UPDATE Jan ’24: Holy Carrot & Holy Bar are in the process of relocating to Notting Hill (opening Spring 2024). In the meantime, you can catch their weekly supperclub at Maria G’s Kensington. Find out more, and book tickets, HERE.
West London has a hidden drinking den by the name of Holy Bar.
But don’t worry, they serve a little more than communion wine.
You’ll find it nestled inside Holy Carrot, a vegan restaurant in Knightsbridge that’s part of a wellness centre – which, when you think about it, is exactly the kind of place you’d expect to find a den of debauchery to be hiding. Ducking off Sloane Street with its glass-fronted designer stores, you’ll head up some unmarked stairs, pass through a lobby, descend into Holy Carrot… then finally slip past the heavy velvet curtain into the bar.
No bigger than a living room, it’s a beautifully atmospheric space, with carmine red panelled walls lined with leather banquettes. Dotted in each corner are sleek marble tables, and a fireplace twinkling with candlelight casts a warm glow over the space. Tucked away at the back is the bar itself, where tenders are shaking up theatrical cocktails under a stained glass window. Basically, it’s a hidden East London date spot, conveniently plonked into an SW postcode.
Open up the black velvet pouch on your table, and you’ll find a deck of beautifully illustrated tarot cards. That’s the menu. Each archetypal character – The Devil, The Magician, The Lovers – has been translated into cocktail form. Free of refined sugars and artificial colours, they follow the restaurant’s all-natural ethos with a heavy lean on botanical ingredients, like The Magician which combines light and dark rum with ginger liqueur, Fernet Branca and homemade carob soda. There’s also some creative non-alcoholic concoctions too, like The Empress, marrying a homemade matcha soda with oat and agave. All hovering around the £10 mark, it’s an excellent place to have up your sleeve in a neighbourhood full of luxury hotels and restaurants.
Aside from the drinks, there’s also vegan bar snacks on offer (try the ‘fish’ and chips, crystal tempura-battered tofu wrapped in nori and served under a smoking glass cloche), or you can slip next door to the restaurant for an elegant vegan banquet.
Either way, a good night’s on the cards.
Holy Bar | Holy Carrot, Urban Retreat, 2-4 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 0LH
Images: Joakim Blockstrom
Like uncovering hidden bars? Have a chat with our Ultimate London Speakeasy Guide.