As we move towards the brighter horizons of spring, London is coming back to life again with a slew of new cocktail bar openings on the agenda. From the latest sky-high offering at The Standard to Mr Lyan’s much-anticipated return to his east London roots, the capital is full of exciting places to visit for cocktails. Here we’ve rounded up the best new London bars to be seen in this season.
The best new London Bars
Sweeties at The Standard
If you like your expertly crafted cocktails with a side of jaw-dropping views, The Standard’s new bar, Sweeties, is the spot for you. Situated on the 10th floor and accessed via the hotel’s famous red pill exterior lift, this is a place designed for mischievous behaviour, complete with ochre velvet sofas, mirrored tables and a six-foot antique phallic sculpture.
The menu features a selection of mood-boosting cocktails created in collaboration with award-winning mixologists Jack Sotti and Todd Austin, and feature a blend of feel-good ingredients and energising adaptogens, including reishi, ashwagandha and holy basil.
Signature cocktails include the pink Frothy Boi with lacto-rhubarb, gin, raspberry, pink pepper and gut-friendly fermented amazake oats and the Instagram-worthy Crystal Healing, a vivid blue concoction made with spirulina, pepper dulse seaweed distillate, bergamot, and electrolyte-rich coconut ice. Alongside their inventive drinks list, the bar will also play host to an ever-evolving line-up of top DJs, following in the footsteps of Benji B and Horse Meat Disco, who have played the room’s bespoke Funktion-One sound system at private parties.
Opening 24 February
10 Argyle Street, King’s Cross, London WC1
La Goccia Bar
This new offering from the team behind Petersham Nurseries draws on the connection to nature that the beloved Italian restaurants have become known for. Hidden away behind a dark red velvet curtain at their Covent Garden site, the focal point here is the spectacular bar, which is made from real leaves collected from the gardens and streets of Milan and hand-dipped in bronze. Alongside that there are hand-made bar stools with metal legs shaped to look like knobbly branches and low-slung velvet sofas just made for whiling away the evening.
Their seasonal cocktail menu has been inspired by the natural world, too, with their ‘Winter in the Woods’ drinks list centred around warming spices and fruits, garnished with herbs and edible flowers. The Pear Tree blends rum with pear juice, tonka bean and cloves, while the Smoked Orange features zingy herbal notes from Aperol and amaro, with an added hint of smokiness from Mexican mezcal. As an extra personal touch, the bar’s walls are lined with contemporary artworks from Petersham founder Francesco Boglione’s own collection, giving the impression that you’re sitting in a particularly stylish friend’s living room.
1 Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2
The Cinnamon Club
Vivek Singh’s celebrated Indian restaurant is best known for its incredible cuisine, but the buzzing Westminster spot is now home to one of central London’s most exciting hidden underground bars, too. Tucked away beneath the Grade II listed Old Westminster Library, the intimate 36-cover bar has been designed to reflect the vibrancy of an Indian bazaar, drawing inspiration from the rich colour of the spices found there and featuring curved archways and intimate alcoves that echo traditional Indian architecture. Reimagined by London-based designer Juliet Walmsley, tropical plants fill every corner of the room, while shimmering gold curtains conceal cosy secluded areas.
The drinks menu has been spearheaded by leading mixologist Robin Honhold, formerly of Lyan, and combine spices and ingredients from the restaurant’s kitchen to put a new spin on well-known classics. The beloved Bellini has been given an elegant makeover, infusing Belvedere ginger vodka with apricot purée and spiced rose before being topped with prosecco spumante, while the Lime Leaf Collins combines Bombay Sapphire gin, lime leaf, lime and soda for an ultra-refreshing take on the old favourite. There’s also a brilliant range of bar snacks to order, from tempura prawns with curry leaf and chilli mayonnaise to chicken tikka and cheese naan.
The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street, Westminster, London SW1
If asked to single out the best bartender in London, chances are the majority of people would say Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan), the award-winning cocktail legend behind Super Lyan, Dandelyan and the Sea Containers hotel’s current spot, Lyaness. Now the celebrated bartender is back with a new venture, Seed Library, opening at East London’s most talked-about new hotel, One Hundred Shoreditch, in March. And in contrast to the philosophy-led ethos of Lyaness, the new venue is set to adopt a more low-fi approach to cocktail making.
Designed by Lore Group creative director Jacu Strauss, the bar will have a relaxed, neighbourhood feel, with soft lighting, bespoke furniture and panelled wood, and walk-ins will be encouraged. The short, frequently changing drinks list will feature inventive takes on classic mixed drinks, such as the Sancho Leaf Martini and the Perilla Gin & Tonic, alongside a carefully curated selection of low-intervention wines and craft beers. Offering up a much-needed sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch, the opening marks a welcome return for Chetiyawardana to east London, the neighbourhood where he opened his first bar, White Lyan, in 2013.
Opening 3 March
100 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London E1
Holy Bar at Urban Retreat
Situated on the ground floor of Urban Retreat, the one-stop-shop beauty and wellness destination in Knightsbridge, Holy Carrot has quickly become one of London’s hottest vegan restaurants, and now it’s also home to a brand new cocktail bar, Holy Bar. Launching in collaboration with Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and inspired by the surrealism of Salvador Dali and Peter Pan’s Neverland, visitors here should expect the unexpected and more than a hint of magic. The candlelit room is scented with white sage and crystals are dotted around the zen space, which features a striking stained-glass window providing the perfect backdrop for crystal therapy and tarot card readings on selected dates.
Each of the botanical cocktails on the menu has been inspired by a different card in the tarot deck, from The Magician, made with dark and white rum, ginger liquor, Fernet Branca Menta, lime juice and homemade carob soda, to The Sun, a heady combination of Saliza amaretto infused vodka, Mozart dark chocolate liquor, espresso and almond syrup. Naturally, the bar snacks are all plant-based and ethically sourced using the finest organic seasonal British produce. Order the ‘Fish’ and Chips, which is served under a dome of smoke and features nori wrapped tofu in crystal tempura, and a side of their Angels and Devils crispy rice chips, where 100% of the proceeds will be donated to charity Hospitality Action to support the most vulnerable people in the industry.
2-4 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London SW1
The Savoy’s former head mixologist, Elon Soddu, has headed west and opened up in his own spot on Kensington High Street, Amaro. The intimate 38-seat space is staffed by bartenders from some of the finest bars in London, including HomeBoy, Kwānt and 69 Colebrooke Row, so you can expect a decent tipple whatever you order. Sardinian Soddu launched the space at the end of last year with a menu of 12 cocktails, with signature creations including their Pomegranate Negroni, made with Tapatio Blanco Tequila, Quiquiriqui Mezcal, dry Vermouth, Campari and pomegranate, and their Sultana Sour, which features Bacardi Superior Rum, Cognac, sultana, chocolate bitters and lime.
Each of the expertly mixed drinks is served from an impressive black granite bar, which offers up ten of the best seats in the house, where you can watch the cocktail maestros at work. As well as their mixed drinks, the bar also offers a selection of Italian wine, champagne, spirits and liqueurs, alongside a menu of Italian nibbles, ranging from Sardinian tuna tartare to buffalo mozzarella with pesto.
15 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London W8
Silverleaf at Pan Pacific
This new bar within Liverpool Street’s Pan Pacific hotel is helmed by some of the best-known names on London’s bartending scene. Martin ‘Simo’ Simpson, the man behind whisky specialists Milroy’s in Soho, launched the bar with his former colleague Chris Tanner, who will act as Silverleaf’s general manager. The bar, meanwhile, will be managed Liam Broom, formerly of east London favourite Callooh Callay. Drinks here are divided by the elements that make them up, rather than their style, and are represented by geometric colour profiles, where each ingredient is given its own colour. Every cocktail champions two or three core ingredients and is served up with starkly minimal presentation (save for the odd edible garnish).
Overlooking Bishopsgate Plaza, the focal point of the bar is the unique light installation in the centre, designed specifically for the space. A temperature-controlled gold display cabinet is situated behind the striking hand chipped grey marble bar, which is home to some of the finest spirits from around the world. So if you’re looking for a rare Japanese whisky or an ultra-aged brandy, this is the place to come.
80 Houndsditch, The City, London EC3