If you’re looking for the next new thing why not try something new - that’s old? Elegantly coming to life around town are the step-back-in-time cocktail bars, giving us taste of times gone by in the midst of London's trendiest quarters.
Perfect for a date or a rendez-vous with friends, I’ve thoroughly enjoying checking out these watering holes, and I wanted to share a few of them with you.
Situated in a basement in Shoreditch, you descend a narrow metal staircase and find yourself in a small basement bar that can house around 50 people. Now I say 'bar', when a closer description could be a 1960’s front room, and the 'book only' policy means it doesn’t get too full and the atmosphere stays relaxed. Make sure you’re feeling social, as you’re likely to share a table with others. Much like the theme of many of these bars, it’s all about the cocktails, and owner/bartender Paul Tvaroh puts some serious care and attention into his. Serious. It has to be tried to be believed, so Czech it out (I am allowed one pun and there it was).
Despite its humble location, between two cafes on City Road, this hidden gem intrigues and draws you in from the street. Descend the flight of stairs and you’ll be shown your seat (or perhaps your private cove) past the library and the jazz band, adorned with vintage fittings and decorative copper stills. The cocktail menu is divided into pre-prohibition, prohibition, post-war, and Nightjar’s own specials. Once again expect to be dazzled by the standard of the cocktails and the unique atmosphere: sexy, dark and classy.
Located on the blurry line between the City and East London, this spot 'satisfies on a multi-sensory level'. Once again located below ground, this gin palace establishment has a chemistry set, visible from the bar, helping compound the fact that their cocktails have been cogitated and deliberated making the final offering unique. Ever heard of “Naked Cheese Vodka” or “English Apple Acid”? These form part of the “Earth of England” cocktail. Say no more. The decor, the service and the creative menu combines the weird and the wonderful. You’ll be whistling all the way home.
If these haven’t tickled your fancy, there’s a growing number of speakeasy cocktails bars you experience. Check out the Experimental Cocktail Club in China Town, Soho, the cool underground secrecy of The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, or the flare and creativity of Purl - London.