Here we give you a tiny guide (because there are a lot) of some really good (by our standards, and they’re preeeetty high) cocktail bars in London that are a little different to the norm, if you want to impress a date or take your mates out for a classy drink before a not so classy night out, then we guarantee* you won’t regret visiting these cocktail bars in London.
49-50 St John’s Square, EC1V 4JJ
Open- Sunday – Wednesday – 7 am- Midnight
Thursday – Saturday – 7am- 1am
As you approach the building where ZTH in Clerkenwell is situated amongst similar Georgian townhouses you are almost transported back in time, imagining the horse and carts (minus the poo and bad smells)
If you think that illusion ends there, you won’t be disappointed when you enter the house, you’ll feel like you stepped into someone’s living room ‘an eccentric Great Aunt’ who ZTH like to call Wilhelmina. Taxidermy and old school paintings decorate the room and the furniture are leather, dark red and blue velvet antique armchairs and sofas.
The bar is small and lined up behind it is what looks like a mixture of potions…nah, don’t worry you haven’t wandered into an apothecary these are mixes for those drinks you’re about to buy. The cocktail list has been made up by a very clever man, Tony Conigliaro he has created recipes inspired by the distillery heritage of the area. Pat yourself on the back Ton, they are exceptional.
Drinks are about 11 upwards, you can also get some small plates and sharing plates of food if you fancy (just try not to make eye contact with any stuffed animals whilst you eat the meatier dishes, you might feel a little guilty)
The place is like a living room, therefore it is quite small and the music isn’t blaring, this is a classy place after-all. So if you want to drown out any awkwardness this might not be the place to go, but she will be impressed, just make sure she doesn’t have a phobia of old things or stuffed animals otherwise you’re screwed (not in a good way)
In the basement, 8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU
Open- Monday- Friday – 5pm-11pm
Basement bars are always good, low lit, and always make you feel like you have stumbled across a secret.
This one is no exception, hidden under another bar in Hoxton Square, you go down some steps to enter a smallish room, low ceilings, low lighting (coming from the candles lit on the table)…this place is intimate. (A good place to get a little intimate with someone we would say)
The tables have service, no standing is allowed (we recommend you book a table, this place is popular) the service is exceptional as well as the bar staff, they are excellent mixologists, will create a drink for you whilst looking good in their trouser braces.
Order from a menu ‘mixed drinks and
mischief’ …. we like the sound of a little mischief.
Cocktails range from around £10 onwards, the low lighting and good drinks will give you a little confidence so a good first date place!
8 Broadwick Street, W1F 8HN
Open- Monday and Sunday – 6pm- Midnight
Tuesday- Saturday – 6pm- 1:30am
Soho, I think we all know where that is. This place is a little different to, perhaps, your usual jaunts. There’s no plastic cups
and cheap drinks here, no,no,no. Although us lesbians will feel right at home because we are used to being in basements.
You might struggle to find the door, even with the discreet gold Basement Sate sign outside. You will walk into a dark spacious room, with a bar and DJ set. It is dark, with candles on every low to the ground table. The decor is gold and dark green, the seats are mostly green leather, a bit like the kind of chair you would find in a study… very classy.
Like all the other bars in this post, the tables are serviced, so you can chat to your date to your little heart’s content and you won’t have to awkwardly stop the conversation and wait at the bar for ages, perfect!
They offer a range of cocktails but as well as that they have a menu of desserts (savoury snacks too) They look awful fancy and you can ask the kind waiting staff which one you should choose to compliment your cocktail. Sweet tooth sorted.
Location- Bethnal Green
343 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9RA
Open- Monday- Friday – 5pm- 12am
Bethnal Green can be a little urban gritty, this bar (on the outside) is no exception. It’s black exterior and red-lit sign make it look like it is in disrepute but don’t let that deceive you.
Find the 343 doors, and when you enter it is quite light, white tiles, exposed brickwork and some French artwork on the walls make it feel less seedy than the outside. Oh, and if you like that taxidermy stuff from the ZTH then you won’t be disappointed here. If you like your taxidermy looking hipster af than look no further than the badger, with a hat and cocktail shaker. You will also find the skeleton of a unicorn….
As well as the decor you will also appreciate the music. It’s laid back hip-hop and its loud beats will drown out any awkward date or will provide a good background noise whilst you lock eyes over a drink *cringe.
The Bison Sour was one of our favourites, sweet, creamy and delicious… Although this might not be on the menu tomorrow, they change their menus daily, so if that first date isn’t too chatty, you realise it isn’t worth a second, then bring another, you won’t get bored of the cocktails at least.
Location- Old street
129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB
Open- Sunday- Wednesday – 6pm-1am
Thursday – 6pm- 2am
Friday- 6pm- 3am
Saturday- 6pm- 3am
Live jazz music every night starting at 9:30 pm finishing at 11:30 pm. You will be charged £5 per person, Wednesday – Thursday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday £8.
Friday and Saturday night they have late nights at 12:30. These tables are given away at the door so you can’t reserve but it is well worth! have a late-night, go on. They will set you back £5 on the door. It is £4 extra for those of you who have already booked and had a table. If you are going with a few mates, make sure you book a booth, a bit of privacy, although you won’t be able to see the jazz band.
That’s right this is another underground bar. Sandwiched somewhere between a corner shop and local takeaways, you find a big, yet somehow, almost elusive wooden door. Here you will be asked if you have made a reservation (we suggest you do, save yourself some embarrassment in case you don’t get in) You will then be told to go down the stairs into the dark basement.
If you haven’t come to see a jazz band they have soft American jazz playing in the background whilst you are sipping on their American styled cocktails (yeah, you’ve guessed it, this is an American speak-easy kind of cocktail bar) The menu is themed and extensive, starting off with a list of Pre-Prohibition drinks going to Postwar and onto the specials. These cocktails may have a few ingredients you’re unsure of, don’t worry though, Nightjar have thought of that and provided you with an alphabetical list at the back. Be warned they are punchier than Anthony Joshua on any given fight.
This bar is busy but you never feel cramped, or have to shout over the table, they only let people in if they have booked so no one is standing around/loitering for your table, you can chill.
If you come specifically for the jazz then you’re in for a treat, the stage itself is quite small but this adds to the impression that the bar is in old-time America, not too extravagant and you can appreciate the music that little bit more because it is so personal.
One last thing, don’t be late to this bar, if you are over 15 minutes you may risk losing your table, and this place is not to be missed.
Of course, there’s many more but treat this as an introduction, now it’s up to you to find more, go out into the joyous world of cocktail bars.
*if you didn’t like any of these cocktail bars…we don’t accept any responsibility and you should re-access your shiz.
If you feel like you want some rays on your skin, whilst still enjoying some decent cocktails why not read our article on rooftop bars.