From vintage rock‘n’roll boozers to hidden speakeasies, we’ve whittled down our pick of the best new bars, cocktail dens and late-night party palaces popping up in London this month, guaranteed to quench your thirst come Friday night…
Be-Bop-A-Lula, Stoke Newington
With 50s rock‘n’roll at its heart, Stoke Newington’s lively new local promises a heavy hit of retro fun. Decked out with vintage artwork, old school juke boxes, guitars and retro TVs, this jive-tastic boozer boasts everything from live music and pub quizzes to board games and slot machines, with a serving of American diner-style grub on the side.
68-70 Green Lanes, Stoke Newington, N16 9EJ
Eve by Adam Handling, Covent Garden
With a strapline claiming to encompass all of life’s greatest impulses – temptation, indulgence, and hedonism – you know to expect big things from Adam Handling’s swanky new cocktail haunt. Located in the basement of his flagship Frog eatery this sultry speakeasy is dressed to impress, offering up an array of inventive tipples – think gin with eucalyptus and lime, and whiskey with coconut water and heather honey – alongside an extensive list of vintage wines from around the world. Interiors, just like Adam’s food, are rich, mysterious and indulgent, with dark walls, religious iconography, bright neons, and ambient low lighting adding to the theatrics.
34-38 Southampton Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7HF
Jack Solomons, Soho
Bringing a dose of old school glamour to the heart of Soho, Jack Solomons is a swanky new speakeasy inspired by the legendary 50s boxing promoter, who used to own a gym on the same site. From the outside, all you’ll see is an after-hours street deli, but once you ring the bell, you’ll be transported into a clandestine world of underground decadence. Themed cocktails – whiskey naturally features heavily here – come in the form of ‘Nipper Morris’ (a Solomons-promoted bantam weight fighter) with Glenfiddich 12-year, plum syrup, lemon juice and egg white; ‘Black Jack’ (his favourite greyhound) with Laphroaig, maraschino liqueur and lime juice, and ‘Old Guard’ (the nickname for Charlie Rose, a journalist of the time and Solomons’ personal nemesis) mixes Woodford reserve bourbon and bitters with apricot brandy. A menu of bar snacks and small plates takes inspiration from Solomons’ early spell as a fishmonger, with standout dishes including ‘Crab Croquettes’, ‘Hot Smoked Trout with Horseradish’ and ‘Rocky’s Fish & Chips’.
41 Great Windmill Street, Soho, W1D 7NB
Ex-Chiltern Firehouse chef Niall Davidson brings a slice of Ireland to East London with his latest bar opening. Offering a whirlwind of music, craic and Irish mischief, this Guinness-wielding watering hole promises a buzzing atmosphere and strong drinks to boot. Whiskey cocktails pack a serious punch here, as does the food – dishes include bone marrow doughnuts and flamed clams in cider; scampi-fried quail's eggs; clay-baked spider crab with Indian spices; T-bone steak with saison sauce and fries; or suckling pig and fireplace cabbage.
70-74 City Road, Shoreditch, EC1 2BJ
Salon Wine Store, Brixton
Having just undergone a recent refurb, Salon Wine Store will now offer food and wine buffs an array of artisan wines along with their sumptuous suppers. Downstairs the bar and restaurant will serve up small plates of smoked aubergine, black onion and seed crackers; slow cooked rabbit ragu, with house made pappardelle; and girolles with roast chestnut mushrooms and fresh coco beans, whilst upstairs will moonlight as a bottle shop stocking a vast selection of over 100 sparkling, red and white wines. Diners can either stock up and take home, or take downstairs for dinner, for a small corkage charge.
18 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LD