Alice ventures to Fulham of an evening.
Over the last couple of months, there have been murmurings, ‘Have you heard?’, ‘It’s opening really soon on the Fulham Road!’, ‘They’re launch party is going to be epic, you must get an invite’, ‘Such great cocktails and you don’t even have to go to Soho’, ‘And guess what, they have a dressing up box!’ No even better, they’ve got a Prosecco vending machine..’
The Prosecco vending machine I can take or leave, and Fulham, oh Fulham, you area of implausible continued popularity (how could anyone EVER choose to travel on the District Line everyday, I constantly wonder). But good cocktails being served outside central London – this, yes this, I can very very happily get on board with.
So on a Wednesday evening I hopped on my bicycle and cycled north over the river to an area of London famed for red trouser wearing, Sloaney Pony frequenting, Hoorah Henrys and Awfully Arabellas, to arrive at a very normal sized, and really quite inconspicuous, albeit blue, door on the Fulham Road.
Now The Little Blue Door does have a predecessor, perhaps you have even been. For a couple of years there was a pop-up in Notting Hill called ‘The Little Yellow Door’. Fun, friendly and a touch chaotic, this super little establishment was a bar with a twist. The ‘flatmates’ of this student-esque ‘flat’ invited you along to their house parties or supper clubs, and you had a great time.
The first time I went I really was a little unsure, was it really some ones flat? Could I just turn up?
The Little Yellow Door has ended it’s days (pop-ups after all can’t ‘pop-up’ forever). But the 4 flatmates are still very much together and they’ve grown-up a little. Less Jaegar Bombs more sophisticated cocktails, and they have decided to open their door once again, to the world at large, this time in the heart of Fulham.
Fulham is probably not the place you would most expect to find a ‘concept’ type venue. The frequenters of the Durrell Arms settling down for a nice rosé and an artichoke salad of an evening, miniature dachshund in tow, aren’t known for branching out much. No novelty, or the unexpected thank you, quite content with familiarity, and old friends.
But here, I think, The Little Blue Door has managed something very subtle yet quite brilliant. It is an unobtrusive, ‘exclusive’ yet welcoming late-night bar and restaurant, open to everyone, that has a reassuring vibe from the moment you walk in, and some of the friendliest staff I have ever come across.
Add to that the cosy yet effortlessly cool décor (we are now in a far more polished ‘young professionals’ trendy flat – gramophone, smeg fridge, modern artworks all included), the carefully curated cocktail and food menus, and you know what, they are flocking, those Fulhamites, young and old alike are coming out of the woodwork, and they are regularly heading to their new local for an evening of familiarity with a gentle twist.
I will say I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited, but I can’t fault them. There are the friendly door staff (not a mean lady with a clipboard in sight), then there is the fact that you can Whatsapp them to make a booking; and the detail, the drinks menu as a family photo album, the Harry Potter book on the shelf, the home-from-home Kitchen where they serve brunch at the weekend, the separate Study where you can have a private party, the dressing up box (maybe the best thing ever), the excellent playlist full of excellent music, and the Espresso Martini that came with a cigarette, a fun yet daring touch.
Perhaps, what I like most is that they are being discovered via word of mouth. I often feel saturated with ‘experiences’ I ought to be trying. And I do love an ‘experience’, probably a bit too much. But this is not just a novelty hard-branded sell-out pop-up here for the summer, this is a bar and restaurant with longevity, lovingly created. One that has turned up in a sometimes-uninviting neighbourhood, and completely charmed the locals.
I say go and discover it for yourself, and I reckon you’ll have a good time. I would leave the prosecco vending machine to the Millennials, but do absolutely order the Espresso Martini.