Whether seeking out a sophisticated drinking den to nurse a negroni for an hour or so, scouring East London for a chilled-out spot for weekend pints with friends or selecting an experimental bar to impress your latest Hinge date, our list has got you covered.

Double Standard, King’s Cross

Kitted out with retro flare – red-leather banquette seating, a disco soundtrack and net curtains – the Double Standard, which occupies half of the ground floor of The Standard Hotel in King’s Cross, has a strong party vibe. Order a nightcap (we recommend the chocolate stout martini) to the library lounge, and peruse a selection of ex-library books while you sip. Pair with snacks prepared by ex-Pachamama chef Adam Rawson – the herby scotch egg with fennel tartare and dill mustard is a best-seller.

The Blind Pig, Soho

Stacked above Jason Atherton’s scrumptious restaurant, Social Eating House, is one of the best speakeasies in the city. Make for Soho’s Poland Street, look under the antique “optician” sign and clang the blindfolded hog doorknocker to enter. Inside, peruse a cocktail list modelled on children’s literature – try the “kindergarten cup” (Skittles mixed with Ketel One vodka) or “Robin Hood, quince of thieves?” (brandy, quince liqueur and mead). For something a little more mature, the pub grub-style bar snacks have all the Michelin flare of the food downstairs.

Scout, Hackney

With ten daily changing cocktails and a 90s R&B playlist on loop, Scout (founded by Matt Whiley of The Peg + Patriot and Whistling Shop) draws the right crowd. For £11, you can sample concoctions brewed and bottled in the bar’s basement cocktail lab – we’re sipping on the “shiso” (minty shiso leaves, honey wine and vermouth). Two drinks in and feeling peckish? A short snack menu is created from the drinks’ leftover ingredients – the Androuet cheese with smoked apple puree is a must.

The Berkeley Bar & Terrace, Knightsbridge

Hidden at the back of The Berkeley, this might be the most secretive terrace in Knightsbridge. Sleek interiors with a combination of velvet marshmallow pouffes and salvaged walnut-wood panels creates the perfect environment for a tête-à-tête and tequila. If the bar space is full, sip on cocktails or a rare whisky in The Snug – a private hideaway dominated by a large-scale abstract mural featuring women’s faces by Irish interior designer Bryan O’Sullivan and New York artist TM Davy.

  • +44 20 7235 6000
  • Go to Website
  • The Berkeley
    Wilton Place
    SW1X 7RL

Every Cloud, Hackney

Vice journalist Joel Golby scribes the hilarious menu descriptions at this popular drinking den. Full disclosure: Every Cloud is unglamorous and there’s no ceremonious serving here – drinks come in a glass, end of. Pair your perfectly straightforward tipple with something salty – there’s a crisp menu with an array of snacks sold at corner-shop prices.

Untitled, Dalston

Tony Conigliaro’s Dalston joint, Untitled, is his largest (and most impressive) bar yet. (Conigliaro also runs 69 Colebrooke Row and Bar Termini). Each of Untitled’s 12 cocktails – prepared in a laboratory using scientific molecular mixology – are designed to look, taste and smell just like their names. “Waif” blends rhubarb, rose, silver tip tea and champagne and is served in an elegant glass that could easily snap if gulping to eagerly. Interiors are inspired by Andy Warhol’s “The Factory” studio in New York and Untitled proves itself as a similarly creative cove.

Wringer & Mangle, Hackney

Housed in an old laundry building, Wringer & Mangle has dismissed it’s squeaky-clean past in favour of a more rebellious present. The drinks menu is inventive (and extensive), with a £10 cocktail list that plays on a laundry theme. (You won’t go wrong with a “long rinse collins” – Belvedere vodka infused with sage leaves, fresh lemon, cardamom syrup and fresh blueberries.) High ceilings, cosy retro decor and a comforting fire pit in the middle of its all-weather terrace are likely to keep you here longer than intended.

Tayēr + Elementary, Old Street

Setting the London cocktail scene aflutter, Tayēr + Elementary’s split personality appeals to all. The front-facing Elementary comprises of an industrial space – exposed vents and floor-to-ceiling windows – with the action centred around a single, long wooden bar. Order the palo santo gimlet (gin, sherry, Lillet Blanc and a cordial flavoured with South American wood) if you fancy something with a smoky. For a more experimental drinking experience, slide behind a concrete wall imprinted with jars and glasses to Tayēr (Spanish for “workshop”).

Gosnells of London, Peckham

As London’s only mead (a spirit made from fermented honey) bar, Gosnells is already a noteworthy drinking den. Order the bar’s bestseller, the “mead-hattan” – a blend of barrel-aged mead with gin, honey and bitters – and pair with small plates from the Coal Rooms kitchen downstairs. Should you develop a liking for the fermented spirit, Gosnells hosts mead master classes, honey tastings and food pairings.

  • +44 20 3289 9562
  • Go to Website
  • Unit 2
    Print Village
    Chadwick Road
    SE15 4PU

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