Shoreditch and the big night out go hand in hand. But if you’re pining for more than a bog-standard pint and less than blaring beats, visit one of the neighbourhood’s best cocktail joints, whisky hangouts and craft beer bars for drinking in The Ditch done well. Be it a brand-new beer bar from Danish brewery Mikkeller and co-owner, err, Rick Astley, or a bar that serves your cocktail underneath a pastry lid – drinking in Shoreditch is anything but boring.
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The best bars in Shoreditch
Forget the cocktail umbrella. CTC goes the extra mile when serving up tipples to fun-loving punters. Expect oddly shaped vessels, props and flames – and never to the detriment of flavour. Come for piano nights, where hip hop classics get a tuneful twist.
You know what all other bars are missing? A massive hunk of oak tree sawn in half, laid flat and used as a vessel for two whisky rivers. And there are plenty more clever things happening with the brown stuff in this dark, brooding basement. Whisky never looked so good.
Drift up towards Hoxton and then sneak underground for what is still many a bartender’s favourite bar. Cocktails at Happiness Forgets are faultless, decor is minimal and service is fun. Bag a seat up at the bar for maximum impact.
The eponymous bottles at this bar are the wine kind and have been sourced from independent producers and small vineyards across Italy. The space is a moodily lit stretch of brick walls, wooden counters and leather stools, and all the waiting staff are sommeliers, fully equipped to chat through vinous options.
Fancy a hotel bar without the hipsters? Boutique hotel The Napoleon has just one room but three bars (that’s our kind of hotel). Hole up at The Devil’s Darling for classic cocktails served from a green marble bar.
And here you were thinking the whole speakeasy thing was so 2010. Well, it kind of is. That’s when Nightjar opened and blew all other speakeasies out of the water. It’s still a bucket-list bar. Book ahead for a night of Jazz-era glitz and mind-boggling Prohibition-tinged drinks.
Up towards Hoxton, TT Liquor is a bottle shop and bar curiously set inside a former police station. A night in the cells never looked so good, especially in its wood-pannelled drinking parlour. Or head upstairs for supper and cinema clubs that are heavy on the drinks. Cocktails are this bar’s strong point, and drinking a White Russian while watching ‘The Big Lebowski’ may be one of the capital’s most singular sipping experiences.
Japanese whisky is put on a pedestal at Bull in a China Shop, a lively, grungy bar at the foot of Shoreditch High Street. They serve Scotch too, but it’s Nikka From The Barrel you should seek out. Pair it with rotisserie chicken for a unique spin on Shoreditch.
A cocktail institution if ever there was one, Callooh Callay has been showing other bars how drinking is done since 2008. Its playful tone and first-rate drinks help keep it relevant despite the changing times. We’ve never had a dull moment at this bar.
A bar in the cellar of a popular pub, within a building that was once HQ for sewing-machine manufacturer Singer. Get tangled up in classic cocktails done well in one of 5cc’s many darkened nooks.
Unless you’re rickrolling it in, you probably won’t want to make it a session at Rick Astley’s bar – pints start at £6 here. But it also happens to be Danish brewer Mikkeller’s first London outpost, where you can try an interesting beer or two in among Swiss cheese plants and mid-century furniture. Quite a stride away from your standard Shoreditch craft beer bar.
She’s a beauty of a bar, the Green Room. Based on the ground floor of The Curtain hotel, the room is dressed in gorgeous blooms and pastel hues yet doesn’t come across as basic – there’s still plenty of that old Shoreditch edge. And despite the hotel setting, drinks start at a reasonable £10 – and include sweet, hefty numbers like a Bread & Butter Sazerac.
Venue says East London's new five-star cocktail bar debuts its afternoon tea in partnership with Hackney Herbal inspired by its Xenz graffiti interior.
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