Tucked away in the West 12 shopping centre in Shepherds Bush is The Mind Palace, an immersive speakeasy sitting behind the storefront of Doyle’s Opticians. Though very authentically made, with various types of glasses and posters lining the walls of the shop, people paying attention will notice the subtle humour in the fake posters and the choice of glasses next to them. People not paying attention will probably think its an optician and try and buy some glasses, which by some people could be considered ironic.
Available by appointment only, the only thing standing between the optician and the Sherlock Holmes themed bar is a few minutes of waiting time, a rather witty actor, a Rorschach test prompting you to share the darkest corners of your mind, and a mysterious pill. After that concoction of experiences you are lead down a long corridor and emerge in the speakeasy itself where you are presented with a number of Sherlock themed cocktails.
The place itself is technically a ‘Sherlock’ rather than ‘Sherlock Holmes’ themed establishment, with cocktails such as ‘A Study in Pink’ (as opposed to the original ‘A Study in Scarlet’), a mural of Benedict Cumberbatch gracing one of the walls, and some paintings of various characters and dramatic scenes from the show. Though the venue isn’t particularly big, the fact that this much space is tucked away behind an opticians in a shopping centre is quite impressive, especially when the bathrooms are taken into account, which are probably bigger than the rest of the speakeasy itself.
The previously mentioned pill that we were initially asked to take adds a great deal to the experience of the venue; turning sour things sweet, sweet things even sweeter, and very very sweet things very very very sweet, impacting the taste of the cocktails. As the pill wears off throughout the evening the taste of the cocktails slowly changes, allowing you to order the same cocktail repeatedly and always enjoying a different taste every time. Which is one original way to save yourself from having to have an extensive cocktail menu when opening a bar. Aside from ‘A Study In Pink’, most cocktails followed suite and were also called after various episodes, such as ‘The Blind Banker’ and ‘The Lying Detective’.
Previously only open to “Network” members, The Mind Palace can now be reserved through booking via this link:
All the cocktails were well made and very instagramable, though some of them, due to the pill, I don't know the true taste of. Overall it is a great place to go to with some friends or even on a date and will definitely leave you with a memorable night.
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