Denmark Street is ground zero for the Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott novels – with their office located here above the famous 12 Bar Club (the building with the red and green mural in the photo below).
The short street – which runs between Charing Cross Road and St. Giles High Street/Flitcroft Street – has quite a history of its own. Known as “Tin Pan Alley” and dating originally to the late 17th century, in the 1950s it became associated with the British music industry: publishers, recording studios and music shops. David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols and Elton John all wrote, recorded, hung out and/or lived here. Music shops remain on the street to this day.
As described in The Cuckoo’s Calling, with Robin’s first encounter with the spot: “The nondescript black-painted doorway of the office she sought stood to the left of the 12 Bar Café.”
Throughout The Cuckoo’s Calling, it is mentioned that Strike could hear the bass from the 12 Bar Café below his office. This small live music venue was located in the space now fronted by the mural from 1994 until 2015. Some now-well-known musicians played at 12 Bar before they were so well-known, including Adele, Martha Wainwright, KT Tunstall, Damien Rice and Keane. The building was originally stables, built in 1635, before becoming a blacksmith shop until after World War I.
Strike and Robin’s office building is described as having a birdcage lift that’s perpetually out-of-order (unfortunate for the disabled Strike). His office is located on the second floor, above that of Mr. Crowdy, a graphic designer.
From The Silkworm onwards Strike lives in the tiny flat at the top of the building, which consists of a kitchen/sitting room, bedroom and bathroom. In The Cuckoo’s Calling, the manager of the 12 Bar resides there.
As mentioned in Lethal White, his office and flat, as well as many other buildings on Denmark Street, are being sold to developers, and he will eventually have to move out.
Outernet is the company name of the developers, and they have converted many of the buildings on Denmark Street, including number 26, into luxury apartments, known as Chateau Denmark.
In Troubled Blood, it is mentioned that Strike had applied for a year extension of the lease of the office. Strike and Robin still have their office here in The Ink Black Heart and there is no mention of them moving.
Standing at the door of the office building, you get a spectacular view of the Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields (which, surprisingly, is never mentioned in the books).
Fernandez & Wells (the black fronted building in the photo above) is now closed, but the window seats used to offer a great view of Strike and Robin’s office building.
The real Denmark Street is also used for the filming of the Strike (or C.B. Strike) TV series. However, Strike and Robin’s office is located at number 6 instead of number 26. You can find more on this here.
For a few years following the closure of the 12 Bar Club, rumours about the return of the bar were circling online. At one point there was a legal battle between the new developers and the previous owner regarding the use of the original name for the new bar. In 2022, a bar called The Lower Third opened. The bar specialises in cocktails and has a small stage for live music in the back room and a larger music venue downstairs.
When we were at The Lower Third in October 2022, there was a book launch party for Pattie Boyd, model and ex-wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton. A few rockstars were present that night, including Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Ronnie Wood (The Rolling Stones) and Roger Taylor (Queen), as well as Pattie herself. We saw no sign of Jonny Rokeby, though.…
Here are some photos of the new luxury apartments of Chateau Denmark on Denmark Street:
If you ever find yourself on Denmark Street, you might also be interested in seeing the tallest door in London. This building on Flitcroft Street, just outside the St Giles church, used to be home of the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms — storage for theatre scenery and backdrops from 1908. The door was used to move the scenery boards in and out.
Here’s the map to Denmark Street: