Once you get past the rah on the phone telling you Cahoots is fully booked ‘for – like – the whole weekend’, and the guy at the door asking you to come back in an hour if you want a tiny hope of getting in, then this may be one of the funnest bar you’ll visit in a long time.
The guys behind this are the ever-popular and successful Inception Group – known for their incredible themed venues (Mr Foggs, Barts, Maggie’s and Beaver Lodge, to name but a few). Cahoot’s theme is that of a war time Underground station. They have thought of everything. Even before you’ve properly entered you’re slowly transported to the 1940s, with old fashioned tube noises and sign postings. The cloak room (complimentary) is manned by a gentlemen in a 1940s Underground driver’s uniform, the hostesses are dressed in pearls and furs with big smiles.
And then you walk into the bar and you feel like you’ve left the 21st century behind. Everything is in keeping with an old fashioned war time tube station; the musty tube benches, the old signs of underground stations, sandbags piled high. They even have a whole underground carriage (which would be amazing to rent out completely for a party). There’s colourful bunting hanging from the low-rise ceiling, the sorts of lamps Mary Poppins would pull out of her bag dotted around, and old grandfather clocks chiming in corners.
They are very strict on limiting the numbers (hence it’s incredibly difficult to get in or get a table – so book at least a month in advance, or be prepared to be turned away), but this means that the experience once you’re in is all the better. It’s busy but not cramped. You can have a conversation over the (1940s – of course) music and the hum of the crowd. It doesn’t take forever to get a drink. The bar, made of old books and trunks, spilling with various bottles of spirits, is tended by charming and efficient cocktail shakers – who offer cocktails in old milk bottles, jars or cans.
Which leads me to the cocktails. The menu is an old newspaper – naturally. The huge range of cocktails is remarkable, and the pricing surprisingly reasonable for the venue. My cocktail – the name of which I have forgotten, was super sweet but utterly delicious and only £7.50. That’s a bargain.
In short, shallow your pride and be prepared to be turned away a few times, or book ahead. It’s worth the wait.
13 Kingly Court, London W1B 5PG
020 7352 6200