The Best Cocktail Bars in London
With one of the most cutting-edge cocktail scenes in the world, a new swathe of wildly experimental London cocktail bars have been exploring new flavours, fragrances and even advanced molecular techniques to redefine the city’s cocktail experience. After sampling our way through the city's finest cocktail bars, here is our selection of the best new cocktail bars in London:
1. 69 Colebrooke Row As one of the best cocktail mixologists in the world, Tony Conigliaro has been breaking the boundaries of cocktail creation for over a decade by experimenting with exotic ingredients and cutting-edge techniques learned from his many years behind the bar at London’s best cocktail bars. Seeking to take the cocktail experience beyond merely a taste sensation at his latest venture, 69 Colebrooke Row, Conigliaro and his team have been exploring the advanced techniques of chefs, perfumers, scientists, alchemists and designers to create a complete taste, sensory and visual cocktail experience. Don’t miss house specialties such as the Vintage El Presidente with Havana barrel proof rum, triple sec, martini rosso and homemade grenadine aged for 6 months; or the exotic Haiku with Kigo, sandalwood, almond and rice milk; and don't be surprised to smell a waft of a Chanel No.5-style fragrance which is infused into his deliciously sippable mixes. The decor at this truly tiny speakeasy-style cocktail bar is suitably retro, with only a handful of tables, a few stools in front of the bar (our favourite), and a warm, relaxed atmosphere with highly personalised service. Once you’ve found your way inside the unmarked door outside, sit back, relax and prepare for an unforgettable cocktail journey. Bookings advised.
2. Lounge Bohemia You'll take a step back in time to 1960s Eastern Europe as you disappear inside the barely marked door of Lounge Bohemia and descent into the dimly lit basement deep within. Every detail has been painstakingly considered within this intimate, secretive cocktail bar, from the original 1960s Eastern European communist era lounges and furnishings, to the menus hidden inside antique Czech hardback books. As you run your eye through the cocktail list, however, you’ll discover expert mixologist Paul Tvaroh’s wildly imaginative and experimental cocktail menu that takes the classics and give them a futuristic, molecular twist into foams, gels and other edible forms. While the cocktail menu presents perfectly mixed classics for the less adventurous, we recommend that you experience Lounge Bohemia's specialty cocktails or the highly inventive three- or five-course “Tasting Menus”, where a White Russian may be served as a vodka & cream marshmallow served on a spoon with a kahlua dip; a glass of champagne served with “caviar” pearls of mango-infused vodka, mango juice and rose syrup presented within a delicate silver jar; or a Campari & Soda served as campari candy floss with an accompanying shot of soda. The only rules here are to make a reservation in advance to ensure that you can be seated at one of the handful of lounges, and don’t even think about wearing a corporate suit which is strictly forbidden here. Expect highly innovative cocktails, highly entertaining conversation from the owner and sole bartender, Paul Tvaroh, and a truly special and unique cocktail experience.
3. Purl Transporting a sense of New York’s speakeasy cocktail bar scene to London’s Marlyebone, Purl cocktail bar is tucked away inside an intimate basement space of a Georgian house with low vaulted ceilings, an eclectic mix of thrown together antiques, and a seemingly endless labyrinth of cosy, private nooks. Purl is all about perfectly mastered, top-notch classic cocktails presented with an unexpected twist. The cocktail menu is limited to only 12 cocktails which range from perfectly mixed classics such as a sharp Negroni or a refreshing Hemingway Daquiri, to the more experimental offerings such as the Mr Hyde’s Fixer-Upper which is served in a medicine bottle that starts smoking when the sealed wax top is removed, or the KeteLN2 liquid nitrogen martini that’s stirred until its a chilly -50C. One of the secrets to Purl’s success is their phenomenal ice which is hand carved from a 14kg crystal clear ice block behind the bar to ensure that their drinks are served at the perfect temperature while you’re drinking it. Head for one of the two bar stools in front of the bar to watch the magic unfold, and if you’re lucky the friendly bar team might take you on a tour of their rare spirits, mysterious concoctions and homemade brews. This cosy, snug little gem is one of our favourite places for a casual, quiet and well crafted cocktail.