Date Visited: June 2021
Recommended For: Couples, Special Occasions
Tucked away on an unassuming side alley in Earls Court is a black door that reads “Evans and Peel Detective Agency“. Entry to the door is by appointment with Detective Evans or Peel only, and even then they’ll only accept the most interesting cases. Missing people, scandalous murder, nope, we went for “the case of the missing whisky barrel” and spun a tall tale of illicit gambling parties and a case of rare vintage whisky gone missing. After pointing the finger at a few of our friends, our detective promised to investigate, insisting we’d better stay there while he sent a few of his boys to the property.
With a theatrical knock on the door, the bookcase we’d been sitting beside swung open revealing the most impressive 1920s bar I’ve ever seen. This is the speakeasy, and this is the real reason we booked at Evan and Peel Detective Agency.
Criminal Case, or Case of Wine?
So, if Evans and Peel Detective Agency is a bar, why are we writing about it here on The Escape Roomer? That’s true. There were no escape room mechanics at any point in the ‘experience’, but what it lacks in puzzle games it makes up for in character, roleplay, immersivity and pure wow factor.
We often get follow-up questions when mentioning a specific escape room such as “where would you recommend we go for food in that area?” and if you’re ever in London Evans and Peel is the place to go. It’s exciting, immersive, and feels about as close to playing an escape room as you possibly can sitting down to food and drinks.
We were led to our seats and tucked away at a corner in one of their spacious rooms a little away from where the live music would begin later that evening. Around us, the whole place was lit by candles and chandeliers, constructed in the secret space from crates and barrels and odd items of household whimsy that really completed the speakeasy look.
This attention to detail continues throughout the menu. Each cocktail has a namesake gangster, such as the Forrest Bondurant – a rye sazerac for the tough guys! But what we loved most was how each cocktail was served. Some are served in brown paper bags with little Evans and Peel dollars clipped to it, to keep your silence of course. Others arrived in dainty teacups or portable coffee drippers. All household items, as if we’d wandered into somebody’s home roughly converted into a speakeasy and ready to disappear at a moment’s notice.
It was… Magical!
“Drink and dance and laugh and lie, Love, the reeling midnight through, For tomorrow we shall die! (But, alas, we never do.)”Dorothy Parker
As we drank (and danced, and laughed…), the Detective himself between taking new cases wandered the speakeasy and sat down at tables to update the patrons on their case. Over the course of the evening he came to learn our names, joked with us, and chatted to us for hours. Dare I say it, I think we all fell a little bit in love with him that night.
What was so magical was that this underground world was a million miles from the street level, just above us. Here we stepped back into the 1920s and for one night only were the starring guys and gals in our own detective drama. At the end, stepping back into the cold night air was a depressing return to reality.
As a final note, to address the elephant in the room: The Price. We visited as a table of 4 and spent over £350 which is more than I’ve ever spent in any establishment ever. No, seriously. That said, it was my 25th birthday and I’d just received a modest pay rise at work. For that price we all ate, consumed several cocktails each, enjoyed live music, and stayed from opening til almost-close. So was it worth it? Absolutely. I am still daydreaming about Evans and Peel Detective Agency six months later, and I daresay I’ll take the happy memory of visiting to my grave.
The Evans and Peel Detective Agency is located in Earls Court, London and can be booked in advance here.