“One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.” – Lewis Carroll
Which, presumably, is why the people at Callooh Callay – the multi award-winning bar named after a line from the Jabberwocky – have decided to bring their celebrated cocktails to the good people of West London.
The good news is that by bringing somebody here, you’re not only doing something very nice for them, you’re also (secretly) doing something very nice for yourself, too – assuming you’re both the kind of people who enjoy stellar service, great cocktails and interesting surroundings. Think of it as immediate karma.
The Shoreditch original is an eccentric den of retro furnishings, mirrored walls and bars within bars within bars. And for their sophomore venture, they’ve kept much of the recipe the same: there’s Victorian-style prints on the walls surrounded by abstract tiling; low leather booths; and huge glitzy mirrors behind the bar. This place actually started life as a pop up in an old nightclub, and much of that spontaneous, improvised design is still noticeable in the seating and garlands of fairylights. But piece by piece, they’re starting to make the place their own (they’ll even be unveiling a basement area in the next fortnight or so).
Of course, what you’re here for are the drinks – and they haven’t lost any of their lustre in the move. Callooh Callay has won countless plaudits at Tales of The Cocktail (basically the Oscars of the drinks world), and the menu’s a happy marriage between those pioneering classics, and a couple of new inventions specific to the Chelsea branch. We’re talking Oyster Leaf Martinis, Meteorites (mezcal paired with chocolate bitters), Callooh Bloody Maries (made with ‘liquid pepper’) and Wise Guys (with vodka, Italicus bergamot liqueur, aquavit, crème de pêche and lingonberry juice). Paired with a crack team of bartenders from some of London’s best cocktail bars (including 69 Colebrooke Row and Sketch), you can’t go wrong.
There’s plenty to sate the non-drinker too, with a solid line-up of mocktails including Mr. Kellogg’s Morning Ritual (a combination of mango, pineapple, lime, oat milk and salted caramel sauce). And like any self-respecting bar, they can rustle up a little cheese, charcuterie and croquettes to stop your stomach grumbling. But the real curveball is the bottomless ‘brunch’ they offer on weekends – unlimited Champagne and oysters for an hour and a half.
‘O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,
You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none —
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.
NOTE: Callooh Callay Chelsea is open weekdays 5pm-1am, and Saturdays 11am-1am. You can find out more, and book, HERE.
Callooh Callay Chelsea | 316-318 Kings Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UH
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