Bar review: Cahoots, W1

Tally-ho old chum and welcome to this vintage-inspired speakeasy in the heart of Soho…

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Go: When you’re feeling a bit retro, you bright young thing.

Drink: The Judy Garland and Keep Marm’ and Carry On were favourites of mine.

Pay: Around £10 for a cocktail.

Welcome to one of London’s most special watering holes. Hidden in central Soho – just follow the signs for the trains – Cahoots is underground station meets air-raid shelter meets stylish cocktail bar.

It’s not just a place for a quick post-work tipple, it’s an entire retro experience. Sign in with a porter before heading underground into the ticket hall to check your coats. Remember to say the password and you’ll soon be transported into 1940s London, complete with sandbags, stiff drinks and swing.

Cocktails are the order of the day, though you can sip wine, beer and soft drinks too. The menu – found on the inside of a vintage sheet of newspaper – is an absolute work of art. Cocktails come in categories, like Starlets and Sirens, Tommies and Dickys, Wideboys and Good Time Girls, and are given brilliant pun-tastic titles, like Keep Marm’ and Carry On and White Cloves of Dover. Some of them also come in tea cups, milk bottles and enamel mugs. Always a plus in my book.

While Cahoots entirely embraces its retro theme – there’s audio in the loos to teach you how to convince in cockney rhyming slang – it’s never gimmicky. The old-fashioned furnishings, posters and propaganda feel strangely authentic.

You don’t have to come dressed for the occasion, but the bar staff are full-on forties, so you won’t look out of place if you don victory rolls and a tea dress. Plus it seems a shame to spend an evening in a bar like this in jeans and converse. Where’s your retro spirit? Tally-ho!

It’s worth noting that this isn’t really the kind of bar you can turn up to on a whim. You can try your luck on the night, but if you want a table you’ve got to book online. And tables are only available in two-and-a-half hour slots, so you don’t want to be turning up late. No shilly-shallying…

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Kingly Court, 13 Kingly St, London W1B 5PG cahoots-london.com

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