Not to be outdone by London’s slew of new restaurants, the capital’s bars are stepping things up, keeping our resident bar reviewer, Keith Barker-Main, very busy. Looking for a highly rated new drinking den? You’ve hit the jackpot.
Words: Keith Barker-Main and Eamonn Crowe
Alpha Beta, City
What: Not satiated by tending his own bars (White Lyan and Dandelyan), renowned mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana has now blessed Anna Hansen’s Modern Pantry Finsbury Square with this destination bar. The botanical-inspired cocktails use spices and ingredients integral to Hansen’s fusion cooking. Twisted aperitivo-hour classics (an Aperol Spritz prepared with black Moscato and hibiscus, for instance) and interesting Highballs are further reasons to make a beeline here.
Where: The Alphabeta Building, 14 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1AH
What: A new late-night Soho basement club, Disrepute admits non-members with table reservations until 11pm. The sleek interiors hark back to the early 1960s, while classy cocktails are created to a soundtrack of pre-Beatles easy listening: go for the Lime House Royal (rum, lime, honey and carbonated Sauternes) or the Queen’s Cup (Marylebone gin, Riesling, fino sherry, Lillet blanc and elderflower). Despite its name, Disrepute deserves a new rep as one of Soho’s more sophisticated spots.
Where: 4 Kingly Court, W1B 5PE
Rotunda at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square, City
What: The bar at Four Seasons’ latest London hotel occupies an august beaux arts-style building. It’s a striking setting, featuring a sunken lounge with marble and sculpted stucco, a magnificent glass dome and a grand piano. Ladies and gents of leisure come here for afternoon tea, flutes of fizz, or an aperitivo-hour Spritz. Alternatively, they could settle in for vintage spirits by the glass (1922 Croix de Salles Armagnac, perhaps) and bar snacks of vegetable tempura, mini lobster rolls or foie gras terrine.
Where: Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square, 10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ
What: This newbie is the work of Tony Conigliaro (Bar Termini and 69 Colebrooke Row) and his protégée Zoe Burgess. The antithesis of the eclecticism that informs many London bars, Untitled’s design references mid-60s New York counterculture. Using arcane ingredients, the drinks are conceived to taste like their tersely annotated namesakes: ’silk’ (clay and silica); ‘snow’ (clay, chalk and enoki). With such obscure fixes, Untitled is likely to polarise opinion, but we were impressed.
Where: 538 Kingsland Road, E8 4AH
The Whitechapel Refectory, Whitechapel
What: The perennially interesting art gallery has finally got its café-bar right, thanks to Luke Wilson and Cameron Emirali (the chaps behind 10 Greek Street and 8 Hoxton Square. In 1920s art deco surroundings, a daily changing menu is served from 10.30am to 6pm: pastries, filled baps and small plates at pleasing prices. On Thursday and Friday, the space morphs into cool hook-up After Hours, when the focus shifts to charcuterie and wine for a classier affair.
Where: Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX
If you like your tipples shaken not stirred, check out our selection of the best bars for Martinis in London
This article was published 23 February 2017