For Alice, it was the rabbit hole; for Harry Potter, the wall in King’s Cross station. Hidden entries reward the curious mind, and they aren’t just a preserve of the imagination. All over London, you can find clandestine corners that lead you through to the best bars and cafés in the city. These hidden gems will open your mind up to a London that you never knew, and once you step through their doorways, you’ll never look at the capital in the same way again.
Truly hidden from the public, within the Chelsea Cloisters apartments on Sloane Avenue, is Barts. You pass through the reception, head down the corridor and, before you know it, you’ve turned up in Wonderland. With old paintings, stuffed animal heads and cuckoo clocks, this bizarre but elegant salon invites you to work through its eccentric selection of cocktails – served in teapots or cigar boxes – accompanied by the sound of great music from the 1920s. This old-fashioned bar is a speakeasy in the truest sense. Just don’t tell too many people about it!
Located in the heart of Shoreditch on Hackney Road is the Looking Glass Cocktail Club. As the name suggests, customers are invited to go through the sumptuous ‘looking glass’ to enter a speakeasy room. Illuminated by candlelight, and lined with old leather sofas, the Looking Glass offers phenomenal cocktails alongside performance art, live music, DJ sets and all manner of other events. Be like Alice, let your curiosity get the better of you, and break on through to the other side.