Cahoots

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Soho
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(19user reviews)
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Cahoots

Quirky tube-themed cocktail bar that’s hot with tourists.

I really wasn’t expecting to like Cahoots, the vintage tube-themed bar that’s a bigger hit with tourists than Madame Tussauds. From its ‘tally ho’ e-comms after making a reservation, to the awkward ‘train guard’ actor on the door and his sheer refusal to break Mockney character, it was more fear-inducing than rush hour on the Central Line, and that’s before we’d even reached the ‘platform’ (you know, the bar).

Once inside though, we quickly relaxed into cocktail hour thanks to efficient staff, low lighting and retro (read kitsch) underground paraphernalia. It’s a little confused about what era it’s portraying (we figure it’s the Blitz), but you’re not really looking for historical accuracy – Cahoots sure isn’t taking itself seriously.

It’s all aided by a list of drinks spread across a newspaper-sized menu – plenty of options to get in the mood but a bloody long read. Luckily they flag a few from the menu to best suit certain tastes, and staff give recommendations. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a Judy Garland (£10) arrived in cup and saucer. It was a refreshing citrusy mix of gin, aperol, grapefruit and camomille tea. For more of an edge, the old fashioned (£11) was a jolly good show, its foundations made from the bar’s ‘grog’ mix on the clever ‘Cahooch’ section of the menu.

Snacks are basic, failing to nail the retro thing (we can’t remember our ‘vintage’ relatives ever craving a crisp and salad cream sandwich) but are an extra bit of silliness presented in ration trays for quirk lovers.

You’re allotted two hours of drinking time, and we had to book far in advance to ensure midweek after-work drinks a deux. Our advice: ask for a seat in the carriage, the best spot in house, and save a trip for when friends visit from out of town. Or perhaps when you’re celebrating VE Day, or something? 

By: Laura Richards

Posted:

Venue name: Cahoots
Contact:
Address: 13 Kingly Court
London
W1B 5PW
Opening hours: Mon-Wed 5pm-1 am; Thur, Fri 5 pm-2 am; Sat 5 pm-3am; Sun 5 pm-midnight.
Transport: Tube: Oxford Circus
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|19
2 people listening
Sarah R
tastemaker

My friend told me about this place with great enthusiasm, saying it’s the best place for cocktails.

Eventhough I am not much of a cocktail person, I love exploring these quirky type of places. I was excited I was able to book a table because it’s usually very busy.

My friend and I came there with no expectations so was a bit taken aback when the very animated young gentleman at the door asked me if I am here to see the captain. I answered with: ‘’ Uhmmm yeah I have a reservation…? ‘’ ‘’ There are no reservations at the train of fun! Are you here to see the captain? ‘’ he proceeded.  I agreed, because clearly that was the only answer he wanted.
We were finally let inside, took the stairs to the basement into something that looked like a stylish tube station.

 My cocktail came in a cup with a side of cookie. I certainly wasn’t expecting that, because the cocktail description leaves everything to imagination.
I personally couldn’t order another round of drinks because the cocktails were very sweet and felt like a meal. Maybe next time I would be more savvy when it comes to ordering a drink, it feels like a nice place to come with groups of people, order some snacks and be merry.

Zoe F
tastemaker

If you're looking here on Timeout London for reviews wondering whether you should go to Cahoots, please stop contemplating it and make a booking now!

I say make a booking because the secret is getting out about this speakeasy bar and visitors turning up without a booking are likely to have to wait for availability, instead you can stroll on past down the stairs and back in time to the 1940s without delay.

The setting is a candlelit underground station come wartime bunker, the best seating is in the carriage area which is decked out like a retro tube. You can immerse yourself in the sights and sounds from that era, a 3 piece female vocal group called The Femmes were performing whilst we were there who were fabulous! Forgetting a couple of minor technical glitches, they sounded brilliant and I enjoyed the vintage spin they put on well-known modern songs - they looked the part too, elegant pinup style oozing class.

Like nothing I’ve ever seen before, the 65 strong cocktail menu is laid out as a newspaper, so I recommend taking your time to read and confer among friends before making your choice and hopefully you will not be disappointed – I managed to make 3 good choices however some others in my party were not so lucky and got drinks less to their tastes. Drinks weren’t cheap (but what can you expect in these parts). That said, you only really need a couple because they’re made by talented mixologists they do serve a fair bit of alcohol in each of them and therefore drink slower and can wash down with water in between – instead of some other places serving a concoction of mainly fruit juices and you end up necking it and ordering rounds back to back… just me? My favourite was "Quick One Before Take-Off" because you know you've picked a goodie when it comes in a mug with a digestive biscuit haha!

So what are you waiting for?!

Liz G
tastemaker

Fabulous little speakeasy near the hussling southern exit to Kingly Court near Carnaby Street. Worth booking a table to get a spot inside the old train carriage, but if not, perching at the bar is great for watching the highly talented bartenders doing their thing. Lots of fun and extensive menu.

retroashlat
tastemakerTastemaker

A friend of mine knows someone who works there, so she told me she wanted to take me. I am a sucker for anything with an air of exclusivity (hello, blink-and-you'll-miss-it-alleyway-entrance!) so I was so down for an adventure. We did not have a booking, but the wait was pretty short (Sunday afternoon) and we wanted to stand at the bar anyway. I was so surprised to see every single detail in the 1940s-themed bar was done up to a T! The staff were decked out (as was I, yay dress up!), the décor was perfect and the atmosphere mimicked that which I would expect from a basement bar in wartime. Very, very cool. A massive selection of drinks all laid out in a newspaper format - quite pricey to be honest, but I suppose I expected that from Carnaby Street. 


I'd like to go back and make a booking to ensure I can really take in everything the place has to offer :)

rachelw

Very cool place, definitely recommend booking though because there will be a queue!

Lizzie W
Tastemaker

Originally booked for me and friend to have a few drinks after work midweek however she had to cancel so I dragged my bf along.

Now normally he is pretty fussy r.e food and drink but even he loved it!
Situated in kingly court it is themed completely around the 1940's with decor and waiters keeping up the charade. Decked out as an old underground station with boothed seating it is a truly awesome experience.
Waiters take your order at the table so not queueing at the bar and boy is there a big choice of cocktails on the menu.
I had the vera Lynn to begin with which was delicious and comes in a very cool glass
Bf stuck to wine and was happy enough!
Would definitely recommend and can't wait to go back! Would be a lotta fun with a group of people!

Aude
tastemaker

Back to the 20’s, time of prohibition! We arrive to the entrance and got asked for the secret password, to be able to enter what looks like a train station.

Then behind the door we are back in another time, the decoration is just awesome. The menu makes us want to take it with us when leaving. There is a huge choice of cocktails for every taste.

We would want to stay longer to have some more but unfortunately we only have the table for 2 hours.

Carmen
Staff Writer

I discovered this bar hidden in Kingly Court during a work event. I did not know what to expect on my way and was pleasantly surprised with the concept and the decor! Cahoots is a very original concept and place to enjoy drinks - cocktails are very good! The entire experience makes you feel like you travel through time! 

Alana R
Tastemaker

"I'm here to see the captain!" If you can't say these words, don't try and make a booking at cahoots (which I highly recommend). Hidden in kingly court, you'll blink and miss it. Having not made a booking, we waited about 20 minutes, but Lewis, the friendly train operator, made it a fun and speedy wait. Take time to explore the entire cocktail newspaper as there is something for everyone. If you missed out on dinner, I suggest the baked potato cocktail, which is just delicious. With an old school dj on the vinyls, Cahoots does everything right, right down to a tee.

Jennifer S
Tastemaker

Fabulous, just fabulous: the 1940s décor, overall atmosphere, big band and swing tunes playing on the speaker and later, a live band!, the staff in period attire and the constant customer service (I felt like I had been transported to the US with all the attention we got!). The drinks are spelled out in a Cahoots "newspaper". It's pretty pricey for drinks but they have creative combos and names. I'm only dinking a star because as much as I loved the tunes, they were just a wee bit too loud. Thus you are often yelling to your companion to be heard.

Abi Dixon

Absolutely love this place, I went for my birthday with a couple of friends and it was a real treat - something very different to your standard central London bar. Everything from the service to the atmosphere to the extensive cocktail list clearly had a great deal of effort go in to it - which made it worth the money and also worth the long waiting list to book a table! Which I would recommend, to really enjoy the atmosphere rather than standing at the bar. The cocktails were very good, although I can't remember what I had I would recommend any of the vodka selection, I tried a few.. Also when the staff got wind of it being my birthday they gave me a card and a mini birthday cake - which was a really lovely little extra. Not sure if the DJ is on every night (this was a Thursday) but he is awesome!

Laura H

I could not recommend this place highly enough. I had 2 of the most delicious cocktails I've ever had in here. The atmosphere is so much fun. All the staff are in 2nd world war costume and character. Make sure you book early though, this place is ALWAYS full, or maybe try your luck straight after work and you might get a chance to stand at the bar. I LOVE IT!! 

NakedPRGirl Claire
Tastemaker

Scoundrels unite, we have a new place to go ;-) Say Tally Ho old chap and check out Cahoots, a blitz themed underground bar which is tucked away in Kingly Court mere moments from bustling Regents Street. You'll be met by a sign saying 'To The Trains' and a blitz style doorman in character who ever so slightly interrogates you (well it is the war old bean) before you go down to the 'disused' underground tube station. The station inside is scarily accurate with tube maps hanging on the walls in the carriages and every detail has been taken care of from the signs outside saying 'Station Closed,' to the cloakroom that's a 'ticket office' and the British flag bunting hanging from the carriages. The frightfully spiffing menu comes in the form of a retro newspaper and Cahoot's speciality is a gigantic cocktail menu around £10 a drink. Yah yah. I had wine - SO generic....but was reasonably priced for a bottle at around £20 and we had vegetable crisps too (I mean we're on rations kids so it's more a land of snacks than meals). They encourage you to book tables which means that it's busy and buzzing without being overcrowded. To match the old school decor, plenty of scoundrels had dressed up in 40s gear. Absolutely spiffing night out for all!

Laura B
Tastemaker

What a well thought out and perfectly executed establishment. From the booking confirmation, the the 'code word' to get in, the decoration, menus, themed drinks, wait staff personas ("please can I have the wifi code?" "We are in the 1950's - what is wifi?" - brilliant!) this places wows at every turn. Prices felt quite high, but you pay for what you get and it is themed as far as possible and the quality is good. However, not all of the wait staff seemed to be fluent in English - which for a bar in central London was disappointing and frustrating - and a passing waitress we flagged seemed horrified our waiter had not taken the time to explain 'Cahooch' so perhaps the management could do with refresher training? Won't revisit as I have had the experience once and I'd need to take out a bank loan to visit again. 

Sheens86
Tastemaker

Themed Underground Tube station cocktail bar that ‘transports’ (see what I did there? ;)) you back to the 30’s & 40’s with a jazzy vibe and old school train conductor doorman!

The menu is printed in the style of a rag (newspaper) and there are little alcoves filled with underground paraphernalia. We were lucky enough to get seats inside the tube carriage, which if you can, I would highly recommend; it makes the experience! The cocktails were okay, slightly watered down but nice enough. I’d go back for the jolly Britishness it exudes, be great for visiting friends for the novelty alone!

Katie F
Tastemaker

Getting into Cahoots can sometimes be harder than getting on the Northern Line in the morning but we made a last minute booking on Friday and finally made it down 'to the trains'! The cocktail list is intimidatingly long, almost unnecessarily long and therefore I suggest speaking to the waiter/waitress, describing the sort of cocktail you would like and letting them guide your way through the menu. When you finally decide and the drinks arrive however, they are beautifully and delicately presented and packed full of interesting flavour combinations which mostly work (but sometimes don't work so well - someone was a little heavy handed with the nutmeg in my 'Pears today, gone tomorrow'). It's a fantastic venue for pre-dinner drinks though with a real prohibition/ London-at-war feel as you descend into the basement bunker and enter a room of opulent colours, early 20th century train decor and luxurious cocktails. The theme is perfectly executed and resides throughout the bar from the moment you enter to the moment you leave. This is a train not to be missed!

Sohère R
Tastemaker

I loved this place! Walking down the stairs you immediately get immersed into another world. The bar is a disused tube station in the WW2 era. The staff are all in character, so there's a lot of 'tally ho, old chap!' and the vintage outfits they wear are beautiful. The cocktail menu is extensive and impressive, with interesting combinations such as chocolate and marmalade. The decor is fabulous, with old tube maps and a old-fashioned tube carriage to sit in. Definitely a fabulous and different night out, best to book in advance though! 

Elisa R
Tastemaker

Managing a store on Carnaby street, I was privileged enough to enter the secret tube station for the first time before it had even opened. Four winning points: the crafty cocktails, Blitz decoration, classy staff and jazzy music.

The fake newspaper cocktail menu is given to you upon arrival. There's something for all tastes: I'm personally a sweet lady when it comes to drinks so I always choose off the Starlet menu. Some friends of mine got much more original experiences with ingredients including OXO cube or anchovy.

The place is meant to look like a converted tube station from the Blitz period in London. You'll find the good ole shiny white tiled walls (see photo attached), vintage train seats, suitcases above your head and so on. The music matches the surrounding: jazz mostly, always a pretty sexy/classy atmosphere.

Finally, the staff are actors speaking to you like they're from the 40s, providing you with fancy phrases to reuse at the office the next morning.

Warning: if you're not a member, booking is absolutely compulsory in the evening! #TOTastemaker@Elisa R