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One of the Best Cocktail Bars in London Flies East for the Summer

Soho favourite Swift will open a second site in Shoreditch, with an all-day model designed to mitigate COVID-19 limitations

A sgroppino cocktail at Swift Shoreditch, served in a coupe on a marble bar
A sgroppino cocktail, to be served at Swift Shoreditch
Swift [Official Photo]

Lauded Soho cocktail bar Swift will fly east for the summer to open a sibling in Shoreditch, with an all-day model bolstering the drinks that have earned the original a reputation as one of London’s best cocktail bars.

Co-founders Mia Johansson and Bobby Hiddleston are pressing ahead with the opening at 93 Great Eastern Street in partnership with Roisin Stimpson and Edmund Weil — of London stalwarts Nightjar and Oriole — despite mixed feelings within the restaurant world on the viability and safety of reopening.

With social distancing protocols reducing capacity, the introduction of coffee, slick brunch dishes, and toasties made with cheese from outstanding dairy Neal’s Yard is both an evolution and an opportunity to adapt. Johansson said the team “are hopeful that London’s world-class cocktail scene will rebuild itself to come back stronger than ever. Sticking to our plan to open our second site is just the embodiment of our faith in this and we are so excited to start hosting guests again.”

It’s already shown an ability to respond to cocktail bar closures, introducing a cocktail delivery service across London with some of the most popular drinks, including a pear-heavy riff on the classic Collins and a gin and basil spritz.

The original Swift, a split-level operation built for speedy cocktails upstairs and lingering drams of whisky below, has earned a hefty reputation since opening in 2016. In Eater London’s guide to the capital’s best cocktail bars, contributor Emma Hughes writes:

“Old Compton Street has long been Soho’s naughtiest thoroughfare and, in Swift, it now has two world-class cocktail bars for the price of one. Upstairs is a sleek white space, ideal for an after-work/pre-theatre round of oysters and martinis. Downstairs is a cosy speakeasy-style basement you might slither into for the night.”

It has also earned acclaim from controversial industry body World’s 50 Best, which placed Swift on its best bars list in 2018 and 2019.

Slated to open late July, Swift Shoreditch will open from 8 a.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on weekends.