LAB was created in 1999, which makes it a granddaddy in London’s cool bar scene. But it shows no signs of decline: the quality is consistent visit after visit. They’ve always had a very long cocktail list, 90-plus, and some drinks get a bit clever for their own good. But mostly they are grounded in LAB’s core principle: understanding and perfecting cocktail fundamentals. The Soho Lady, one of their own creations, is a tall sour based on gin, with Aperol and fresh raspberries, served over crushed ice with a top of fizzy wine. Classic. Standard drinks are always perfect, and the bartenders love talking to customers who need help figuring out what to order. Noise levels are high, but no higher than in comparable places. You can book tables downstairs, and it’s sensible to do so. Prices remain very low for the quality and the area. Great drinks, low prices, unfailing consistency – what more can you ask for?