London is a weird and wonderful place, and it’s big and full of secrets, some better kept than others. Anyway, BarChick gets around and meets some interesting folk, and here are some of the less well know findings that we think y’all will love!
If you don’t have much money and you want some London fun, you can’t go wrong with some sort of a quest. Soho always delivers with bars, cafes, G-A-Y and restaurants but now you can head there and get looking for the seven noses. Yes, concrete noses, each hidden on different walls on various streets. Rumour has it if you find all 7 you will attain infinite wealth, no one actually knows where this has come from but it is a good enough excuse for BarChick to get involved.
BarChick has a thing for magicians/hypnotists etc, in fact BarChicklet is borderline obsessed with Derren Brown. So an opportunity to wine and dine in the home of Simon Drake (one of the most original and shocking illusionists in the world) is a hidden gem she wanted to check out. Every month for one night only people are able to be guests in his house for a night of sexy magic. The location itself is even hard to find, in fact, you can actually arrange a vintage car to drive you there blindfolded to help the mystery remain. Grab some wine and/or a drink from the fully stocked bar, have a nose around the odd paraphernalia, scary paintings and the whispering chair that tells you your destiny.
Next up take a tour of the haunted cellar followed by a huge buffet feast before the big show. Enter Simon Drake, decapitating people’s heads, elevating candles and making himself levitate. Tickets start at £45 but if you want the sit down meal and trimmings get the £85, it’s well worth it.
If you wanna see what Big Ben looks like inside (who wouldn’t). Then contact your local MP or Member of the House of Lords, ask nicely and they’ll arrange a tour for you. Amazing. Tour times are 9.15am, 11.15am and 2.12pm Monday – Friday. Get there before it falls down (you know it’s tilting right?!), bookings are taken up to 4 months in advance.
THE PET CEMETERY
First up, call the police on 0207 298 2000 to book your tour of the Hyde Park pet cemetery (they need 1 week’s notice). It’s hidden at the North side of Hyde Park, by Bayswater road. Home to dogs, cats, birds and yes there is even a monkey. There are over 300 animals, some in custom made coffins, and each with a gravestone (pet sized by the way). It’s a box you should all tick and you can celebrate this 8th wonder of the world with an ice cream and some rays in the park afterwards.
THE DALSTON ARTS CLUB (home to Fox and Cutlass)
The Dalston Arts Club is the home of Fox & Cutlass, a Victorian curiosity/taxidermist’s shop/private detective agency. It is run by Professor Ulysses E Fox (HMU) & The Rev. Captain Liability Eden H.M.U. with the help of their formidable housekeeper and intrepid company secretary Mrs Trellis. By day an innocent curiosity shop/defective detective agency, but by night it’s home to wild parties, fancy dress affairs and anything from chess boxing, to moustache parties! It is also a local artist’s gallery, a theatre space and a private members cabaret venue which is accessed through a secret door in the bookcase. All applicants for membership must be known to us, or have a recommendation from an existing member. Contact BarChick for more clues, it’s worth finding.
THE OLD MITRE TAVERN
For those of you who like the chase, you’re off to Hatton Garden, for a drink at The Old Mitre Tavern. You’ve got to find it first, and this has not proved easy – one guy we met had been looking for it for 6 years, and he worked only round the corner! Look for the alley between Hatton Garden and Ely Court; it’s worth it when you get there. Proper old school British pub, look for the cherry tree when inside, it’s surrounded in history and the queen even danced around it on May day.
1 Ely Place, Holborn, London, EC1N 6SJ
A hidden gem is nothing without a small, slightly scary alleyway. To look extra in the know about London’s biggest secrets head to 2 Brydges Place. This member’s restaurant is down a tiny, very creepy alley off St Martin’s Lane. Head up the rickety staircase of this Georgian House and enter a cosy, ultra relaxed world and dine on some banging British food. Now you just have to work out who to sleep with to get in.
020 7240 7659
For a unique dining experience you need to take yourself to the wondrous underground speakeasy-styled restaurant The Pale Blue Door. Not only is the interior magical; with ceilings so low you have to crawl, trapdoors, chickens on the roof and red velvet bathrooms thanks to set designer Tony Horenecker, you are also served a mouth watering 3 course meal by drag queens, who also give nighttime performances throughout the evening. After the gin and wine you’ll wake up covered in glitter with a very fuzzy head.