Seven London bars to make a beeline for

Our drinks expert on where to quaff artisan prosecco, small-batch mezcals and the ultimate champagne cocktails

Cocktails at the Mulwray lounge at The Blue Posts
Cocktails at the Mulwray lounge at The Blue Posts

The Blue Posts

There are three pubs in Soho called The Blue Posts. One is in Fitzrovia and another in St James’s. But the one on the edge of Chinatown is a gem – a pub, a cocktail bar and a restaurant across three floors. The pub brims with interesting indie brews, such as Cwtch Red Ale from Wales’ Tiny Rebel Brewing Co and the reliably brilliant IPAs of the Beavertown brewery in north London. But don’t miss the velvet-clad, candlelit Mulwray lounge on the first floor for its fine line in cocktails, including the sparky Mexican Fizz, featuring Tapatio blanco tequila, orange sherbet and tonic. theblueposts.co.uk

The Mulwray lounge at The Blue Posts
The Mulwray lounge at The Blue Posts
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Kwant

In the basement of Momo restaurant, this glitzy little bar in Mayfair is run by Erik Lorincz, the erstwhile head bartender at The Savoy. Kwant (pronounced “quaint”) is a luxurious combination of tiki kitsch and old-time Casablanca glamour. Lighting is low, palm prints abound and guests recline on a mix of bamboo, velvet and creamy-white leather. Cocktails include the Savoya Fizz, scented with bergamot essence and created in collaboration with cult Italian perfumer Meo Fusciuni. I loved the Hacienda, a mezcal cocktail with a brilliant raspberry-red colour imparted by purple carrot. momo.london

Kwant in Mayfair
Kwant in Mayfair
Passione Vino owner Luca Dusi
Passione Vino owner Luca Dusi | Image: Leo Goddard

Passione Vino

Described as “an Italian wine shop and bar”, this converted Shoreditch townhouse is very much a place to linger – furnished with a nice Nebbiolo and a board of nutty Parma ham. “We are, in many ways, a classic osteria,” says Veronese owner Luca Dusi, who focuses on small, artisan producers. One of his calling cards is Sottoriva Col Fondo Malibran NV (£20), a cloudy, bottle-fermented prosecco. “We want to rewrite the perception of prosecco,” he says. “This one is dry, quite grassy, and goes wonderfully with the delicate flavours of beef tartare.” passionevino.co.uk

Hacha

Kingsland Road in east London is not a looker – but it’s home to some of the city’s most creative bars. Hacha is a celebration of all things agave. The selection of spirits is compact but full of good things: award-winning tequilas, small-batch mezcals, iconic añejos and cult finds from Jalisco, Oaxaca and Chihuahua. The weekly changing list might include the verdant El Rayo Plata tequila, made from a blend of highland and lowland agaves, or a Margarita twist, made with blanco tequila, pistachio syrup and rosemary-smoked lime. hachabar.com

Hacha Tommy’s Margarita with pistachio, agave and rosemary-smoked lime
Hacha Tommy’s Margarita with pistachio, agave and rosemary-smoked lime
Vermuteria in Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross
Vermuteria in Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross

Vermuteria

Squeezed into a corner of Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, this bustling café-bar boasts an enormous selection of vermouths and bitters. I had a beautiful golden Negroni made with gin from the East London Liquor Company, Contratto white vermouth and Kina L’Aéro d’Or – an esoteric golden bitter from Switzerland. Vermuteria also does a classic Negroni using its house-made vermouth. I highly suggest an aperitivo here – sit at the bar so you can admire the vintage bottles up close, and order some of the excellent charcuterie too. vermuteria.cc

Leroy

One of the draws of hip Shoreditch wine bar Leroy is that it makes its own vermouth from scratch. “Vermouth has all these complex flavours,” says Leroy co-owner and former River Café head sommelier Jack Lewens. “You can just drink it neat or with a dash of soda, some ice and a twist of lemon or with a splash of prosecco. We flavour ours with indigenous botanicals, including rosemary, chamomile, fennel, lemon peel and dandelion root.” leroyshoreditch.com

Leroy wine bar in Shoreditch
Leroy wine bar in Shoreditch
Flor wine bar in Borough Market
Flor wine bar in Borough Market | Image: Anton Rodriguez

Flor

Created by the precocious team behind Lyle’s in Shoreditch – holder of a Michelin star and rated 33 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – this wine bar in Borough Market is tiny but ingenious. Centred around a vertiginous library of wine selected by sommelier Francesca, it majors on small producers with a story: grower champagnes, natural wines, craft beer, cider and perry. Orange wine is a speciality – I enjoyed the 2018 L’Orange by Domaine de Courbissac, a wine with the freshness of a rosé and the appetising grip of a cider. florlondon.com

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