5 Cocktail Bars You Must Visit: London
I regularly find myself in London, time & time again, whether it be for a cocktail competition, a bit of R&R or a bit of R&D (drinking lots of cocktails in fancy bars AKA research & development). Every time I hear a friend go away I repeatedly shout out “make sure you swing by…” or “your visit won’t be completely without a trip to…”, which brought me to writing this post.
Your job is to ensure that you read this and memorise it thoroughly before you next head over to London… a big ask, I know… but it’s worth it.
Granted, there are hundreds of bars in London and if you really want to see a comprehensive list, I suggest you check out BarChick, but the below 5, are bars that will astound, amuse and change your perceptions.
The Langham Hotel, 1C Portland Place, W1B 1JA (Open in Google Maps)
Voted the world’s best bar for four years in a row, I made a little trip here back in 2015 after the Edgerton Gin Masters Final and it is truly something else. Granted, the two superstar bartenders that ran the show (Simon Corporale and Alex Kratena) have now gone on to pastures new, but I’m sure that the new team will continue to push the boundaries of modern bartending.
129 City Rd, EC1V 1JB (Open in Google Maps)
Another highly-awarded bar, Nightjar is a fantastic Prohibition-style bar situated discreetly between two cafés near Old Street roundabout in Shoreditch, whilst reservations aren’t a necessity, it is highly recommended to do so a few weeks in advance. Exemplary table service, mind-bending cocktails and a host of regular live entertainment in the form of blues and jazz (which comes with a cover charge, be warned, but well worth it).
153-155 Hoxton St, N1 6PJ (Open in Google Maps)
White Lyan is truly one of a kind – a bottled cocktail bar. Ryan Chetiyawardarna (Mr Lyan, for short) opened White Lyan in 2013 (and has since opened another bar, released a book and a line of cocktails – he’s a busy man), and took the bar world by storm as being the first bar to not use any perishables of any kind. All of the cocktails are made on-site in large batches, measured to perfection by weight and bottled; the inspiration of which was taken from Ryan’s desire to take the attitude and approach of a restaurant and apply it to a restaurant, so don’t expect to be asking for a special or a twist, strictly house pours only.
Worship Street Whistling Shop
63 Worship Street, EC2A 2DU (Open in Google Maps)
Firstly, apologies for the annoying video.
“Victorian elegance, with modern innovation”, the Whistling Shop is a great little Victorian-style bar, offering a variety of classic and inventive cocktails. The guys are also known for their own “Cream Gin” (available from Grapevine/Sommelier Wine Co.) alongside a number of other clever concoctions that they make in their kitchen/lab behind the bar. Located at 63 Worship Street, it’s not immediately obvious to find, so keep your eyes peeled.
65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
As can be seen from the video on the left, the team over at Callooh Callay have an exceptional sense of humour. The bar has won numerous awards for its cocktail menus (for both content and presentation) and is home to two bars (one of which is in a cupboard), this is an extremely creative venue and should definitely not be missed! Be advised that if you are visiting at weekends, you must book in advance, no admission without a reservation.