Wednesday 3rd April - Evans and Peel has been near the top of The List since I began blogging at the end of February. A couple of minutes from Earls Court station, just off the main road, you will find a door marked Evans and Peel Detective Agency. Before you press the buzzer, make sure you have your story straight. This is no ordinary bar - on entering (or booking), you must describe an imaginary case that you want the kind detectives to solve. You should book, especially if you want to go at the weekend, but you can walk in if you get there early - we went at 6.45 and were the first people in.
The detective went along with my weak case and chatted about getting helicopter surveillance and checking that the building isn't "slanted like they are in Amsterdam". After this bizarre discussion, she took my number and pulled on the bookcase next to her desk to reveal the hidden bar. It may all sound a bit tacky, but frankly it was pretty darn enjoyable. The bar looks great - candlelit tables, oddments scattered around, cosy corners, well dressed staff etc - and the drinks are worth the effort. My 'Sir John Eh' with pecan-infused bourbon was particularly impressive. Order the Marminez if you want your drink in a teacup. Beers are apparently poured through an antique radiator but we stuck to cocktails so I didn't see this myself.
They have wisely decided to offer food as well, with various snacks and sliders on offer. I was particularly tempted by the Smoked Cheesecake. You can also buy your own private drawer behind the bar to store your own drinks (decanted into a wax-sealed Evans and Peel bottle) which comes with a key, a private email address and a password. It would be worth visiting even without the fun on the way in, and if amateur dramatics aren't up your street then you can leave the talking to someone else. Put it on your to-do list.
|Evans and Peel cocktail menu|
We decided to head down the road to try out Ping whilst we were in the area, where we joined by ping-pong enthusiast, Jason. Ping is one of the many new London bars with table-tennis on offer - unlike Bounce in Holborn, the tables here are free! You can get onto one of the four tables by asking the barstaff, or by trying to figure out their blackboard system. We managed to get on for a half hour slot without too much trouble. With the tables packed close together, and music pumping away in the background, there is a fun, party atmosphere whilst you play.
If you aren't keen on table-tennis but want to get involved, then you can play beer pong instead which I imagine is very popular at the weekends with the King's Road crowd that seem to have adopted Ping. It was pretty full for a Wednesday night, so I can only imagine how sweaty it gets at the weekend. It is decked out for clubbers, with suitably disgusting toilets. The drinks are fairly standard but to their credit they have an interesting pizza menu, including a couple with roast potatoes on. Desserts look good too, especially 'Ping Porn' - pizza dough smothered in Nutella, covered in various berries and nuts. If you are feeling particularly fancy, order the £55 'Chandler Ping' - a frozen watermelon drink for sharing with friends. As it says on the website, high 5 your barman when you order for the full '90s effect! Ping won't be for everyone with loud music, a Chelsea crowd, and that lovely clubbing smell, but the pizzas and ping pong were enough to entertain me.
There are still a few tickets left for The Drowned Man : A Hollywood Fable - an interactive theatre experience from the award-winning Punchdrunk company. It promises to be a fantastic event, and tickets will sell out. Read more here.