Yee-haw you little rascals, park your keister around that there open fire and listen to ol' Uncle Sam, for he's brought something to celebrate in this here Chelsea. For, you see, the last thing this pasture needs is another exposed-brick, stiff-seated venue with no character, no love and, heck, no soul. You see! Chic is great, but it's not the only thing that nightspots should aim to be. And while beavers are not, by nature at least, party-hard boozers (can they even hold drinks?), you'll be partying harder than that lovable mammal gnaws through wood.
Some venues try to blend in with their environment, to take on the brickwork style of the surrounding architecture and put up discrete signage. But Beaver Lodge is not 'some venues'. How do we say this? It's quite… loud. Inside the Fulham-Road bar, you're taken away from Chelsea and put to work in America, only without the 8 hour time difference and where 'work' means drinking. It's decorated in the style of a wood cabin fit for a Mid-Western Cowboy. Horse shoes are dotted around everywhere, American license plates are stuck on the rafters, cowboy hats sit on old coat pegs, whiskey barrels have been converted into drinks tables and horse carts jut out from the walls. And the barstools, of course, are horse saddles. Giddy up! There's enough cow hide to shake a stick at and, casually, a few taxidermy beavers in cowboy hats. There's even a bear watching you from the bar top. As you were…
Music: Rock'n'Roll, Commercial, RnB, House
Dress Code: Smart/Casual
Train Station: Fulham Broadway
Address: Beaver Lodge, 266 Fulham Rd, London, SW10 9EL
All aboard the Bulleit train. Well, you're not going to shoot the sheriff with vodka now are you?! This being Amurrrica, that means bourbon and there's plenty of it here. Bulleit's amber glow lights up the backbar and a good many cocktails carry it as their base. If you're feeling lucky, try the Tommy Gun, a mix of Don Julio Blanco tequila, Johnnie Walker Black, agave syrup and orange juice. With a name like that, it's got some recoil. The real fun comes with the sharers. The Rootin' Tootin' 'n' Sharp-Shootin is a six shot wheel of different Jim Beam brands. And it's served in a gun barrel. As for music, American classics dominate the tracks, but you needn't pray you were burning in the ring of fire or on the road away to Nazareth, for the Lodge has space for dancing, puts on gigs – the American institution that is Fatman Scoop played here – and they'll spice up the selection with RnB and House to see you through.
Here is where the Chelsea buffalo roam. Well, not quite. Beaver Lodge is a jolly showdown, filled with folks who prefer fun over frigidity and shots of bourbon over, well, anything else. It might have a casual atmosphere, but you'll see from the Lodge's photo booth pictures that everyone's got a full set of teeth (that, or a really good dentist), hair that's been washed and a smell that's distinctly more Hermes than hard ground.
Discussing your beaver is, for many, not dinner-suitable conversation. But this is one instance where your incessant talk of your new watering hole will be pardoned, perhaps even celebrated, by the friends you introduce to it. With Beaver Lodge, you're going where the sun keeps shining and through the pouring rain. Legend has it, if you hold a cowboy hat to your ear and listen carefully, you can hear the dulcet tones of Harry Nilsson, encouraging you forward. Ride on, sweet cowboy, ride on.