Every destination has its own best kept secrets. Whether it's where to get the best Sunday roast or where to head for that amazing charity shop, no one wants the whole world and his dog to find out. But it’s these little secrets that will let you get a true glimpse into this cities real culture. London is such a dynamic location so it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of things to do here that only the lucky few get to know about. Having lived in London for over 6 years, I have only been lucky enough to visit the first on the list but I can see that changing very soon!
Cork & Bottle - 44-46 Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square
Leister Square is one of the most popular areas for tourists to go out at night thanks to its central location and the number of bars and clubs there are on offer. Something we all should experience is trying to get served at the Whetherspoons bar, spending half your evening waiting, only to get there and pay £8 for a single Vodka and coke. It doesn’t give you a real idea of London and it is most certainly not how the locals spend their evening. Thankfully, just around the corner is the cosy, independently run Cork & Bottle. This basement bar is made up of lots of petite rooms and alcoves, making it the perfect place to sit back and relax with a bottle of your favourite.
CellarDoor - Zero Aldwych, WC2E
In the space of what used to be a public WC now lies the unassuming CellarDoor bar. With a capacity of only 60, it describes itself as “30’s Berlin meets New York Dive” so if you are lucky enough to get in, you will be in excellent company. CellarDoor has live performances throughout the week as well as their own Resident DJ and the UK’s first SMS jukebox! If there is a song you are dying to hear, just text your suggestions to the number and your song gets played. Easy!
Upstairs Bar & Restaurant - 89b Acre Lane, SW2
Most bars and clubs like to be found, so they have the flashing signs and staff on the door to entice you in. The same can’t be said for Upstairs Bar & Restaurant. The only way to get in is to ring the bell. And for only those who are lucky enough to find this place, it may seem a little strange being buzzed into a side door on an ordinary looking residential street, as though you are popping into a friends for tea, but rest assured, Uptairs bar is far more lounge bar than your nanas living room. Relax in a comfy leather recliner with a bottle of beer, or sample a taste of the delicious Gallic fare. The chilled out atmosphere and sleek modern design attracts smart professionals who know Upstairs the perfect place to start the evening.
So next time you’re planning a night out, why not try something a little different. The only way to live like the locals is to drink where they drink!