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Classy London Cafés & Drinks

London is well known for its large number of watering holes with the odd modish touch. Here is a selection of five bars where you are sure to come across more than one surprise.

1- Evans & Peel Detective Agency

Get onto the space and time machine and travel back to the 1920s, to one of the speakeasies that operated illegally during the Prohibition era in the United States. London has several “clandestine” bars, although there are virtually none in West London, so the Evans & Peel Detective Agency is a must-visit for the adventurous all-nighters in the area. Admission is strictly by appointment with the detective agency, specialising in blackmail and missing persons. You will be met by one of the detectives in his office and, if you cough up about everything you are supposed to know, he will motion you into a dimly-lit room where you will be served bottles of liquor wrapped in brown paper – to put the authorities off your scent – notably some amazing cocktails brewed American-style.

2- Viktor Wynd Museum Of Curiosities

A weird spot? There you go… the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History will meet your expectations if you’re seeking a unique (and ornate) experience. Here, fantasy knows no bounds and anything goes. Share a table with a big cat by candlelight? Go ahead! Sip on a cocktail alongside a skeleton sleeping in a coffin? This is your spot. Interested in anything related to taxidermy? You simply must come. Here, bizarre things have an added value and enhance the experience. The best idea is to pay an amusing visit to the “museum of curiosities” set up by Mr Wynd, an artist enthralled with subversive worlds and a limitless imagination, and end off in the Museum Café/Bar, where they serve cocktails. To round off the experience with a bite, in line with the locale, make sure you order a hamburger. Which one would you like – a zebra or crocodile hamburger?

3- Sew Over It

Get this – we have to admit that the Sewing Café is not entirely a café, but we simply couldn’t resist mentioning it. More than anything else, it is a workshop and sewing school run by ever-charming Grace, its owner, who always has some advanced-level dressmaking project up her sleeve. Her two sewing shops are transformed into a Sewing Café on certain days of the week, becoming co-working spaces where you can have as many cups of tea as you like and use the thread, patterns, fabric, sewing machines and overlockers. Sew It Over brings together groups of people – mainly women – to work on sewing projects and to share ideas and resolve concerns. Why not dedicate a while during your holidays to do a bit of sewing and get to know passionate DIY Londoners? There are two Sewing Cafés – one in Clapham and another in Islington.

4- Ladies and Gentleman

Several public toilets in London have been turned into trendy bars. If your first reaction is aversion to having a drink in a former loo, explore everything Ladies and Gentleman in Kentish Town has to offer and you will understand why hipsters jostle over tables in this inviting cocktail bar. The white square floor tiles and the sign over a bidet saying that “it is forbidden to wash anything other than face and hands” reminds us that we are in an erstwhile public toilet. The heart-stopping cocktails are guaranteed to make us forget anything else. Don’t arrive late – it’s always full.

5- Bounce

The Home of Ping Pong – this is how Bounce describes itself. It has two venues in London – Farringdon and Shoreditch – and will shortly be opening a third branch in Chicago. Its two London venues boast a total of 28 ping pong tables available for customers. They can be hired by the hour or half-hour from £10. The folks at Bounce take things seriously – the bats and balls are included in the price, and they even offer tips on their website for improving your skills. The interiors in both venues are conscientiously designed and feature spacious rooms suited to groups. Their menu and pizzas with antipasti are highly recommendable and they offer a large variety of gins and craft beers.

Ready to discover London’s more unusual watering holes? Book your Vueling here.

 

Text by Rita Peré for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

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