Dalston is practically synonymous with late-night revelry and adventure. Head up the Kingsland Road and its surrounding backstreets and you’re sure to stumble upon mischief in some form or other. These days, you’ll also find label-pushing cocktail spots, hip jazz bars, trendy natural wine joints and buzzing DJ bars full of bright young things. And most of them offer a warm welcome, despite the pre-conceptions. Come to Dalston’s best bars for a night to remember.
RECOMMENDED: Find more fun in the neighbourhood in our Dalston area guide
The best bars in Dalston
This Dalston restaurant-bar has a strong Japanese theme running through it, serving dishes inspired by the country’s izakayas. There’s also regular live music (mostly jazz) and DJ sets played through a top-notch soundsystem. Wash down ngiri with natural wines and sake.
Take a few flights up to Dalston Roof Park, a bar that hosts some pretty impressive daytime parties and DJ sets. The venue offers the shelter of a covered bar and a roofed area in front of the decks, so you can dance whatever the weather. AstroTurf brightens the place up like a Dalston summer garden.
This Kingsland High Street veteran was once the face of east London’s party scene. And in true Dalston style it's home to all sorts: popular with a large and diverse LGBT crowd, but welcoming to all and everyone. DJs – mostly local, many well-known – keep feet dancing with sets from Wednesday through to Sunday.
You almost expect smoke in the air and detritus on the floor of this otherwise authentic bodega in Dalston. Furanxo is primarily a wine and charcuterie shop, but at the weekends, opening hours extend so hispanophiles can file in for a glass of something interesting – natural wine from niche Spanish regions. Squeeze into the bar and assert yourself in true Spanish style.
‘Mezcal is going to be massive this year’: London drink experts have been saying that for what feels like a decade. Hacha should speed things up: it’s the capital’s first ‘agaveria’, complete with a shelf of 25 numbered spirit bottles (in regular rotation) made using Mexico’s native agave plant. So that includes mezcal, tequila, soto and raicilla. No idea? Don’t worry. It's all delicious.
Surrounded by trad mangals and trendy nightspots is this bar where cocktails are king. The seasonally changing menu lists seemingly simple drinks with just a few ingredients, but they're all pretty delicious. What started out as a bit of a sophisticated cocktail joint has morphed into a late-night party spot.
Hidden behind a yellow phone booth, La Cabina is about as speakeasy as you get in Dalston. Dial in for tapas and cocktails that are more Shoreditch than Sevilla. Inside is exposed bricks and vintage woodwork, the place made to feel a little like a shabby-chic Barcelona bodega. A late licence may also help you kid yourself you’re no longer in London.
Forget the ‘antifreeze scandal’; Newcomer proves that Austrian wine has got it going on. By day a bottle shop, by night a fairly chichi wine bar, Newcomer claims (and we’ve no reason to doubt it) to stock the biggest selection of Austrian wine and beer in London. The bar at the front pours a daily selection (£6.50 for a small glass).
Pamela on Kingsland Road may be better known for its kitchen takeovers of past, but it’s also a friendly, vibey bar serving drinks just as enticing. Famous Pammies are honoured in pictures on the walls, cocktails are bright and summery and the beer list is down to earth. Best of all, if you can prove your name is also Pamela, your first round is on the house.
A scruffy, tiki dive bar that always brings the party, rock up to Ridley Road and discover good times in an unlikely beach shack setting. Grab a can of Red Stripe, a signature ginger mojito for a fiver or even a piña colada and position yourself under the mirror ball on that groovy (and often sweaty) dance floor.
Find more amazing places to drink in London
London is known the world over for its traditional pubs. But its quirky bars and top-drawer joints serving cocktails, wine, beer and beyond are just as worthy of your precious drinking time. So, to prove a point, Time Out has pulled together a list of London’s very best bars. Sit up at the bar at these rocking spots and order in a round you definitely won’t forget in a rush.
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