London: Cahoots Bar
Get There: 3 Kingly Court, London, W1B 5PW. It’s designed to be hard to find, so look for the “Trains” sign hanging above the alleyway in Kingly Court.
Cost: Cocktails start from £8
If you can no longer face another stodgy British pub with lads and lager, try mixing it up a little by heading back to 1940s post-war Britain and spending a night in Carnaby’s Cahoots Bar. A former air-raid shelter that has transformed to look like a disused underground station, this is the place where illicit boozing is in full force and swing dancing between cocktails is the norm. Cahoots commits fully to its 1940s role, ensuring that you cannot help but be drawn into the past. All staff members stay in character throughout the evening, from the gentlemen who greet with you a “Wat ho!” as you check in your coat to the saucy servers whose finger-rolled hair and red lips put your dry shampoo and chapstick to shame. Even the girls bathroom lights flicker on and off as if an air raid was occurring overhead. If you can ignore the iPhones snapping photographs of vintage wartime posters, you will genuinely feel transported back in time. The menu, which is printed in the style of faux newspaper ‘The Kingly Court Herald”, will entice you to try new and wonderful drinks such as “Give Peas a Chance”, which incorporates your daily dose of greens with champagne. One or two cocktails won’t break the hobo bank, but it’s easy to get distracted and you’ll want to try one of everything (especially when they feature oddities like an Oxo cube). You can very quickly rack up a bill, which unfortunately won’t be as cheap as liquor in the 1940s would have been. Enjoy the experience, but don’t settle in for a night of hard boozing. Dressing up is encouraged, so put on your snazziest 1940s garb and practice your best British accent for a unique night of secretive swilling; it’s much cooler than the usual hobo haunts you booze in.
Hobo Tip: Book online in advance if possible to avoid being turned away on the night by the very dapper gentleman manning the door.