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
Friday 14th &
Saturday 15th November
For thirsty Americans in the 1920s and early 1930s, the banning of alcohol at home suddenly gave travel out of the country a new appeal—and where more convenient than across the border into Mexico? Suddenly towns like Tijuana, just south of San Diego, became boozy paradises dedicated to helping gringos party. Tijuana was dubbed "Satan's Playground" by preachers, who even posted signs along the highway warning drivers of the moral turpitude ahead. This didn’t stop the motorists who queued at the border crossing to get to the town where every other building was a tavern or casino and, in the words of one wide-eyed tourist, “they have barrels of whiskey, rum, brandy and beer standing right before your eyes and you can drink all you want”.
The smarter cantinas offered dancing to jazz bands playing the latest tunes. The Cavern Café in Nogales, across the border from Tucson, was converted from a prison tunnelled into the mountainside and boasted a bandstand, dance floor and comfortable 72-degree temperature year round.
The Arizona and San Diego Railway Co. extended their line across the border to Tijuana, where trains stopped midway between the casino and the horse racing track. Airlines had direct flights from Hollywood and New York to a private airstrip at the new hotel and resort at Agua Caliente, where celebrities like Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and gangster Al Capone relaxed among strolling musicians, manicured gardens and mission-style guest bungalows. The actress Rita Hayworth was discovered there while performing in a show.
The casino had a gold bar in a room where patrons could only bet using gold chips, with a $500 minimum wager. Bugsy Siegel cited Agua Caliente as his inspiration for building the resort on what became the Las Vegas Strip. The race meetings and golf tournaments at Agua Caliente offered the biggest prizes in the world at the time. Known as "America's Deauville" or "America's Monte Carlo", it offered, in the words of the brochure, "modern gaiety in an Old World setting".
The resort even starred in its own movie, In Caliente (1935), featuring Mexican actress Dolores del Rio who became a Hollywood star in the 1920s and 1930s. We'll be projecting this and other del Rio pictures at our party.
Behind it all were the “border barons”, enterprising racketeers who raked in fortunes, paid handsomely to pliant Mexican authorities and vied with each other like the bootleggers across the border. Frank “Booze” Beyer co-owned the Owl Café in Mexicali, claiming to be “the largest gambling house on the American continent” with ten bartenders manning “the longest bar in the world”.
To recreate this world of sunny escapism, where Prohibition-wracked Americans could drink and party with impunity, the Candlelight Club has partnered with Tomas Estes, the man behind Mexican restaurants Café Pacifico and La Perla, new agave-spirits bar El Nivel and the premium tequila brand Ocho, for two nights of 1920s fun.
Guest chefs and bartenders will be offering a menu of Mexican cuisine and tequila cocktails old and new made with Ocho. We’ll be serving Mexicali beer, the brand that fuelled many a cross-border spree in the 1920s.
For that authentic Tijuana experience there will be Mexican-themed burlesque performances, dancing to live 1920s swing music from The Old Hat Jazz Band and vintage DJing.
Ocho tequila, triple sec, lime juice,
optional salt rim
Dating probably from the 1940s, this is the one tequila cocktail everyone can name. There are many stories of its creation, usually revolving around a customer called Margaret/Margarita…
Ocho tequila, grapefruit soda, lime juice
Apparently how most Mexicans actually drink their tequila
Ocho tequila, crème de cassis, ginger beer, lime juice
Tequila and ginger go together remarkably well, as evidenced by this recipe hailing from California in the 1940s
Ocho tequila, sparkling wine, agave syrup, lemon juice
An twist on the classic French 75 (made with gin)
Ocho tequila, cardamom sweet tea, Chartreuse Elixir
A Speciality of Megaro Bar, complementing Ocho with sweet cardamom spice and the aromatic herbal liqueur Chartreuse
Ocho tequila, Swedish Punsch, Martini Fiero, lime juice, agave syrup
Created for us by Brian Silva (The Connaught, Rules). Tne name is a reference to an imaginary cocktail in an episode of Cheers: Brian's real-life interpretation gets its Norse element from Swedish Punsch, a liqueur dating from the days of the Swedish East India Company, based on the Javan spirit arrack
BUY TICKETS for FRIDAY 14th November:
BUY TICKETS for SATURDAY 15th November:
Special offers for Candlelight Club customers…
◆ Why not treat yourself to a professional vintage styling session in your home with Lipstick & Curls? They are offering Candlelight Club customers a 10% discounton their "Takeaway" mobile beauty parlour which comes to your home. Click here for more information. To make a booking email email@example.com.
◆ Stuck for an outfit to wear? Angels, the country's oldest and largest costume supplier, is offering Candlelight Club customers a 15% discount on rental at the Shaftesbury Avenue store or on purchases both in store and online. To claim your discount use the code CANDLE14.
◆ And if you're going to party like a movie star, why not travel like one? We've teamed up with Uber to bring you £20 off a ride in a chauffeur-driven car. Standard uberX cars are typically 30–50% cheaper than a black cab, and you can choose a luxury car if you want to travel in real style. Click here to learn more and download the app. First-time users get a one-time £20 discount by entering the promo code CANDLELIGHT14.