Ever heard of the saying ‘out with the old, and in with the new’? Well, it’s about time you put it into practise. London gained some all-star restaurants and bars in 2017, and under no circumstances are you to miss out on paying them a visit. From the world’s first waterproof dining room to a circus-themed bar with a fortune teller and ouija board tables, start ticking these bad boys off your list immediately.
London is packed to the rafters with incredible bars; some are up there with the world’s best. But if you have a thing for gin, you’re to visit Imperial Durbar immediately. It’s one of the quirkiest watering holes out there with a bizarre Colonial theme of vintage furnishings, gigantic framed maps of the world, leafy plants…you get the picture. It stocks 22 different types of gin too, alongside some unusual in-house infusions. That’s not all though – if you’re peckish after a cocktail or two, you can order top notch Indian plates from a vintage telephone box.
Funnily enough, criminals didn’t have the option of moped getaways in the Victorian times. Instead, they had to cause distraction amongst the masses by making a racket, in the hope of forming a clean escape. Interestingly enough, this is where The Racketeer’s name comes from. Located in King’s Cross, this pub-cum-bar is charming beyond belief with high ceilings, cosy corners and a secret walled garden outback.
Nine Lives might be the new kid on the block, but it’s already made a big name for itself. All about sustainability, they’ve sourced their furniture from vintage or second-hand shops, and they have a compost system where all their daily waste is sent to. Cocktails here are nothing short of amazing either; the Moby Dick is a big crowd-pleaser made with whisky, coconut and salted caramel. Mimicking a little tropical den with an abundance of blooming greenery, this place is a home-from-home for London’s discerning drinkers.
The world’s first waterproof dining room? You’ll find it right here in London. Rascals is a restaurant like no other with bright, neon interiors and a zero tolerance for polite chit-chat and straight backs. If you do wanna visit without going home soaking wet afterwards, they have food to ‘nibble, share or scoff’, and a weekend bottomless brunch offering three-courses with bottomless espresso martinis or bucks fizz for £40.
We don’t want to jinx it, but Tonight Josephine might be London’s number one badass bar. It serves up sweet-inspired cocktails in a dream-world of mirrored surfaces, metallic furnishings and toilets discreetly hidden with celeb mugshots. If you manage to pause your friend’s photoshoot with their neon signs fronting ‘Lady Garden’ and ‘Good Girls Don’t Make History’, make your way upstairs to Bar Elba for rooftop views and even more drinks.
Flight Club is one of those bucket list kinda bars, and for more reasons that one. It’s first and foremost a darts bar, but before you get all judgemental and skip to the next venue on this list – give us a chance to tell you that it’s got electronic scoring and a plethora of games to keep you entertained all night long. It’s also got a cool carousel theme and enough slushy cocktails to make you stop caring about hitting the bullseye.
London Cocktail Club have bars here there and everywhere, but their newest addition at Liverpool Street is really something. The team have gone all out with a circus-theme of ouija board tables, trippy artwork, a lion enclosure booth, and a Zoltar machine that will predict your future. Open until 2am on Saturdays, book a table and let your hair down at this anything goes party spot.
Move over plastic straws and tacky umbrellas, Scout is one of Shoreditch’s newest bars and it’s sticking its middle finger up to waste with smart, seasonal cocktails and bar snacks that are created from their leftover ingredients. Offering 10 cocktails at a time, five ferments and five beers; this Scandi spot is all for quality, not quantity.
Inspired by a ‘country-meets-city’ concept, you’ll find The Coral Room a couple of minutes stroll from the hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Road Station. Designed by the acclaimed Martin Brudnizki, this place has weaved its way into the list of London’s most impressive hotel bars on its looks alone. The cocktail menu is as unique as they come too, with intriguing names like City of Lights, Big Smoke and Gin Lane jumping out from the pages.
Rail House Cafe has pretty much got it all. An al fresco bar? Tick. A ground-floor restaurant? Tick. A private dining room for special occasions? Tick. Effortlessly chic with tanned leather seating, low-slung tables and a menu of brunch burgers and green tea waffles, open your diary and pencil in a weekend date ASAP.
Slinky velvet armchairs, shiny marble tables and a foliage-filled alfresco area. No. 29 Power Station West is as pretty as a picture and it’s got a killer drink and food menu. Once you’ve had your meal and washed it down with one of their signature frothy espresso martinis, you need to go in search of the venue’s hidden drinking den. It’s covered in luminous neon signs, retro posters and plush furniture.
For more info on the best bars in London and across the UK, visit DesignMyNight and follow them on Instagram and Twitter; @DesignMyNight.