Telegraph: London Cocktail Bars - Ten of the BestSeptember 13, 2012
There’s a cocktail bar for every mood in London but with so much choice deciding where to go can be confusing. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to impress a date, experiment with gastro-mixology or to drink in the views, take your pick from our selection of London's best cocktail-sipping experiences below.
Best for views: Paramount
There are plenty of bars offering pretty good views over London but Paramount is one of our favourites. Why? It’s chic in an inclusive way – making you feel posh without being intimidating. Your experience starts at ground level. After checking in with the reception staff, you step into the lift and after a few ear-popping moments you’re up to the 32st floor. The first thing you notice is the dramatic hand-crafted, copper bar in the centre of the room. Designed by Tom Dixon, it’s every inch the showstopper. Then there’s that breathtaking vista. However cool you think you may think you are, it’s unlikely you’ll fail to be impressed from the views afforded from 385 feet up – even the usually dingy end of Oxford Street looks impressive from a height.
Top tip: Don’t leave without heading up to the Viewing Gallery and Bar on the 33rd floor; it’s not as bustling as the main bar area below but you do get whopping 360 degree views.
Top tipple: Dakers Last Words (Bombay Sapphire gin infused with rosemary and Yellow Chartreuse and shaken with yellow and pink citrus, all garnished with an Absinthe-flamed rosemary stick).
Average price: £11-£14.
Address: 101-103 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DD. T: 020 7420 2900.
Open: Mon-Wed 8am-1.30am; Thurs & Fri 8am-2.30am; Sat 11.30am-2.30am; Sun noon-4pm.
Best for non-alcoholic cocktails: Long Bar at The Sanderson
Gone are the days when anyone seeking out non-alcoholic drinks had to contend with fruit juice out of a carton or boring old lemonade. Most good bartenders will mix up something tasty if you ask them to park the alcohol to one side but some, like the Long Bar at The Sanderson hotel, make a point of featuring imaginative non-alcoholic choices on their menus. Listed in the drinks menu in a special ‘On the Wagon’ section, the four fruit/herb concoctions are nicely balanced and won’t leave you feeling like you’ve been overlooked in the creativity department. The venue gets top marks for cocktail presentation and stylish setting as well.
Top tip: If it’s the calories you’re avoiding rather than the spirits themselves, check out the Skinny Cocktails section with five drinks ranging from 134-150 calories each.
Top tipple: Lychee Lemonade (fresh lemongrass and ginger stirred with pressed lychees and lime juice).
Average price: ‘On the Wagon’ cocktails priced at £7.
Address: 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG. T: 020 7300 5587.
Open: Mon-Sat 11am-3am; Sun noon-midnight.
Best for English eccentricity: Zetter Townhouse bar
It’s hard not to fall in love with the Zetter Townhouse bar. It’s like visiting our favourite delightfully dotty aunt and kicking back in her front room. There are quirky touches everywhere: a life-sized stuffed kangaroo here, decorative china plates there, plus more books, paintings and cushions than you can shake a stick at.
The stylish mishmash and comfy upholstered sofas make for a warmth and cosiness you won’t find in most bars; particularly ones of this calibre. Zetter Townhouse Bar recently picked up the World’s Best New Cocktail Bar prize at the prestigious Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Little wonder really, every one of the dozen cocktails on Tony Conigliaro’s seasonally changing list is classically structured, consisting of an average of only three ingredients made to work hard and delight the palate with homemade cordials, tinctures or bitters.
Top tip: Be sure to have a poke around to take in all the details – even the walk to the loo is a visual delight.
Top tipple: The Master at Arms (Myers rum, port evaporation with homemade grenadine).
Average price: £8.50
Address: 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RJ. T: 020 7324 4444.
Open: Sun-Wed 7am-midnight; Thurs-Sat 7am-1am.
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To view the entire list visit the Telegraph.