Chelsea Cloisters, London, SW3 3DW, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7581 3355
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Sun-Tues 6pm-midnight, Weds-Sat: 6pm-1am
Door: Make reservation
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: High-end
Food: Bar nibbles
Owned by: The Inception Group
Images By: diffordsguide.com
There's no street sign to betray the location of this dreamlike speakeasy which is accessible only to those in the know and those they like the look of. Find your way off Sloane Avenue into Cloisters Apartments and head for the lantern lit black door on the left - open this and you're in a Mickey Mouse wallpapered lobby with a hatch that slides open when you ring the bell. The dimly lit little room beyond, with its prohibition era big band jazz, is so timeless you almost expect to see Stephen Ward and Christine Keeler lounging on one of the black banquettes that run the length of the deep red walls. Low glowing light bulbs are strung along wires and the place is filled with an eclectic mix of bric-a-braccy pictures, knick knacks and comfortably worn furniture.
This is a quirky magician's play-world with a fun, relaxed and amusing atmosphere, big playing cards arranged on the walls, a drinks menu hidden away in the pages of old books and eccentric cocktails (including some made with vinegars) that arrive in curious and surprising presentations. Service is attentive, and genuinely interested staff (we're told they sometimes dip into a big dressing up box and change their outfits) are happy to take time talking you through the menu. A door at the end of the bar takes you out to a tiny decked area and a snug cushioned smoking room.
Our only reservation was with our slightly warm gin and tonic with its couple of lumps of melting ice floating on top. Our cocktail though was terrific and edamame beans from the brief snack menu were tasty.