You know a bar has got something going for it when you've got to book far in advance to get a table there. That's Nightjar: a low-lit speakeasy that's riffing heavily on that ever-popular 1920's thing. This intimate place has that combo of faded glamour, crooning jazz and a meticulously created, unique cocktail list that makes it an ideal place for swooning. Once you find the super discrete door and head down, it's a seriously stunning speakeasy-type setup, intimately lit, and with live music. We don't know what they were smoking when they came up with the cocktails, but pass it this way. How about Chicory Coffee, Truffled Potato Puree, Chocolate Stout and Smoked Mint Foam? Such mental tipples aren't cheap, but you're getting something a bit special here.
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Tom Aske and Tristan Stephenson (the cool kids behind London’s Worship Street Whistling Shop) decided Londoners need an education in whisky. Opening a bar with 250 different bottles is their answer. Of the short (whisky only) cocktail list we recommend the 40 Shades - made with Black Bush, Granny Smith and fennel pollen. Instead of a stuffy bar full of tweed-wearing Old Boys, Black Rock is slick and minimalistic with a hip hop, electro-funk soundtrack. An 18ft, 185-year-old tree trunk in the middle of the room replaces the bar and bartenders will roam freely serving drinks. 2 different types of whisky are being aged within this trunk right now and can be poured from one end through a tap. Wondrous.
Redemption Bar - Shoreditch
The concept at Redemption Bar is simple: they want to challenge the idea that we need alcohol to enjoy every social occasion. So in this laid-back, arty spot there's not a drop of the hard stuff to be seen. Instead, a carefully constructed menu (designed by a nutritional therapist) with plenty of goodness. That includes vegan, gluten-free and raw-food dishes; and for drinks it's smoothies, teas and mocktails. Snaffle a ruby beet ravioli and one of their coco-tinis (coconut water and cranberry shaken over ice with a squeeze of lime) and you'll feel all the better for it. Perfect for health conscious-foodies or those in need of a little redeeming.
Take an evening stroll down Ravey Street (best road name ever?), stroll up to a mysterious door topped with a mysterious looking lantern, and you'll find this unassuming cocktail bar without a name. After ducking down the steps and slipping through a red velvet curtain, you’ll realise you’ve only gone and Found it - clever name eh? It's a pretty sexy affair with table service, dim lighting, a fully stacked bar and many different rooms. What with all those nooks and crannies to hide away in, you should have plenty of fun down here on date night too.
*Unpublished 11/18* Head down the tiny purple stairs for cabaret and drag queen performances in a place you can barely swing a cat in. Which was lucky, for our cat's sake more than anything else. There's some manner of show on every night so you could check the line up or risk it for a biscuit and wonder in on a whim. We hear Champagne Charlie's open mic night is a scorcher, if you're about on Tuesday eve.