The bar is such a gem. So refreshing to find something sophisticated but chilled out in Earls Court. The drinks menu is amazing.
Evans & Peel Detective Agency
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Sep 10 2012
The speakeasy trend reaches its apogee/nadir, depending on your taste, with this new basement bar accessed off Earl’s Court Road. ‘At all times do not draw unwanted attention to our venue,’ beseeches the menu. Oh, sorry. It makes a big noise about being secretive – I evaded an intercom interrogation by sneaking in behind a group of fellow drinkers. A dapper chap behind a desk then kept the schtick going: ‘Under what name did you book your appointment?’ And, ‘Can you tell me something about your case?’ How far you take the pantomime is up to you; once inside, the gumshoe thing is dropped and Evans & Peel becomes a normal bar – a normal bar for 2012, that is, with bare brick walls, cracked white butcher’s tiles and orange-filamented bulbs.
And it’s dark: supernaturally dark, ‘Pit and the Pendulum’ dark, which is fine if you’re just enjoying a cocktail, but a bit annoying if you’re trying to eat, as we did. Much of the food is served after a spell in the in-house smoker, so there’s a smoked pulled pork slider, smoked beef rib, smoked Tabasco butter on the corn cobs. But our sliders were unpleasantly dry, and the little roll filled with smoked falafel was more ashtray than barbecue.
Drinks, though, were brilliant. Meantime London Pale Ale is served through an antique radiator, which is neat, and cocktails were memorable. A G-minus, for instance, featured Tanqueray infused with lavender and earl grey, then mixed with orange bitters; Sheer Fashion simply blended good bourbon with honey, sugar and vanilla syrup. Service was a bit slow – too heavy a caseload, perhaps? – but largely efficient.
So suspend self-consciousness, go with the flow, stick mainly to drinks and you’ll maybe find the Evans & Peel dicks are swinging.
Evans & Peel Detective Agency 310c Earls Court Rd
Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:3
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:5
I visited on 14/12 with my best mate and booked a week in advance. When we arrived they could not locate our booking. However they were very good and let us in when I showed them my email. As I had read previous poor reviews of the food we only had drinks. The cocktails were great, very different and although pricey I would say that they were good value as there were a lot of spirits in them. Fantastic atmosphere, it's nice to know that you will always get a seat too after Christmas shopping all day! The decor and staff were superb and attentive, I definitely want to go back soon :-) only four stars though as they messed up the booking which would have been a problem with a larger group.
Very poor. Travelled from Staffordshire for a birthday. Called up early and was told there would be space for 4 of us to eat. Waited outside for 40 mins, which was expected on a Friday night, but then waited a further hour and a half whilst they gave away 3 tables 'with our names on it!'. Very poor communication between the staff, management couldn't care less about problems and the bar staff didn't talk to a single customer during our time spent in the bar. In the end we left and ended up having a Mcdonalds at a service station on our 3 hour journey home. Drinks are overpriced, even for London. Its such a shame as we were hoping that this would be a bar that we could visit every few months as a special occasion. Never again. It was quite literally the worst customer service I have ever experienced.
I read mixed reviews on this underground bar masquerading as a Detective Agency. I have to say I was super excited to go, with a touch of apprehension! The entrance is nothing short of brilliance. The whole buzzer at the door... "come in"... and the well dressed guy 'Detective' is great! It was a Friday night, so are time with the 'Detective' was interrupted (a little gutted, but understandable i guess). Once inside it's like an alternate London, you genuinely feel you have stepped back in time. Something other speakeasies almost achieve but don't quite get it right. Drinks were some of the best i've tasted! However, i think my wife would like them to be a little less strong, tall cocktails seemed to be sparse on the menu. Probably not the place to ask for a Mojito or Cosmo, however, i did. Credit where credit is due, the staff didn't laugh at me, just simply asked how I take it. We didn't eat, just hoovered their complementary bread (3portions!). I do have to say it smelled and looked really good, served in little cigar boxes (nice touch)... etc. I think 4 stars is fair, as service, atmosphere and drinks where great (and i don't give 5!). Will return.
We were really looking forward to this bar due to curiosity more than anything as it was suggested by a friend. I have to say that the customer service was appalling! After 15 minutes post our arrival, it actually took us to ask someone if they could take our drinks order, as it appeared that no staff had this particular role. While waiting for our drinks to arrive we were relocated from a table as it was ‘already reserved’ (but with no notification to let anyone know) we were then left standing at the bar, which apparently had a no standing policy. After 45 minutes since our arrival and still no drinks received, we decided to leave as they still hadn’t even been started with our simple drinks order of 2 cocktails and 3 beers…. Overall this place was extremely disorganised and really disappointing, I now understand why they want to keep this place so discreet!
I was looking for an unusual bar for a date with my girlfriend, and this certainly filled the role. Lets deal with the one criticism first - it was pretty busy and a little bit slow at seating and serving. BUT, everything in the bar completely fitted the 1920s theme, from the cocktail menu to the lightbulbs. I anticipated a busy bar so thoroughly enjoyed the time to get into the feel of the bar. despite heading out for a drink and a meal in this bar/restaurant, we came home feeling like we had been to a show too; the whole thing is a step back in time. A night out that I personally think all would (and should) enjoy. The food was intriguing and delicious, the cocktail list was fantastic. The decoration was great, with thought put into every detail, and the entrance was simply the best part of any London bar I have ever been to (though I will not ruin the surprise for you). I thought it was great, my girlfriend loved it, we got a meal for two, a cocktail each and a bottle of wine for £75 in the most atmospheric bar I have been to in a long time; overall I think this bar is incredible and have no idea how Timeout can justify rating it as low as 3* !!! If you are looking for a moderately expensive bar for a full evening's entertainment then this will be utterly ideal. From me, this comes highly, highly, highly recommended.
We held a Christmas party at Evans and Peel, hiring out their back room for 50 people. I had visited E&P before with a friend and was blown over by the experience and service so they were my first point of call when a big event cropped up. Mumford and Sons used them for their album launch party (always a good sign) and I had wanted somewhere that was an experience as well as just a great place for food and drinks. Service was impeccable, the staff have personality and you can tell they were hired for that. They're intelligent, funny and polite - making the good cocktails even better. The charade with the detective when you arrive is great, the staff absolutely deliver and make it a really fun start to your evening. Food wise we had a selection of the sliders and they were incredible, american tapas with a twist. Since it was a Christmas party we were served eggnog and chestnuts which was a really nice touch. Cannot rave about this place enough, everything from the case you have to present to the detective on arrival to the beer poured from the radiator. Wonderful, a gem.
Utter crap. Perhaps the nature of 'speakeasy' is synonymous with 'drink difficult'. The service was appalling. Impossible to buy drinks at the bar (they appear to be unable to get a proper license, can't imagine why...), so you rely on the waitresses and waiters, of which there were many, so we couldn't figure out why drinks would take upwards of 30 minutes to arrive. Add to that getting separate tabs on large tables also not possible... prompting bill-paying chaos at the end. As some drinks were ordered several times before they arrived, the bill was also about 20% higher than it already should have been (and £12.50 for a dirty martini which hasn't even seen any olive brine doesn't make for a small bill in the first place)... Towards the end of the evening the drains started playing up (apparently this happens frequently, but is an insoluble mystery for the management), so we all sat there holding our noses. Adding insult to injury, we were evicted from our table (because we were still trying to figure out what the bill should really be) so had to stand around whilst new guests were seated. Decor nice, in a 'we did this in the East End first' way but I won't be returning - there are simply better places with better prices and better service. Save yourself the fees, avoid the appointment with the sleuthing agency, it's one less mystery to solve in your life.... £40 for one cocktail and two half pints of beer - go figure!
I really, really enjoyed my experience at Evans and Peel. A friend and myself turned up on a Saturday hoping for a last minute 'appointment' - I found the theatrical aspects absolutely excellent, and we were soon seated in the bar area. I would definitely return as I loved the decor and detail of it. A couple of (I think) fairly unpleasant drawbacks as follows: 1. No non-alcoholic cocktails. I think this misses a trick to be honest. As a non-drinker I had really hoped to enter into the fun of ordering different types of mock or virgin cocktails, but there were none to choose from. The bar staff were nice enough to 'create' a cocktail for me, but they were unable to reproduce it (they basically just threw a bunch of things in a glass but didn't keep track). On a more serious note, I overheard the bar staff laughing over the fact they had accidentally sent an alcohol cocktail to someone who had requested a non-alcoholic cocktail. They made no attempt to recall the drink. The fact that they thought it was funny I thought was a big concern - those who request non-alcoholic drinks tend to do so for a reason - be they driving, teetotallers, religious etc. 2. The only other thing I thought was a disappointment was the seating policy. I can see how it makes sense as regards the licensing and also the limited space in the venue....but the theatrics involved in getting in scream out as a talking point - and there's no chance to mingle with everyone sat down at tables. Only a small thing. Despite these two concerns - I would absolutely return and absolutely recommend it to others as an experience.
Interesting concept and good atmosphere. Good cocktails but very small. Food very poor and disappointing, very small portions and not good quality. Not value for minty and we left hungry but a nice atmosphere and good service? Once is interesting and glad I had a look but will not return , unless for an expensive drunk and nibble.
Make sure you're prepared for the interrogation on the way in! It's a lot of fun and the decor is fantastic, the drinks are decent (though my friend asked for a cocktail which they couldn't make with a whiskey they didn't have - but I think that was more just her being over the top) and the atmosphere is relaxed. However, the seats are ridiculously uncomfortable (style over comfort definitely, vintage plastic cinema seats) and I ended up bruising my legs on the wrought iron stands on which the tables sit multiple times. I also found the drinks to be overpriced. However, with the lovely surroundings and the little bit of theatre to boot I think I'd come back again - would be an excellent date spot - so long as you weren't staying for too long!
The atmosphere of this place is very cool and they did a great job with the secret entrance and the bar area however there are a lot of cons. Seating is very uncomfortable in the tables with cinema benches. The food is not expensive but very average. The drinks are good but overpriced and the service is so bad that it takes very long to get them. The bar area is very cool but there is no air conditioning there and there is a funny smell. Be careful with the bill, we were charged for drinks never ordered. This happened also to other friends . Not recommended - won't go back