Things to do

The Jazz Age

The Jazz Age | A London Cocktail Bar Tour

“Pleasure was the colour of the time.” ― Harold Clurman

Harold was talking about The Jazz Age.

And Harold was right.

It was the 1920s, the era of fast cars and easy money, of four day pool parties in uptown mansions and 20 hour work weeks, of motion pictures, telephones, prohibition and – most notably – it was the era of jazz music, which voiced the rebellion against racial, political and cultural divides from New York, to Montreal, Chicago, Paris, Berlin and London.

And then it ended, leaving in its wake The Great Depression (which we can totally talk about, another time) AND, a legacy of London bars and experiences paying homage to those roaring twenties.

Bars like Nightjar, where you enter through an unmarked door before heading down a darkened staircase into a genuine, prohibition-era speakeasy where drinks come short, punchy and strong; Cecil’s Bar, a candlelit Chinese underworld where exotic interiors and live music potently combine within the confines of a subterranean, oriental playground built by real life set designers; Purl, where the cocktails are generally accompanied by fire, liquid nitrogen or loud noises; and of course, Ronnie Scotts, one of the worlds most famous, and London’s best traditional jazz club. There’s BYOC, where you head downstairs with your own hooch for flat-capped bartenders to tinker with; the luxurious Bar Américain, part of the sprawling subterranean Brasserie Zédel complex; the old school Bloomsbury Club Bar, with its heated outdoor terrace festooned with fairy lights.

Brasserie Zédel Bar Américain - The Jazz Age Cocktail Bar Tour

And experiences like The Candlelight Club, a romantic, illicit soiree paying homage to the more sophisticated speakeasy by hosting its seductive evenings in secret locations, lit only by candles and chandeliers; the Bootlegger dancefloor, where you can sip cocktails and cut a rug to live bands, and B&H Prohibition Parties, which along with alternating signature cocktail lists, come complete with cabaret, Charleston dancers, live music and “DJs until dawn… or earlier if the police find us.”

The latter of which thankfully won’t happen, as we live in the 2000s.

And having this much fun is now completely legal.

Like being in the loop about London’s newest bar and restaurant openings? Check out our excellent guide to recently opened restaurants & bars in London.

The Jazz Age

All Over London,