Nestled inside Cloisters luxury service apartments in the heart of Chelsea, we decided to follow the whispers that Barts is becoming one of London’s most exclusive bars for cocktails and drinks. Now I have been to most themed bars in London and frankly once you have gone to one, they all seems to emerge into one blur minus the drinks, however I had to admit I was delightfully surprised and somewhat intrigued with Bart’s speakeasy concept. I have to confess it did take us a while to locate Barts, as we stood in the lobby baffled, cursing Google maps for leading us into the middle of an apartment complex, vowing to never trust modern technology, we were soon put back on the right path by the very amused lobby receptionist, once we finally located the door, we entered what resembled more of an apartment door than a common bar entrance.
Suddenly we were confronted by comic-strip-decorated wallpaper which covered every square inch of a tiny lobby area, confusion and excitement set in again. My guest pressed the bell to gain access, the peephole attendant nodded and opened the door, and we finally made it inside slightly giddy now as if we have been accepted into some secret society that only cool people could access. Inside, every trace of Chelsea vanishes and the prohibition-era emerges, vintage deco mounted on deep red walls, Winchester chairs, kitsch memorabilia placed around the bar, and the barmen shaking up mean looking cocktails named after famous 1920s characters, in the background an old black and white vintage TV was playing classic 1920s movies, one which I didn’t recall. The only tell-tale signs that you somehow have not time traveled was the modern day clothes of the customers and defaced Mona Liza hung on the wall above our table with the words ‘Computer says no’ graffiti across her canvas. We were far from the settings of Chelsea and this was far from the usual themed London bar.
So what are the negatives, I do recommend asking the bar staff for help when it comes menu as we were little overwhelmed with the nine paged menu, however the staff are extremely helpful in explaining the ingredients and recommending drinks. Right let’s move on to the positives.
We were extremely tempted to choose the Al Capone & Mad Hatter which is served in top hats & teapots. We decided to be adventurous and opt for the ‘Goes up in Smoke’ menu three signature cocktails made with Perique Tobacco Liqueur, the rarest tobacco in the world: Louisiana Perique. We started off with The ‘Holy Smoke’ and yes it is as lethal as it sounds with combination of Perique, cognac, blended with rum and vanilla syrup on the rocks. While my guest sipped on the delicate the Cig’nature Cocktail which included a touch of lemon juice and Perrier Jouet Champagne.
Next recommended by the lovely waitress serving us we encountered the In Vogue cocktail which combines Perique, Sauza Hornitos Tequila, Raspberry Puree and Crème de Framboise while me guest chose The Alchemist class Iinfusion of Grey Goose vodka, fresh mint with cucumber flavours of eager cloudy apple delicious which he wouldn’t share, it was endearing knowing £1 from every sale was donated Dyslexia Action Charity.
As the evening progressed we found ourselves mingling with the usual crowd, as the bar got busier the music changed to a more upbeat tempo, and conversations and laughter filled the atmosphere. Once we exited 1920s settings of Barts it was disheartening to be brought back into the real world, as we made our way to the tube station we were already making plans to revisit. It was apparent why Chelsea was hiding the best bar in London, now we have discovered their secret we highly recommended you pay Bart’s a well-deserved visit.