Subterranean Victorian toilets have been transformed into everything from restaurants to health spas (there’s one near Holborn where you can get a good facial or a massage). So a basement bar decked out with modern touches while retaining some of the original features isn’t an unthinkable situation. Bermondsey Arts Club opened last year bringing a bit of conceptual cool to the area. It’s laid back, slick and there’s even live jazz from time to time.
The brainchild of art graduates, Bermondsey Arts Club displays all the meticulous touches of people in the creative know. The Art deco styling, original whites tiles, dark furniture and stripped back feel are dark and delicious. The retro vibe and moody lighting leave you with a feeling of inconspicuous excitement.
A great place to flirt behind tea lights and sip complicated cocktails. If you’re into the historical facts of the place, you can actually see where where the old toilets begin and where the urinals where, not in a gross way. There’s no sign of the loos themselves but the mix of old and new fittings is interesting on closer inspection. Don’t expect to be super comfortable – most of the seating consists of short leather-padded stools around low tables, however, they do have lean brass legs with a chic understated 1920′s frame…
As a late night speakeasy (open until 2am Tuesday to Saturday), this bar needs more than great interiors. The drinks are experimental – full of unexpected touches and echoes of the Art deco days. There’s sophisticated concoctions like the Sage of Consent with butter-washed rum, sage, bergamot, fresh lemon and dark cane sugar. Everything you drink will be presented like it’s your death-row drink request (I’m assuming they garnish these) and will be yummy enough to deserve the central London price tag.
Their signature drink, Bermondsey Gardens (title image) is a sweet mix of dry gin infused with cucumber, Elderflower, lime, pressed apple and fresh mint. Old fashioned drinks muddled with distinct tastes from brown apothecary jars are all the rage, and these tipples are actually spectacular along with being trendy.
Whether you’re a local or not, come down for the late hours and stay for the good drinks.
Former Public Conveniences
102A Tower Bridge Road
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