“Cocktails and laughter, but what comes after?”
Noël Coward, Poor Little Rich Girl
I love cocktails and luckily for me, London has some of the best cocktail bars in the world. Below I’m going to talk about some of my favourites, and why they’re a lil bit special.
Sorry, you probably already know about this one. This is the restaurant/bar with the odd egg shaped toilets – if you’ve yet to pee inside an egg, you’re missing out. Toilets aside, Sketch has 4 different themed rooms:
The Lecture Room: A michelin starred restaurant themed as a grand library
The Gallery: The famous pink room for afternoon tea.
The Parlour: An eclectic room used for brunches and drinks
The Glade: A magical woodland themed room, perfect for cocktails.
I’ve yet to eat there, but having drinks here is a little bit like stepping through the looking glass. The cleaners are dressed in french maid outfits and there are interesting details everywhere. It has quite a calm vibe, but I can imagine some might find it pretentious (can I say that?!)
It’s not cheap, with cocktails around the £15 mark, but they’re delicious and it’s worth going just for the sense of fun… and obviously to visit the toilets (no shame!)
Covent Garden Cocktail Club
This is a bit of a favourite, and has a very different vibe from Sketch. It’s loud, unpretentious and a lot of fun. They only serve cocktails, and to enter you have to be a member. You can sign up to be a member online (you pay a nominal fee to receive your membership card) and can bring up to 3 guests when you visit.
The bar itself is designed as an underground speakeasy, plays fun music that will get you singing along and has a great cocktail menu (bacon & egg cocktail anybody?)
The staff are arguably the best thing about the bar, they’re lively, informal and theatrical. Don’t be alarmed if you see the bar staff doing any of the following: forcing shots down each others throats, or giving customers free shots, or doing body shots, or fire-breathing… that’s normal here.
Price wise, you can get 2 cocktails for £12 during happy hour (which is generally when I prefer to visit, because it gets crazy later in the night.)
P.S. See if you can spot my name (Nat) written on the lampshade!
The Cocktail Trading Company (Shoreditch)
If you want to try some amazingly creative cocktails in a chilled out atmosphere, this is the place. The bar itself is cosy, comfy chairs with candlelit tables (with music, of course.) I actually saw a group of people being discouraged from dancing, so it’s definitely a more chilled out evening.
The cocktails are the star of the show, and they are really creative. Sadly, looking at the menu it looks like they’ve toned it down slightly – but this may be for the best, as the cocktails didn’t exactly taste amazing when I visited. They’re still creative though, served in shells, apples etc.
Cocktails are priced around £10, so pretty average for London cocktail bars.
Evans and Peel Detective Agency (Earls Court)
This is massively gimmicky and I love it. This bar is hidden away and staged as detective agency. To visit, you have to book online – and to do this, you have to register a case you need the PI to investigate.
When you turn up to the bar you have to confirm your name and case over the intercom to the ‘detective.’ Then when access is granted, you have to discuss your case further with the ‘detective’, and once satisfied he has all the details, you are given entry to the bar via a bookcase.
A great experience, probably better if you don’t turn up already drunk like me. Of course, I have no decent photos, and I didn’t manage to try that many cocktails… Oops.
Price wise, I think they’re around £10 (again pretty average for London) and from what I remember, the vibe was fairly chilled.