Yep, we did the grueling hard drinking, and put together a list of the eight best new bars to hit the capital over the last couple of months (and that’s like 64 in dog bars!). So without further ado, here’s where to grab a cold one while the weather still demands it...
The 8 best new bars in London
This classic-look spot is all about the cocktails (although they also do a damn fine steak thanks to their Josper grill), and uniquely, they age literally all of them using every method possible short of sending them off to war. Their Negroni is rested in a “heavily charred barrel”, their martini is conditioned in a steel flask, the whiskey in their Penicillin cocktail has been soaking up flavour in a leather vessel, and their Cosmopolitan is improved thanks to a full month of straight-up bottle-aging.
An underground bar beneath the Tower Bridge Draft House, Bump shows us their spin on cocktails (as well as supplying some next-level beers from Mikkeller, BrewDog, Evil Twin, etc.). In the corner of the dark, industrially furnished space, you’ll find a small lab complete w/ centrifuge & infusers, where they create the ingredients for drinks like the signature Electric Kool Aid, which comes with Campari, sparkling wine, powdered malic/citric acids to add at your discretion, and -- get this -- a 9V battery to lick.
Owned & operated by the folks behind the vineyards & orchards of Kent’s vaunted Hush Heath Estate, Bart's unsurprisingly makes both its own wines and ciders. You'll find traditional bottle-fermented apple, blackcurrant, and nettle ciders, as well as beers like Brooklyn, Thornbridge, and Delirium, among others. Also, they're planning on using the bi-level space to host regular live musical acts, too.
After opening two of the best hidden bars in London, it seems that the folks at The Breakfast Club did not rest on their laurels, or even consider their laurels for seating, because they’ve now opened Call Me Mr Lucky underneath their Southwark branch. Head in, tell the wait-person you’re “here to get lucky”, and you’ll be whisked through a Byzantine maze of corridors, stairs, and kitchens through to the bar, which is decorated with Christmas lights and has a tequila-heavy menu of just nine drinks. Order the Lucky Rostini, whose edge is deliciously taken off w/ black walnut bitters, and you won't be disappointed.
Set up by booze-mixing savant JJ Goodman, TCCC takes the delicious skills honed at his vaunted London Cocktail Club, and pours them into barrels, bottles, and draft lines. You’ll find cocktails on tap like the Hot Blooded Mary (house-made vodka, Kashmiri chilli peppers, tomato passata), and sparkling bottled cocktails like their Sandinista (aged rum, marmalade, and house-made cacao nib liqueur). Also? Everything’s available to take out from their off-license.
Now open on the banks of the Thames, all three of Munki’s floors are seeped in old-school elegance, with an almost library-like vibe of antique furnishings & panel walls. The drinks themselves keep on-theme with a throwback cocktail menu of Sazeracs, Brambles, Sidecars, and juleps alongside newer booze blends like their Maidstone Munki, whose whiskey & rosemary are punctuated by sherry-soaked raisins.
Part bar, part club, Kaizen’s space announces itself with an entire cherry blossom tree rooted in centre, next to which you’ll find both the DJ booth and the bar. There, you’ll find that cherry blossom itself has made its way into cocktails like their Old Fashioned (along with some Devil’s Cut bourbon, which is extracted from the wood of the aging barrel itself). Hungry? Just as well, because they’re slinging steamed buns, dim sum, and sashimi, too.
Set in a huge space filled with bare brick, bare wood, and bare concrete, Forge’s bar has the stripped-down, low-lit look of slightly sexy industry. The cocktails, all numbered rather than named, count everything from the whiskey/apple No. 1 to the gin/rosemary No. 92, and the food stays rugged with the likes of spit-roasted cider pork belly, Coke-glazed gammon, and 20oz tomahawk steaks.
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1. Silk & Grain33 Cornhill, London
2. Bump Caves206-208 Tower Bridge Rd, London
3. St. Bart's Brewery66 West Smithfield, London
4. Call Me Mr Lucky11 Southwark St, London
5. The Craft Cocktail Co.Arch 253, Paradise Row, London
6. Munki12 Putney High St, London
7. Cafe Kaizen17 Hanover Square, London
8. Forge24 Cornhill, London
This classic-look spot is all about the cocktails, and uniquely, they age literally all of them using every method possible short of sending them off to war -- their Negroni is rested in a “heavily charred barrel”, their martini is conditioned in a steel flask, the whiskey in their Penicillin cocktail has been soaking up flavour in a leather vessel, and their cosmopolitan is improved thanks to a full month of bottle-aging.
An underground bar beneath, and attached to, the London Bridge Draft House, Bump takes the same obsessive approach to its cocktails (as well as supplying some next-level beers from Mikkeller, BrewDog, Evil Twin, etc.). In the corner of the dark, industrially furnished space you’ll find a small lab complete w/ centrifuge & infusers, where they create the ingredients for drinks like the Electric Kool Aid (Campari, powdered malic/citric acids, sparkling wine, and a damn 9V battery to lick).
Owned & operated by the folks behind the vineyards & orchards of Kent’s vaunted Hush Heath Estate, Bart's unsurprisingly makes both its own wines and ciders, counting traditional bottle fermented apple, blackcurrant, and nettle ciders.
Tell the cafe staff you "want to get lucky," and follow them down stairs, through the kitchen, and into a dark, secluded bar with a ceiling covered in multicoloured, mini chinese lanterns. There’s a bit of a culinary bent to the menu, with drinks like the "Tian Green Margarita," which features Tapatio Blanco tequila infused with kaffir lime leaf and red chili, lime coconut milk, and lemongrass-infused agave
Bringing true cocktail innovation to Bethnal Green, The Craft Cocktail Co. concocts sophisticated 'tails using premium ingredients and traditional methods.
This uniquely named cocktailery features a lengthy menu that includes a number of classic favorites, as well as seasonal 'tails, New World options, and even some non-alcoholic versions for those who want to keep it super-low key.
This Mayfair bar wears a number of different hats, functioning as a cocktail lounge, juice bar, indoor fashion market (!), and occasionally, when the mood is right: a night club.
This stylish cocktail bar/resto provides the perfect environment for after-work drinks, relaxing lunches, and tasty dinners, with an extensive menu of choice meats and seasonal specials, and a drinks list that ranges from a variety of beers and wines to spirits and specialty cocktails.