Dry January? Pah! Who doesn’t need a stiff drink to get through the dark days of winter? Happily, our resident bar reviewer, Keith Barker-Main, is here to guide you through the best-rated bars and pubs he has visited over the past month. If you’re looking for a new watering hole, you’ve come to the right place. Scroll on for five new London bars and pubs well worth a visit.
What: This new ETM (Aviary, Botanist) joint softens the stark modernist surrounds with botanical motifs, warm woods, gleaming copper and cosy booths. Drinks of choice are craft ales and cocktails; bar snacks include mac ‘n’ cheese bites; other attractions see contemporary brasserie food and Saturday brunch.
Where: Tower 42, Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HN
Near & Far, Peckham
What: Housed in Peckham’s old multi-storey car park, this criminally cool cocktail bar is the latest venture from the brains behind Old Street party space, The Magic Roundabout. The look resembles a B-movie recreation of a 1950s Palm Springs tiki lounge; the soundtrack references Studio 54 disco, Afro funk and holiday house; top-notch cocktails include pisco and cachaça Sours.
Where: Level 6, Peckham Levels, 95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
Nelsons Head, Shoreditch
What: A welcoming spot full of random retro clutter, this half-timbered tavern has been rebranded from Fanny Nelsons to the Nelsons Head. Drinks range from failsafe wines to punchy Continental brews and London craft beers, plus cocktails served in an intimate naval-themed bar. To eat, expect pies and mash and a wildly popular Sunday lunch.
Where: 32 Horatio Street, E2 7SB
Prince Arthur, Hackney
What: This handsome mid-Victorian hostelry has been subtly updated into a belting backstreet boozer worthy of wider acclaim. A fine range of hoppy worthies majors on a roster of local heroes on rotation, while sensibly priced classic and modern pub food is served in the cosy, convivial saloon.
Where: 95 Forest Road, E8 3BH
Determined to try all of London’s world-beating bar culture? Head out east to the epicentre of all that is cool in the capital armed with our guide to the best bars in Shoreditch.