- Title: BRITAIN-NOSTALGIA BAR Secret swinging 1940s bar opens underground in London
- Date: 9th March 2015
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 5, 2015) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF LOCATION FOR 'CAHOOTS' CLOSE OF SIGN READING (English): "TO THE TRAINS" ENTRY TO 'CAHOOTS' / MAN DRESSED AS 1940s CHARACTER ON DOOR MAN DRESSED AS SECOND WORLD WAR ERA RAF PILOT WELCOMING INTO THE BAR / FEMALE HOST SMILES AND STATES, "WHAT OH?"
- Embargoed: 24th March 2015 12:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA60IOFLHLAWGIF3JI5VZP43W3W
- Story Text: NOTE TO EDITORS: PART AUDIO AS INCOMING AND SOME OF THIS MATERIAL WAS ORIGINALLY SHOT 4:3
NOTE TO EDITORS: VISION AS INCOMING DUE TO FILMING RESTRICTIONS ON LIGHT
A new, secret late night bar which could have some people thinking they've walked back in time and stepped into the 1940s has opened up underground in London.
Located in the trendy Soho area near Oxford Street, 'Cahoots' offers visitors an immersive experience of what life might have been like in 1946, just after the end of World War Two.
The story behind the bar is that a former air raid shelter used by the public during the Blitz in London has been taken over by a collection of rogues and 'scoundrels' who are out to enjoy some nocturnal fun.
However, rationing is still a part of everyday life in 1946 and so it is crucial for the people who run the bar to stay quiet as both food and alcoholic beverages are not easy to find.
'Cahoots' is the brainchild of Inception group founders, Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, who have previously set-up themed bars like the 1980s inspired 'Maggies' and the speakeasy joint 'Barts'.
"Cahoots imagines a disused air raid shelter post World War Two in an old tube station. A lot of tube stations in London were used as air raid shelters during the Second World War and it imagines that this tube station is no longer in service, but had been used as an air raid shelter for families and people to take cover during the Blitz. And we have a cheeky narrative as it were that a group of scoundrels have found this old tube station, uses the air raid shelter and have set up a bar here," said Gilkes when he spoke to Reuters TV.
When customers arrive at the bar they are greeted by actors dressed up in World War Two era finery, who speak and act much like people would have done in the 1940s.
The bar is hidden away in Kingly Court in Soho and can be found by looking out for signs resembling what you might find on the London Underground.
'Cahoots' has a room shaped like a tube carriage and World War Two era furniture and signs adorn the bar itself. Visitors are also required to grab a ticket from the kiosk at the entrance.
For Gilkes, the germ of the idea came from identifying the growing popularity of immersive theatre where the audience both watches and actively plays a role in a theatrical production.
"I think there's a real trend in London and, well, globally now in immersive theatre. Obviously the speakeasy idea came to London five or six years ago. We actually opened 'Barts', which was the first, if not one of the first speakeasys in London and we saw that trend in the States. But now there's a real trend for immersive theatre. People used to eat, drink and then go to the theatre, they then started enjoying theatre whilst they were eating and drinking and now people actually want to be part of the theatre."
The menu boasts some unusual cocktails, including the 'Swing For Victory' which mixes beetroot, vodka, rose and garnished with Oxo Cube (powdered stock cubes). The aim was to recall some of the flavours of an allotment someone may have owned in the 1940s.
Bands that pay homage to the stars of screen and music from the 1940s also regularly play at the bar.
For customers hoping to sneak into 'Cahoots' for a night of revelry it's just a question of tracking down the underground signs at Kingly Court and gaining entry to one of London's newest immersive bars.
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