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The Escapologist

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Covent Garden
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(30user reviews)
The Escapologist
Venue says Two-for-one on cocktails, Peroni Rossa, glasses of house wine and prosecco every day from 5-7pm.

A loosely Victorian-themed basement bar in Seven Dials.

London’s Coolest bars are usually found on a rooftop or underground – drinking on the ground floor is so last year. The Escapologist, a Covent Garden cocktail joint from the folks behind Adventure Bar, is one of the latter. But it’s hardly a diminutive basement bar, with a ‘grand hall’ behind a secret door and a ‘vault’ even further underground. 

The venue gets its name from a Victorian scoundrel, Baron Von Took, whose supposed last wish before a date with the gallows was to have a drink in one of Covent Garden’s brew houses; as you can probably guess, he managed to escape. Whether or not the story rings true, the bar uses it as an excuse to style itself as a low-lit Victorian gentlemen’s club. 

With a 20-strong cocktail menu divided into ‘premium’ and ‘party time’, the theme ends there. But it’s fun: The Flaming Zombie (£11.50) came in a white skull glass with a flaming sugar cube on top, naturally. It was pretty boozy from three types of rum, but balanced by fruity sweetness. 

A selection of pizzas should soak up that triple rum nicely. But if sobering up isn’t on the agenda, head down between 5pm and 7pm for the daily happy hour. Unlike the baron, you won’t want to run after just one drink.

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The Escapologist says
Based in the riotous headquarters of the secret society that ran Victorian London, The Escapologist is styled as 'part modern-day Victorian men’s club’ and 'part Masonic lodge’. Partying like it's 1899 seven days a week, the focus is on memorable times with great drinks in an outrageous space.

Located a stone's throw away from Soho in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden in London, The Escapologist cocktail bar offers twisted-classic cocktails and a menu of high-quality Italian pizzas. With a selection of Champagne, wine and beer, there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Step through the secret door and you’ll find the Masonic Lodge which hosts intimate booths perfect for illicit meetings – or just a romantic spot for two. Or head down to the Vault where the party really kicks off, perfect for your work's party or after-work drinks with friends.

Legend has it that in 1898 party-fiend and general vagabond Baron Von Took fled to London shrouded in scandal. With his erratic behaviours landed him a date with the gallows. His final wish was for a drink in one of Covent Garden's numerous brew houses, from which he promptly escaped. His following days were spent in hiding, rebuilding his power base. Since history has a way of smoothing rough edges, his moniker over time became ‘The Escapologist’.
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Venue name: The Escapologist
Contact:
Address: 35 Earlham Street
London
WC2H 9LD
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 5pm-midnight; Fri 4pm-12.30am; Sat 3pm-12.30am; Sun 5-11.30pm
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|30
4 people listening
tastemaker

Really nice underground Covent Garden bar with tasty and inventive cocktails, I tried three, two gin-based and one twist on a pina colada and they were all delicious. Get the pizza as well, it's so good! My brother's hardly touched drink fell off one of the side shelves with the bass of the music and the barman replaced it for me straight away.

tastemaker

I was so excited to go here! What made it even better it was 2-4-1 !! Happy hour I believe is until 7pm. My husband and I tried 3 different cocktails each and loved them all! They are amazing at creating exciting gin cocktails (and more) with a quirky edge. Their glassware is creative and garnishes are exciting. I really enjoyed my time here and cant wait to go back!

tastemaker

I loooove this place.  Been there a few times for post-work drinks as it''s always good for a 2-4-1 and the cocktails are delicious.  The staff are super friendly and the pizza is also delicious but I'd recommend ordering everything at the bar otherwise you'll end up paying service charge.  Recommend booking in advance as it gets busy even on week days.

tastemaker

A perfect place to start a great night out. They have an excellent 2 for 1 Happy Hour between 5pm and 7pm. The cocktails are perfectly potent and the tunes enhance the dimly lit setting. It can get busy so it is recommended to book, but the bar is a lot bigger than it looks so I'm sure you'll find a little nook to call your own. 

Tastemaker

Like others I would highly recommend that you book if you want to enjoy your experience at the Escapologist. We, unfortunately, didn't and ended up walking out after 10 to 15 minutes having been seated but not yet served by the waiting staff. They told us they would be back for our order but didn't come. We ended up going to the nice and traditional pub, the Crown and Anchor, just down the road. 

tastemaker

Great bar in the middle of Covent Garden. Full of 20 somethings and great music. My friend and I tried a few of the cocktails and loved them.

It's not the cheapest place but I think they have happy hour if you get there early.

Would be a great place to go in a group but make sure you book as it gets super busy.

tastemaker

This bar is quirky and very cute.  It can get really busy, so best to book if you can.  It is much bigger than it looks and has little corridors that lead to hidden spaces.  The menu is extensive and the staff are great cocktail-makers.  Sign up for the mailing list and you get a £10 credit to use at certain times.  The music was also brilliant!

tastemaker

What's there not to like about the escapologist with its quirky rooms, 90s music and fantastic martinis. The place has great ambiance and friend efficient service.the cocktail list is pretty impressive and will leave you spoilt for choice. Make sure you get there for the 2for1 happy hour or you colluded leave there feeling somewhat broke.


Arrived without booking on a Saturday evening & were kindly invited to come in by the host. Walked down stairs to a dark bar... no seating (as fully booked/reserved) so stood at the bar. We were fortunate enough to catch happy hour. We chose from the list- admittedly a little disappointing & not as alcoholic as I would like. It became very busy too & very loud quickly.

Tastemaker

Far too busy - we weren't able to book a table and struggled to even find anywhere to stand our drinks.

Far too loud - we weren't able to hold anything approaching a conversation.


BUT some of the best cocktails we've ever tried. Worth popping by (at happy hour of course) just to try the Spicy Lemongrass Collins. 


Decent happy hour, was very busy and music was rather loud quite early on. Can't go wrong with 2for1 drinks though! 


tastemaker

I really liked this venue although it's not quite how it's described online. I got the impression from the website it was a quirky cocktail bar but got downstairs and had hot a bit of a party. We had a table reserved, the door staff and bar staff were perfectly friendly and we also made use of the free bottle of wine with our booking. However considering I was meeting friends at 7, i was taken back by how loud the music was and the party vibe so early on in the night. The place was great, don't get me wrong, but if your looking for something nice and sophisticated to start off your night with a few quiet cocktails it is wouldn't be here. That being said we got into the spirit of the venue and had a great night. Would happily return again!!


Nice place but sadly let down, and I mean let down, by a manager who does not really understand customer service.

Shame really as it spoils the whole place.

Tastemaker

This year, I was in charge of organising the company's Christmas party. The great Internet recommended me to have it at the Escapologist, and I did. I must say, I haven't been disappointed at all! And God knows I had a tight budget (£25 per head). For this small amount, we managed to get two drinks each (or one cocktail instead) and tons of finger food and pizza. All the cocktails were delicious – I had one that the bartender flamed up and tasted beautifully fruity. The food was very tasty too, especially the fried camembert bites... On top of that, the staff was very friendly, the organisation of the whole evening easy and the playlist groovy. Defo recommend!

Staff Writer

Been a few times and things have always been good in here. Same group as runs Adventure Bar in CG and Clapham so you know what the set up is going to be like, but The Escapologist seems to take it up a notch. We got a table at the back and must have gone through about 50 cocktails between 7 of us and the bill wasn't too bad! The only downside was the £13 Old Fashioned which was OK but not for that price


Went last saturday, the drinks were ok but service really slow on the bar. Management didnt seem to care at all when i mentioned this. I also asked a manager if there was any free tables and was met with a less than polite answer of "have a look around and see if you can find one". The worst experience of the night was the m,usic though, they play some wierd pop mix that frankly belongs more in an old peoples roller disco

Tastemaker

This bar used to be Earlham Street Clubhouse, and not much has changed except the decor. Think post-work happy hour boozing, obnoxiously loud (and tacky) music and not an inch of space. We reserved a table after purchasing some cocktail vouchers through Time Out and couldn't leave fast enough. If you're looking for an intimate prohibition-style drinking hole then avoid this place. I couldn't fault our speedily-devoured whiskey sours though! 

Tastemaker

The escapologist bar is like being part of a secret society with lots of concealed rooms and hidden corners, wooden panels, paintings and dimly lit candles help create a mysterious ambient setting. Although I'm pretty familiar with the Covent Garden area this place can be easily missed and I must have walked past this place several times without even realising. This place does great tasty cocktails in the heart of the city. I visited this place on a Saturday evening for birthday drinks and was a bit sceptical due to reading lots of mixed reviews about the place. For a weekend evening it was only £25 to reserve a seating area compared to other places in central London this is an absolute steal for a group booking in my opinion, plus it's redeemable against other drinks and food too. The area we were seating in was in a side room away from the bar so it was less noisy and you were able to get table service as well. We got a great deal through timeout which made it a bargain and so it was understandably busy up til 8pm. The bartenders were amazing to watch, quickly creating beautiful presented drinks with their clever expertise despite the pressure of high demand, since we were getting such a good deal it was worth the wait as the vouchers could only be redeemed at the bar despite having booked a table. People seemed so friendly with some regulars happy to recommend their favourites whilst we were waiting and deciding. I tried the hidden julep and the pornstar martini with a shot of prosecco fresh sweet delicious with a kick so watch out and beware! The flaming zombie is especially impressive that is presented in a skull mug that is on fire! Ziggy's stardust, Brit spritz were good options too. Liked the music a mix of everything really should appeal to the masses. Pizzas we ordered were great to share too.


Tastemaker

Due to its close proximity to my office, this is a very handy post-work bar, and is often filled with Soho creatives sipping cocktails most weekday evenings, taking advantage of the very impressive happy hour. 


The bar itself is quite dark and dingy, due its basement nature, but Escapologist makes the most of it, with secluded alcoves and booths, lit by cosy lamps and candles which makes it good for a catch up. Yet by Friday night, it has a buzzing atmosphere with a great selection of chart tunes to get those Friday vibes underway. And with many of their delicious cocktails, beers, prosecco and wine in the 2 for 1 deal which runs until 7pm (make sure you get as many as possible before the clock strikes), it is very easy to kick off your weekend in this venue.


The cocktails themselves are brilliant, a wide variety and really well made; they both look and taste amazing. However, this does incur a wait, so prepare to queue at the bar for quite a considerable time.Thursday and Friday nights are busy, so if you are wanting to head there, I would suggest booking a table and parting with the £25 deposit as it means you get table service which helps with the wait.


The pizzas that Escapologist serve are perfect after a couple too many Hidden Juleps (the best cocktail, a refreshing mix of G&T and Pimms); yummy, on the right side of greasy and packed with wonderful toppings. The peach and prosciutto pizza is a highlight, sweet, soft peaches with salty ham- absolutely delicious.


Outside the happy hour, this bar is a little pricey and can get too hectic if you haven't got a space reserved. But what do you expect in its prime location? If you need to kill an hour or two and need a yummy cocktail, the Escapologist is a sure-fire win. 



Tastemaker

Summary: A good cocktail menu, decor and friendly waiters but such slow service.


Booking: They asked for a £25 deposit to reserve a table on a Tuesday evening. We had already bought a voucher for only £16 on Timeout for 4 cocktails so the deposit was more than we were planning on spending. How ridiculous! I was majorly hacked off before we even arrived however the friendly staff and nice atmosphere meant I quickly forgave them! 

On the evening: The bar is quite big with lots of hidden corners, funky portraits, a psychedelic ceiling and huge wooden bar. There was already a lot of people sat down ordering drinks so it took a little while for us to be seated. Once seated the waitress came over to explain the menu and take our order (no wait required). However the first few cocktails took 30 minutes to arrive! I saw a whole load of cocktails at the bar made and waiting to be served, assuming it was for a large group of people. Ten minutes later ours were picked up from that spot and brought over! I also had to go to the bar to get tap water while we waited as I was so parched! There was also no recognition that it had taken an age - oblivious. 

Drinks: The first 2 cocktails were both good (Britspritz: Kamm & Sons, elder ower cordial, Prosecco, soda and Flaming Zombie: Bacardi Oro, dark rum, triple sec, fresh lemon juice, mango, passion fruit, pineapple juice, over-proof rum) and mine came in a skull mug and was on fire - fun! We decided to order our 2nd drinks before we had finished our first. Again we waited 15 minutes AFTER finishing our first drinks for them to arrive. The next two drinks were my fav and I highly recommend (Hidden Julep: Hendrick's Gin, Pimm's No.1, fresh cucumber, fresh mint, fresh lemon juice, apple juice & Lemongrass Collins: Lemongrass-infused Eristo Vodka, fresh lemon juice, Liquor 43, ginger beer, vanilla - with chilli available upon request)!

Food: They serve pizzas which look OK but nothing special - we were dying to enjoy the sunshine so didn't order anything to eat - plus who knows how long we would have waited for food!

Overall: a nice evening catching up with my friend but I won't be back in a hurry!

Great bar, but probably more suited for winter drinking as it's well underground and gets quite warm. The cocktails are good, service a little bit slow on a busy Friday happy hour, as expected. Friendly staff!


Great bar, I visited last weekend and came back again last night, great atmosphere. The cocktails are amazing and I tried the pizza last night which was fantastic. A special thanks to the manager who gave me a new round of drinks free of charge after I managed to drop mine.


Cracking bar! Visited with friends last weekend and the atmosphere was electric. Everyone seemed to be having a really good time including the staff. Had a voucher which was even better although I would have been more than happy to pay full price, completely worth it. Top bar, highly recommend.


Left feeling scammed. Bought Time Out's 4 cocktails for £16 as very keen to try out new cocktail bars in London. Had to pay £25 to secure the booking, which is over and above the voucher. When we arrived, no table, despite paying £25 for the privilege. Hung around for a while until some people who were leaving gave us their table. Then hung around for some more waiting to order. Sat at a table being blasted by nightclub-volume music (why, in a cocktail bar? I want to talk, not dance). No drinks arrived so sat looking at the Masonic-inspired paintings (again why, in a cocktail bar? Not an all-male and slightly reactionary club). After about half an hour, we left. No drinks, no service, but £41 lighter as a result. I asked for an explanation the next day, but this is apparently just the way they work. Good luck to them, because I won't be going back. Why does Time Out advertise these things? 


Great night out of drinks, pizza and dancing. The staff are super nice, which is quite unusual in London these days! 

tastemaker

I frequented this joint back when it was Earlham Street Clubhouse so I was intrigued to see if it had changed hands for the better.  We had an outstanding special launch week offer for four rounds of cocktails for £12 each to use between four.  We were greeted with smiles and shown down the steps towards the basement bar which was bustling already at 6.30pm.  After a few teething issues with the waitress who wasn't up to speed with our special offer, we made friends with the host who took us on a little magical mystery tour of the venue.  He was hilarious and told us a bit about the bar and background which totally added something to the night.  The cocktails were amazing, all bar one which we ordered accidentally due to not understanding the ingredients involved.  This was easily rectified as the host quickly checked in on us and offered to exchange these to espresso martinis...which were incredible!

The new Victorian Mens club decor and refreshingly friendly staff make me give this place top marks.


Get more of those drinks in my mouth now!!! They've only been open a short while and I've already been down 3 times. I have a borderline obsession with it. The drinks are spot on, the food...well it's pizza, what's not to love? The venue looks amazing and the staff are great. For fear of someone taking a restraining order out against me I'm probably just gonna leave it at that....but seriously, check this place out.

Tastemaker

Cocktails (including a flaming zombie). Pizza. Old school R 'n' B. Need I say more? This place is the shizz - and it's open til' quite late so go for dinner, stay for the music, end on the dancefloor!


I visited this place on it's launch night, it's a cheeky little basement cocktail bar playing wicked 90's classics! The cocktails are decent and often have an unusual twist to them, the Chocolate Orange Negroni is dangerously more-ish, i think i had about 3-4... 

The bar itself has a bit of a weird set up with a glass cleaning section right in the middle, which is awkward when the bar is busy and I hope they put a decent mirror in the ladies toilets!

It's a shame it's only open until midnight as it feels like the night's only just getting started.  -I'll defo be visiting again!