I’ve lived in London for four years now, and I still struggle to find bars that I feel any more than ‘meh’ about. There’s so much crap out there, and even more wanky, no-reservations, gimmicky rubbish that you just feel exhausted by. But a few, a very few, are worth the hype.
There used to be a bar in Kingly Court in Soho called Disco, that I went to the launch of a few years back. I LOVED it. Modelled on Studio 54’s heyday, it had a Pan-Am-style airline check in, where you popped your cloakroom baggage on a conveyor belt and were given a boarding pass to the club. It was hyper-Seventies, with an insanely good playlist. So naturally it closed, because Londoners are idiots and would rather drink in an old-man pub with the cricket on. Anyway, the creators of Disco persevered, and it’s now London’s most hyped bar once more.
Cahoots is a 1940s-style cocktail bar set in cavernous underground space and an old tube carriage (containing the most south-after tables). My friend had to book in May (May!) to get our table of four, so we fully embraced the theme and got our glad rags and victory rolls on to head down the tiled station steps on Saturday night. And it was great fun. Proper tube seats and hand rails, lots of people in retro garb (some even started an impromptu jitterbug while we were there) and a massive newspaper-ful of weird and wonderful cocktails. I recommend the rose petal, Prosecco and egg-white Gracie Fields or the coffee, rum and chocolate Use Your Noggin’, complete with digestive biscuit.
The music swings between proper Blitz-era stuff, Yankee standards like Ella Fitzgerald and modern-retro artists like Caro Emerald. It’s a fun vibe, and flirty too – I’d be very impressed if a date got us in here. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.