Seven of London’s craziest bars
With a bar on every corner and gastro-pub chains popping up ever more frequently, it’s never been easier to enjoy a night out on the town in the nation’s capital. But what if you prefer your drinking establishments to be a little more idiosyncratic? We’ve taken a look at some of London’s most unique bars, and come up with seven that you just have to visit
The American Bar (Mayfair)
Quirky without being bloated, loud and irritating, The American Bar is hidden away in the Stafford Hotel in fashionable Mayfair, and boasts an impressive design that will keep you amused for more than a few pints.
With an endless supply of memorabilia adorning the walls and ceiling, including model aeroplanes, hats and scarves, a traditional layout and an extensive cocktail list, The American Bar is well worth visiting if you’re looking to unwind in an old-style pub with a certain distinctive charm.
A short walk from Chancery Lane station, Bounce’s USP is quite simple: table tennis. And lots of it. With seventeen tables on offer, the self-styled ‘Social Ping-Pong Club’ is a great way to relieve some stress after a hard day’s work, with a few fun-filled games of what London’s mayor Boris Johnson once referred to as ‘wiff-waff’.
Whether you’re a regular player looking for a bit of competitive action or a newcomer looking for their first taste of action, make sure to check this place out... just don't look for it by typing 'ping pong bars' into Google or you may end up with a dodgy search history!
Bunga Bunga (Battersea)
The illicit (but fantastic sounding) parties of disgraced foreign politician Silvio Berlusconi might seem like an odd choice of theme for a London bar, but if there’s one thing you need to know about Battersea’s Bunga Bunga, it’s that – like its spiritual godfather, Silvio – this place doesn’t play by the rules.
Entering the venue through an Italian phone box, you find yourself in a world where mopeds dangle from the ceiling and Italian language lessons play through the toilet speakers, while even the menu has a distinctive Italian theme: the Mafioso cocktail ‘Horse’s Head’ is a popular choice, while the pizzas on offer are named after famous Berlusconi conquests. A delightfully tacky choice for a night on the town.
Bar Kick (Shoreditch)
Hipster’s paradise Shoreditch is no stranger to an unusual bar, and Bar Kick is certainly that: an entire pub dedicated to the art of fussball, also known as table football. Much like Bounce, this bar is all about fun with a competitive edge: bring a few friends along and you’ll be able to drink into the small hours while spurring your miniature football team to glory. Much more sociable than playing Championship Manager like a loner.
The drinks menu has something for everyone and the decor is bold and beautiful – but the main attraction is the football; if you’re into the beautiful game, this fun-packed pub is just the ticket.
Doodle Bar (Battersea)
Whether you’ve got a love for art or simply a penchant for sanitized vadalism, if you enjoy indulging your creative side then Battersea’s Doodle Bar is worth a visit. While purpose-built beach areas and ping-pong tables are part of Doodle Bar’s allure, the real draw is the chalk walls which are designed for patrons to jot down their poems, drawings or crude cartoons.
With a ‘Test Bed Space’ for people to perform skits and sketches also available, this place is ideal for any budding artists – and the drinks aren’t bad either.
The Shop NW10 (Kensal Rise)
At first glance, The Shop NW10 might not seem out of the ordinary. With simple wooden interiors, fashionable playlist and decent cocktail menu, you could be forgiven for thinking this was just your run-of-the-mill establishment – but you’ll quickly realise that things aren’t exactly what they seem. Everything in The Shop NW10 is for sale. You might come in looking for a swift half, and find yourself leaving with a funky painting or an antique chair – and therein lies this bar’s unique charm.
Things get even weirder when you order your choice of cocktail because, depending on which one you plump for, your drink could arrive in anything from a milk bottle to a Marmite jar. For a night out with a twist, The Shop NW10 is not to be missed.
Evans & Peel Detective Agency (Kensington)
Perhaps the best themed bar in London, Kensington’s Evans & Peel Detective Agency offers an entertaining night out like you’ve never experienced before. Discreetly tucked away behind a secret entrance, upon arrival you’ll make your way into a superbly-designed office, where you and your party will be met by ‘The Detective’, who will begin interrogating you with regard to your case. Use your imagination to come up with something interesting for the detective to investigate, and he’ll set about solving the case while you kick back in a slick, dark bar with a drink and a bite to eat.
The cocktails are as tasty as they are numerous, with all sorts of crazy ingredients thrown into the mix, and the bizarre ambience makes for a truly unique experience. Maybe after a few drinks, the good detective can solve the cases of your unidentified drunken injuries, where all your money went and how your smartphone screen got cracked.
Drink responsibly though obviously, peeps, and if you're an out-of-towner don't drive home, find a hotel bargain on www.hotelclub.com instead