You could live as long as London’s been around and still not get to the bottom of the number of bars, pubs, breweries and distilleries that the city has to offer. Some come, some go, others, such as the American Bar at The Savoy, become institutions. Here are a few of the best and most interesting. Cheers!
A mere 52 floors above ground level Gong in The Shard is one of London's highest cocktail bars. You simply MUST try the Black & Blue Swizzle with its perfect combination of Talisker 10 whisky, Stilton cheese, honey and Pedro Ximenez sherry. Book ahead to get a window seat.
2. Beer Mile
On Saturday mornings a bunch of small independent breweries in south London’s Bermondsey area open their doors to the public. If you like craft beer this is nirvana. Don’t pay for a guided tour – it’s easy enough to go it alone. Start at the Fourpure Brewing Co and work north.
3. Mother’s Ruin
There are a burgeoning number of gin joints in London and one of the most popular is the City of London gin distillery and bar not far from St. Paul's Cathedral. Take a tour, do a course or simply sip gin in the cool, speakeasy-style Cold Bar.
4. American Bar
Walking into the famous American Bar at The Savoy is like stepping back to the 1920s: art deco abounds, photographs of famous guests dot the cream walls while well-presented
patrons are served by elegant waiters to a background of live piano jazz. Drink what you like – just being there is the thing.
Voted the world’s best bar several times, the Artesian in the Langham Hotel is the place to go cocktails of the more unusual variety. Where else would you get Johnnie Walker Gold, chamomile, vetiver, sandalwood and kombucha in one glass?
6. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Don’t let the ‘Ye Olde’ bit put you off. The Cheese dates from 1667 so, yeah, it really is old. It is an atmospheric higgledy-piggledy warren of small bars and basements and cellar bars. Buy a pint, sit in a nook and ponder who sat there before you.
7. Mason & Company
On a canalside in Hackney Wick, just a short triple jump from the 2012 London Olympic site, is the latest venture from Mason & Company – a craft beer-centred bar and kitchen. Joins Crate brewery in this once-neglected area.
8. The Bar at the Athenaeum
This elegant but funky Piccadilly hotel’s art deco bar – just recently renovated, enlarged and cleverly renamed The Bar – stocks more than 300 types of whisky from all over the world.
9. The French House
This iconic pub in Dean Street, Soho, is a magnet for actors, writers, artists and journalists who love its no music, no poker machines, no television and no mobile phones rule. Always full of character and characters happy for a natter.
10. Tom's Terrace
Out the back of beautiful Somerset House, the huge neo-classical building on The Strand, is an extensive 18th century terrace which, in the summer months, is home to a covered outdoor bar with sweeping views of the Thames.