Top 5 secret drinking places in the UK

A bar or pub without clients is a failed business, so of course most watering holes are interested in making themselves as conspicuous as possible. Pubs usually have brightly colored, lit up signs that tell the prospective client that there are pints and other drinks to be had at that place. But some places are more fastidious about letting themselves be seen by the world, maybe because they have their established regulars that keep the business running, or because they rely on a word-of-mouth strategy to gain their clientele. Either way, there are lots of very interested semi-unknown pubs or bars where you can have a drink without the rowdy noise of other, more obvious places. So here are the top 5 drinking places in the UK.

Black Dog Ballroom, Manchester

Speakeasies during the US prohibition were secret enough, and they had a particular aura of mystery. That’s what the Black Dog Ballroom is trying to emulate, not only through the decor, but also by the fact that it doesn’t overtly advertise itself. This place is known for its delicious brunches and cocktails. One room in the establishment, the Ballroom, is password protected and can be rented for entirely private parties.

Smokestack, Leeds

Although the entrance to this bar couldn’t be more ordinary, the interior seems to be inspired by New Orleans cocktails bars. The music is fitting: jazz, soul and funk, and you can listen to it while lounging on comfy leather couches. Although it used to be more unknown in the past, this bar is still a pretty good place that few people know of, and even less people are tempted to enter.

Nightjar, London

Nightjar is located on an unglamorous street and has an unglamorous sign, so it is far from popular. Although the bar is very discrete, it is not exclusive either, and it prides itself in its intimate atmosphere that channels a time when live music was the norm and drinking “was a connoisseur’s game”.

Hausbar, Bristol

Hausbar is hidden in the shadow of an Indian restaurant, and you need to press a bell in order to be let in. Your coat will be taken by a doorman, and you’ll be lead ceremoniously inside. As the name says, Hausbar continues the tradition of 70’s German bars run in people’s homes. The clientele is small, so you’ll be able to make some friends among the regulars.

The Jubjub Bar at Callooh Callay, London

Callooh Callay bar, which takes its name from The Jabberwocky poem, serves drinks that are just as delirious and mixed up as the poem itself. But since it’s a real achievement to get a seat at the bar, Callooh Callay created a secret area for dedicated cocktail lover, which can be accessed…through the wardrobe. If you manage to convince the staff that you can keep a secret and that you passionately love cocktails, they will let you into the Jubjub Bar, one of the top 5 secret drinking places in the UK.


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