They say great things come in small packages – and the King’s Road’s award-winning bar JuJu Chelsea is no exception.
JuJu Chelsea is a small venue, but think cosy and intimate rather than poky and claustrophobic. Working with what they’ve got – and doing a tremendous job of it – the JuJu crew have created the illusion of a bigger area with chic, artfully mirrored walls. The mood lighting might be a bit on the dark side, but it definitely creates that all-important intriguing atmosphere. With the bar to the side, there are plenty of seating areas, with luscious leather sofas and low tables.
The bar and club also manages to squeeze in a DJ booth, so you may find your planned quick drink suddenly turning into a night of dancing. There is a further lounge and bar area downstairs available for private hire.
Obviously, given you’re on the King’s Road, emphasis is on creating an exclusive, classy vibe - and JuJu Chelsea manages to stay chic yet relaxed. Where JuJu succeeds is in not feeling pretentious, a trap that many other establishments in the area fall in to. Staff don’t act as if you should be grateful to be there (the prime reason you might roll your eyes at the thought of a night out in Chelsea).
In fact, the staff are incredibly attentive and friendly. They can recommend a dish or drink, or get one of the bar staff to mix you something off-menu. They also have a knack for sensing when they are or aren’t needed – you won’t feel harassed, but you won’t have to struggle to catch anyone’s eye either. As for the clientele, expect gorgeous girls and ex-private school boys with cash to splash.
JuJu Chelsea boasts a speciality menu of delicious, light Asian-inspired dishes – the perfect accompaniment to your cocktail – with a selection of sharing plates (all around £8). The homemade vegetable rolls (£6.50) are packed with shredded veg, and accompanied with a smooth, tangy mango sauce with a dollop of sweet chilli sauce to give it a kick. For the meat lovers, go for the steamed pork and prawn dumplings (£7.50), which are rich and salty, with a subtle fishiness. There are also larger sharing dishes on offer, such as pad thai and stir fry.
It isn’t cheap, but don’t forget what end of town you’re in. But, happily, you’ll find that you’re paying for quality, rather than for being in south west London.
If you’re in JuJu Chelsea, it’s probably for the award-winning cocktails from mixologists who specialise in creating Chelsea-inspired numbers or putting a new twist on the old. For a good example of the latter, the Lychee Martini is a fresh take on a classic, with subtle crisp, fruity tones. For a good example of the former, look no further than the Chelsea Iced Tea, which features vodka, gin, and passion fruit liqueurs, and is topped with Veuve Cliquot. Plump for a cocktail measure at £9.50 or perhaps opt for a pitcher for £25... when in Rome!
For a short cocktail (£9.50), fans of sweeter fruity numbers are well-advised to try Black Forest Gateau, which is a burst of zingy red berry. If you’re in a sharing mood, you can opt for a larger sharing cocktail (from £22), and designated drivers are also in luck as there is a special mocktail menu, too.
Of course, the usual suspects are all present and correct, with wine starting at a reasonable £18 per bottle, and a vast selection of spirits. But why bother with all that once you’ve seen the cocktail menu?
The Last Word
JuJu Chelsea embodies what this end of London is all about – a glamorous night out with a chic, exclusive atmosphere. It’s refreshing to come to Chelsea and feel relaxed – and not just about spending so much money – and there’s a real sense that a lot of pride is taken by the team at JuJu Chelsea.