The best bars in Shoreditch
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.
A stripped-back basement cocktail bar in Spitalfields serving drinks without the gimmicks – every tipple is a bright, clean and flawless classic. You’ll want to make every drop count. The crowd is fun, and there are plenty of darkened nooks to cosy up in. Bar magic, pure and simple.
The eponymous bottles at this bar have been sourced from independent producers and small vineyards across Italy, and if there’s anything that tickles your fancy, you can buy one to take home from the wooden crates that line the bar. 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.
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.
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.
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 twist.
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.
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.
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.
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, which makes it worth stopping by to try an interesting beer or two in among Swiss cheese plants and mid-century furniture. Quite a stride away from your standard Shoreditch beer bar.
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