clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A bartender stands pouring a cocktail to the left of a triangular wall of spirits bottles
The new Nightjar in Carnaby.
Nightjar

The Hottest Cocktail Bars in London

The best new places to drink in the city

View as Map
The new Nightjar in Carnaby.
| Nightjar

London’s cocktail scene moves faster than an influencer lunging for the last canapé on the tray at a launch. At least it did, and then the novel coronavirus pandemic came, and lockdowns put more than just the drinks on ice. Bars — bar nightclubs — have perhaps suffered most, thriving as they do on intimate indoor spaces, so it’s no surprise that few have dared open debut ventures as the city slowly kicks back into gear. But those that have are shaking serious serves — here’s where to find the best new cocktails in London.

Read More

Seed Library

Copy Link

Ryan Chetiyawardana — Mr Lyan — returns to the London cocktail scene with this self-described “analogue” bar at the new Shoreditch High Street Hotel, 100 Shoreditch. Saying “potato” is too gauche, so the snack of choice is tattie smilies, but the cocktails themselves are classics optimised with soul, rather than coldness: a bracing sansho leaf martini that still leads with “very cold” vodka; a bright whisky sour with meadowsweet and woodruff; and a penicillin that uses agave spirits instead of the peaty stuff. All told, these are cocktails delivering new ideas so solid that they feel like they’ve been around forever.

Mayahuel

Copy Link

Adriana Cavita’s new eponymous Marylebone restaurant is making some Mexican waves, and basement mezcaleria Mayahuel is hoping to get in on the act. Served alongside chutoro tostadas and oysters with a Clamato granita, Manuel Lema’s drinks menu has an expected focus on the variety and nuances of agave spirits, with mezcal flights and a range of smart cocktails, including the inevitable and excellent margarita.

Nightjar Carnaby

Copy Link

This new Carnaby version of the Old Street institution actually allows its drinkers to sit at the bar, which is a significant departure. Less of a departure is the clever, witty menu, which divides the history of the cocktail into pre-, during, and post-prohibition. Add in sharing cocktails, a rare spirits list to get lost in, and glamorous decor, and it’s all set up to be another hit.

Swift Borough

Copy Link

The third Swift in the capital has poetically migrated south for the winter, crossing the Thames to open on Borough High Street. It follows the above/below formula of Soho, with a menu of lauded classics — including a devilish Irish coffee — on the ground floor, and a “back pocket” menu of cocktails designed to reflect the bounty of nearby Borough Market downstairs.

The work of acclaimed bartender Salvatore Calabrese, Velvet brings pure 1920s luxury to the Corinthia. The main draw is the martini section, owing to Calabrese’s background at Dukes, where he is credited with its frozen method that endures as a hallmark of the bar. He’s brought it here, as well as some riffy cocktails with a remarkable range — like a Gen Z Tiky Tok sitting next to a Black Velvet, the latter a tribute to the Queen Elizabeth II.

Seed Library

Ryan Chetiyawardana — Mr Lyan — returns to the London cocktail scene with this self-described “analogue” bar at the new Shoreditch High Street Hotel, 100 Shoreditch. Saying “potato” is too gauche, so the snack of choice is tattie smilies, but the cocktails themselves are classics optimised with soul, rather than coldness: a bracing sansho leaf martini that still leads with “very cold” vodka; a bright whisky sour with meadowsweet and woodruff; and a penicillin that uses agave spirits instead of the peaty stuff. All told, these are cocktails delivering new ideas so solid that they feel like they’ve been around forever.

Mayahuel

Adriana Cavita’s new eponymous Marylebone restaurant is making some Mexican waves, and basement mezcaleria Mayahuel is hoping to get in on the act. Served alongside chutoro tostadas and oysters with a Clamato granita, Manuel Lema’s drinks menu has an expected focus on the variety and nuances of agave spirits, with mezcal flights and a range of smart cocktails, including the inevitable and excellent margarita.

Nightjar Carnaby

This new Carnaby version of the Old Street institution actually allows its drinkers to sit at the bar, which is a significant departure. Less of a departure is the clever, witty menu, which divides the history of the cocktail into pre-, during, and post-prohibition. Add in sharing cocktails, a rare spirits list to get lost in, and glamorous decor, and it’s all set up to be another hit.

Swift Borough

The third Swift in the capital has poetically migrated south for the winter, crossing the Thames to open on Borough High Street. It follows the above/below formula of Soho, with a menu of lauded classics — including a devilish Irish coffee — on the ground floor, and a “back pocket” menu of cocktails designed to reflect the bounty of nearby Borough Market downstairs.

Velvet

The work of acclaimed bartender Salvatore Calabrese, Velvet brings pure 1920s luxury to the Corinthia. The main draw is the martini section, owing to Calabrese’s background at Dukes, where he is credited with its frozen method that endures as a hallmark of the bar. He’s brought it here, as well as some riffy cocktails with a remarkable range — like a Gen Z Tiky Tok sitting next to a Black Velvet, the latter a tribute to the Queen Elizabeth II.

Related Maps