Come in, before someone sees you
The Candlelight Club is a clandestine pop-up cocktail bar in a secret London venue, a stunning, tucked-away den with a 1920s speakeasy flavour, completely lit by candles. Each party offers a one-off cocktail menu, with special themes, plus dancing to live 1920s jazz bands and vintage DJing.
"The Candlelight Club really is the closest you'll find to an authentic Jazz Age experience in central London. Its unique ambience, fuelled by hundreds of candles, is truly a scene to behold." —Time Out
"Pull on a flapper dress and have a decadent night out at The Candlelight Club" —Grazia
"Speakeasies may be everywhere, but there's no bandwagon-jumping here. This is a sincere recreation, not to mention a really fun evening. Proper drinks too." —Imbibe
"The Candlelight Club—dope" —DJ Yoda
Our next event…
Friday 31st May & Saturday 1st June
A Night in Old Havana
Prohibition may have been a curse for American drinkers but it was a blessing for others. Top US bartenders fled to find work abroad, taking their skills and enthusiasm for cocktails: one of the places they landed was Havana—tantalisingly close to the US for a legal libation or three. Soon airlines were laying on package tours to go drinking in Cuba.
"Never has so much beer, rum and Daiquiri been consumed in such a short time," one tourist wrote home. "I have seen people leaving incoming ships," commented Consul Hurst, "who have stopped at bars on their way to the hotel… By the time they reached the hotel they could scarcely ask the reception clerk for a room." For visiting Americans Cuba was a general playground, "an all-round pleasure laboratory" as one wrote, where conventions were flouted and consciences left at home. "Cuba," read one advert, "so near and so friendly, is a storehouse of inexhaustible sun and gaiety…"
In 1924 a tourist wrote, "It seems that in this part of the world the moon shines its brightest and the spirit of romance that breathes in the air on a moonlit night in Cuba is irresistible." In the words of Irving Berlin, Cuba was "Where dark-eyed Stellas/Light their fellers' panatelas".
Sloppy Joe's bar (the self-styled "crossroad of the world") was rammed with celeb ex-pats and visitors, from Clark Gable and Errol Flynn to Jean-Paul Sartre and the Duke of Windsor. Hemingway became a regular after he adopted Cuba as his home. Also popular with the smart set was Bar Florida (nicknamed "Floridita"), which claimed to be the "cradle of the Daiquiri"; Hemingway once wrote "My mojito in La Bodeguita, my Daiquiri in El Floridita", and it's still there in his handwriting in La Bodequita del Medio. The cocktail business became so important that in 1924 the island's leading barmen formed the Club de Cantineros, the world's first association dedicated to training bar staff.
Upmarket clubs and hotels had jazz bands just like their American counterparts, ensuring that the good times rolled. Tourists also embraced the native rumba music—much to the annoyance of Cuba's ruling class—taking this fashion back home. (By the 1930s rumba lessons accounted for 60% of the business of Arthur Murray dance studios across America.) Our music will come from those thoroughly up-to-date jazz imps the Shirt Tail Stompers with vintage vinyl spun by our DJ MC Fruity.
Rum, fresh mint, lime juice, sugar, soda water
An ancient Cuban drink that was being made from artisanal sugar-based alcohol and local yerba buena mint before rum was even invented. Long, cool and refrshing, it is probably the island's national drink
Rum, lime juice, Coca-Cola
Invented in Havana around 1900 (when cola first came to the island), possibly by American troops. Its name was the battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army in its struggle for independence from Spain (although that conflict had actually ended in 1898)
Rum, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar
The stories of the origin of this cocktail are as numerous as the recipe's variations, though it is generally thought to have been invented around 1898 by US mining engineers working on the island who grew bored with drinking Planter's Punch, naming their new drink after the village of Daiquiri where they were working
Gin, dry vermouth, grapefruit juice, maraschino
Sometimes also called a Hemingway Martini, this uses grapefruit and the cherry liqueur maraschino, two ingredients in the Daiquiri allegedly invented by Cuban barman Antonio Melan for Hemingway because he couldn't digest raw sugar
Miss Joan Ketchum Special
Gin, apricot brandy, pineapple juice, grenadine
I've no idea who Joan Ketchum was but this drink appears in cocktail books published by both Floridita and Sloppy Joe's, so was obviously popular. Outrageously toothsome
TABLE RESERVATIONS Most of the tables in the venue are freely available on a first come, first served basis. However, seating is not unlimited so if you wish to reserve atable you may do so for a supplemental charge. A small table costs £65 (on top of your ticket price), includes a bottle of the house Champagne and can seat up to five people. A large table is £130, includes two bottles of house Champagne and can seat up to ten people. Only one person in a group needs to reserve a table. You'll see the option to reserve a table on the billing page of the booking process,but it is also possible to reserve a table after you have already bought a ticket. If you have any queries, or special requests such as flowers or a cake, please email email@example.com.
BUY TICKETS for FRIDAY 31st May:
BUY TICKETS for SATURDAY 1st June: