London's Best Bars

London once again dominates the annual list of the world's greatest bars...

The Connaught Bar at The Connaught - 1st

London's Connaught Bar has taken the crown for the second year in a row, only the third bar to have done so in the awards' 13-year history. Set against a shimmering backdrop of silver, platinum pink and polished pistachio, the bar delivers immaculately tailored drinks. Inspired by English Cubist and Irish 1920s art, late designer David Collins produced a gem of a London bar and the excellent team serve up a cocktail menu, which is a fusion of tradition and innovation using exclusive vintages and limited edition Champagnes, spirits and liqueurs. You cannot fail to be dazzled by the meticulous attention and exacting precision to all the details that goes into making what you sip. Priceless. 

Tayér & Elementary -2nd

The opening follows Monica Berg's work with the award-winning Himkok in Oslo and comes three years after Alex Kratena left the four-time winner of The World’s 50 Best Bars, Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel. The site on Old Street in East London is the redevelopment of an old post office comprising three spaces: two bars - Elementary and Tayēr - and a creative studio called Outthink. Elementary, which is visible from the street through floor-to-ceiling windows, opens up into a more casual space with ingredient-led seasonal cocktails served from taps whereas Tayēr is more abstract, indefinable space - and houses a U-shaped counter bar and a daily changing menu of cocktails.

Kwãnt - 31st

Kwãnt sits in the basement space of Momo's African Mediterranean fusion restaurant. The bar is a joint venture by Lorincz and Momo owner Mourad Mazouz – the man also behind the two-Michelin starred Sketch. The 19th century-style bar and lounge is the first solo venture from Erik, a multi award-winning bartender who helped bring The Savoy’s American Bar to the number one spot at The World’s 50 Best Bar Awards in 2017. The venue’s subtly tropical décor, created by French-American interior designer Bambi Sloan, is “reminiscent of an eccentric gentleman’s drawing room”, delightfully furnished with light-coloured Chesterfield sofas and wooden panelling. Expect  “pared back yet innovative” drinks and a selection of rare and vintage spirits and Champagne from Erik’s personal collection, formed over many years. 

Lyaness - 55th

Lyaness (formally known as Dandelyan) at Sea Containers London is the brand new concept from Ryan Chetiyawardana, A.K.A. My Lyan, and the team behind White Lyan, Super Lyan, and Cub. Ryan, aka Mr Lyan, closed the award-winning Dandelyan despite taking home the top spot at the World’s 50 Best Bars awards. The bar (that works like a kitchen) presents an entirely different concept to Dandelyan, complete with new  electric-blue décor. Instead of a traditional cocktails the menu focuses on seven common ingredients (changed seasonally) that have an element of familiarity and used to make special versions of classic cocktails and bespoke variations. 

Swift - 57th

Swift is a two-storey bar offering light aperitifs and pre-dinner drinks in its main room, while the downstairs space features an ‘intelligently compiled’ list of whiskies from around the world in a more opulent, 1950s-inspired Art Deco setting. Step inside to an airy standing bar inspired by the sweeping style of Joseff Hoffman and the Art Nouveau era. The drinks menu has a succinct list of aperitifs focussing on martinis accompanied by a selection of small plates - the perfect place for those looking to fit in a ‘swift’ drink. Head to the more 'decadent comfort' downstairs bar, which hosts live piano music, offers table service - altogether at a far slower pace. Sink into one of the Art Deco sofas and order one of the drinks which lean more towards darker spirits (served with a contemporary twist) or choose from a refined whisky library which showcases (over 130) affordable drams. 

Satan's Whiskers - 73rd

This unassuming Bethnal Green bar, complete with a bizarre collection of taxidermy, smartly modish setting  with vintage booze posters and a much-lauded hip-hop soundtrack, may look like a dive from street level but it is in fact one of the city’s best classic cocktail bars. Opened by a team of bartenders who worked at London institution Milk & Honey, the drinks here are served with that same reverence to fresh produce, good ice and spirits who’ve had to fight for their spot in the speed rail. Expectworld-class drinks and a raw-garnish bar thrown in for good measure. They also make the most delicious bottle cocktails to take away with you.

A Bar with Shapes for a Name - 77rd

The London bar that goes by a trio of Bauhaus-influenced primary-color shapes—a yellow triangle, red square, and blue circle—also called A Bar with Shapes for a Name (“Shapes” for short), is an artistic vision conceived by bartender Remy Savage. Through its design and drinks, the bar aims to challenge its guests to reimagine what a bar is or should be. This minimalism inspires the bar’s concept, both in its bare-bones studio-esque design, with unembellished mahogany tables of various heights with chairs and stools, and in its drinks. The bar’s menu features just 12 cocktails: six classic cocktails and six developed by Savage and his team.

Side Hustle - 80th 

Set in the building’s former Police Station, Side Hustle is NoMad’s take on the classic British pub. The “tavern”-style Side Hustle sees a pub’s dark wood panelling meeting the booth-style seating format of a New York bar - it has a moody vibe similar to its stateside sibling ­– but with the addition of a vast array of agave-based spirits and cocktails and satirical British photography by Martin Parr lines the walls. Drawing on Chef Ashley Abodeely’s interest in Mexican and Cal-Mex food - in other words, her 'side hustle' - the bar serves Latin-influenced small plates, such as tacos, black truffle tlayuda and tosadas. The cocktail menu, which continues to tread a Mexican path, weaves from Nomad Hotel favourites and twists on their infamous Cocktail Explosions, sharing drinks for six to eight that come to the table in a 2ft-high cut-glass punch jar fitted with tiny tap.

 

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