Shrouded in myth and mystery, the latest experience on Adventure Bars' list of pearl jams comes the secret London party den, The Escapologist. Styled around the scandalous and fiendish figure, Baron Von Took, who famously escaped from imprisonment in Covent Garden, it unravels itself like a masonic den from the 1800s, ready for scandalous fun times. But the promise is in the party, so a friend and I went underground on a Friday night to find out just how wild things get in the depths of London's historically riotous headquarters of Victorian secret society.
The Escapologist is sunken into the depths of Seven Dials so every step into the den descends into more darkness. As our eyes adjusted we were hit by a stunning blue-tiled and copper bar, and stark psychedelic art in the form of Victorian, masonic portraits and wall-hangings. It's all very curious, with woody finishes, a lair-like layout and slight psychotropic illuminati touches here and there. Think black and white Victoriana meets modern day Victorian men's club on LSD. At the back, however, funnelled away from the regulars is a den of several booths hidden under a cove. Here’s where the party gets a little cray.
The vibe at the bar doesn't seem to need any slow-start shake up. It's before midnight and shirts are loosened, ties coming off, girls are drinking bottles of prosecco on ice and there's a lot of gourmet pizza everywhere. Table after table of booze and pizza, there's a mix of city chic and good plain fun times. Fun times, because just in case you thought you're at an illuminati initiation, the music is reassuringly 90s with popular house hits and the odd Justin Timberlake. The staff are attentive and lovely, and although I won’t say it feels like home (unless home is a masonic dungeon with creepy art and equipment laying around), the staff stand out and apart in making everyone feel comfortable.
The Food and Drink
The cocktail list perfectly places all the populars on top, with Porn Star Martinis, Old Fashioneds and even the Flying Zombie, (£11.50) against the backdrop of party time cocktails that include Caipirinhas, Mai Tais and gin-doused Singapore Slings. Tonight I’m graced with the company of one of my snootiest friends and three sips and frowns after his first Whiskey Sour, he exclaims, "Darling, this is probably the best whiskey sour I’ve ever had!" Well, damn. Snoots is sold. I nestle in with a Roller Pisco (£10.80), a delicious concoction of Pisco, pear liqueur, apple juice, vanilla and fresh mint. It’s summery and refined, with a hint of a sass. The Escapologist’s food menu consists entirely of pizza by the way. Really, really good pizza to soak up the fun and reinforce the let-loose party vibe. We have the classic Tricolore (£12) - fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella and Death By Chocolate "Sweetzza", which don't disappoint - especially if you're looking for tipsy indulgence.
For a fun and quirky night out, hit The Escapologist with friends and this promises to be party central. Who knows after a few rounds the psychedelic art work may start enthralling you to join something a little more secret than you signed up for.