PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: Cahoots just the ticket in London Carnaby
Carnaby is back in fashion. Famous as a style centre of the swinging ‘60s, punk outpost in the ‘70s and designer depot in the ‘80s, the district (with pedestrianized Carnaby Street at the centre) had languished under gentrification in recent years, only to re-emerge as a vibrant shopping and dining destination in London with over 150 brands, boutiques, concept stores, and 60 independent restaurants, bars, and cafés.
Located just off Oxford Street and running parallel to Regent Street half-way down to Piccadilly, Carnaby is buzzing again, not least at the new three-storey Kingly Court, itself home to nearly dozen restaurants (featuring varied global fare) and central courtyard.
There are, of course, multiple bars and pubs in the area, ideal for pre- or post dinner drinks (London’s theatres are nearby), or as respite after shopping on Carnaby.
An interesting and fun choice is Cahoots cocktail bar, which fronts Kingly Street (beside the aforementioned Kingly Court) in the form of a train station, but is accessible from the Carnaby Street side too.
The venue – which channels its history as a former London underground station/air raid shelter from the war – is themed as a late 1940s/early ‘50s speakeasy set up in a disused station, and dressed up with authentic railway and post-war paraphernalia across multiple floors and three spaces (the ticket hall, control room and underground) comprising an “illicit base… flouting the rules of rationing, selling top-notch bootlegging cocktails and throwing sensational swinging parties late into the night!”
Cocktail names – presented in a newspaper-style menu – recall the era, ranging from a Winston Churchill to a Marilyn Monroe, Ginger Rogers, or Vera Lynn, or the cheeky “Eiffel in Love with a Soldier.”
Wine, spirits, and craft beers compliment the drinks menu, while “rations” range from steak and ale pie to desserts like Nana’s Classic Coffee Cake.
The trip to the blitz (without the bombing) is all good fun and follows the energetic theming of other bars in London, like Around the World in 80 Days. Music kicks in in the evenings, and a Saturday night (which is basically every night in London) probably requires reservations. Also check the web site for opening hours – it varies from mid-afternoonish to late (3 a.m.) depending on the day of the week.
With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:
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First published at Travel Industry Today