Food & Drink

An editor's guide to drinking around town

Published On 04/11/2013 Published On 04/11/2013

After two millennia of standing outside pubs eating crisps being the main form of drinking, London has become an explosion of craft brewing, molecular cocktails, and local wine. Enter Thrillist editor Jason Allen, who's gone through the dreadful task of enjoying himself every night, just to put together this guide to the best drinkeries.

Best Club: Gotta be Fabric. It's an oldie but a goodie, and's appropriately located opposite a literal meat market.

Best for Work: Bob Bob Ricard, for the sole reason that there's a button in each booth that says "Press for Champagne". No way that doesn't impress your boss. Or go on your expense account

Best for Partying: When a place is actually called Birthdays, you know it's good for partying. Plus, there's a place upstairs where you can get a dozen margaritas and ox-heart tacos! Also, it's in Dalston, and that entire neighborhood's good for partying.


Best Drink: Damn if it's not a Mr. Hyde's at Purl -- a corked bottle filled with 23yo rum & applewood smoke that comes in a bucket of dry ice, and tastes like Kate Upton's lips

Best Cocktail Bar: 69 Colebrooke Row. The original spot from Tony Conigliaro (aka, the "Heston Blumenthal of cocktails") literally has a separate laboratory with sexy lab girls nearby where the drinks are designed

Best Wine Bar: Gordon's on The Strand. It's the oldest in London, and it's all underground -- literally, it's in a cave -- with low-slung ceilings and candles for light


Best Beer Bar: The Craft Beer Co has the biggest selection of barley-pops in the UK, which makes it kind of difficult to beat as far as beer bars go. Or bars in general. It also doesn't hurt that it's super nice


Best Local Beer: We didn't invade the sh*t out of Scotland so that we could count them as not being local, so I'm saying Brewdog's whiskey-cask-aged Paradox


Best Brewery: London Fields, definitely. They were at the vanguard of the London craft scene, and they frequently organize a p*ss up at the brewery

Best Local Hang: Freud is one of my favourite bars in London -- it's underground, they serve cocktails by the pint, and when you show up it'll likely be rammed, yet you'll somehow find yourself with a seat within 10mins. Promise

Best Place to Day Drink: Literally any pub anywhere

Best Outdoor Spot: The Ship. Its garden looks out onto the Thames, so you can watch the boats go by, and taunt them with your refreshing pint


Hottest Girls: It's no secret that money = hot ladies, and not only is The Long Bar in a five-star hotel, but it's also -- get this -- really, really long, which means the odds are totally in your favour

Easiest Place to Get Laid: Put it this way: the girls at Mahiki are not looking to have a really hot, sweaty conversation with you.

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1. London Fields Brewery 374 Helmsley Place, London, E8 3SB (Hackney)

Conceived by a pair of barley-pop enthusiasts over a pint of the very thing they're so enthusiastic about, Fields is housed in an open East London space with its own outdoor seating area, where they'll be crafting six different beers, a number whittled down to after an initial "experimental mass fermenting effort" -- oddly not a euphemism for uni.

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2. Gordon's Wine Bar 47 Villiers Street, Embankment, WC2N 6NE (Covent Garden)

Buried deep beneath cobbled streets in Covent Garden, Gordon's Wine Bar is composed of multiple caves and tunnels filled with small candlelit tables and copious bottles of wine, which is somehow more romantic than it is gimmicky. Gordon's has been around since 1890, and is still going strong serving its wide selection of global wines (ranging from red to rosé to vegan) and a handful of snacks, such as cheese plates, a smoked salmon salad, and peppers stuffed with feta cheese.

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3. Bob Bob Ricard 1 Upper James St, Soho, W1F 9DF (Soho)

Glitz and glam and everything nice. Bob Bob Ricard pushes the envelop for having a swank venue with classic Russian dishes and plenty of caviar, naturally. Oh, and there's a button in each booth that says "Press for Champagne". No, really.

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4. Birthdays Dalston/Psychic Burger 33-35 Stoke Newington Rd, London, N16 8BJ

Birthdays Dalston houses the burger joint Psychic Burger, making up a two-story bar and entertainment venue located near the Hackney neighborhood of London.

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5. Purl 50-54 Blandford St, London, W1U 7HX (Marylebone)

Purl is a classic-style cocktail bar serving up warming drinks in a rustic setting with live music including jazz & blues.

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6. The Craft Beer Co. 82 Leather Lane, , London, EC1N 7TR (Clerkenwell)

If the Craft Beer Co. doesn't have it, it probably doesn't exist, or you're pronouncing it wrong. From craft beers, bourbon to wine, they have it all, and also offer tastings.

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7. BrewDog Camden 113 Bayham St, , London, NW1 0AG (Camden)

With their first English outpost a stone's from Camden tube, the Scots behind BD continue their proud tradition of slinging a stunning diversity of hops within this spartan double-floored space sporting huge windows, bare low-hung lightbulbs, and a bar topped with cement despite serving almost zero mixers.

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8. Freud 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JL (Covent Garden)

Freud's is underground, they serve cocktails by the pint, and when you show up it'll likely be rammed, yet you'll somehow find yourself with a seat within 10mins. Promise.

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9. The Sanderson 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG (Fitzrovia)

Somehow managing to be right in the heart of central London, yet also on a totally quiet street, Sanderson conceals its five stars behind a cool steel & glass frontage of '50s futurism, which is only the start of its eccentricities.

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10. Mahiki 1 Dover Street, London, W1S 4LD (Mayfair)

Mahiki's a tiki bar where, well, we'll put it this way: the girls here are not looking to have a really hot, sweaty -- ahem -- conversation with you.

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11. fabric 77A Charterhouse St, London, EC1M 6HJ (Clerkenwell)

This club's an oldie but a goodie, and's appropriately located opposite a literal meat market. And if that doesn't sell you, it's been consistently considered one of the best clubs in the world.

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12. The Ship 41 Jews Rd, , London, SW18 1TB (Wandsworth)

Located right smack dab on the Thames, The Ship is a little pub with a big personality, featuring great food, drink, and company -- and an outdoor patio.

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