Make the most of all that London nightlife has to offer by investigating the newest batch of the capital’s drinking dens. 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. Scroll on for five freshly opened bars and pubs all vying to become your new favourite local.
The Fox & Pheasant, Chelsea
What: James Blunt may not be to everyone’s taste but the ‘You’re Beautiful’ singer is a smash hit with the Chelsea set, having rescued one of the area’s prettiest Victorian pubs and improved it by adding a smart new rear-courtyard dining room with retractable roof. Rock up here for weekend brunch and Sunday roast, modern English pub food, draft beer and cocktails.
Where: 1 Billing Road, SW10 9UJ
The Library Bar at The Ned, City
What: Away from the tumult of the drinking and dining spots packing the lobby of Soho House’s huge luxury hotel, a new bar has been squeezed into what was hitherto The Ned’s presumably under-subscribed ‘library’. The most popular read here now is the list of Champagne marques, while Martinis are prepped, Downton-style, à table, from the contents of a perambulating trolley.
Where: The Ned, 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
The Lost Alpaca, Covent Garden
What: Lima Floral’s low-key Bajo Bar has been relaunched as the Lost Alpaca, and while things might be unchanged decor-wise, there is a snappy new range of cócteles bursting with Latin American flavour. We love its take on the Pisco Sour, as well as Dulce de Martini, a sweet, creamy Lima take on Espresso Martini. Latin lagers work well with bar snacks of beef empanadas or fried chicken.
Where: 14 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BJ
St John at Hackney Brewery, Hackney
What: What this austere new taproom (no relation to Fergus Henderson’s St John restaurants) lacks in kerb appeal is offset by the admirable all-draught range of 12 craft ales on rotation. Many of these are produced by co-owner Ryan Robbins in a gleaming steel plant that fills a second renovated railway arch next door. There are guest ales, too, and food from an ever-changing line-up of pop-ups.
Where: 16-17 Bohemia Place, E8 1DU
Viet Lounge, Soho
What: Viet Food’s chef owner Jeff Tan has launched a standalone cocktail bar atop his modern Chinatown canteen. Random decor and wobbly service are not strong points, but ex-Hakkasan and Park Chinois mixologist Alex Looi’s charismatic cocktails punch way above their modest price tags. Snacks such as crispy coconut calamari and chilli beef sirloin also appeal.
Where: 34-36 Wardour Street, W1D 6QT
Determined to try all of London’s world-beating bars and drinks culture? Make the most of the heatwave with our list of London’s best beer gardens.