69 Colebrooke Row

  • Bars and pubs
  • Wine bars
Critics' choice
8 Love It
Michelle Grant / Time Out
Michelle Grant / Time Out

Tony Conigliaro, 69 Colebrooke Row, Islington, London, UK

Michael Franke / Time Out

Eating and Drinking Awards 2009, best new bar 2009

Michael Franke / Time Out

Eating and Drinking Awards 2009, best new bar 2009

Ollie Harrop
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This tiny place, a short walk from Upper Street on an Islington backstreet, is where bar-wizard Tony Conigliaro first came to widespread prominence. Conigliaro has a laboratory upstairs, producing unique cocktail ingredients which find their way into the drinks here and at his other venues.

The cocktails here actually seem much straightforward than many people expect, with fewer (and less weird) ingredients than those found at many other London bars, although there’s real dedication evident in every sip. There’s a serene simplicity in mixes such as Death in Venice: campari, grapefruit bitters and prosecco.

The visual style is classic jazz-age, and a pianist provides the soundtrack. Conigliaro’s fame and the bar’s size mean that it’s best to book, but the prices, given the reputation behind the place, are extremely reasonable.


Venue name: 69 Colebrooke Row
Address: 69 Colebrooke Row
N1 8AA
Opening hours: Open 5pm-midnight Mon-Wed, Sun; 5pm-1am Thur; 5pm-2am Fri, Sat
Transport: Tube: Angel tube

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:6
1 person listening
Ian K
1 of 1 found helpful

Terrible, terrible, terrible. Keep in mind I used to love this place, way back when there was the spirit of the founding bartender in the place. Now it feels like a speakeasy theme bar, with the piano and the small glasses on napkins and jazz theme music, only now staffed by what looked like under-aged bartenders loudly boasting about which girl they were shagging (yes really). And the drinks - if the rest didn't seem cynical enough it gets worse. For anyone who has had a classic cocktail, made with pride, filled with generosity and with a genuine understanding of the craft, which this place apparently sells itself on, well you'll want to drown your anger with cheap pints of Stella. You can pontificate all you like about paprika bitters or distilled clay, but if you can't make a proper Old Fashioned, Sidecar or Negroni then its just increasingly obvious you're a cynical theme-scam. Don't fall for it, please.

Alexandra L

As an N1 local, there's nothing I like better than finding a hidden gem within walking distance of my own front door so hopes were high for a visit to this bar, a place that I'd heard billed variously as 'retro', 'intimate', 'well done' and 'vintage'. 

Let's start with the first thing - it is intimate. In fact I'd go so far as to say that's classic estate agent speak for small. This place is tiny but not only that, it's very, very full of tables & chairs, so much so that I was a bit surprised by how many could be squeezed into somewhere that was actually smaller than my flat and seriously, as a renter in London, who ever says that?! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this as a bad thing, I just want to make it super clear that this is not the place to go if you a) want a quiet drink for two where you have your own space or b) have issues with the elbows of your drinking neighbours. It was packed when we arrived at 6.15pm - some tables did clear up by 7pm when we left but it's advisable to book a table if you know you definitely want to get in on a specific night - and it was a tiny bit awkward upon first sitting down given that we felt so close to the couple next to us, I'm now expecting an invite to their wedding.

So ok, we've established that as with everywhere in London, space is at a premium here. However, the decor is quite timeless and you can't really argue against the 1920's-esque charm of white jacketed waiters, all of whom were friendly, respectful & helpful. Drinks were all £10.50 so not cheap but certainly not out of place on the London scene and they were brought swiftly - an Old Fashioned was proclaimed very good indeed by a long time lover of the cocktail and a Lipstick Rose was elegant enough, although as a fan of the flavour, I could have done with the rose notes being ramped up a notch or two. Water glasses were given freely and kept full and complimentary Prairie Oysters were a very cool touch; beautifully spheres of tomato in the form of yolks with horseradish vodka, Oloroso sherry, shallots, celery salt, pepper sauce & micro herbs...sweet, salty, savoury and down in one, they were a really great demonstration of the imagination and skill of the bar team here.

There was a definite buzz in the air and the fact it was so busy made me think that this is the kind of place a lot of people appreciate being within walking distance of their own sofas to. I'd go here for a drink en route to somewhere else and I'd enjoy the feeling of being somewhat in another time thanks to the surroundings but if it was quiet closeness with a loved one I was after, I might have to venture further afield.

Chesca R

The prairie oyster was brilliant but the rest of the drinks didn't match up and I thought the menu was a quite limited. That said it is not offensive.

Miriam B

Worth visiting, if only for the Bloody Mary shot, which appears to be an egg yolk nestling on an oyster shell - strangely delicious. 

Samantha H

Great for a date and you are squeezed into a tiny area.  Drinks are ok, nothing to write home about. Much better places out there! 

Andy H

Went with high expectations, totally disappointed. Five of us had three rounds of various cocktails, nothing that good between all of us.

Mrs Chicken

This is cute little bar is the perfect little date place. Lovely cocktails, lovely service, and it has an almost retro vintage feel. It's not a big bar, so not perfect for large gatherings, but it's ideal if you just want a well crafted cocktail to start the night.

Shelley belle

Great cosy little place perfect for a special treat when you want to splash out on a fancy cocktail or two. Bar staff are great at helping you choose according to your tipples of choice and not at all snooty. I have already recommended this to many friends.

Becky C

Good, tasty cocktails made with a bit of experimental flair but the staff could use a lesson in service and the place is so small you feel like you're sharing your table with the entire bar. Disappointing and overrated, unfortunately.


Sounds like a typical small operation that is run by bar tenders and not hospitality enthusiasts, hence the arrogance where this is my domain and I know everything rather than, welcome to my home, I do some really fun drinks, what can I find that suites you?, they should name a cocktail humble and drink them all night. Bar tenders tend the bar, where knowledge, personality and technique is the only thing that makes them different from the person who is on the other side. they are your guests, treat them so.....


It's just not worth it. Every thing about this place is too small! Overpriced and overrated for a very uncomfortable experience. Wait until they move on to a larger spot. Not the friendliest staff either.

Chris Lowthorpe

We went for a mate's 40th to see the legendary Gary Regan deliver an hilarious talk on bars that never made money! The drinks were great - if a little on the small side - the service helpful and friendly, and the atmosphere unpretentious. Plus we even got one of Regan's infamous finger-stirred Negronis! A great experience.


Really good -- call and reserve a spot as it gets busy... Much more intimate and frankly mature than the over run bars and pubs. Excellent quality of drinks --- I'm not an expert but the prices seemed fair for the brands used.. They don't make a song and dance over the presentation of the drinks (droll now surely) and they are a good portion. Went with a mate and was ideal for a catch up I don't recommend it as a group spot its tiny!

Chris M

Service and atmosphere have always been fine but why am I paying more than £10 for the smallest drinks in the world? Saw someone get a martini when I was there not one of the drinks on the menu... He was charged more than the other drinks!


After the hype of this place I expected great things but I was really disappointed. The cocktails were certainly nothing special at the price they were and the staff were really quite rude. Guests were constantly being ushered in and out, I was being knocked constantly and you could hear the staff muttering to each other about how they needed to 'get rid' of that table as they had another group arriving. Not particularly relaxing. Why it's been voted the best cocktail bar in London I will never know.


Really disappointing, cocktail only ok, but oppressively hot in there. Really not worth the trip


Best drinks in London. Atmosphere is salacious and intimate. Hot bartenders & wait staff. Definitely an ideal date spot.


Worst birthday experience ever! We booked a table for ten, we were told several times that USUALLY they only accept a booking for 6 but they were going to make an exception. On the night we arrived 10minutes late (hey, have you ever caught the tube!) they had already removed one of our tables! By the time all ten of us arrived they decided that they're going to remove one more table, cause it's not right if people are sitting comfortbally whilst enjoying their drink! Three of us ended up sharing two chairs! The service wasn't great and when one of us decided not to pay the full DISCRETIONARY service charge she was told by the rude staff that she had to pay the full service charge, thereby defeating the purpose of it being discretionary. If you decide to go, don't bother booking, make sure you're not more than 4 people and don't expect any friendly service. To the TIme Out critcs please don't reconsider your rating!