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First Aid Box

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Herne Hill
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
 (© Giles Christopher)
© Giles Christopher
 (© Giles Christopher)
© Giles Christopher
 (© Giles Christopher)
© Giles Christopher
 (© Giles Christopher)
© Giles Christopher

When your neighbourhood café serves cocktails worthy of Zone 1, you know the only way you’ll ever leave London will be in a box. But this Herne Hill newcomer – the second from the team behind Brixton’s Shrub and Shutter –  will even go so far as to help you keep the Grim Reaper at bay. Because, as the name suggests, it specialises in ‘cure-all’ drinks.

A great fit for the area’s relaxed, thirtysomething inhabitants, First Aid Box’s white tiled walls, shelves of pseudo-pharmacological gear and menu with a medicinal theme suggest the snap of a latex glove, but it’s a concept lubricated by charming staff, upbeat music and flattering, flickering candlelight.

Drinks make ample use of ‘shrubs’: spirits suspended in vinegar-based syrups that make for thrilling flavour bases. Updates of tried-and-tested classics include an aviation-style mix called Conscious Pilot (£8.50). Here, the rhubarb-infused gin lends the drink a subtle tartness that prevents the triple whammy of violette liqueur, violette shrub and violette droplets from delving too deep into granny’s knicker drawer. Elsewhere, the creamy exuberance of a Ramos gin fizz is given added depth with a shot of rich, earthy matcha-and-pistachio shrub. Both are served without gimmicks – though if it’s theatre you’re after, there’s a smoking cocktail served in a bell jar (£8), a cucumber sherbet in a bottle with a miniature cone of sorbet as a stopper (£9) or a vitamin C-laced bramble with a syringe of blood-hued Chambord (£8).

But the most inspired thing about this place is that when the morning after the night before arrives, you can head straight back for a shot in the arm in the form of coffees, pastries, sangas and well-executed, modish small plates. This time it’ll be in the company of local mums-with-babes, groups preparing to take a spin around Brockwell Park and hungover friends self-administering hair of the dog. So open wide and say Aah! This is exactly what the doctor ordered.

By: Nicola Arencibia


Venue name: First Aid Box
Address: 119 Dulwich Rd
Herne Hill
SE24 0NG
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

I visited here for the first time last night and wasn't disappointed. The place is a coffee shop by day and cocktail bar by night, but not your regular cocktails this cool little place makes medical inspired cocktails and some are served in syringes, IV bags, you get the idea ... weird but wonderful and makes for something different for a fun night out. The cocktail menu is always changing and the ingredients are a little different to what you would find in your regular cocktail bar but they work. All are reasonably priced too so you can enjoy more :)

Best place in Herne Hill. Great for delicious cocktails, imaginative, reasonably priced menu and friendly and knowledgeable staff. Go.

I love this place...from coffee and croissant in the mornings to espresso martinis later in the day the First Aid Box takes care of everyone's needs. The team are so friendly and accommodating - the best bar in Herne Hill!


First Aid Box is situated in Herne Hill, a lovely area of London that has winding streets of shops and the magnificent Brockwell Park- however it's not the most central of areas. Still, it is easily accessible by bus or train, and well worth a visit. The bar had a medical theme, which called to mine saline drips, plastic models of lungs and a items on display that might lead to nausea for those with a weak stomach. Thankfully, this bar manages to pull the theme off in style, with subtle nods to medical equipment but without going too far. The extensive menu is a cocktail connoisseur's dream, with most drinks reasonably priced at £8-10. Our drinks arrived- one in a blood donation bag, the other with a syringe full of liquid to add to the drink. The gimmick could have fallen flat upon tasting, but luckily they were delicious. The bar is a cafe by day and has a relaxed vibe, with couple on dates and groups of friends eating from the food menu. Taxidermy squirrels, tea cups, and a loo with hilarious graffiti add to the charm of the place. Service was friendly and knowledgeable, and the drinks were so good that I could have sampled quite a few more, were it not for an early start the next day. This place is utterly charming- not words I thought I'd use for this review, but I really loved it and had some of the best cocktails I've had in London!

Great cocktail bar - really interesting cocktails, reasonably priced and nicely presented. Would really recommend! 

A fantastic bar with brilliant, innovative cocktails and delicious food. A great companion to the excellent shrub and shutter.

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