The Gentleman's Journal
20 April 2015
London’s drinks scene is booming. Each and every part of the city seems awash with choices for a decent drink, yet most recommendations will focus on those well-known and (sometimes) over-patronised venues.
Instead of treading the same path as the herd, we’ve selected three very different bars that should be on the must-visit list of anyone looking for the best drinks in London.
THE JONES FAMILY PROJECT – THE TRENDY ONE
78 GREAT EASTERN STREET, EC2A 3JL
On first appearances, Jones Family Project seems very similar to the other bars that line Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch.
Beneath the small-ish ground floor bar lies a cavern of a restaurant with an incredibly stylish, long second bar, festooned with an array of bottles from across the world.
A changing drinks menu sees the most popular choices at The Jones Family Project retained all year round, with a few seasonal variations thrown in.
Don’t Get In A Muddle is a ridiculously drinkable tall glass of highly refreshing gin and prosecco; while Another 24 Hours blends more gin with white tea, this time served in a vial balanced in a tumbler of ice.
LOVES COMPANY – THE QUIRKY ONE
104 CITY ROAD, EC1V 2NR
Not a million miles from Jones Family Project, this glowing, vibrant bar is full of energy and plastered with the type of graffiti synonymous with the area.
Drinks at Loves Company seem more like scientific concoctions than cocktails, each featuring an adventurous ingredient, detailed in their lengthy ‘Apothecary Glossary’.
The stand-out performer is Thank F**k It’s Buttered – a homemade butter-washed rum with vanilla and orange bitters. Served with an alcoholic ‘Nutella’ on toast – for that extra boost – it’s a deeply boozy, yet sweet drink, leaving a hint of the butter running across your tongue.
This is a bar you don’t visit for just one.
THE EDG BAR & LOUNGE AT THE HILTON LONDON METROPOLE – THE SMART ONE
225 EDGWARE ROAD, W2 1JU
When it comes to cocktails, there’s a strong focus on East London, but the West of the city shouldn’t be forgotten.
The Hilton London Metropole is a colossal hotel, metres from the Tube, hidden amongst the shisha fog of Edgware Road. The EDG Bar & Lounge is set just inside the entrance, beneath a large vaulted ceiling and an incredible fabric chandelier display.
The length of the drinks menu reflects the demands of the guests staying at this 1,000-room hotel. Hidden away towards the back lies their speciality cocktail list. Crafted in-house, these drinks demonstrate a real skill in bartending. The East Wing is a short rum cocktail that packs a fruity punch, while the Strawberry Balsamic Martini (yes, you read that right) is equally fruity, but carries a hint of that bitter-sweet balsamic flavour.
The Tequila Fuego was my personal favourite. A strong and simple drink, the cherry doesn’t overpower the tequila; instead, combined with the agave syrup, it softens the alcohol to make a great cocktail for almost any time of the day.
By Nik Speller