LDN’s not blessed with many spots with the attention to detail of Tokyo's listening bars, but Brilliant Corners comes damn close. This dimly lit haven is built on quality with exquisite food, drink and sound combining to create a potent mixture that lures locals in for date-night cocktails, and keeps them a little later than they planned to tuck into some sumptuous (and fairly priced) sushi. Before you know it, you've been enveloped in a hypnotic cloak of sound as the hi-grade speakers take centre stage. You really wanna be here come midnight, when the tables get moved to the side and the moon-like orbs provide the only illumination for a sensory shakedown to jazz, rare groove, house or soul. A rarefied taste of things done right.
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Burley Fisher Books
We may be well in the internet age by now but some people out there still dream of modest and romantic enterprises, like opening their own bookshop. For aspiring novelist Sam this dream was recently realised, and now the good people of Haggerston have this delight of a spot to cultivate their intellects in. Check out the recommended reading display for interesting fictional offerings or make your own mind up: beautiful photography books, quirky independent selections and classic novels all find themselves on the shelves here. What else? Coffee is what else (from Mission, E5), while breakfast-y bites will be on the cards soon. Swing down for discussions, readings and book launches, too.
MAP Maison is a raaather smart little bar, run by two of the most passionate and masterful mixologists we’ve encountered. After years of experience and travel, Joseph and Riccardo have set up their ideal spot to serve some seriously well considered cocktails - aromas, bouquets, measures, presentation - all of the things. A small, eclectic and deliberately limited seating area means top notch service (and maybe even a little travel tale if you ask nicely). Sip on a Black Sea Cocktail - vodka, mint, cranberry, lemon and olive oil (deep breath) served with squid ink, samphire and roe - whilst you sail away from the hustle of Kingsland Road.
MEAT Liquor - East Dulwich
** Opens 12th September ** Meat Liquor advise their customers to "come hungry and leave drunk". Whether you think that sounds great or desperately annoying, the quality of their burgers is undeniably good. This Dulwich outpost serves much the same as the rest of them with the likes of beef and chicken burgers, chicken wings and five variations of fries. On the drinks menu are all manner of cocktails, beers and shots plus dessert drinks like the White Russian shake and the Jäger float... that should sort you out. Veggies are not well catered for so maybe give it a miss if you're not much of a meat licker. Oh and it's open 24h on a Saturday!
The Momo Shack
Everyone knows that dumplings are Buddha's gift to the Earth - sweet, doughy balls of happiness that make the world that much better just by existing. Enter the momo, a Tibetan-style steamed dumpling that's descended on Dalston in the form of an after-hours pop up. Inspired by his father's Tibetan heritage, Momo Shack chef Alex has been serving up authentic Tibetan grub at events across London for several years now. The short but sweet menu at Brunswick East features their chicken and vegetarian momo dumplings alongside veggie stir fry. Behind the bar you'll find a selection of organic wines and craft beers. Look out for their wine tasting nights and Tibetan cultural talks too.