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? From cocktail bars where they can shake a mean martini to places that specialise in the spirit and elevate a gin and tonic to something wonderful, these London bars are where to get the perfect gin drink. Read on for Time Out’s list of the best gin bars in London – from early adopters of the latest gin craze who helped pioneer what is now a booming scene (from The London Gin Club to East London Liquor Company) to newcomers, like Chapel Down Gin Works.
Gin bars in London
The arrival of Chapel Down in King’s Cross is an exciting one for gin lovers, which may come as a surprise – the Kent brand has made its name in the English wine-making scene. But they also make a gin that incorporates those grapes into the distillation process. Sample it in giant G&Ts at this corporate-looking bar – its outdoor terrace is much more inviting and will suit a gin session no end come summer. There’s also a copper still called Helga on the ground floor just waiting to be fired up.
City of London Distillery (COLD) joined the gang of new age gin artisans when it set up shop in 2012. Head along to the bar and you can look on at copper stills while enjoying City of London Dry Gin among plenty of other international brands.
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.
Venue says Time travelling bar The Gibson transport's you through the 1900s via a selection of some of the most innovative cocktails in London.
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.
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.
Order a classic martini at this bar within plush City playground The Ned and a trolley will be rolled to your table. The cost of a cocktail is steep: £16 is as low as they go. But they’re undeniably perfect martinis, where you can choose your gin (and your vermouth) before letting the good times roll like that trolley.
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.
Mr Fogg's West End booze house has a plush little gin parlour nestled up above with access from a door at the rear. Up here you can work your way through 300 different types of gin and have your juniper drink paired with a whole host of tonics and botanicals. You'll be treated like royalty too. And you deserve it, you old lush.
The bar at Rivington Grill Greenwich stocks 220 types of gin. That's a stonking achievement alone, but factor in their daily happy hour with £5 G&Ts from 5pm-7pm and you've got yourself a gin lover's nirvana. Take your tipple out onto the terrace for maximum effect.
This classy basement bar in Bermondsey is leading the pack when it comes to gin dedication. Although the total of bottles doesn’t quite reach 214, there are over 50 bottles of mother’s ruin in stock at this on-trend bar, which the truly gin-curious can sample in flights of three.
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