Barts | Chelsea Bar
At 12pm this Saturday (17th September 2011) – the Lord Mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of Oktoberfest beer, let out the traditional Austro-Bavarian cry of “O’ Zapft is!” and pass the festival’s first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria.
At that point, and only then, will Oktoberfest – an integral part of Bavarian culture since 1810 – officially commence.
In Munich, anyway.
Shunning Lord Mayor Ude’s authority to launch Oktoberfest in London are the team behind an intimate, prohibition-style speakeasy bar in Chelsea, Barts, whose Oktoberfest party kicks off at 6pm tomorrow evening. Expect vast steins of lager and copious amounts of Jagermeister to be consumed, all to the traditional sounds of a Bavarian Oompah Band (who are presumably thrilled to have bagged an extra night’s work this year).
Barts bills itself as “the worst kept secret, situated somewhere on Sloane Avenue”. It’s a genuinely quirky gem, tucked away within a large 1930’s apartment block in the heart of Chelsea.
Made up of one modestly-proportioned room and a Cuban-themed Havana garden, it’s filled with peculiar pictures, alternative ornaments and the hum of a speakeasy-style, prohibition era soundtrack (unless the Oompah band are in).
If excessive quantities of beer and Jagermeister aren’t your thing, then it may be best to avoid celebrating Oktoberfest altogether. But a trip to Barts in Chelsea is still to be encouraged, as every other night of the week it’s the place to go for cocktails like Tallulah’s Tipple and the Absinthe-Minded, or to enjoy the famous Barts sharing cocktails – all of which come served in teapots.
Of all the bars in Chelsea, Barts is a genuinely “intimate” one. Access can’t always be guaranteed: it very much depends on numbers in the bar at any one time, so best to always call ahead.
Barts | Chelsea Cloisters, Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, London SW3 3DW
Like this? Check out our excellent guide to other unusual bars in London.