Updated on 09 December 2019
In recent years this arty district of East London has become an increasingly trendy hotspot for young creatives and fashion conscious hipsters seeking a sip of some of the best cocktails London has to offer. Amidst the vintage clothing stores, craft coffee shops, edgy art galleries and quirky restaurants; Shoreditch’s eclectic bar scene is beginning to burgeon. With everything from immersive drinking experiences, musical theme nights, rooftop residencies and secret speakeasies - there’s a buzz about this part of town almost every night of the week. Its popularity doesn’t seem to be waning either, with new and exciting bars popping up left, right and centre – so to help you taste the top tipples this area has to offer, we have pulled together an exclusive hit list of the very best bars in Shoreditch you need to try asap.
So round up your family, friends, colleagues and co-workers and throw on your trendiest clothes. To make a full night of it start your evening lining your stomach in one of the best restaurants in Shoreditch, then sip and slurp your way through some of the finest boozers the heart of Hackney has to offer. Sophisticates will feel at home in the likes of the Nobu Hotel, Hoi Poloi, The Laughing Heart and Found, whilst hard core hipsters will no doubt love the quirkier vibes of Satan’s Whiskers, Old Street Records, Callooh Callay and The Cocktail Trading Company Brick Lane.
For more drinking inspiration, see our recommendations for the best bars in London. Every one of the bars and pubs in SquareMeal’s lists of 'London’s Best' have been tried and tested by critics and our own customers. Each SquareMeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from those who have visited, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.
441 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN
The shabby chic décor of The Sun Tavern gives this pub a combined feel of traditional boozer and contemporary bar. Those in the know come for the unconventional cocktail list which never fails to provide some lovely surprises.
343 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9RA
Satan’s Whiskers' devilish drinks list changes on the daily but always promises some innovative twists on traditional blends. The low-lit bar also houses a bizarre but impressive range of stuffed animals and skeletal structures.
32 Horatio Street , London, E2 7SB
The Nelson’s is a no-frills boozer popular with the LDBTQ+ community owning to its welcoming, inclusive and fun atmosphere. Come for a craft beer and cheese toastie and you won’t be disappointed.
157a Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6BJ
Burnished art deco interiors, keenly priced cocktails and hearty bar eats (think poutine, lobster rolls and triple-cooked chips) make Hawksmoor’s Spitafields Bar a popular post-work pit stop for City drinkers.
10-50 Willow Street, London, EC2A 4BH
For sophistication and meaningful conversation, the ground floor Lobby bar at Nobu is a glamorous hangout for a glass of something fancy. Meanwhile the downstairs club-style bunker is far more debauched.
423 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN
Laid-back neighbourhood hangout Coupette serves a French-influenced drinks list that’s big on Calvados and Normandy-style ciders. The exposed brickwork and hip-hop soundtrack lend to its urban-cool vibe.
196 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6LG
Bull in a China Shop is an Asian-influenced restaurant and bar specialising in Japanese whisky. The idiosyncratic décor includes an assortment of bizarre trinkets and artefacts that add to its quirky charm.
2-4 Hackney Road, London, E2 7NS
Owned by ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ 80’s popstar Rick Astley, this tiny tavern is a must for beer enthusiasts. The list of draughts is overwhelmingly long but helpfully divided into distinct flavour profiles
65 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY
The wizards behind Callooh Callay have devised a list of pops and potions inspired by the Victorian nonsense poems of Lewis Carroll. Drinks are complemented by quirky interiors – ideal for those seeking an escape from the ordinary.
97-113 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3BS
For something totally out of the box this slightly mad kidult playground sees cocktails inspired by retro sweets served alongside three giant ball pits where guests can immerse themselves (quite literally) in some frivolous infantile fun.
9 Christopher Street, London, EC2A 2BS
Black Rock is an award-winning whisky bar serving over 250 malts and blends. It’s perhaps best known for its oak trunk, glass-topped table centrepiece with two channels down the middle dispensing their signature serves.
277 Hackney Road, London, E2 8NA
The clean and classy décor combined with an impressive yet affordable wine list makes this a popular hangout for young professionals to quaff on vintage vino and tuck into some tasty and unusual bar snacks.
129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB
Hailed for reviving the speakeasy concept, Nightjar launched to critical acclaim back in 2010 and is still just as hot ten years on. Cutting-edge drinks and live jazz are its signature trademarks.
5a Ravey Street, London, EC2A 4QW
Intimate, no-nonsense style bar Found is well worth the squeeze for its ever-changing seasonal cocktail list and gimmick-free approach to drinking. This is the kind of joint where bartenders go on their day off.
8-9 Hoxton Square, London, London, N1 6NU
Happiness Forgets is a tiny basement bar lauded around the world for its outstanding cocktail list and devoted bar staff who will treat you like an old friend. Be sure to book ahead as it’s always busy.
68 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6GQ
After numerous pop-ups, the Cocktail Trading Company has finally taken up a permanent residency on trendy Brick Lane. Expect sophisticated cocktails dressed up with the most ridiculous and outlandish of garnishes.
100 Shoreditch High Street, London, London, E1 6JQ
The striking bar attached to the Hoi Polloi brasserie in the Ace Hotel is modern and minimalist in its style. It’s an elegant spot to sip Champagne and feel like a Holywood A-lister as you watch the world go by.
2-4 Boundary Street, London, E2 7DD
Shoreditch is awash with rooftop drinking spots to choose from but there’s something about Boundary that sets it apart from the rest. Perhaps it’s the leafy pergola and abundant garden that lend it its laid-back, languorous atmosphere.
350-354 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NQ
As the name suggests, Old Street Records, from the team behind Venn Street and Northcote Records, is big on music. Sing along to Motown, funk and retro rock as you sip on a selection of classic cocktails given a contemporary twist.
193 Hackney Road, Hoxton, London, E2 8JL
Sager + Wilde has become synonymous with quality wines from lesser-known vineyards. The oenophile owners are constantly updating the wine list to keep regulars coming back to try their latest finds from biodynamic growers across the globe.
Looking for something to eat post-pub (or bar)? You might like our round up of the best late night restaurants the capital has to offer