It might only be a stone's throw away from Londons millionaires playground Borough of Chelsea, but it seems Earls Court has distinctively lacked outstanding watering holes for quite some time. It was therefore with great excitement that I booked an appointment at Evans and Peel Detective Agency. Having heard about the new bar through the grapevine, I wasn't sure what to expect; the website didn't give much away and only instructed that clients should book if they wanted the full experience¦.so I did.
A few minutes from Earls Court tube, Google Maps in hand, I arrived outside a frosted door on a leafy Kensington side road. Was I in the right place? Not quite sure but I buzzed the intercom anyway. I was let in and descended down a narrow staircase, where the detective who looked like he stepped out of a black and white movie greeted me from his desk with his feet on the table. More a small detective office than a bar, I wasn't sure what to expect next. The detective then proceeded to open a secret door through the bookcase running alongside one of the walls and I felt like I had walked into a fairytale.
Book an appointment at the detective and you won't be dissapointed
Ambience and Décor
The bar inside is gorgeous; candlelit in a wonderfully speakeasy style, the décor plays a vital part in giving this venue a very exclusive and intimate feel. With vintage music playing in the background, with staff also dressed the part, Evans and Peel truly recreates a bygone era and once you are in you almost forget about the hectic modern life on the streets above. The bar is split into two rooms with a mixture of small and large tables for different party sizes. Unlike many patrons of the area, Evans and Peel does not behave like a private members club, nor does it want to be known as one - with a no standing policy and bookings recommended, they simply believe they are able to give each client their full attention and service which they most certainly achieve.
Clientele and Atmosphere
The ultimate focus in this venue is detail; from the typewritten menu (which given the candle lighting was a bit hard to read), to the vintage mirror and decorations in the washrooms, everything has been thought through. The staff also play a major role in creating an inviting and intimate atmosphere. Evans and Peel want to be more than just a cool bar, they are heavily focused in delivering quality cocktails to everyones taste, therefore their staff hold an impressive amount of knowledge on how their in-house spirits are infused and encourage clients to look beyond the menu and try weird and wonderful concoctions based on their spirit preference. Bar tender Chris particularly knows his stuff and is more than happy to hop from table to table making sure everyones drinks are spot on; if you dont like it they will change it no questions asked.
Food and Drink
The lovely touch about having a table policy is that even though you might only be in for a drink, you are given a home made pretzel and dips to share as well as a jug of water to set you up for the evening. After consulting one of the staff and also feeling a bit peckish, I opted for bacon infused bourbon cocktail, which tasted just like an alcoholic English breakfast. Not sure if that was quite to my taste as I prefer sweeter cocktails, however the quality and authenticity of the drink was all there. Throughout the night I ventured through vodka, tequila, and even gin trying different tastes and combinations, which I had not found in other bars. As most cocktails are off the menu, there is no set name for them however they all hover around the £9 mark on the bill, which I felt was reasonable given their quality.
The bar also serves old style American finger food to settle your stomach. We opted for the selection of mini burgers which came with different fillings of beef, mackerel, vegetarian and cheese based, with coleslaw and blue cheese chips as sides - all delicious and very filling. Instead of dessert I felt a coffee martini would best wash everything down, and it most certainly did.
All in all, Evans and Peel is the kind of venue which youd want to rave about, but is almost better to keep to yourself and impress your friends. It is refreshing to see a bar get things right so early on and for me it will become a staple favourite in the area.