe and two Camden Hells, which gives a minimal choice of draught, but don’t let that put you off; Estrella, Brooklyn, Modelo Especial and Goose Island can be bought by the bottle. There are four wines of each grape colouring, but with democratic pricing and crowd-pleasing selections, you won’t be put off by the limited menu. Situated down below in the basement is Handy Joe’s Tiki Bar, a quirkly Hawaiian-themed affair complete with bamboo panelling and illuminated tiki masks.
The Rum Kitchen has become well renowned for its Caribbean-inspired and highly innovative cocktail menu, and with this branch’s location in Kingly Court, it’s a casual and accessible dining spot. It’s a really great location for post-work catch-up and late night tipples right in the centre of London. The Rum Kitchen’s signature cocktails include the Rattle-Skull Punch, a top-secret blend of rum punch with spices and fruits, and the Rumbustion, a mix of cooling coconut, spices and rum. Focusing on bringing Caribbean beach-shack food and cocktails with travel-inspired flavours to London, the Rum Kitchen is definitely worth a visit.
A hideaway for luxury drinking and late night banter, Disrepute is a collaborative creation and the latest venture from the teams behind Sovereign Loss and well-known London favourites, the Barrio bars. Disrepute (or D.R.P to those in the know) is a hidden gem nestled into a 100-seater basement in Kingly Court and welcomes members and non-members alike with warm hospitality and service to rival the best bars around the world. It’s based upon the 1960s counterculture with a mix of the best of London’s cocktail culture today. It offers an expertly curated drinks menu where established ideas twist in with modern thinking. Take a walk down the stairs into an intimate setting of wood-panelled walls and vaulted ceilings that’ll transport you to 60s hedonistic nights, and you won’t be wanting to leave.