Secret London: More Top Ten hidden delights

Last week, readers were treated to the first five of London’s Top 10 best-kept secrets – until now. GEORGE KATRALIS is back to give you the next five on his list of this city’s hidden sights and secret delights.



Blues at Ain’t Nothin’ But

AFTER what I can only describe as a very humbling and great reaction from readers to last week’s list of London’s best-kept secrets, where I shared five of what I believe to be London’s top 10 best-kept secrets, I’m back for the next instalment.

Numbers 6-10 will hopefully inspire you to further explore the London we have all come to call home, and continue what I can only hope (and assume) is a drop in numbers at the Walkie.

When I left you last we explored some music, film and food. Let’s roll on to part two and see where life takes us.

6.    Brook’s Counter and Table

With a daily changing menu of fresh food and drinks, coupled with a window choc full of pastries, cakes and slices that will grab the attention of anyone with a sweet tooth (hence why I took note) this café/deli in Brook Green is a must for anyone who likes that homely feel in a big city.

Be sure to try their chocolate brownies if you see one as you pass.


7.    Evans and Peel Detective Agency

It doesn’t get more hidden then this. A throw back to the 1920s prohibition speakeasy, on the outside Evans and Peel is nothing more then a door in a side street of Earl’s Court.

But don’t be fooled.

After making an ‘appointment’ to see the detectives you are escorted down a narrow flight of stairs to an old style detective agency, where a very art deco-clad secretary reviews your case and decides if the detective will accept it or not.

Upon acceptance, you are given a file and walked through a door concealed within a bookshelf. Before you know it you’re seated in a dark bar with orange down lights, the faint smell of leather and whisky, deep under the streets of South West London.

Go on, make an appointment.

8.    Night Jar

Let’s keep with speakeasy for a moment, but this time add an element of jazz!

Hidden beneath City Road in East London is Night Jar. Known for its cocktails with a good mix of pre-prohibition and modern staples, this venue is only made better by its great taste in live music from the golden age of jazz through to some more current classics.


9.    Ain’t Nothin’ But…

From jazz to the blues. Now, I have been to Chicago. I have seen the blues, I have played the blues, heck, I have had the blues! And let me tell you, ‘Ain’t Nothin’ But’ is as good as it gets.

Inside the smallest of smallest bars you’ll ever see, hidden in Soho’s famous Kingly Street (the street where Paul McCartney met Linda Eastman) is the best blues outside of the US.

It is often found with a long line outside due entirely to the fact that inside is so busy people literally can’t fit in. Please don’t let this turn you off – these walls hide some of the best housed blues you’ll ever hear. It’s worth the trip down, and the wait.


10. Old Vic Tunnels:

Don’t be scared, but we’re going underground…literally.

The caverns below Waterloo Station have been home to many great events in recent years – be it in-house art events, movie nights, gigs, plays, talks or whatever takes their fancy.

The dark dingy atmosphere of being in the tunnels provides the perfect backdrop and fitting venue for any pop up event with a creative flair.


So, there we go. That wasn’t so hard now was it?

London can be scary, especially for the younger of us who are venturing out of our comfort zones for the first time. The familiar brings a sense of closeness that we all need from time to time. But within fear, there is excitement, and London is definitely the place to find it. And not just on weekends, but on any given night of the week.

Hopefully this list helps you find some new and cool stuff and provides a different perspective to the London we all know and love.

Happy exploring.

For the first five of our Top Ten Secret London see:  Top Ten hidden delights and secret sights.