Quirky cocktail bars in and around the City of London
After work or dinner, cocktails are a must in the City, but with so many different bars, how do you choose where to go?
Forget your over-visited speakeasy and go instead, go somewhere that will push you and your companions to try new things and experience the unusual.
Read on to discover our list of the best quirky bars in and around the city, all of which have been designed to surprise and intrigue you. You will thank us later!
Housed in the bustling headquarters of the secret society that ruled Victorian London, The Escapologist is a bar to escape to after a long day. Designed as a “Modern Victorian Men’s Club” and “Masonic Lodge”, the focus is on memorable moments with great drinks in an outrageous space. Think dark red velvet curtains, plush seating, jazzy Victorian portraits, opulent floor tiles, and slightly garish wallpaper.
Named for Baron Von Took, a legendary reveler and general wanderer (who avoided a tryst with the gallows and spent the rest of his days in hiding – gallivanting across the world at will), The Escapologist is the perfect place for a fun night out. With secret doors, surprises around every corner, and twisted drinks in the subterranean basement, it’s always the perfect place to escape the kingdom and unlock a new level of revelry.
The Escapologist’s drink menu is comprehensive, with specialty cocktails – like the delicious Sugar Daddy, made with Chivas Regal Scotch, Disaranno Amaretto, cola, fruit and citrus juices – wine, bubbles, beers, shooters and ‘tiki ‘ (all made with Havana Club Rum), gin, classic, vodka, seasonal AND non-alcoholic cocktails.
35 Earlham Street WC2H 9LD
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
A secret bar through a fridge? What will they think next! Yet this subterranean bolthole is indeed only accessible by walking through a refrigerator in the city’s branch of trendy coffee shop, The Breakfast Club.
What may seem like “just” a place to grab some tasty food, opens up to much more behind a secret door – as long as you guess the password correctly… If you do, a dark room awaits you bare-brick with lots of atmosphere, great cocktails, delicious bar snacks and, as the neon sign proclaims, all-night thrills.
We recommend trying the delicious Mayor’s Tea Party cocktail – it’s made with Earl Gray infused Tanqueray gin, Rin Quin Peach vermouth, homemade lavender syrup, lemon bitters and grapefruit. Trust us – it’s unlike any other cocktail you’ve had.
12-16 Artillery Street E1 7LS
Put on your cowboy boots and hold on to your hat – the Moonshine Saloon is a real ride! A cocktail bar like no other, and probably the quirkiest on our list, Moonshine Saloon combines immersive theater with a top-notch drinking experience. Step inside to be transported from the city streets and into the Wild West to get your slice of the illegal Moonlight Empire.
Moonshine Saloon lets you be part of the story as it unfolds – “smuggle in” your own booze and become the center of a “covert booze operation” run by the so-called King of the Moonshiners, Clyde Cassidy. Mingle with the “locals”, try your luck at card and dice games, and when the sheriff calls you, do your best to stay cool.
You’ll also look the part, with the bar’s ‘local tailor’ dressing you to look like the rest of the residents, all so you don’t attract the attention of the law!
Throughout the experience, you and your companions will be served delicious bespoke cocktails made from your ‘illegally smuggled’ liquor, expertly brewed by a team of world-class mixologists. Expect to see your liquor blended in innovative ways – with liqueurs, homemade syrups, juices, bitters and toppings.
Catch your partners in crime, get your moonshine ready, and strap yourself in for a crazy, drink-fueled journey.
28-30 Houndsditch EC3A 7DB
Did you know that there is a way for you to travel through space and time in Old Street, a stone’s throw from the City? We don’t lie! With the help of the classic pickled cocktail – the Gibson, and an eclectic supporting team of over 40 imaginative cocktails, the Gibson’s menu is designed around a fantastic calendar that takes you through different seasons in different eras.
Since the bar is the time machine and through your drink selection, you are in control of your destination. Embarking from Edwardian London, where will you go? Your first stop could be a warm summer evening in the 1920s or a winter night in a time yet to come!
The Gibson’s stunning interiors are well aligned with the theme, designed to emanate a futuristic Edwardian world so you feel like you’ve stepped through a portal. The room is filled with dark furniture and orange lighting, with just a hint of extravagance.
The Gibson is sure to serve up a quirky evening from start to finish, so be sure to pay it a visit.
44 Old Street EC1V 9AQ
Looking for a more intimate drinking experience? You’ll love The Brig – hidden away and personal, London’s smallest bar has been carved out of the Merchant House bar of Bow Lane. It’s the perfect place for an after-work drink, a date or a private party!
The Brig can be booked by the hour for two to four people, priced at £65 pp, with all drinks and your own private bartender included – all of whom are expertly trained in both cocktail making and to the art of conversation. Expect plenty of spice, humor and charm.
Put on your own music, explore the spirits and cocktails you like, chat with your bartender (who can make you drinks customized to your preferences), chat with each other, and even make your own drinks, if you like.
On the day of your booking, you’ll receive a unique four-digit code to access The Brig during your timeslot, and then the fun can begin!
Courtyard 13 Wells EC4M 9DN
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