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The Coolest Bars in London: 10 Must-Visit Spots

October 21, 2019 by Sophie Braybrook

We’ve rounded up the coolest bars in London, so whether you’re after a quirky drinking hole in North London or an eccentric centrally-located bar, we’ve got every corner of the capital covered.

Read more: The Best Cocktail Bars in Oxford

God’s Own Junkyard

The Cocktail Service caught up with Matthew Bracey, Director at God’s Own Junkyard, to get some insider information on this neon space.

“We hire and make neon signs for television and movie productions,” Matthew explained. “Many have been in recent productions, such as The Hitman’s Boy Guard, Captain America, Fast and the Furious and Bridget Jones.

“We’ve had a lot of celebrities pass through in recent years, including Johnny Vegas, John Bishop, Jamie Oliver, Dynamo and many more.”

“Some weekends we have a glass bender or glass creation live shows for people watch while drinking a cocktail”, Matthew continued.

Pop in and enjoy a mocktail, cocktail or afternoon tea in the quirky, rustic beer garden, and browse the funky neon signs while bobbing to 80s music. Or, if you’re really loving the feel of this bar, book it for your next private function.

If you’re planning an event, make sure you’re aware of London’s best blank canvas event spaces.

Matthew rounded off his virtual tour of God’s Own Junkyard, finishing with his favourite feature: “We have a bog in the Tardis that was given to us by the BBC. It was used in Doctor Who back in the day. Nothing compares to taking a dump in the original Tardis.”

It’s no surprise that God’s Own Junkyard is a popular destination for photo shoots and private events, but please be aware that this means the bar is only open to the public Friday and Saturday 11 am to 9 pm and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm.

BYOC Camden

BYOC Camden brings together the excitement of speakeasies during the 1920s US prohibition age and world-class mixologists who can whip up exciting beverages based on your preferences.

BYOC literally stands for Bring Your Own Cocktail (except you only have to bring the spirit), so grab your favourite ‘liquor’ and book a table.

You’ll be served by your very own mixologist who will learn your flavour preferences when serving you over the course of two hours, using the very bottle you bring with you!

Whether you’re a history buff or simply enjoy a cocktail (or both!) BYOC Camden is definitely up there with one of the coolest bars in London.

Original Sin

Original Sin has made it onto our list of the coolest bars in London for a few reasons. First and foremost, the decor. A free pool table (unheard of, we know!) is situated under an impressive chandelier, and the comfortable booths that occupy the long, thin, dimly-lit room create a cosy atmosphere.

Secondly, the incredibly friendly bar staff will remember both your name and your order, which is convenient (and makes you feel rather important).

In addition to the stylish atmosphere, Original Sin has an impressive menu of particularly potent drinks using complex spirits like white rye, mezcal and Kamm & Sons instead of the expected gin and vodka. We could stay here all day.

Not convinced? Stick to these amazing gin cocktail recipes instead.

 

Apples and Pears

This fun and lively, independently-owned cocktail bar is based in the heart of Shoredich’s Brick Lane.

The husband and wife team behind Apples and Pears have dressed the space to impress, added a colourful cocktail menu made from locally-sourced ingredients and finished their bar off with an eclectic music programme. Expect great old school hip hop, 80s/90s party classics and live acoustic sessions and great beverages.

Dabbers Bingo

Dabbers Social Bingo is hosted in an impressive venue that’s neatly tucked down a side street in the heart of Shoreditch.

Modernising the traditional British pastime by replacing tea with cocktails and bingo-callers with comedians, this bingo bar has become a popular destination for the competitive ones among us.

Whether you fancy some Saturday night entertainment, or you’re feeling a bout of brunch-time luck, Dabbers Social Bingo will be sure to cater for your needs.

Alcotraz

Inspired by America’s most infamous prison and top tourist attraction, Alcotraz offers a fully-immersive, theatrical experience where guests are required to smuggle alcohol into a ‘prison’.

Working inmates (mixologists) meet customers inside and mix up the most delicious cocktails based on the spirit you smuggle past the wardens.

As soon as you pop your orange jumpsuit on, be prepared to enter a world of mischief and excitement.

Use our handy guide to the top 50 British spirits to work out which spirit would you smuggle into Alcotraz.

Little Nan’s Bar, Deptford

Roll up Pat Butcher fans, because you’re not going to want to miss this Pat-inspired bar. Little Nan’s Bar is a multi-award-winning bar located under three grade two listed railway arches, just next to Deptford High Street station.

This cosy corner isn’t only a hotspot with locals, but the eclectic range of drinks, including teapot cocktails and frozen slushies, and karaoke and pub quiz nights, attract people from all corners of the capital.

Waeska

There was no way we can write a piece on the capitals coolest bars without mentioning Waeska.

Dubbed London’s trippiest bar, Waeska is simultaneously confusing and intriguing. The mirror-topped tables clash with the industrial ceiling and floral-print chairs while the world’s only gazellecock (hybrid peacock and gazelle) can be found positioned just above the bar.

Every cocktail on the menu has been created using ethnobotany, which looks at the medicinal properties in plants, and it’s thought that the labradorite bar has healing properties, including raising consciousness and grounding spiritual energies. So, drinking here is almost good for you!

Should nothing on the short menu take your fancy, the Waeska mixologists are trained to make any cocktail, so tell them your poison and soak up the atmosphere.

Laki Kane

If you love rum and hate refined sugar, we couldn’t have a better bar suggestion for you! Laki Kane is the world’s first rum bar to say ‘no’ to refined sugar.

Go on a rum-tasting experience, a rum-making workshop, or simply relax with your favourite rum-based drink. Laki Kane’s modern-take on a tiki bar will be sure to get you in the holiday groove, and you don’t even have to leave London!

Nine Lives

With a no waste policy, everything lovingly sourced and an ethos of salvation, Nine Lives’ cocktail menu has a great focus on sustainability and a dedication to their low carbon footprint.

Not only are Nine Lives practising sustainability in a traditional sense, but they’re also reinvesting their profit shares into their staff on the grounds that they provide great customer service. This human sustainability scheme aims to retain long-standing staff and cut costs in recruitment fees.

Nine Lives ticks more than the sustainability box, expect warm welcomes, great soundtracks and otherworldly cocktails.

Check out our complete guide to sustainable cocktails or our ultimate vegan drinking guide for everything you need to know about sustainable and ethical drinking.

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