Unmasking London’s Secrets: A Guide to Hidden Bars with Live Music

London, a city pulsating with history and vibrancy, holds secrets behind every corner. While iconic landmarks draw in the crowds, its true magic often lies tucked away in its clandestine corners. Nestled behind unassuming facades and unmarked doors, a network of hidden bars awaits. These speakeasy-inspired havens offer not just expertly crafted cocktails and hushed intimacy, but also the thrill of discovery and the promise of unforgettable encounters.

And for those seeking an extra sprinkle of magic, some of these hidden gems add the captivating allure of live music to their repertoire. Imagine stepping into a dimly lit chamber where jazz melodies whisper through the air, or a raucous basement bar thrumming with the energy of an up-and-coming indie band. These are the spaces where you can lose yourself in the rhythm, the lyrics weaving their way into whispered conversations and stolen glances.

So, are you ready to embark on a journey through London’s underbelly, where secrets are whispered in hushed tones and music paints the air with vibrant hues? Then grab your adventurous spirit and let’s delve into the world of hidden bars with live music, where the ordinary gives way to the extraordinary.

1. Nightjar

best bars in London
Nightjar, Shoreditch London

2. The Blind Pig

best bars London
Blind Pig, Soho London

3. Evans & Peel Detective Agency

Evans & Peel Detective Agency, Earls Court London
Evans & Peel Detective Agency, Earls Court London

4. The Cocktail Trading Company

Cocktail Trading Company, Fitzrovia London
Cocktail Trading Company, Fitzrovia London

5. The Lost Love Speakeasy

London’s hidden gem, The Lost Love Speakeasy, whisks you back to the roaring twenties, transporting you to a world of clandestine cocktails, sultry jazz, and a touch of mystery. Tucked away in a secret location (revealed only to those with the password!), this immersive theatre bar promises an evening of bygone glamour and captivating storytelling.

Finding Your Way to the Past:

While the exact address remains hush-hush, fear not, intrepid adventurer! To gain access to this hidden gem, simply visit their website and book your tickets. Once the reservation is confirmed, you’ll receive a cryptic clue hinting at the speakeasy’s location. Decipher the riddle, dress to impress in your finest vintage attire, and head to the designated spot. There, a hidden door awaits, ready to usher you into a world of speakeasy secrets.

A Time Capsule of Jazz and Cocktails:

Stepping through the threshold is like stepping onto a movie set. Dimly lit with flickering candlelight, the speakeasy boasts plush velvet booths, antique gramophones spinning vintage tunes, and a skilled bartending team crafting forgotten cocktails of the Prohibition era. The air hums with the soulful melodies of live jazz musicians, transporting you to the smoky, sophisticated clubs of a bygone era.

An Enthralling Evening for:

  • History buffs: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the roaring twenties, from the meticulously recreated décor to the expertly mixed cocktails.
  • Jazz aficionados: Get up close and personal with talented musicians, swaying to the rhythm of classic jazz tunes.
  • Theatre lovers: Witness a captivating theatrical performance woven throughout the evening,adding an element of intrigue and suspense to your speakeasy experience.
  • Cocktail connoisseurs: Savor expertly crafted Prohibition-era cocktails, each a secret recipe lost in time and rediscovered for your enjoyment.
  • Romantics: Share a clandestine rendezvous in this intimate setting, whispering secrets under the dim candlelight and letting the jazz set the mood.

Beyond the Speakeasy Door:

The Lost Love Speakeasy is more than just a bar; it’s an experience. It’s a chance to shed your modern skin, don a vintage persona, and lose yourself in the magic of a bygone era. So, gather your courage, decipher the password, and prepare to be swept away by the intoxicating charms of London’s best-kept secret. Just remember, what happens at The Lost Love Speakeasy, stays at The Lost Love Speakeasy.

Pro Tip: For an extra touch of authenticity, brush up on your flapper moves or practice your best Charleston steps before your visit!

6. Purl

best bars London
Purl, Marylebone London

7. The Piano Bar

best bars Soho London
Piano Bar, Soho London

London’s vibrant nightlife scene boasts countless options, but for an experience that truly tickles the ivories of your soul, look no further than The Piano Bar. This hidden gem, nestled in the heart of Soho at 16 Carlisle Street, offers a unique blend of live music, delectable cocktails, and a chic atmosphere that transports you back to a golden age of elegance.

Reaching the Keys:

Getting to The Piano Bar is a breeze. If you’re a public transport enthusiast, hop on the Northern Line and alight at Tottenham Court Road Station. A quick 5-minute walk down Great Russell Street and along lively Charing Cross Road will lead you straight to Carlisle Street. For those arriving on four wheels, nearby NCP parking options are available at Soho Square and Chinatown.

Unveiling the Harmony:

Step inside The Piano Bar, and prepare to be swept away by its charm. The dimly lit interior exudes a sophisticated speakeasy vibe, with plush velvet armchairs, intimate booths, and a grand piano taking center stage. The walls adorned with vintage photographs and twinkling fairy lights add a touch of whimsy, setting the perfect backdrop for an evening of musical magic.

A Symphony for Every Palate:

The Piano Bar isn’t just about the music; it’s a haven for cocktail connoisseurs as well. Their talented mixologists whip up an array of classic and contemporary concoctions, from refreshing mojitos to smoky old-fashioneds. Don’t miss their signature “Piano Passion,” a vibrant blend of vodka, passionfruit, and elderflower that’s as delightful on the palate as it is on the eyes.

Who’s Invited to the Encore?

The Piano Bar’s magnetic charm draws a diverse crowd. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz aficionado, a casual cocktail enthusiast, or simply seeking a sophisticated escape from the city’s clamor, you’ll find your rhythm here. It’s the perfect spot for celebrating a special occasion, enjoying a romantic rendezvous, or simply unwinding with friends after a long day.

Raising the Curtain:

The Piano Bar opens its doors at 5:30 PM on Saturdays and offers live music throughout the evening. Be sure to make a reservation, especially on weekends, as this hidden gem tends to fill up quickly. With its captivating atmosphere, soulful music, and delectable drinks, The Piano Bar promises an unforgettable evening that will leave you humming a happy tune long after the last note fades.

So, if you’re seeking a London experience that goes beyond the ordinary, let The Piano Bar serenade your senses. It’s a place where the music lingers, the cocktails tantalize, and the memories stay on repeat.

8. The Bootlegger

The Bootlegger – a secret haven tucked away in the heart of London, whispering tales of the roaring twenties and transporting you back to a bygone era of speakeasy glamour.

Finding Your Way to the Hidden Door:

Nestled near Monument and Bank stations, The Bootlegger isn’t for the faint of heart. Look for a discreet doorway between a dry cleaner and a Nando’s. No flashy signs, just an air of mystery waiting to be unveiled. Ring the doorbell, whisper the password (which changes regularly – check their website for the latest!), and step into a world of hidden delights.

Stepping Back in Time:

Descending the stairs, you’re greeted by the warm glow of vintage lamps and the seductive aroma of handcrafted cocktails. Exposed brick walls, vintage furniture, and period photographs whisper stories of jazz-fueled nights and flapper girls shimmying to Charleston rhythms. The bartenders, dressed in dapper suits and fedoras, complete the immersive experience, expertly mixing classic cocktails with a touch of theatrical flair.

Who Would Love The Bootlegger?

This ain’t your average bar. The Bootlegger is for those who crave a unique and immersive experience. It’s for history buffs who appreciate the meticulous attention to detail and the authentic speakeasy atmosphere. It’s for cocktail connoisseurs who yearn for expertly crafted libations and innovative twists on old favorites. It’s for friends seeking a memorable night out, for couples wanting a romantic escape, and for anyone who appreciates a touch of vintage glamour and playful intrigue.

Beyond the Cocktails:

While the cocktails are undoubtedly the stars of the show, The Bootlegger offers more than just liquid delights. Live music performances on Thursdays and Fridays transport you to the smoky jazz clubs of the past, while the occasional burlesque show adds a touch of sultry cabaret allure. For private events, the venue transforms into an intimate speakeasy haven, perfect for birthday celebrations, corporate gatherings, or simply a sophisticated soiree with your closest friends.

So, if you’re looking for an escape from the ordinary, a journey into the past, and a night filled with handcrafted cocktails, captivating music, and a touch of speakeasy magic, The Bootlegger awaits. Just remember, finding it is half the fun!

Getting There:

Whether you’re a seasoned speakeasy aficionado or a curious newcomer, The Bootlegger promises an unforgettable experience, leaving you with stories to tell and a longing for another sip of that forbidden magic. Go forth, intrepid adventurer, and find your way to the door!

9. The Blind Butcher

Image of Blind Butcher, Shoreditch London
Blind Butcher, Shoreditch London

10. The Mayor’s Arms

Mayor's Arms, Hackney London
Mayor’s Arms, Hackney London

Nestled in the heart of London’s bustling Holborn district, The Mayor’s Arms beckons with the charm of a bygone era. This Grade II listed pub boasts a rich history dating back to the 16th century, promising a captivating blend of old-world elegance and modern-day comfort.

Finding Your Way There:

Located just steps away from Chancery Lane Underground Station, The Mayor’s Arms is easily accessible. Whether you’re hopping off the Central Line or strolling through the historic streets, a warm welcome awaits. For those arriving by car, limited street parking is available nearby.

Stepping into a Time Capsule:

As you cross the threshold of The Mayor’s Arms, prepare to be transported back in time. The oak-paneled walls, adorned with vintage photographs and antique memorabilia, whisper tales of centuries past. The original wood-burning fireplace crackles invitingly, casting a warm glow over the plush leather armchairs and polished wooden tables. The atmosphere is one of timeless elegance, where history and hospitality seamlessly intertwine.

Who Would Love It:

  • History buffs: The Mayor’s Arms is a living testament to London’s rich past. Every nook and cranny exudes a sense of character and charm, inviting you to soak in the stories that seep from the walls.
  • Pub enthusiasts: With its traditional ambiance, hearty food, and extensive selection of cask ales,The Mayor’s Arms is a haven for pub lovers. Settle in for a pint and a classic pub meal, and relish the lively atmosphere that comes with it.
  • Those seeking a unique experience: Whether you’re a local looking for a familiar yet timeless escape or a tourist eager to delve into London’s authentic charm, The Mayor’s Arms offers something truly special. It’s a place to unwind, connect, and create lasting memories amidst the vibrant tapestry of London life.

Beyond the Pints:

While the bar at The Mayor’s Arms is a true draw, the pub also boasts a hidden gem – a charming courtyard garden. This secluded oasis, adorned with greenery and fairy lights, offers a tranquil escape from the city’s buzz. Enjoy a meal al fresco on a sunny day, or sip cocktails under the starry sky on a balmy evening.

So, whether you’re seeking a historical retreat, a lively pub atmosphere, or a unique dining experience, The Mayor’s Arms has something for everyone. Step into this timeless haven and discover the magic that awaits within its walls.

Pro Tip: The Mayor’s Arms often hosts live music nights and special events, so be sure to check their website or social media for upcoming happenings.

Beyond the Ten

While our list highlights ten exceptional hidden bars with live music, London’s secret scene is constantly evolving. Here are a few additional gems to keep on your radar:

Cahoots London

Image of Cahoots London, Kingly Court
Cahoots London, Kingly Court

The Sun Tavern

 

Image of Sun Tavern, Holborn London
Sun Tavern, Holborn London

While our list highlights twelve exceptional hidden bars with live music, London’s secret scene is constantly evolving. Here are a few additional gems to keep on your radar:

  • The Lucky Pig: Hidden in Fitzrovia, this bar combines plush surroundings with an energetic atmosphere. Live bands and DJs keep the crowd entertained, while the cocktail menu boasts innovative concoctions and classic favorites.
  • Discount Suit Company: This Spitalfields speakeasy masquerades as a vintage tailor shop. Step through the velvet curtain and you’ll find a candlelit haven with plush booths and antique decor. Live jazz and blues add to the speakeasy charm, making it the perfect spot for a sophisticated evening.
  • Happiness Forgets: Hoxton’s Happiness Forgets takes inspiration from the bars of New York City. Exposed brick walls, vintage furniture, and dim lighting create a cozy atmosphere, while live music ranging from indie bands to solo singer-songwriters adds a touch of intimacy.
  • Next Door Records: Shepherd’s Bush’s Next Door Records combines a record store with a hidden bar. Browse the vinyl selection before stepping through a bookcase door and into a dimly lit speakeasy-style space. Live music adds to the charm, making it a haven for music lovers and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

A City Symphony:

London’s hidden bars with live music are more than just watering holes; they’re vibrant threads woven into the city’s rich tapestry. They offer a glimpse into a bygone era, a taste of the underground scene, and a chance to connect with the city’s creative spirit. So, grab your friends, your sense of adventure, and let the music guide you through London’s secret doors. You might just discover your new favorite symphony, hidden in plain sight.

Remember:

  • This list is a starting point, and the world of hidden bars is constantly evolving. New venues pop up regularly, while some may close their doors. Keep your eyes peeled, do your research, and embrace the thrill of discovery.
  • Be respectful of the hidden bars and their patrons. These are intimate spaces, so keep noise levels down and be mindful of others.
  • Most importantly, have fun! Immerse yourself in the atmosphere, lose yourself in the music, and enjoy the unique experience that London’s hidden bars with live music have to offer.

With a little bit of sleuthing and a spirit of adventure, you’ll be uncovering London’s hidden musical gems in no time. So, raise a glass to the secret symphony, and let the music guide you through the city’s hidden doors. Cheers!

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