The best bars in Shoredtich

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  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    LUIGI’S, SHOREDITCH

    A laid-back spot for aperitivo hour

    Named after founder Jim Fisher’s Italian great grandfather, café meets co-working space Spelzini (which takes the family’s Italian surname) now becomes Luigi’s Bar at night. Long oak tables are taken over by laptop-wielding freelancers 9 to 5, but become sharing tables for meetings that have rolled into drinks as evening draws in. Globe lights are dimmed, and the exposed brick bar becomes the focus. The best seats in the house are the handful of low-slung leather sofas in the window, which feel like the biggest departure from any lingering workspace atmosphere.

    THE DRINK

    If you’re going to do aperitivo hour, do it properly. Bar staff are happy to knock up any of the classic Italian cocktails or talk you through their signature menu. Negroni lovers should order the Luigi – made with gin and Campari, it’s given a fruity, tart twist with cherry shrub (similar to a syrup) and fresh cherries. The sweet Nonna’s Tipple, made with amaretto and scotch with a brûlée top, is saved from being too sickly with a hit of lemon juice, and This One’s For Peter is savoury and intriguing: a truffle and olive gin martini (though one is enough). If you’re after beers, there are a few options to choose from, and the wine list is split into a number of categories. Affordable options (tactfully titled Thrifty), range from £24 to £29 and most can also be ordered by the glass, while unusual choices are grouped under the subhead Adventurous.


    THE FOOD

    Load up on spuntini – northern Italian-inspired bar snacks – and you could feasibly go without a proper supper at all. The menu is varied: a selection of three salumi is a must-order: we like the silky mortadella and meaty coppa. Burrata with chilli oil isn’t groundbreaking, but no one ever regrets ordering burrata. Farinata Genovese (a Ligurian flatbread) comes as a dense slice, made with whipped chickpea flour that’s left to set and then fried – it’s light and crispy and comforting. If you order one thing, make it one of the tramezzini, little sandwiches that come bursting with fillings such as grilled antipasti with garlic butterbean and fennel salami with gherkin.


    VERDICT

    A delicious spot for chilled-out after-work drinks in a neighbourhood of rowdy alternatives. By Sarah James

    Address: Luigi’s Bar, 154-158 Shoreditch High Street, Hackney, London E1 6HU


    Website: spelzini.co.uk

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    NIGHTJAR, OLD STREET

    An old-favourite still has it in east London

    Loveliest bar name in London. Just gorgeous. Night jar, an evening drink; nightjar, a nocturnal songbird. Having been there for the first time earlier this week – I know, I know, it has only taken me nine years to get around to visiting what many say is among the best cocktail joints in the world – I am curious to know what an actual nightjar sounds like. Not that an actual nightjar would stand a chance of being heard at Nightjar. Nightjar is the kind of bar that is usually and not altogether correctly referred to as a ‘speakeasy’ – that is, quite hard to find, small, dimly lit, with an indeterminate early-20th-century vibe.

    But the speaking is by no means easy. As a matter of fact, in that low-ceilinged space, with the live music going strong (classic showtunes and jazz standards), I couldn’t hear a damn thing. Not a chirp or a pip or a chirrup or a squawk. I happened to be there with a woman who is not my wife. An old friend. She spent most of the time with her lips more or less inserted in one or other of my ears. And vice versa when it was my turn to speak. Strangers might have got the wrong impression. If only they could have heard the sweet nothings we were bellowing at one another. ‘HOW ARE THE KIDS?’ ‘WHAAAAT?’ ‘THE KIDS. HOW ARE THEY?’ ‘OH, FINE. YOUNGEST ONE NEEDS GLASSES. AND YOU? FIXED YOUR LEAKING ROOF YET?’ Quite the pair of sultry swingers. The looks on other peoples’ faces suggested to me that they were having a pleasant enough time without the benefit of conversation. Perhaps we were silly even to try.

    The best bars in Shoredtich

    Iberian cooler cocktail at Nightjar, Shoreditch

    DRINKS

    The word ‘drinks’ does not do justice to these extraordinary concoctions – imaginatively conceived, painstakingly prepared and exquisitely presented. The cocktail menu is divided into four sections according to historical periods, and I doubt there is a dud drink among them. I chose something from the Pre-Prohibition section called a Tickle My Fancy (gin, Electric liqueur, pennyroyal cordial, Rinomato Bianco aperitivo, fizzy Muscat candy, freshly squeezed tangerine and lime juice). It certainly tickled mine. The element of whimsy, playfulness and theatre was irresistible.

    BAR SNACKS

    Drinks like these deserve better than Bombay Mix – and they get it. See burratina di Puglia with smoked aubergine; fried squid with galangal paste and lime mayonnaise; edamame hummus tostada with daikon and kimchi.

    The best bars in Shoredtich

    Yorkshire punch cocktail at Nightjar, Shoreditch

    VERDICT

    Sorry, would you mind saying that again? Didn’t catch the last bit.

    Address: Nightjar, 129 City Road, London EC1V 1JB


    Telephone: +44 20 7253 4101


    Website: barnightjar.com

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    PASSIONE VINO

    An under-the-radar London wine bar that you won’t believe you haven’t heard of before


    Sometimes in London, you find a bar that you deeply wish was in your own back garden. On Shoreditch’s Leonard Street (you know it from 2018 fire-loving opening St Leonards and quirky East London stalwart The Book Club), behind an unassuming wine shop, you’ll find Passione Vino. When we arrived just after 6pm on a sunny Thursday, this tiny store had a buzz about it, but we weren’t sure if we were in the right place – we couldn’t see a bar or seating, just floor-to-ceiling racks of distinctive wines and old-school floral wallpaper. To know to ask for a table is a true insider’s secret – the shop was co-founded by Luca Dusi in 2003, with a wine bar added a few years ago as a one-stop, one-room joint with low lighting and one long, communal table that strangers jostle for space at. And despite it being a conscious choice to not advertise this space, hungry wine drinkers came in their droves. So a second room was added downstairs, with bombastic, chintzy wallpaper and a chandelier in the form of a tree crawling up one wall and across the ceiling. Soon this room was busy every night, too – so a third was added upstairs. This is the most secret of the lot (we won’t spoil how to find it, but there’s no regular doorway), with more tables as well as comfy mid-century furniture and a members’-club-without-the-membership feel. All three spaces are lovely – we recommend the downstairs if you’re with a date (it has an intimate feel) or the top floor if you’re with a big group (you can even hire out the whole space if there’s a lot of you).

    DRINKS

    Don’t come here if you don’t like wine, because it’s all they sell. Other than tap water, you won’t find anything else on the menu. Like other London joints that concentrate on a particular speciality (Borough Market restaurant Padella’s superior fresh pasta and The Ned’s Champagne and Martini bar, for example), this means the menu is refined to the nth degree. There’s also no wine list – instead, the staff will ask you lots of questions about what you usually enjoy before pouring you something you might like. We were greeted with a glass of Malibràn Sottoriva Prosecco, an unrefined sparkling wine that’s low in sugar and slightly cloudy, that we were told could be drank at any time of day. It was mellow with a subtle fizz and a fruity smell. After confirming that we were up for trying some unusual wines, next came a glass of l’Erta Bianco Trebbiano from Tuscany: a white that was so deep, the colour was almost orange. Finally, we tried Solco Lambrusco dell’Emilia, a sparkling red, served cold – the kind of wine that you could drink by the bottle on a warm spring day. Luca and his staff’s knowledge is discernible without being pretentious or judgmental, and they’ll match your personal tastes effortlessly, but we recommend going with the flow and letting them guide you – you might try something you’d never usually order and find a new favourite.

    FOOD

    There’s a simple kitchen dishing up polished Italian takes on bar snacks. The cheese board will make any dairy lover very happy (the truffle pecorino is a standout), served with a basket of fresh, pillowy focaccia, while the smoked salmon is mellow and oaky. If you’re hiring one the spaces for an event, the kitchen can create a menu of rustic Italian dishes with a wine pairing to match.

    VERDICT

    There are so many bars in London that want to be what Passione Vino is – unassuming and unpretentious with a cult following and a reputation to match. Add it to your must-visit list. By Sarah James

    Address: Passione Vino, 85 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4QS


    Telephone: +44 20 3487 0600


    Website: passionevino.co.uk

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    LEROY

    Those expecting a bar dedicated to Fame’s street-smart, short-shorts-wearing Leroy Johnson will be disappointed – the Leroy here is a word play on Ellory, its previous incarnation in London Fields’ Netil House. But there’s plenty here to make you want to perform a little backflip. Ellory was set up by Jack Lewens and Ed Thaw, two sommeliers with River Café, Spring and Sagar + Wilde on their CVs, along with chef Matthew Young, and quickly won a Michelin star for its deft, European-style dishes. Now they’ve opened on a Shoreditch backstreet, a scrawl of red neon on the brickwork outside; bistro chairs, framed line drawing and marble counter inside. It’s modelled on a Parisian cave à manger, the sort of place to head to after work for a glass of something interesting with a plate of something else and linger a while, discussing Carla Bruni’s latest album and Macron’s tax reforms. Here you can pull up a stool at the counter and talk to Ed about the creative fightback of Shoreditch Brat, St Leonard’s and Mãos nearby), and why Hackney is just too *expletive* expensive these days. Ed has installed his weighty vinyl collection here (he’s DJing at Wilderness festival in August), so expect to choreograph your imbibing to the sounds of Marcos Valle or Next Stop Soweto Vol. 4.


    DRINKS

    As Leroy is run by two sommeliers you can expect the unexpected from the 80 or so bins – many of which are low-intervention or natural – but they wear their knowledge lightly. Long-time favourites include an excellent Arneis from Utah, and a Pinot Noir from Xavier Goodridge in the Yarra Valley; there’s also a bright sparkling Cremant du Jura by the glass, and a floral orange Moscatel from Alicante. Along with Stevie Parle and Sagar + Wilde, the owners put their money where their mouths are two years ago and invested in a small vineyard in Italy’s Campania region – where winemaker Bruno de Conciliis makes a punchy natural aglianico (red) with fresh, minerally tones and a luscious fiano (white). But pure wine’s not the only story here. Bartender Johnny, formerly of The Clove Club, has taken the fiano and made a vermouth with it, a little sweet on its own but lovely as a spritz. And there are simple, straightforward cocktails (whisky and soda with a sprig of rosemary) that arrive in a blink of an eye.


    BAR SNACKS

    As you’re in the East End, order a bowl of whelks and garlic mayonnaise, along with whipped cod’s roe and crisps and a quail skewer or two, or simply a few rounds of chorizo. This will inevitably lead you to the main menu, but that’s another story.


    VERDICT

    A keen-eyed bar for an aperitivo before a Shoreditch night out.

    By Rick Jordan

    Address: Leroy, 18 Phipp Street, London EC2A 4NU


    Telephone: +44 20 7739 4443


    Website: Leroyshoreditch.com

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    SCOUT

    East End minimalism with a sustainable ethos

    When it comes to East London bars, we’re living in the age of the understatement. Foregoing the usual dusty trinkets and taxidermy, hip new drinking dens like Untitled and Jailhouse Bar show a penchant for clean lines, abstract artwork and enigmatic, monosyllabic menus. At first glance, Scout seems to be a case in point: entering through an unmarked door near Old Street roundabout, you’ll find the bar jammed into a tiny room with grey booths, moody lighting and Japanese bonsai. But beyond the faux-industrial setting, what sets Scout apart from the trendy Shoreditch set is a genuine commitment to sustainable living. Bartender Matt Whiley (Worship Street Whistling Shop, Peg + Patriot) seeks out seasonal and foraged ingredients from across the British Isles, enforces a strict zero-waste policy and recruits knowledgeable staff who have an infectious enthusiasm for local produce.

    DRINKS

    The short cocktail menu is delightfully evasive, leaving plenty of room for surprises. Sea Buckthorn turns out to be a long, frothy mix of foraged fruit, apricot and bitter gin; Rhubarb is a pale, cloudy spirit with the aftertaste of creamy custard. Parsnip attracts the most curious stares when it arrives at the table: a stout glass containing a honey-coloured blend of brown butter, caramelised parsnip and whiskey topped with a huge hunk of ice delicately carved with the bar’s insignia. The real revelation, however, comes in the form of four natural wines developed in the bar’s own basement lab. The Blackberry + Pine tastes like a tart, fruity Pinot Noir, but it’s the parsnip wine that outshines everything else on the menu – a dry, subtly sweet, summery drink that is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.

    BAR SNACKS

    Scout’s zero-waste policy extends to the inventive food menu. Mixology ingredients that would usually be discarded are used to create dishes like rhubarb with crème fraiche, pickled celeriac with truffle and fried vegetable skins with house seasoning. For something more substantial, order the delicious platter of Neal’s Yard cheeses and sourdough which is the perfect foil for the sweetly acidic wines.

    VERDICT

    Scout is a true pioneer with plenty of unexpected twists. Its East End neighbours better step up their game – eco-chic never tasted so good.

    By Radhika Seth

    Address: Scout, 93 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A


    Website: scout.bar

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    TT LIQUOR

    A Jack-of-all-trades cocktail lair

    To parody Churchill’s famous description of Russia, this is a Shoreditch bar wrapped in a laboratory inside a bottle shop. TT Liquor is the HQ for Alastair Tatton and Stephen Thompson’s expansive cocktail project, a cottage industry of tasting, mixing and imbibing. At street level is the bottle shop, which has a whiff of Diagon Alley and the Victorian apothecary about it – wooden shelves of labelled bottles glint all around, a global library of spirits. Through the back, past mixologist classrooms (book in for a molecular or gin-based workshop) and down a flight of stairs is the bar, all bare bricks and low ceilings (six-footers beware), with illuminated alcoves containing bottles and, in one, a DJ. The building is a 19th-century police station and the former cells are now comfy spaces with leather banquettes for private get-togethers (yep, it’s just the place for a lock-in).

    DRINKS

    Unlike the bar, drinks are easy to locate on the menu, which is divided into four eras – from Belle Epoque to Our Time: Plymouth gin to peanut punch. All are original compositions – some riffs on classic cocktails like the Oh My Darlin’, a citrusy-mango take on the Sidecar and Birds and the Bees – a Bees Knees with added lavender and violets. The Alex on Safari is a real pudding of a drink, mixing Whitley Neill gin with Amarula and cacao while The Madison is a down and dirty martini made with cornichon vinegar. In the shop you can buy one of the bottles and leave it in a padlocked deposit box for return visits. Artus, the friendly Russian chap in charge, recommends a particularly lovely 20-year-old Barbadian rum, just out of reach on the fifth shelf up.

    BAR SNACKS

    You’re right in the thick of Kingsland Road’s Little Hanoi, and a Sexy Kung-Fu Fighter (Jinzu gin, kumquat, kaffir lime and bergamot with vermouth) will set you up nicely for a bowl of pho at Sông Quê.

    VERDICT

    Its elusive nature might deter the befuddled Shoreditch reveller but rewards the curious, fleet-footed imbiber. This is a one-stop shop for all things intoxicating, well-priced and run with oodles of charm by real aficionados.

    By Rick Jordan

    Address: TT Liquor, 17B Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA


    Telephone: +44 20 7788 8259


    Wesbite: ttliquor.co.uk

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    GREEN ROOM AT THE CURTAIN

    The East London hangout gets a new cocktail bar

    The Green Room is a feast for the eyes. This brand-new addition to the one-year-old Curtain hotel has replaced Tienda Roosteria restaurant on the ground floor (don’t worry, tacos are still available downstairs at one of Shoreditch’s best restaurants, Red Rooster) and filled a void: the venue now has a much-needed (and very elegant) dedicated bar space. There are plush green velvet banquettes, gold-accented floral murals and imposing industrial-style windows and concrete floors. A neon artwork above the bar reads ‘Don’t wait for tomorrow!’ – Tracy Emin meets Latin aphorism. And if you’re seated in the midnight-blue, shell-shaped club chairs, no one will blame you for asking a staff member to snap you sitting there. This is Shoreditch cool at its best.


    DRINKS

    No surprise that the drinks menu here is brilliant: the hotel’s 30-year-old beverage director, Jenny Willing, launched globally-acclaimed London bar Dandelyan (now Lyaness) with Mr Lyan before masterminding the menus here. Cocktails are inspired by East London. The fragrant Sunday Service, made with Tapatio Blanco tequila, eucalyptus, pear, lemon, floral bitters and egg white (or a clever chickpea substitute for vegans) is inspired by the flower market. The Holiest Harlot is inspired by Jane Shore, King Edward IV’s very influential mistress, after whom Shoreditch is supposedly named, a tribute nicely befitting of a hotel whose management is largely female. It’s made with Scottish Braemble gin liqueur (a nod to Jenny’s home), Martini Reserva Bitter, lemon sorbet and rosé Champagne and garnished with powdered beetroot, and is both beautiful and delicious. Wines are sourced from nearby suppliers, honey is provided by East London beehives, and the wild strawberry vermouth is homemade. From vegan alternatives to locally sourced ingredients and feminist undertones, this place is a barometer of our times.


    BAR SNACKS

    Hungry guests will scoff the deep-fried truffle mac and cheese or spinach, Parmesan and truffle gougères (a kind of cheesy choux pastry), while crudités with smoked babaganoush, crispy kale and oysters are smart light bites. No boring breadsticks here.


    THE VERDICT

    From ingredients and menu through to the management, this seriously impressive operation is all about the backstory.

    By Lauren Hepburn


    Address: Green Room, The Curtain, 45 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3PT


    Telephone: +44 20 3146 4545


    Website: thecurtain.com

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    NAPOLEON HOTEL & BARS

    Three bars: one for cocktails, one for whisky and one specialising in sherry – with a hotel suite to fall into afterwards

    The Napoleon takes the concept of bar-hopping to a whole new level, incorporating three different bars in one compact venue. It’s extremely kooky: from the hallway’s Seventies carpet to the fact there’s just one room. And with the suite comes a unique drinks service: a Pinter-esque dumbwaiter lift. Simply fill out a card with your order, place it inside and send it to your bar of choice – your order will arrive before you’ve spoken to anyone. Make sure to try the complimentary bottled cocktails in the room too. The Flat White Russian and Peanut Butter and Jam Old-Fashioned are complete game-changers. You’ll be pleased to have a bed right there at the end of the night.

    DRINKS

    If you’re a whisky-lover, head down to Black Rock in the basement, where hundreds of bottles of the stuff are lined up in glass-fronted cupboards. Not one to drink it neat? That’s ok, the shared table carved out of a tree trunk is lined, covered and filled with whiskey cocktails that are decanted straight into your glass from the taps at each end – try the Limousin Wood, which is made with Bulleit Bourbon, mint, sugar and bitters. At Sack on the ground floor, wine and sherry are the tipples of choice. But the star of the whole production is certainly The Devil’s Darling, which serves delightful cocktails in a dimly lit Wes Anderson-style setting. There are no standard menus here – simply ask for your favourite, or choose from the day’s specials. A Breakfast Martini (Tanqueray 10, Cointreau, marmalade and lemon juice) is all citrus and tang, while a Daiquiri is made with a 1980s Bacardi Superior Rum that the owner bought at auction.

    BAR SNACKS

    Try the veggie haggis balls with sherry salsa at Black Rock. Upstairs at Sack, jamón is sliced fresh off the leg and comes with other tapas-inspired dishes. And at The Devil’s Darling, truffle-infused nuts and fat manzanilla olives are the perfect accompaniment to your Martini. In the suite, the minibar is stocked to the brim with snacks and guests are given a voucher for breakfast at The Modern Pantry down the road, which is just as exciting.

    VERDICT

    With so many things setting The Napoleon apart, it’s worth a trip. Our favourite level? The Devil’s Darling.

    By Lauren Hepburn

    Address: The Napoleon Hotel & Bars, 9 Christopher Street, London EC2A 2BS


    Telephone: +44 20 3633 1006


    Website: napoleon-hotel.com

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    CTC BRICK LANE

    Imaginative Shoreditch newcomer with a sense of humour

    Well, we’ve had speakeasy bars and rooftop garage bars, bars disguised as Victorian apothecaries and bars dressed as Forties Tube stations. Here, at last, is a cocktail bar that resembles a pub. A funky pub, that is, with a dinosaur skull on the bar, framed vintage copies of Private Eye and musical caricatures on the walls, and copies of The Savoy Cocktail Book on the shelves. The Cocktail Trading Company (CTC) was founded by a trio of bartenders including Elliot Ball, who has a background in neuroscience and believes that flavour and smell are affected by what we see and hear. A Soho pop-up in 2015 led to this permanent London HQ opposite Rich Mix, with a bespoke copper still waiting in the wings for future distilling. (There’s also a smaller sibling at Smithfields and an outpost in Bristol.)

    DRINKS

    Ask for a couple of signature drinks and you may be presented with a tin of Spam and a bag of chips. All is not what it seems. Open the tin and you’ll find a palate-cleansing mouthful of ice cream; lift that to drink a fruity punch of apple brandy, cherry liquor and lemon juice. A straw buried in Chipsticks leads down to a hidden reservoir of Irish poitín (potato spirit) and vinegary peach tempranillo shrub. The pun-tastic menu – a vintage-style illustrated booklet, with puzzles in – includes original cocktail monikers such as Pept-Abysmal and Guido Forks. The pisco-based Apairoteef (geddit?) arrives with a pair of grandpa’s dentures floating in it; Tom & Jerry is built on a mousetrap. For something more subtle, the Bonsai Butterfly is a floral swirl of jasmine gin, St-Germain and Champagne. Bizarrely, some classics (gimlets, etc) are served in glass coupés.

    BAR SNACKS

    There may be cheese toasties on the menu, and a jar of monkey nuts to crack; but otherwise stick to the cocktails with inbuilt snacks. There’s hardly a shortage of restaurants nearby.

    VERDICT

    A funky, creative drinking den.

    By Rick Jordan

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    THE GIBSON

    A theatrical cabinet of curiosities at the quiet end of Old Street

    This pocket-sized corner bar has been fermenting original cocktail ideas for a couple of years now. Describing itself as an ‘Edwardian Tardis’, it was devised by Marian Beke, former head barman at London’s Nightjar. Those familiar with Nightjar’s cocktail list won’t fall off their bar stools here: the team have taken the classic Gibson cocktail as their inspiration and created a fanciful time-travelling menu that riffs on various salt-sour combinations and blurs the lines between food and drink. It’s a little ragtime, a little boulevardier, with some Alan Moore and The Sweeney thrown in for good measure. There’s green-glazed tiles outside, Lalique-style black-and-gold Deco fronting and a glorious sweep of copper bar. Like Nightjar, this bar is for seated guests only, with a doorman to ensure there’s space enough inside. If the mood takes you, a piano sits in one corner – though you may prefer to wait for one of the occasional jazz gigs pencilled on the Gibson’s dance card.

    DRINK

    At some point in the early 20th century, someone threw a pickled onion into a Martini instead of an olive. The Gibson was born. If only inventing a cocktail was so simple these days. And at The Gibson, it’s not. Some of the ingredients here would be ripe for parody if the resulting cocktails weren’t so handsomely delicious. There’s patchouli smoke, peanut butter dust and sago bubbles on the menu. A sea mushroom cooked in vermouth. Unicorn hoof-dust, phoenix egg whites? Quite possibly. Ingredients line the bar in corked bottles and bowls like the BFG’s dream jars. A spin on the Boston Club cocktail is made by combining grape-skin vodka, honeycomb, chianti reduction and fig vinegar, and then ageing it all in a barrel of Parmigiano. The Courvoisier-based Hummingbird flutters over, adorned with a peacock feather, fragrant with rosehips and rose-petal confit. The Ponderosa features bourbon infused with beef jerky and baked apples. Hard to pick one single drink, but start with the signature Gibson, made with Tanqueray and pickling-spice vermouth for added umami, and then try a Gibson Girl for contrast, made with Chartreuse, balsamic-grape and parma violet jelly. Anyone can rustle up a Gibson at home, but you’d never get close to making half the concoctions here. And to think, this was once an old-school boozer where the locals sank pints of Whitbread.

    BAR SNACKS

    It’s possible to nibble away at some of the garnishes here – Japanese radish, popping candy, shavings of choice Parmesan – but best order the steak tartare, made with prime beef from Smithfield Market across the way, the flambéed terrine or chargrilled octopus. Failing that, there’s several restaurants on nearby Whitecross Street.

    THE VERDICT

    A cosy, creative cocktail den for knee-nudging romantics

    By Rick Jordan

  • The best bars in Shoredtich

    SPITALFIELDS BAR AT HAWKSMOOR

    For serious cocktails and Art Nouveau style

    This copper-and-brass bar was opened in the basement of steak restaurant Hawksmoor in 2012 by childhood friends Will Beckett and Huw Gott. They worked with interior designer Macaulay Sinclair to pack the small space with reclaimed materials (lift doors from a 1920s building were used to create one of the walls).

    DRINKS

    Bar manager Ali Reynolds is the current UK World Class Bartender of the Year, so the concoctions here are top-notch. He and his brilliant team mix up a tight list of just 10 cocktails, including five Desert Island Drinks, which change monthly. The November menu includes a powerful Toffee Apple Brew with cognac, whiskey and cider and an Extra! Extra! Mead All About It with gin and the-clue-is-in-the-name honey wine. On the permanent list the Hops & Glory will convert ale drinkers to hard liquor with a mash-up of hop gin and IPA syrup.

    BAR SNACKS

    Order down-and-dirty Canadian staple poutine, served here with chicken gravy and crispy skin over triple-cooked cheesy chips or, as this is the little brother to the upstairs meat-heavy establishment, a short-rib French dip.

    VERDICT

    The three intimate alcoves, which are beautifully clad in turquoise Art Nouveau tiles and lowly lit with caged brass ship lights.

    By Grainne McBride

    Address: Spitalfields Bar at Hawksmoor, 157b Commercial Street, Shoreditch, London E1


    Telephone: +44 20 7426 4856


    Website: thehawksmoor.com

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