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 drinking spot.
What: The destination cocktail lounge at new hotel The Principal has been designed by Russell Sage Studios as a darkly decadent, romantic baronial homage to the landmark Victorian building it occupies. Drink-in the surroundings with a quietly confident repertoire of modern Manhattans, complex Martinis, inventive Slings and Rickeys.
Where: The Principal, corner of Guilford Street and Russell Square, WC1B 5BE
Green Room, Shoreditch
What: A year after opening, The Curtain has decided it needs a classic modern hotel bar instead of the taco and Tequila joint Tienda Roosteria. Emerald banquettes, artsy hangings and suitably ‘Shoreditch’ staff are all on point, while cocktails are crafted to order; try the Holiest Harlot (a bittersweet pink Champagne and berry fizz). Accompanying bar snacks are appropriately modish.
Where: The Curtain, 45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT
Moonshine Minnie’s, Shoreditch
What: The basement bar at The Blues Kitchen is a self-contained new speakeasy with engagingly oddball decor that mashes up 1950s Memphis juke joint and a rope-lined 1850s pirate ship. The snappy list of potent classic and twisted American cocktails majors in whiskey: Burnt Pear Old Fashioned, Bourbon Side Car, or Sazerac perhaps.
Where: The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch, 134-146 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AR
The Old Ship, Hammersmith
What: This is the pick of the pubs on the picturesque stretch of the Thames from Chiswick Village to Hammersmith Bridge, and it’s just been refurbished. Drop in for quality cask-conditioned beers, sensibly priced wines and paired gins and tonics. On fine days, nothing beats dining alfresco on The Ship’s pretty front terrace or on its smart upstairs veranda.
Where: 25 Upper Mall, W6 9TD
Petite Chambre, Fitzrovia
What: Michelin-starred Pied à Terre has transformed its underused first-floor space into a much-needed lounge bar. Relaxed service, sharp 1950s-style decor, creative canapés and a Dansette stacked with classic vinyl create a ‘little room’ worth considering. As do the fine cocktails and a wine list that has always been one of the best in London.
Where: Pied-à-Terre, 34 Charlotte Street, W1T 2NH
Determined to try all of London’s world-beating bar culture? Get right to the heart of the cocktail scene with our handpicked list of the best bars in Soho.