11 award-winning bars to visit during London Cocktail Week
Signature serves will be available for £6 each throughout October
The UK’s hospitality industry hasn’t had much to celebrate of late, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the long shutdown of restaurants and pubs.
Eat Out To Help Out encouraged diners to head out post-lockdown to tuck into a total of more than 100 million meals in August, but now a new 10pm curfew has brought more restrictions to the sector.
But there is reason for cheer, with the return in October of London Cocktail Week - which this year is running for the whole month.
Hundreds of the best bars in the capital will be participating and a £15 wristband will give festival-goers exclusive access to £6 cocktails throughout October.
With so many venues to choose from, the team at DesignMyNight have shared their top recommendations.
Black Rock, Shoreditch
Since first welcoming patrons in March 2016, Black Rock has won a reputation as a leading destination for whisky fans. The centrepiece of the famous bar is a 18ft oak tree table top that dispenses liquid gold - including a £6 Johnnie Walker Afternoon Tea Punch exclusively for London Cocktail Week.
Oriole, East London
Located in Smithfield Market, Oriole is hidden behind an unassuming entrance that lead down a set of stairs to a candle-lit basement decored in a dramatic explorer’s theme, with palm-patterned wallpaper and other thematic gestures. For London Cocktail Week, the bar has concocted an exclusive highball featuring Laphroaig whisky, amaretto, muscovado tonic and pleated barley syrup.
Callooh Callay, Shoreditch
Callooh Callay has been in the business of making cocktails for the past 12 years and has won a series of awards in the process. The Alice in Wonderland-inspired bar has released a new menu since reopening post-lockdown, and will be adding a new drink every week in October. The bar will also host exclusive events, masterclasses and tastings.
For cocktail connoisseurs, Ryan Chetiyawardana needs no introduction. But for those who aren’t in the know, Chetiyawardana is one of the world’s top mixologists and also the owner of London’s Lyanness. Situated at the Sea Containers London hotel overlooking the River Thames, this bar is widely regarded as one of the world’s best.
A brick-lined, 19th century cellar bar in Marylebone, Purl serves top quality cocktails in a setting that evokes a 1920s underground speakeasy. With vintage mirrors, a grand piano and private alcoves perfect for groups of six, the prohibition-themed bar offers some of the city’s most experimental concoctions, and has dreamed up a Roku gin-based wasabi collins for this year’s festival.
Trailer Happiness, Notting Hill
Heading off abroad for a holiday hasn’t been an option for most people in 2020, but Trailer Happiness provides a great alternative in the form of its tropical tiki bar. Situated in a basement on Portobello Road, this spacious drinking den has bachelor pad vibes that may leave you feeling like you’re in California for the night. For London Cocktail Week, Trailer Happiness has created a limited-edition Playa Vida that combines rum, vermouth, cherry liqueur, grapefruit and guava juice.
Artesian, West End
The team at Artesian at The Langdon, one of London’s best hotel bars, were hard at work during lockdown crafting a totally new cocktail menu. The selection features 12 of the most popular cocktails from the 1970s, but with an Artesian twist. The team have also been hard at work for London Cocktail Week, creating a Grey Goose vodka number.
Swift Soho, Soho
Swift Soho is spread across two floors, each of which offers a different menu, to suit every palette. The art-deco style surroundings and PPE-equipped staff will make you feel right at home this October, and will be serving up an iconic sgroppino cocktail, a refreshing blend of elderflower liqueur, prosecco and lemon sorbet.
A members’ club with a colourful history, Disrepute is situated at the former site of 1960s haunt The Pinstripe Club, where cabinet minister John Profumo first met call girl Christine Keeler, triggering the biggest scandal of the decade. Hidden in a basement under Kingly Court between Carnaby Street and Beak Street, the retro-style venue is opening up bookings to non-members for the festival - which means anyone can enjoy the bar’s limited-edition El Jimador-laced tequila sour with Amaro Montenegro, banana liqueur, fresh lime juice, egg white and orange bitters.
Three Sheets, Dalston
Positioned at No.16 in the list of the world’s best bars list, Three Sheets is a forward-thinking bar with nine signature cocktails split into three sections according to the strength and flavour of each creation. In October, the bar will be introducing a Pocari-infused Suntory Toki, a mix of green tea vodka, sugar cordial and mandarin zest, topped with soda.
The Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green
The Sun Tavern is home to London’s largest Irish whiskey collection but that’s only one reason to visit during London Cocktail Week. This month the bar has teamed up with Aberfeldy Whisky to create a one-off drink called “Wee Swallie”. It’s a potent and moreish blend of Aberfeldy 12, Oloroso sherry, Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer and salted mead with fresh citrus. The team has also organised a Hatch Takeover Shift on Friday 23 October where the bar’s popular hot toddy will be available for one night only.
To purchase £15 tickets for London Cocktail Week, which has been extended for the entire month of October, see designmynight.com
Make your own cocktails
Or if you can’t get to the capital for London Cocktail Week, why not try making your own cocktails at home? Check out these recipes...