Image donated by the kind people of Purl, as I didn’t want to photograph canoodling couples when the venue was full.

Located underneath a daytime sandwich shop, Purl residents begin their evening’s experience as they descend the narrow staircase to unveil the mysterious venue.

1920s glamour oozes out of every orifice in this famous London Cocktail bar, which prides itself on being one of the original instituitions to elevate Cocktails from grenadine and fruit juice into the spectacle they serve today.

The Speakeasy theme is perfect for this underground location, as you find yourself seated underneath ornate chandeliers in wine cellar-esque alcoves, around tiny tables in high-backed leather armchairs or right at the bar where you can watch potions being concocted.

It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Tender is the Night…

I visited on a Wednesday night when the place was humming with live jazz… as we arrived at around 7 booking wasn’t necessary and we lucked out with a wine-cellar/alcove that could comfortably fit a dozen, but I would recommend booking as by the time we left at 9 every table was occupied.

The menu doesn’t give much away, so as I was there for research purposes, ahem, I asked the waiter to help us choose our marinades.

Fun fact, this speakeasy derives it’s name ‘Purl’ from an old english cocktail that consisted of gin, ale, spices and wormwood. I’m pleased to report that today’s offerings were a lot more delectable. 

Round 1 – Fairy Tail and Mind The Gap

image1-2The only thing more novel than drinking out of what appears to be an old kid’s money box is drinking out of a ‘zippy-cup’/Martini glass hybrid. The cocktails they housed were pretty amazing too.


Round 2 – Acrataphorus and Mr. Hyde

image3They topped it on the novelty scale (No I didn’t think it possible either) my next drink was served in a small vial inside a smoking cauldron. I died and went to Hogsmeade… Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to my company or their cocktail at this point – which was good apparently.

Round 3 – Herb Garden and Country Road


Amazed that my memory serves to this point given the amount of marinating I had done up to this point, Herb Garden was delightfully accompanied by a pot of chocolate soil. It really is great fun alternating mouthfuls of chocolate and sips of herb-infused booze. Country Road tasted like a very aromatic beer foam, one for the beer lovers, which alas I am not.


A drinks performance worth making an evening out of. Check out:


50/54 Blandford Street




See original article as published in January 2017 on This Week I.