From world-class BBQ to legit vegan and gluten-free restaurants to some of the best coffee shops in the east, Chattanooga’s food and drink scene is a force to be reckoned with. Come December, there’ll be a new bar in town: a legit, London-inspired speakeasy.
London Calling, the city’s first and only speakeasy is looking to blend the best of England’s iconic capital city with the awesomeness of Chattanooga.
In a nutshell, owner James Heeley says, “It goes back to that whole idea of prohibition, which is a really fascinating era in American history.” He promises the bar will serve up sophisticated, high-quality cocktails in a dive-bar atmosphere.
“This would be something you’d find in New York City or London,” he said. “We want to bring the product and that level of service and that cool, exclusive, speakeasy vibe.”
He’s promising big-city panache and swagger without the stratospheric prices. In addition to cocktails, guests will find local craft beer, wine, and a “grazing” menu of large plates to share.
Construction at the Cherry Street location (715 Cherry Street / Chattanooga) is well underway. The 2,000-plus-square-foot space is shaping up with an industrial artist loft feel — all rough, edgy, and dive-bar-y — with lots of exposed brick, high ceilings, and hardwood floors.
Naturally, customers will enter through a bold, bright red, British-style telephone booth. After buzzing themselves in via the telephone, they’ll be lead to a second secret door marking the actual entrance to London Calling.
Heeley promises a solid playlist of all-British tunes, from the Stones to the Beatles to some of today’s popular U.K. bands.
The idea to open London Calling has been a labor of love for Heeley for years now. It’s 100% self-funded. Though a Londoner by birth, his fiance went to school in Chattanooga. He fell in love with it in the same way she did, and the two ultimately decided to settle down in the Scenic City.
His biggest draw to Chattanooga? “[J]ust the positivity of the city — it’s palpable,” he said.
“Chattanoogans love Chattanooga and anything from Chattanooga,” he said. “It’s nice to come into a city as an outsider and then be a part of this.”
We couldn’t agree more! Welcome “home,” James.
Follow London Calling on Facebook for updates and grand opening details!