As you’ll quickly find out if you continue to follow my blog (which you definitely should, by the way), my favourite London past-time is to discover quirky speakeasy bars and restaurants that are of the beaten track. A secret passageway or hidden door is an extra added plus.
I heard of BYOC (bring your own cocktails) through a friend, and when she described the ordinary looking, no-frills doorway which leads down to a a 1920s casino with vintage black jack, roulette and poker tables I just had to check it out for myself.
There are four London venues that are home to BYOC’s 1920s charm, but having heard great things about their Camden spot in particular, it was there that I set my cocktail-loving heart.
The concept behind this speakeasy; you bring a spirit of your choice, pay £25 on the door, and then get comfy for the next two hours at one of the many themed tables.
Next, the magic happens. You’re introduced to your table’s personal mixologist who gets to know your group’s preferences and tastes and gives you a bit of history and context to your surroundings. Before you know it, cocktail shakers are flying and the most beautiful drinks are sat down in front of you. We didn’t even need to order, like the cocktail magician he most definitely was, our waiter simply placed five individual drinks down in front of us and, of course, we were all absolutely blown away.
Each time a glass was empty, it was promptly filled with a new, colourful, carefully crafted cocktail, each finished with a beautiful garnish and served in quirky vintage-style glasses. Our mixologist was bubbly and chatty, introducing fun but not overbearing drinking games which absolutely added to the charming and cheerful atmosphere. And by the smiles of the people on the tables around us, we weren’t the only ones having a ball.
We left a few hours later with lifted spirits, and, I’ll be honest, a bit of a stumble in our step. We carried on the night raving about the delicious cocktails and giggling over the funny anecdotes and across-table banter with our fellow patrons.
So, looking for a relaxed but atmosphere-filled venue where you’re actually guaranteed a seat and will be able to hear your conversation? Then head to BYOC. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Photo cred – BYOC