Experimental Cocktail Club: Drinking Behind Closed Doors in Chinatown

The Experimental Cocktail Club London (ECC for those in the know) is a friendly speakeasy hidden away in Chinatown. Add it to your little black book of cocktail bars in the heart of the West End.

The West End is the russian roulette of drinking wheels – tacky bars with no redeeming qualities, marred by the slight sheen of seediness and overpriced drinks at one end of the spectrum…and places like the Experimental Cocktail Club at the other. Polar opposites in everything but a shared post code.

Pick your way through the neon lights and lanterns of Chinatown, your eyes searching for an unmarked door – this door is the key to your evening – the multi-storied Experimental Cocktail Club to be more precise.

It can be tough to find – you’ll know that you’ve found the right door when you can peek what looks very much like a bar upstairs (I know, call me #sleuthymcsleuthy – hunting out speakeasies is something I’ve become rather adept at).

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Experimental Cocktail Club
Vibe: Low lighting and moody af

Inside, the doormen will let you know if there’s space (not always a given as it does get busy) and usher you to your spot if there is. This is where all the fun begins.

The decor is rather sexy, in a shabby, faded beauty kind of way. No surprises that this is one of London’s classic date night bars – a truth evidenced by the number of couples making eyes at each other over their drinks.

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Cocktails

Peruse the cocktail menu – full of quirky libations and ECC’s takes on old classics or just tell one of the knowledgeable and incredibly helpful members of staff what your after.

It changes all the time, but they’re all the product of a mixology team who clearly know their stuff. However you get there, you will end up with a jolly good cocktail in hand.

Cocktails at the Experimental Cocktail Club
Cocktails at the Experimental Cocktail Club

Seating is tight, so if it’s busy, expect to snuggle up a little too close for comfort with a stranger or two. It’s not my favourite way to spend the evening (space is a luxury that is handed out in dribs and drabs in this city) but then again, I am getting old and increasingly crabby about these things.

Either way, ECC Chinatown does have a pleasant buzz and the cocktails are worth sacrificing a smidgen of personal space for.

Experimental Cocktail Club London: Practical Information + Map

Address: ECC London, 13a Gerrard St, London W1D 5PS

Telephone: 020 7434 3559

Website

Click here for a map of ECC’s location.

Reservations Policy

Given how difficult it is to get a table at ECC sometimes, I thought it was worth including a short section on reservations.

The Experimental Cocktail Club’s reservations system is simple. They do take them and you need to email them to make one. Easy right?

Just drop them an email on [email protected] with the booking request. Tables fill fast at the weekends, so get in there quick if you want to nab one.

Half the bar is reserved for walk ins so it’s always worth having a try if you’re in the vicinity. Just don’t get salty if the answer is no.

Looking for more guides and tips for London’s West End? Check these out…

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