Secret bars are all over London and have eclipsed standard watering holes. The problem is that everyone wants to be the trend-setter, the one to introduce the rest of the gang to ‘this really cool, like, secret bar,’ that it no longer remains a secret.
Well I’m no different! I’m not going to be hush-hush about this one because it’s a secret bar that involves a bit of role play to gain entry.
Evans and Peel Detective Agency in Earl’s Court is so plain from the outside you’d easily walk past it. When we arrived we rang the bell and were greeted by a bark through the intercom: ‘Sorry who is this? What do you want? Are you sure you’ve got the right place?’
My date had booked the table as required, and after giving his name we were buzzed in and walked down some shady steps.
The setting was properly old-school, and a lady in a big fur coat and thick-rimmed glasses sat at an old wooden desk. We shuffled in and stood awkwardly in a line in front of her. She was great at keeping in character, very stern and Trunchbull-like, which I wasn’t expecting at all so was just utterly confused at her bizarre customer service.
Bearing in mind that we didn’t know what was going on, the conversation went something like this:
Trunchbull: ‘So why are you here again? What exactly have you lost?’
Date: ‘My Nimbus 3000.’ (To make a reservation you have to start your case).
Trunchbull: ‘And when did you last see it?’
Date: ‘Last weekend, I think?’
Trunchbull: ‘And what colour is it?’
Date: ‘Ummm… it’s turquoise and stripey and really long.’
Trunchbull: (leaping up and point-shouting) ‘And how do you think your Nimbus 3000 FEEEELS?’
Date: ‘Ummm, pretty sad and lonely I guess.’
Trunchbull: (sitting back down again) ‘Yes, I’d expect so. Well let’s see if Detective Peel can take your case. Which door do you think he’s behind?’
There were a couple of doors and a bookcase. Obviously he was behind the secret swivel bookcase! (And obviously he doesn’t exist). We were led through to the ‘secret’ bar, prohibition-style, to a crowd of normal people totally at ease enjoying their cocktails, although I was still a little bewildered at the whole charade.
Trunchbull: (handing us menus and showing us to our table) ‘These are your case studies. Please read them carefully before seeing the Detective.’
The first page clearly states the rules: the value of secrecy, ordering food with your drinks and most importantly, wait to be escorted out and leave the premises quietly as it is a ‘secret’ establishment.
The cocktail list isn’t that extensive, but they are creative and very good. Average price is £10 although you can order wine and beer too. What makes this ‘secret’ bar different is you’re paying for the whole acting experience at the start, which is so odd but so funny. Hats off to the Trunchbull, she played her part well.
Booking online in advance is mandatory. You’ll have to give your name and ‘case study’ i.e. something you’ve lost. Oh of course, my stripy, turquoise Nimbus 3000!
Date factor: 100th date, double date
Price: £12 for cocktails
Getting there: 5-minute walk from Earl’s Court station
More info: evansandpeel.com