A good indication that you are having a glamorous night out on the town is when you start perusing the cocktail menu. London deservedly has a reputation as one of the best cities in the world for nightlife, and in recent years we have seen an explosion in really great cocktail bars. In this article we take a look at some of the best cocktail options in London and also suggest some of our favourite drinks that you might like to try while you are there.
69 Colebrooke Row
Officially this tiny little bar is called “The Bar With No Name” but for ease of reference everyone knows it as 69 Colebrooke Row (which is its address). Colebrooke Row is a little backstreet in Islington, so this can be a little tricky to find if you don’t know the area but it is definitely worth tracking down. There is a very sexy, film noir feel to this place, but it is the cocktails that are the undeniable star. The magic touch comes from Tony Conigliaro – a talented guy who studied fine art and art history, worked in the fashion industry, and then made the move into creating cocktails. The expert bartenders here will always be able to mix you up any of the classics, but you should definitely focus on their seasonal menu of bespoke cocktails. My favourite at the moment is Rhubarb Gimlet – gin and rhubarb, a fantastic combination.
The Zetter Townhouse
Clerkenwell is a very cool neighbourhood on the edge of the City of London, and it doesn’t get any cooler than The Zetter Townhouse. Cocktail genius Tony Conigliaro has had a hand in this one too – overseeing the cocktail menu that has been created for this bespoke little hotel that has the feel of staying with friends – wealthy, stylish friends with incredibly good taste. Spend some time reading through the cocktail menu – there are some really exciting options there that will make it hard to choose. At the moment I’m loving The Second Husband – Earl Grey tea infused whisky mixed with bitter almond poison. Surprisingly good.
Experimental Cocktail Club
Gerrard Street is the heard of London’s Chinatown, and about half way down the street, there is a small, unmarked black door. This is where you will find the Experimental Cocktail Club (or ECC as it is generally known). This is not easy to find – you really have to know what you are looking for. Sometimes there is a guy in a black suit standing near the door – he’s the bouncer. It can be hard to get in here – they are usually booked up and even if they do have space available they can be a bit contrary. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely – these are quality cocktails. My favourite is the Havana which uses cigar-infused bourbon as its base and then builds from there.
An exciting, surprising, and always entertaining city, London has a long history of leading the world when it comes to the volume of alcohol that its residents can drink and the quality of the drinks that its barman can create. That tradition is well and truly thriving.