Scores of gin distilleries have been cropping up across the UK in recent years, with a new class of drink artisans helping re-popularise what was once the preserve of Dickensian down-and-outers. So where are the best places to procure a G&T in town? Here’s our list of the best gin bars in London.
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Gin bars in London
Although Coburg Bar doesn’t quite focus on the spirit as such, it stocks a gullet-warming range of London dry gins from the likes of Tanqueray and Plymouth, as well as from craft distillers Sacred, Sipsmith and Fifty Pounds. Try it in one of the bar’s exquisitely executed classic cocktails, like the martinez.
This wicked little distillery in an east London carpark by the canal (yep, very hip) serves up stunning gin cocktails that feature the drink as created on site, as well as a whole host of other juniper drinks. Sip on them up at the bar while looking onto the two large copper stills working away in the back room.
Did somebody say Gin Yard? Get to the great outdoors – okay, covered terrace – at The Four Thieves, a Battersea pub with its own micro-distillery. The fun-time boozer has more than 45 other types of gin behind the bar, too, complemented by a spread of botanicals and tonics.
This bar is named after a type of martini. Not any old martini – one served with a pickled onion instead of the typical olive or twist. As such, expect a fair few gin-based concoctions that pack a punch and add a splash of inventiveness. Make ours an Electric Earl, with Tanqueray No. Ten and ‘electric bitters’ that make your tongue tingle.
How’s this for getting your gin fix? GinTonica is a bar dedicated to G&Ts that sits inside west London’s very own ‘gin hotel’ The Distillery. They serve whopping gin and tonics the Spanish way – in copa de balón glassware complete with garnishes they describe as gin salad. It may not count towards your 10 a day, but it’ll have you feeling a bit of alright in no time. Be sure to try the house gin, Portobello Road.
Venue says: “A pie kitchen by day, an exclusive dining room by night.The Pie Room is available for private hire,every evening, for up to ten people.”
This restaurant caused a bit of a sensation earlier in the year when it declared itself as the best-stocked gin bar in London. But not only do they have over 400 types of gin to explore, but they also have 27 different types of tonic too. That's probably too many G&T combinations for just one sitting, sadly.
Every Saturday this cheeky gin brand (complete with a red-headed pin-up girl as its logo) hosts a pop up bar at Maltby Street Market where hungover punters can procure a ferociously spicy bloody mary for just £5 or explore their other amazing gin cocktails for the same amazing price to pair with street food staples.
Incredibly popular (booking strongly advised), this northern Soho bar sells nearly 200 gins. Drink it in G&Ts (poured in double measures and served in whacking great goblets), in classic cocktails, in ‘ginfusions’, or tasting menus comprising four or eight gins, served on trays. Gin-geeks will absolutely adore this place, but the lively atmosphere is that of a party-time bar, not a laboratory.
Another trendy upstart with a micro-distillery on site, Martello Hall brings mother’s ruin to the Hackney masses, rustled up in a cute copper still named Nicola. Five banging takes on the gin and tonic sit side-by-side on the menu with gin cocktails, including a Martello Bramble and a Lavender Bird made from Little Bird gin, rhubarb soda and lavender bitters.
Find gin distillery tours in London
A decade ago, vodka was hip and drinking gin marked you out as fatally uncool. Now vodka’s star has waned while gin’s has soared to the highest heights of hipsterdom. London has a dozen gin distilleries; a growing number of bars specialise in it (see The London Gin Club for starters); tickets for the Junipalooza event (June 13 and 14) sold out weeks in advance. But here are six other amazing ways to participate and distil your knowledge.
This outdoor terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel looks like it will work well whatever the weather – it's covered and heated, and its good-looking interior goes heavy on the flora all year round. It feels a mile away from the Great Russell Street traffic around the corner. The focus is on cocktails, with crowd-pleasing classics present and correct. There's an interesting selection of non-alcoholic cocktails too, made in conjunction with the Rare Tea Company. Expect options such as a Mintea Collins (lemongrass tea, ginger, apple, pear and Fever-Tree soda water) and a Berry Warming (rooibos tea, pomegranate juice, spiced blackberry and raspberry shrub, almond syrup and marmalade). A short food menu also features, but keep an eye out for afternoon tea, too.