NIGHTLIFE

Where London - - CONTENTS -

Our guide to drink­ing guilt­free cock­tails made from fresh fruit and vegetables.

The bad news: Jan­uary is not a month known for ex­cess. The good news: for those who want to watch their waist­lines and still let their hair down, there are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to do so, as many bars across London of­fer low-calo­rie cock­tails.

At Drake & Mor­gan’s The Par­lour, lo­cated in Ca­nary Wharf, the lengthy cock­tail list in­cludes de­li­cious drinks that won’t give you a guilt trip. The Skinny Rus­sian Rose Mar­tini is made from Smirnoff Black vodka, ly­chee liqueur and ginger syrup, then gar­nished with a rose petal. It’s just 80 calo­ries, and it tastes as good as it looks. Al­ter­na­tively, the Skinny Hum­ming­bird Cosmo is a fresh take on the tra­di­tional Cos­mopoli­tan cock­tail and is made with Lit­tle Bird gin, rasp­ber­ries, el­der­flower and a squeeze of lime. And, while you are there, make sure you lose your­self in the se­cret gar­den-in­spired lounge.

With its mis­matched fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing a wardrobe that dou­bles as a door, Cal­looh Cal­lay in Shored­itch is as popular as it is in­ter­est­ing. The drinks menu fea­tures veg­etable cock­tails, which are cur­rently all the rage. One of the most popular is the Fer­net Me Not, with Tan­queray gin, le­mon, Fer­net-Branca, cu­cum­ber and Prosecco, and the Pea-ter Rab­bit, with car­rot shrub and pea and anise ver­mouth. And, as vegetables have a lower sugar con­tent than fruit, they are a ‘skinny’ al­ter­na­tive to fruit-based cock­tails.

At the re­cently opened B.Y.O.C. Cam­den − which stands for ‘Bring Your Own Cock­tail’ − guests are in­vited to bring their own sealed bot­tle of base spirit, and watch as the bar staff cre­ate what­ever they de­sire from var­i­ous gar­nishes, juices and syrups. This unique venue is decked out in the style of a 1920s speakeasy dur­ing the Pro­hi­bi­tion era: there are sev­eral bars dot­ted around the venue, some of which are styled like gambling ta­bles (above). The bar staff, who are also dressed in 1920s at­tire, will shake and stir your drinks to cre­ate some­thing com­pletely be­spoke. It’s the per­fect way to get rid of the Jan­uary blues.

From fruit-based cock­tails to veg­etable tipples, Beatrice Yeat­man-Biggs rounds up the best places to sip skinny drinks that keep your in­take of al­co­hol and calo­ries low.

TRA­DI­TIONAL PUBS Black­friar, The

This Grade II-listed Art Nou­veau pub opened 100 years ago, and of­fers tra­di­tional cask ales. www.nichol­son­spubs.co.uk. 174 Queen Vic­to­ria St, EC4V 4EG. T: 020-7236 5474. E9. Sta­tion: Black­fri­ars.

Dog And Duck, The

This real-ale pub has reg­u­larly chang­ing cask beers plus a Bri­tish menu of pub food and bar snacks. www.nichol­son­spubs.co.uk. 18 Bate­man St, W1D 3AJ. T: 020-7494 0697. D7. Sta­tion: Tot­ten­ham Ct Rd.

Flask, The

This 17th-cen­tury pub boasts By­ron, Shel­ley and Keats as past pa­trons. Al­legedly it’s haunted – look out for the uni­formed Cav­a­lier! www.the­flask high­gate.com. 77 High­gate West Hill, N6 6BU. T: 020- 8348 7346. Off map. Sta­tion: High­gate.

French House, The

Once a gin par­lour where not-so-savoury lo­cals would gather, th­ese days it’s cre­ative, bo­hemian types who love this tra­di­tional Soho pub. There’s no TV or mu­sic – quite a nov­elty. www.french hous­esoho.com. 49 Dean St, W1D 5BG. T: 020-7437 2477. D7. Sta­tion: Tot­ten­ham Court Rd.

Mag­pie & Stump, The

Op­po­site the Old Bai­ley, this pub dates back to the 1500s, and once dou­bled up as a view­ing spot for hang­ings at New­gate Prison. www.mag­pie and­s­tump.com. 18 Old Bai­ley, EC4M 7EP. T: 0207248 5085. B8. Sta­tion: St. Paul’s.

Spa­niards Inn, The

Follow in the foot­steps of past reg­u­lars, high­way­man Dick Turpin and nov­el­ist Charles Dick­ens, at this his­toric pub, one of London’s old­est. www.thes­paniard­shamp­stead.co.uk. Spa­niard’s Rd, NW3 7JJ. T: 020- 8731 8406. Off map. Sta­tion: Hamp­stead.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

This land­mark pub has wood-pan­elled walls and vaults that are thought to date back to a 13th­cen­tury Carmelite monastery which once stood here. If only walls could talk! 145 Fleet St, EC4A 2BU. T: 020-7353 6170. D9. Sta­tion: Black­fri­ars.

BARS & CLUBS Après London

This chic bar of­fers a vast range of cock­tails such as the Pink Pan­ther and the Pas­sion Flower. There is a good se­lec­tion of bar snacks, inc slid­ers and ke­babs. www.apres-london.com. 31 Duke St, W1U 1LG. T: 020-7224 3452. D6. Sta­tion: Bond St.

Bar At Bel­lamy’s, The

This bar serves cock­tails and wines in a chic set­ting, which is dec­o­rated with vin­tage French ski posters. The bar­men are ex­cel­lent at whip­ping up de­li­cious drinks off the menu as well as im­pro­vis­ing with cus­tom blends − Cham­pagne fans should ask for the Royal Kiss. 18/18a Bru­ton Place, W1J 6LY. T: 020-7491 2727. www.bel­lamys restau­rant.co.uk. E6. Sta­tion: Ox­ford Cir­cus.

Book­ing Of­fice Bar

This el­e­gant ground floor of the re­fur­bished St. Pan­cras Re­nais­sance ho­tel has largely re­mained in its grand orig­i­nal form, with cav­ernous arched ceil­ings and stone walls dat­ing back to 1873. www.bookingof­fice­bar.com. Euston Rd, NW1 2AR. T: 020-7841 3566. Sta­tion: King’s Cross.

Brook­lyn Bowl

Al­ready a hit in New York, this fun mu­sic venue at The O2 boasts a 12-lane bowl­ing al­ley, three bars and a Blue Rib­bon restau­rant, serv­ing US favourites such as fried chicken, Ca­jun cat­fish and piz­zas. www.london.brook­lyn­bowl.com. The O2, Penin­sula Square, SE10 0DX. T: 020-7412 8778. Off map. Sta­tion: North Green­wich.

City So­cial

Ja­son Ather­ton of­fers spec­tac­u­lar food, drink and views of London. Re­cently awarded a Miche­lin star for its food. www.cityso­cial­lon­don. com. Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St, EC2N 1HQ. T: 020-7877 7703. D11. Sta­tion: Liver­pool St.

C.O.L.D Bar (The City Of London Dis­tillery)

A won­der­ful well-stocked bar with more than 230 dif­fer­ent types of gin from all over the world, plus other se­lect spir­its. www.cold­bar.co.uk. 22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT. T: 020-7936 3446. D9. Sta­tion: Black­fri­ars.

Copa De Cava

Get into the at­mos­phere of Barcelona in the UK’s first-ever ded­i­cated cava bar. En­ter the cosy stone-walled base­ment for an ar­ray of bub­bly from Spain, by the glass or the bot­tle. Pair up with fresh ta­pas. www.cava.co.uk. 33 Black­fri­ars Lane, EC4V 6EP. T: 020-7125 0930. E9. Sta­tion: Black­fri­ars.

Drakes Ta­banco

A rus­tic bar styled on a tra­di­tional Span­ish sherry tav­ern typ­i­cal of Jerez, with rare sher­ries that are served straight from the bar­rel. There are also or­ganic craft beers and An­dalu­cian food. www.drakesta­banco.com. 3 Wind­mill St, W1T 2HY. T: 020-7637 9388. D7. Sta­tion: Goodge St.

Ex­per­i­men­tal Cock­tail Club

This op­u­lent bar, spread over three floors of an old Chi­na­town town­house, is tucked away but worth the search. Stylish and well-made cock­tails. Book­ing is highly rec­om­mended. www.ex­per­i­men­tal­cock­tail­clublon­don.com. 13a Ger­rard St, W1D 5PS. T: 020-7434 3559.

Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Sq.

Fable, The

Set over three floors and open all day for break­fast, lunch, din­ner and drinks, this is a trea­sure trove of cu­riosi­ties, from the fox-head lamps to the vin­tage typewriter. There’s also a li­brary brim­ming with leather-bound sto­ry­books. www.the­fa­ble­bar.co.uk. 52 Hol­born Viaduct, EC1A 2FD. T: 0845- 468 0105. D9. Sta­tion: Far­ring­don.

Fab­ric

A fa­mous su­per club that cham­pi­ons dance mu­sic. Ex­pect big-name DJs to play for the night. The venue at­tracts fans of dance, house, elec­tric, dub­step and techno mu­sic who are ready to party into the early hours. www.fab­ri­clon­don.com. 77a Char­ter­house St, EC1M 6HJ. T: 020-7336 8898. D9. Sta­tion: Far­ring­don.

Floridita

This venue is famed for its live mu­sic scene, with Latin jazz and funk bands play­ing each night. The lively at­mos­phere brings a touch of Cuban colour to Soho. The cock­tail list is ad­ven­tur­ous, and there is a restau­rant down­stairs. www.florid­i­talon­don.com. 100 War­dour St, W1F 0TN. T: 020-7314 4000. D7. Sta­tion: Tot­ten­ham Ct Rd.

Free­dom

This gay-friendly bar and club at­tracts a trendy crowd in its stylish cock­tail bar or night­club. The ground floor bar is decked out with crys­tal chan­de­liers and leather booths. Down­stairs club inc 200 mir­ror balls, and hosts live per­for­mance events inc weekly Cabaret night Kinky Kabaret. www.free­dom­bar­soho.com. 60- 66 War­dour St, W1F 0TA. T: 020-7734 0071. D7. Sta­tion: Tot­ten­ham Court Rd.

Gong

Lo­cated on the 52nd floor of The Shard, Gong is the bar of the sky­scraper’s new lux­ury ho­tel, Shangri-La. Of­fi­cially the high­est Cham­pagne bar in Western Europe, the venue has a va­ri­ety of ar­eas where you can en­joy your drink, which inc the cock­tail bar, Cham­pagne bar and swimming pool. www.shangri-la.com. 31 St. Thomas St, SE1 9QU. T: 020-7234 8000. F10. Sta­tion: London Bridge.

Gor­don’s Wine Bar

This is the old­est wine bar in London. Un­cork­ing bot­tles since 1890 in this stone-walled base­ment, Gor­don’s Wine Bar trans­ports you back to Dick­en­sian London. The cel­lar space is filled with rick­ety ta­bles and can­dle­light. There is an award-win­ning wine list and a se­lec­tion of Cham­pagnes and for­ti­fied wines. The menu is filled with well-priced pub food inc cheese plat­ters and pies, an out­side grill in the sum­mer and Sun­day roasts. www.gor­don­swinebar.com. 47 Vil­liers St, WC2N 6NE. T: 020-7930 1408. E8. Sta­tion: Em­bank­ment.

Mark’s Bar

Restau­ra­teur Mark Hix’s bar shows his trade­mark in­ter­est in mod­ern art. You can ex­pect to see Tracey Emin and Gary Cox’s work. www.marks bar.co.uk. Mark’s Bar, 16 Great Guild­ford St, SE1 0HS. T: 020-7921 9508. E9. Sta­tion: South­wark.

Ma­son House

Nes­tled deep in the vaults of the London Pal­la­dium, the club was orig­i­nally an 18th-cen­tury Freema­sons’ cen­tre. www.ma­son-house.com. 8-9 Ar­gyll St, W1F 7TF. T: 020-7734 5776. D7. Sta­tion: Ox­ford Cir­cus.

Night­jar, The

En­joy Pro­hi­bi­tion-era cock­tails at this base­ment bar in Shored­itch, where dress­ing up adds to the fun. Live mu­sic most nights from the golden age of jazz. www.barnight­jar.com. 129 City Rd, EC1V 1JB. T: 020-7253 4101. C10. Sta­tion: Old St.

Old Ben­gal Bar

This place is con­verted from a for­mer ware­house lo­cated in a quiet back street, with orig­i­nal brick walls and leather so­fas. En­joy clas­sic cock­tails. www.old­ben­gal­bar.com. 16 New St, EC2M 4TR. T: 020-3503 0780. D11. Sta­tion: Liver­pool St.

Opium Cock­tail Bar

This stylish up­stairs bar tucked away in Chi­na­town serves in­no­va­tive Chi­nese-in­spired cock­tails. www.opi­um­chi­na­town.com. 15 Ger­rard St, W1D 6JA. T: 020-7734 7276. E7. Sta­tion: Le­ices­ter Sq.

Oslo

Club, bar and restau­rant cel­e­brat­ing all things Nordic. Try one of the na­tive draught beers and dance to hip-hop, funk and house. www.oslo hack­ney.com. 1a Amhurst Rd, E8 1LL. T: 020-3553 4831. Off map. Sta­tion: Hack­ney Cen­tral.

Primo Bar

En­joy a range of in­ter­est­ing cock­tails at this laid­back bar, which of­fers free live mu­sic ev­ery night of the week, inc soul, swing and jazz. www.primo bar.co.uk. Park Plaza West­min­ster Bridge, SE1 7UT. T: 020-7620 7282. F8. Sta­tion: Water­loo.

Rev­erend J.W. Simp­son

This cock­tail bar is a real slice of ‘shabby chic’ – and is the gen­uine ex-abode of the good Rev­erend, proved by the blue plaque out­side. Scruffy so­fas and a laid-back vibe are its hall­mark. www.revjwsimp­son.com. 32 Goodge St, W1T 2QJ. T: 020-3174 1155. E7. Sta­tion: Goodge St.

Scar­fes Bar

Part of the lux­ury ho­tel Rosewood London, this el­e­gant bar is named after Ger­ald Scarfe, the car­toon­ist fa­mous for his satir­i­cal il­lus­tra­tions. He was com­mis­sioned to cre­ate cartoons of iconic Bri­tish fig­ures, cast on pan­els around the room. En­joy cock­tails and In­dian-in­spired snacks. www.rose­wood­ho­tels.com. 252 High Hol­born, WC1V 7EN. T: 020-3747 8611. D8. Sta­tion: Hol­born.

Searcys Cham­pagne Bar

Europe’s long­est Cham­pagne bar, in the up­stairs fore­court of the glo­ri­ous train sta­tion, has a huge se­lec­tion of bub­bly, plus seafood plat­ters. www.searcyscham­pag­nebars.co.uk. St. Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional, Euston Rd, N1C 4QL. T: 020-7870 9900. C8. Sta­tion: King’s Cross St. Pan­cras.

Trader Vic’s

Tiki-style base­ment bar and restau­rant, which is over 50 years old. Try the trade­mark Mai Tai cock­tail in an ex­otic set­ting, which in­cludes arte­facts from around the world. www.trader vic­slon­don.com. London Hil­ton On Park Lane, 22 Park Ln, W1K 1BE. T: 020-7208 4113. E6. Sta­tion: Hyde Park Cnr.

Whip, The

In­spired by the Ken­tucky Derby horse race, this in­ti­mate bar dec­o­rated with jockey silks and vin­tage fur­ni­ture has a fo­cus on gin-based drinks. Try de­li­cious bar snacks such as scal­lop ce­viche with pick­led cu­cum­ber cit­rus dress­ing. www.the run­ninghorselon­don.co.uk. 50 Davies St, W1K 5JE. T: 020-7493 1275. Sta­tion: Bond St.

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