Here at PlusMinus, we’ve wanted to visit a speakeasy bar ever since Chuck Bass attempted to open his own in season two of ‘Gossip Girl’. Ten years on and you can imagine our excitement upon discovering there’s one right on our very doorstep! Okay, in hindsight we don’t know why we were so surprised, is there anything London doesn’t do?!
The 1920’s style watering hole goes by the name of ‘Evans and Peel London Detective Agency’ and urges you not to draw ‘unwanted attention’ to its venue, situated just off Earls Court Road (oops – we never were good at keeping secrets).
If you do succeed in finding the entrance, don’t expect to waltz right in. Be prepared for a process of interrogation, beginning with a conversation via buzzer about your booking (remember to book in advance), and – hopefully – ending with a shifty looking ‘detective’ ushering you downstairs into their ‘office’ before leading you through a hidden door into a candle-lit cocktail bar.
We were handed menus by super friendly and helpful waitress Agnes. The actual reading of the menus turned out to be a bit of a challenge due to the lack of lighting, but you’re in an illicit bar – what do you expect?! Lighting might be sparse, but there’s certainly no lack of kooky cocktails to choose from. The spring cup – aptly described as ‘Pimms for grown ups’ – stole the show, but we bet anything you try will be delicious.
The bar recently launched its Southern food menu and we were looking forward to soaking up some of the alcohol by tasting a few of their signature dishes. Unfortunately the food wasn’t a patch on the cocktails and we were left disappointed by the aubergine and mushroom brisket, which turned out to be cooked aubergine with literally four measly mushrooms beside it, a (tea)spoonful of coleslaw and some lukewarm baked beans. It might have sufficed as a throw together meal of leftovers in the house, but when you’re paying over £15 for it you expect more. Maybe the chicken and chips would fare better? Sadly not. The whole thing resembled a KFC bucket deal, which, again, is great if you want a night in in your PJs, but not when you’re in a ‘swanky’ undercover bar with a hefty price tag.
On the plus side, angel Agnes kept us both entertained and well topped up with refreshing cocktails. The atmosphere is great, the drinks are lush, and if it wasn’t for the food, we would give it a solid ten. We advise you to make a night of it and eat somewhere else first, then check out the bar after! You never know, you might even find your very own Chuck Bass is waiting for you inside…