If you like your cocktail encounters to be undercover affairs, then Barts is your hide out.

wall barts

Deer oh deer

Both times I’ve been lucky enough to visit the hidden speakeasy cocktail bar Barts, it’s been a private event: first a snug, intimate gig of Lettice Rowbotham’s before she climbed the ladder of fame in Britain’s Got Talent – Simon Cowell eat your heart out. The next was a charity rum tasting event hosted by The Anglo-Central American Society (niche) where we dabbled in a few South American rums for a good cause, and every penny of our mojito donations was given to the charity.

Privacy is to Barts what bread is to butter; cheese is to pickle; celery is to bloody mary…

Deep in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, among the streets trodden by the Made in Chelsea gang, you’ll discover Barts – that is after you’ve donned a cloak Sherlock Holmes style. There’s a certain amount of investment needed in finding this place. But it’s worth it, we promise.

sign

At Barts the Prohibition era is in full swing, they just don’t play by the rules

An apartment block called Chelsea Cloisters is your key to unlock the door, described on their website as “somewhere on Sloane Avenue”. The bar is run by Uncle Barts’ gangsters, who are operating their bootlegging activities from his “apartment”, or so the story goes.

Once you’ve sniffed this out, make your way past the reception (like you live there, right?), up a few stairs and you’ll come to a door on the left, with a bouncer. Usually.

Concealed behind this sturdy door is yet another – a quirky comic-plastered doorway with an eye slat. Ring the doorbell.

b and b

Once you find Barts it’s definitely time to reward yourself with a healthy tipple

You’ve made it!

All that navigating will be thirsty work and Barts have got that covered with liquor a plenty. But, in true Barts style, it’s not quite that simple… To find the menu, you have to pick out the right piece of literature from their secret bookcase.

Who knew drinking could be so hard?

Once you’ve settled upon your beverage, you can take a breath of fresh air in the little garden, or yard; perfect for sunny days and balmy evenings. And if you’d like to cheer Murray on in seclusion, you can settle down with a jug of Pimms and watch Wimbledon in the secret garden from 6pm every evening until the final. It’s so isolated you could be anywhere in Town – aside from the decor that is.

birdcage

A little birdy told me some mighty fine cocktails are served here…

Think 1920s Prohibition era, then add to this a stuffed, bow-tie clad, fluffy rodent smoking a pipe that grins at you as you order your tipple at the bar. There’s a birdcage hanging from the corner, antiquated lampshades, antique pictures in gilt frames and vintage photos adorning the floral papered walls.

It’s half living room, half alcohol den. And we love it.

bunny

Rumour has it this little guy runs the shop

Barts’ Twitter name is WorstKeptSecrets, and it’s easy to see why – if you know about this place there’s no doubt you’ll share it. And then there’s people like us who can’t keep our mouths shut.

So if anyone invites you to an event at Barts, London, make sure you attend, if not for the event, for the overwhelming feeling of exclusivity and the off-the-radar vibe that oozes from every fibre of this sumptuous, yet homely setting, after all Bart could pop by any minute…

You can hire the place out for an evening – fancy a swanky address to impress your friends? Look no further than Barts.

It’s in the thrill of the chase.

Barts | Chelsea Cloisters | Somewhere on Sloane Avenue | SW3 3DW

Open from 6pm-midnight Sunday-Wednesday; Thursday-Saturday 6pm-1am

For more (or less) information go to www.barts-london.com 

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