If you think mezcal is a bit like tequila but with a hint of ashtray, then get ready for an important re-education at one of London’s very vibey mezcal bars. Tequila’s smokier sister is currently experiencing a long overdue boom in the capital and these are our fave places to sit and sip this potent spirit, which gets its distinctive taste due to the agave being cooked in underground pits. From the pits, but deffo not the pits. It's delish. These bars will show you the way...
Currently residing at Dalston fave Ruby’s, Corrochio’s is a brand new bar and restaurant by chef and cocktail king Daniel Corrochio. Focussing on his true passion – snacks and spirits from his Mexican homeland – if you’re after an authentic mezcal experience, this intimate space is your sweet spot. Try the Mezcalita cocktail, with its hibiscus caramel base, spicy jalapeno syrup, pineapple and Koch El Mezcal. Give some sotol a sip too, a lesser-known but supremely punchy Mexican spirit.
76 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB
If you’re after variety, then KOL Mezcaleria – which can be found in the basement of former Noma Mexico chef Santiago Lastra’s acclaimed KOL Restaurant – has got one of Europe’s largest selections of agave-based spirits. Sip mezcal on its own or try it in a cocktail created by Maxim Schulte, formerly of the American Bar at The Savoy. They’ve also recently launched their own house mezcals, four terroir-driven spirits from small-scale Mexican producers.
9 Seymour St, W1H 7BA
Another brilliant basement find, El Colmillo is down in the belly of Soho’s El Pastor. Named after the rather rowdy Mexico City nightclub El Pastor’s owners ran in the 1990s, it proudly follows in its namesakes’ footsteps with a Funktion 1 sound system as well as bar brimming with mezcal. We’re rather taken with a new menu addition called Maize Drop, a concoction of Nixta corn liquor, El Pastor’s own Batch 2 Cacao Mezcal and Abasolo Mexican corn whisky, served on the rocks with chocolate mole bitters. Woof.
66-70 Brewer St, W1F 9UP
A lady-led mezcal shangri-la, Doña is run by best mates Thea Cumming and Lucia Massey and also serves as an arts space. So expect live shows, drag discos, DJ sets and art exhibitions alongside healthy servings of lovely liquid smoke. A special mention too of the bar’s pink velvet sofas which are perfectly plush. Upstairs you’ll find Tigre Tacos’ first permanent restaurant serving up snacks inspired by 1970s Southern Californian cuisine as well as their own grapefruit mezcal paloma cocktail.
92 Stoke Newington High St, N16 7NY
The second site from London’s Agaveria, Hacha Brixton joins the OG Dalston bar in serving up some sublime Mexican-inspired concoctions, including a mezcal take on their famous Mirror Margarita featuring Lost Explorer mezcal, Hacha’s own sour mix, cane syrup, kaffir lime, eucalyptus and salt. The mezcal spritz is also well worth a chug. Find it in the buzzy Brixton Village indoor market. Check before you go as they close one day a week to run community training, mentorship and practical workshops. Which makes us like them even more, tbh.
12 First Floor Market Row, Brixton Village, SW9 8LD