A brief list of things that people tend not to look back on with nostalgia:
- The 1940s
- London public transport
Which, coincidentally, are the two exact things that the people at Cahoots have deftly woven together and bathed in wholesomely rose-tinted sentimentality via the use of cocktails, music, and highly detailed interiors. And somehow, that formula has been a roaring success.
In fact, they’ve now added not one but two new bars immediately adjacent to their original hooch-house. You’ll find the new venues sandwiched together inside a two-floor building in Kingly Court, directly opposite the entrance to the flagship itself. Behind the authentic-looking Kingly Court tube station edifice is where you’ll find,
THE TICKET HALL
And that’s not just a name. Well, it is just a name, but it speaks to a wider theme: the space is designed to look like an actual old-fashioned ticket hall (complete with a giant station clock, and cocktails where the departures should be) that’s been used, closed down, and then repurposed as a tea room with matched upholstered furniture and frilly lampshades.
By day, that’s precisely what it is, serving up afternoon teas, and oxymoronically abundant ‘rations’; you can enjoy everything from a good ol’ Ham Grenade, to some fried courgettes with a parmesan & basil cream, and some black pudding sausage rolls with a hearty dollop of piccalilli.
In the evening things turn to cocktails, and you’ll be able to order all the Cahoots classics from the ticket booth bar, as well as some house-originals (the Been Scrumpin’ involves cider, whiskey, apple & chestnut jam, and some thoroughly intriguing mushroom liqueur)… but if you want to go down that boozy road, you’re best off locating the door plastered with no entry signs to find the slightly dilapidated staircase at the back covered in peeling vintage propaganda posters. Because it takes you down to,
THE CONTROL ROOM
Again, not just a name: this dimply lit cocktail bunker is styled after an actual train control room, with a maze of switches, levers, dials and flashing lights adorning the walls. There are scattered rugs, comfy armchairs, and cosy little railway-arch cubby holes set into the brickwork. The centrepiece, though, is the long bar which boasts a huge LED-embedded train control board stretching across the ceiling above it, tracking the black market that supplies the place with its liquor.
The lengthy offering of cocktails includes the likes of the rather punchy Elbow Grease (tequila, bergamot liqueur, kumquat & chilli syrup), and the considerably more well-mannered Pep Talk, whose strawberry & hibiscus cordial is stiffened with vodka and a little orange liqueur.
And the kicker? They play regular live music there, too.
Expect swing bands.
NOTE: The Ticket Hall is open daily from noon-1am (10pm Sun and 12am Mon & Tues), and is walk-in only. The Control Room is open Thurs & Fri 5pm-1am and Saturday 4pm-1am. You can find out more, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Cahoots Ticket Hall and Control Room | 5 Kingly Street, W1B 5PF
Images: Cahoots | Johnny Stephens
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