The 5 best cocktail bars
1) Mark's Bar
A plush, old-school drinking den with a warm and dimly-lit ambiance. It appears civilised, but this place encourages decadence. The unusual cocktail list is informed by a centuries old history of British drinking tradition with one section named ‘Early British Libations’. Sit at the long bar if you want to enjoy the theatre of preparing a Zombie or Shipwreck Blazer.
2) Happiness Forgets
Easy to miss at street level, this tiny candlelit bar offers ‘high end cocktails in a low rent basement.’ Known as a bartenders’ bar, the cocktails here are as innovative and inventive as the décor is low-key and understated.
This prohibition-style bar in Shoreditch has a great vibe with live jazz and swing music every night after 9. The creative cocktail list is divided into historic eras; pre-prohibition, prohibition, post-war and Nightjar signatures. This is a busy spot, so book ahead.
4) Satan's Whiskers
Outside it may resemble a dive bar, with a tiny pink neon sign advertising the enticing name, but inside there’s a more salubrious and quirky bar area which is heavy on the taxidermy. The signature drink features gin, vermouth, Grand Marnier, bitters and orange juice. The soundtrack is old-school hip-hop.
5) American Bar
Hidden inside the stately Savoy Hotel the American Bar opened in 1893 and was the first in Europe to import the popular US style of mixed liquors. It’s a place of legend where Harry Craddock invented many now-classic cocktails. There’s a jazz-age art deco feel here, polished and elegant, with live piano every evening.
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