Explore the city,
November 03 2023
Venture into weird and unusual places loved by Londoners but missed by most tourists. Some are hidden gems that make the most of their unusual location. Others are trick names, fooling passersby but welcoming the brave and the curious. Here we uncover London’s quirky side that may give a bad first impression, but could become your new favourite place in London.
The Attendant in London’s Fitzrovia is a coffee shop in a former Victorian below-ground men's loo. An old public toilet might not sound hygienic, but this stylish café has been transformed into a cool place for coffee and brunch. But you still get a peek into its former life as a public convenience thanks to the ornate (but unused) urinals where you sit with your cuppa. Go down the stairs, following in the hurried footsteps of Victorian gentlemen, to see a hidden piece of London history. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they serve great coffee.
Is it a cheap old clothing store? No. Discount Suit Co in Spitalfields is a cool cocktail bar hidden in plain sight. Designed to fool passersby, the outside looks like a tired old tailor. The store front falsely promises “alterations while u wait” but step inside, and you enter an uber-cool bar playing Northern Soul classics. This cosy former tailor’s storeroom serves a carefully curated selection of cocktails, and the mannequin and sewing machine are a nod to its former life. But if you’re waiting for suit alterations, you’ll be waiting a while.
Prison food doesn’t have the best reputation. But here, things are done differently. The Clink is a unique concept where prisoners with a flair for cooking prepare delicious food for the public. It’s part of an ambitious rehabilitation and training programme that’s been successfully operating for over a decade. The Clink prison restaurant is the opposite of any prison canteen, with smart leather booths, elegant tables and a reputation for outstanding food. Book ahead and bring your ID, so you’re allowed to leave at the end of your meal.
At first glance, this name may make you think the venue is a little naughty. But these two over-18s venues are actually perfect for a sweet first date. Swingers Club West End and Swingers City near the Gherkin skyscraper are both indoor crazy golf places that look like 1920s seaside resorts. You’ll need to twist your head, contemplate the physics of space and time and swing your golf club with flair to navigate the ball around imaginative obstacles. Then you can discuss your golf skills over delicious cocktails and food. Swingers Golf London is not for children, but it will bring back fond childhood memories.
Venture into the quirkiest venues in London and stay in one of the best spots in London. Thistle Hotels has a choice of unique hotels across the capital, each offering something different. So stay with us and enjoy these hidden London gems.