Lon­don Cock­tails

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World-fa­mous ho­tel bars, chic cock­tail bars and quirky pop-ups: Lon­don boasts ev­ery type of bar imag­in­able. Nat­u­rally then, know­ing where to start can be tricky. So we’ve nar­rowed tens of thou­sands down to must-visit venues. They have his­tory, they have sto­ries. They’re the best of the best.

THE AMER­I­CAN BAR, THE SAVOY

The Amer­i­can Bar at the Savoy is not only the most fa­mous ho­tel bar in Lon­don, it’s the one of the most fa­mous ho­tel bars in the world. From late-night shenani­gans with Richard Bur­ton and Oliver Reed to morn­ing gin with the Queen Mother (she came ev­ery day, ap­par­ently) this Lon­don in­sti­tu­tion is teem­ing with in­ter­est­ing his­tory. Even the name has a great story as it was opened by an Amer­i­can cock­tail waiter es­cap­ing Pro­hi­bi­tion in his home­land.

69 COLEBROOKE ROW, IS­LING­TON

‘The bar with no name’, it styles it­self – try telling that to a taxi driver. In re­al­ity, ev­ery­one knows this place by its ad­dress, hid­den away from the Up­per Street hordes on an Is­ling­ton back­street. It’s the tiny flag­ship of bar supremo Tony Conigliaro, noted world­wide for his ded­i­ca­tion to the art of the mixed drink: as such, it’s not easy to get a seat here without book­ing. Pun­ters come for the cock­tails, all of which are out­stand­ing.

BLIND PIG, SOHO

The Blind Pig takes its name from the US co­de­name used for bars dur­ing the Pro­hi­bi­tion era, and a blind­folded lit­tle pig­gie dou­bles as a door­knocker at this oth­er­wise non­de­script en­trance on Poland Street. The in­te­rior is charm­ingly an­tiquey, with dark wood, age­ing brown leather and a mir­rored ceil­ing. But the drinks are any­thing but low key, with pun­heavy names on the menu and a spe­cials list of drinks based on child­hood tales – from Winnie the Pooh to Harry Pot­ter. A mil­lion miles from il­le­gal hooch.

MR. FOGG’S

In­spired by Jules Verne’s ec­cen­tric “Around the World in 80 Days’” pro­tag­o­nist Phileas J Fogg, this bar is packed with in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­facts, thick rugs, clocks of all shapes and sizes and beau­ti­ful oak fur­ni­ture. Like the dé­cor, the cock­tail list is quirky too. There’s even an au­dio­book of Around the World in 80 Days play­ing in the bath­room.

THE CONNAUGHT BAR, THE CONNAUGHT

You couldn’t make a list of Lon­don’s best cock­tails and leave off the Connaught. Make your first drink a mar­tini: a trol­ley is wheeled out and the drinks are made right at your ta­ble. If you’re not stay­ing at the Connaught then you still get to walk through the im­pres­sive ho­tel lobby equipped with a huge for­mal stair­case and old-world front desk.

PUNCH ROOM, THE LON­DON EDI­TION

It could be the dé­cor which per­fectly cap­tures pri­vate mem­ber’s clubs of the

19th cen­tury, or it could be the fact that you need a reser­va­tion to get in, but one word en­cap­su­lates the Punch Room at the Edi­tion per­fectly: ex­clu­sive. As you may well have guessed, the drinks-fo­cus is punch: there are 10 bowls on the menu com­ing in dif­fer­ent sizes for one or more peo­ple. A cu­rated sound­track of vin­tage soul, blues, rag­time, and doo-wop is com­ple­mented by im­promptu live per­for­mances too. If you’ve watched hit US drama Mad Men, you’ll have longed to visit bars just like this.

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