What says summer more than a refreshing, fruity cocktail? A long, cooling glass of something delicious (and alcohol based) whilst sitting in a spot of sunshine is what makes summer, summer, for many of us. London is a different city from May until September, the (slightly) warmer weather means that suddenly, we want to meet our friends and not hibernate at home or quaff red wine in a darkened room. So, with that in mind, we’ve come up with our five favourite summer cocktail bars. Cheers!
65A Brushfield Street
Nearest stations: Liverpool Street
On the edge of Old Spitalfields market, Blixen is a popular cocktail bar and well-renowned restaurant situated in an old bank. Head straight for the charming conservatory which overlooks the bustling market for the perfect escape from the urban jungle with a slice of the actual jungle. The charming outdoor area is full of luxurious, tropical plants. The cocktail list offers an eclectic mix of the classics including a rhubarb and pink pepper G & T and a spritz served with rose. Despite being a fabulous spot for a drink, Blixen also has great food. The menu is a crowd-pleasing mixture of dainty small plates and substantial mains including burgers and bowls of pasta. The perfect place for a long, lazy lunch, brunch or just a drink. Sit back, relax and allow your cares to melt away in this tranquil spot.
No. 32 Old Town, Clapham
32 The Pavement
Nearest Tube: Clapham Common
In the picturesque Clapham Old Town, a stone’s throw from leafy Clapham Common No. 32 Old Town is a classy establishment amongst the plethora of (not always so classy) bars on the Clapham High Road. Cocktails are divided between long & fresh and short & to the point. We like the sound of the short Chilli Margarita and the long Elderflower Paloma. Whatever your tipple, grab yours and head out to the terrace to enjoy the view of the sunshine and dog-walkers across the common. The food menu is standard gastro-pub affair but of a high quality, while the weekend’s bottomless brunch attracts the crowds.
Rootop, Mercury House
109-117 Waterloo Road
Nearest tube: Waterloo
The latest opening from the people behind Adventure Bar in Clapham, Bar Elba, in Waterloo offers a spectacular view over the London skyline and a host of summery cocktails to wade through. The menu includes all of your favourites, Spritz, Porn Star Martini and the option to order by the pitcher, if you’re especially thirsty. It’s not your typically sophisticated London rooftop bar but what it lacks in class it makes up for in fun (and reasonable prices). Attracting a young crowd with its drinks deals and good DJs, Elba also serves food, to soak up all those pitchers. The menu is traditional bar snack fare with large portions and sharing plates amongst its most popular choices.
20 Upper Ground
Nearest tube: Blackfriars
With panoramic views of the South Bank, original designs by Tom Dixon and a menu from the ‘World’s Best Barman’ Ryan Chetiyawardan (A.K.A Mr Lyan), Dandelyan was always destined for great things. And it doesn’t disappoint. The current drinks menu, Modern Botany, is extensive and suitably botanical. The drinks are arranged according to botanical base, e.g. grape, mint or hop. Each comes with a helpful recommendation of when they are best enjoyed. The Koji Hardshake for example is an ‘uplifting pick-me-up for early evening’. To compliment the outstanding cocktail list there is an eclectic variety of DJs to entertain you throughout the evening. No surprises then that Dandelyan was awarded ‘Best Bar in the world 2017’. Go there for the Whylde tea, a booze-centric afternoon tea featuring exclusive cocktails and playful takes on finger sandwiches and retro cakes. As Mr Lyan himself explains it’s ‘very easy to be here from midday until early in the morning’.
107 Roman Road
Nearest tube: Bethnal Green
NOLA was created as the founder J Triffo’s, ‘love letter to the most exciting and vibrant city on earth’. Of course, he’s talking about New Orleans. The Big Easy, is world-famous for exceptionally strong cocktails, creole cuisine and the hot, boozy evenings these entail. Prepare to enter a small slice of that city in Bethnal Green. The cocktails are just as they should be, huge, rich and dangerously moreish. Try a hurricane cocktail for a taste of vintage New Orleans but beware, they pack a serious punch! The kitchen has recently opened and is currently testing out recipes such as spicy jambalaya and beef rib po’boys. Awarded the Seal of the Sazerac last year, it’s the only bar outside of the US to have done so, NOLA is guaranteed to give you a real flavour of the Deep South. And having recently opened a roof terrace NOLA is also an ideal spot to enjoy a cocktail al-fresco, you could almost imagine you’re in the Big Easy itself.
Where will you be sinking a cocktail or twelve this summer? Let us know in the comments below!