Bourne and Hollingsworth is London’s original speakeasy bar. Located on the corner of Rathbone Place in the heart of Fitzrovia, the bar is named after the nearby ‘Are you being Served’ style department store, which formerly stood on Oxford Street.
Traditionally, speakeasies were places for illegal boozing that came to prominence during the Prohibition era in 1920s America. But ever since, they have taken on a mythical status: teacups brimming with gin, suave jazz musicians and a glitzy, retro dress code.
I was invited to Bourne and Hollingsworth last week to try their new menu of seasonal cocktails, and decided to bring my dear friend Martin along. Situated in a street-side basement, the bar has an atmosphere that rests comfortably between a gentleman’s club and a 1920s tearoom.
With floral wallpaper, frilly bowed-empire lampshades, lace tablecloths and doilies, the vintage decor made the bar a cheery place to spend an evening.
The current cocktail list at Bourne and Hollingsworth features unusual cocktails served in teacups and vintage champagne glasses. Their summer cocktail menu has been specifically designed to focus on an retro British flavours and ingredients including Dandelion and Burdock, Spiced Honey Whiskey and Quince Liqueur. We'd recommend the 'Storm in a Teacup' and 'Peardrop' cocktails (I wont list the ingredients as don't want to spoil the surprise!).
I was told the bar was the first to host themed events such as Blitz Party and Prohibition that led to the development of many other brands, including The Chap Olympiad, Rev JW Simpson, Kitchen Party, SS Atlantica and Wyndstock.
The bar is holding it's own Blitz party on the 19th September, where guests are invited to enjoy bustling music, fortifying cocktails and a good old dash of British spirit. With the aim of recreating the wartime glamour of 1940s London, the venue will be transformed into a wartime air shelter complete with a swing dance hall, live music stage and bunkers. Discover more info here.