The trendy locale of London’s Kensington & Chelsea is a must experience for any visitor to the Capital. Of course, most visitors know this already, what with so many travelling to London especially to shop in Kensington & Chelsea. But then where does one stop off for lunch, grab an afternoon tipple or else party the night away amidst all the shopping, that is the question. Fortunately, here too is the answer! As one of the leading hosts of London pub crawls, we feel we’re the guys to help out and offer you our own thoughts on the best pubs and clubs in Chelsea and Kensington!
1. The Jam Tree
This quirkily named Chelsea bar located on the Kings Road has been popularised by its famous patrons, including the cast of Channel 4 TV show, Made in Chelsea. Laid back, relaxed and yet totally chic, The Jam Tree is the perfect place to enjoy a spot of colonial inspired fare alongside a craft beer, cocktail or one of 38 different wines. Whether you stop by of an afternoon, for lunch or to catch one of the DJs and hit the dance floor in the evening, The Jam Tree is a great place to kick back and grab a reasonably priced and decent quality tipple, be it day or night.
Brilliantly described by All in London as ‘the g-spot of pubs – hard to find, but well worth the effort’, The Builders Arms is open noon until eleven pm every day except weekends when doors remain open until midnight. A firm favourite amongst locals to Chelsea (perhaps because locals know how to find the Builders Arms!), this pub serves everything from canapés to bar snacks, lunch to lager, the only thing more fun than the experience this pub offers is its decor; kitted out in a clever mix of vibrant, but by no means garish, array of colours and fabrics and finished with richly coloured mustard and delicious Cadbury purple woodwork and ye olde English fireplaces, The Builders Arms is anything but a standard brickies bar.
South Kensington, best known for its wealth of shops and the likes of Harrods and the V&A Museum, can be a tricky place to find a decent quality pub. As such, The Hour Glass makes the most of this and is on most days bustling. Perhaps not the place to begin a wild night out, The Hour Glass is a good old English Free House pub complete with cosy fires, a great homemade pub-style menu and has recently been refurbished adding the addition of a purpose built dining room and outdoor area in which to enjoy a lazy pint whilst watching the world go by.
With walls sprayed painted in neon and showcasing iconic images of just about everything 80s from pop art prints of Robocop to Pac Man and The Iron Lady herself, Maggie’s Club is must mention in Chelsea. A 1980s themed cocktail bar and nightclub, Maggie’s is a ‘boutique members’ club’ decked out with cassette tape tables, pop art prints and which celebrates an equally 80s inspired cocktail menu. From sipping a pina colada or that glass of Baby Cham served by waitresses wearing Rubick’s Cube dresses to powdering your nose whilst 80s political speeches play in the loos, Maggie’s Club provides those in Chelsea with a nightclub experience like no other.
Celebrating the American Speakeasy Movement, Barts occupies the basement space of a 1930’s Chelsea Cloister building on Sloane Avenue. This tiny bar is an absolute gem, provided you can get in; accessing the bar involves navigating your way through a contrastingly bland foyer in which the resident bell-man gives would-be drinkers a good once-over before being welcomed into what is, it must be said, a closet of a club. But what a closet. What Bart’s lacks in floor space and windows it more than compensate for in dressing up boxes and comic strip wallpaper. Hence, Barts is not for everyone, it must be said, but for anyone bored of the typically lofty milieuwho frequent it’s surrounding bars and looking for something altogether different, Barts is a refreshing and intriguing alternative.