From louche cocktail lounges to swanky hotel bars, secret speakeasies to earthy real ale pubs, there’s a London watering hole for you. These are the top 100 bars and pubs as rated by our critics. For more information check out our guide to London's best 100 bars and pubs.
Despite its inconspicuous location at the bottom of a spiral staircase on a quiet street in Shoreditch, Ninetyeight is not a bar afraid of its own ostentatiousness. Inside, it’s as bizarre as it is colourful, and a range of quirks in the decor – from spray‐painted chairs to toy dinosaurs on the walls to a ‘bandage room’ (literally a room in which everything is covered in bandages, available for private hire) – places this joint above the darker, stuffier cocktail bars nearby. Cocktail‐wise, you’re looking at a small but impressive menu of original innovations (no bog‐standard mojitos or margaritas here); the Candylife, served with enough strawberry puree, yoghurt and Haribo to overwhelm its vodka base, will please anyone who favours sweetness above all, while the Smoking Head (whiskey with coffee liqueur and orange bitters) and the Chilli Treasure (chilli‐infused tequila, lime and agave syrup) should satisfy anyone after something a bit harder. In terms of sheer quality, you can’t go wrong with their Green Lady: gin complemented by cucumber, apple and cucumber liqueur and pepper – the latter of which didn’t quite give the kick it was probably supposed to, but the rest of which worked well for an easy‐drinking yet complex cocktail. Ninetyeight is practically empty in the late afternoon and early evening, but the crowds really ramp up from sundown until closing (at 1am). Despite that, table service is the norm and the servers are as friendly as they are knowledgeable about the
Venue says: “Come down and enjoy your evenings with our newly launched seasonal cocktail menu!”