After work or dinner cocktails are a must in the City, but with so many different bars, how do we choose where to go?
Give your over-visited and go-to speakeasy’s a miss and instead, hit up somewhere that’ll push you and your companions to try new things and experience the unusual.
Read on to discover our list of top quirky bars in and around the City, all of which have been designed to surprise and intrigue you. You’ll thank us later!
Based in the riotous headquarters of the secret society that ran Victorian London, The Escapologist is a bar that’s made for fleeing to after a long day. Styled as part ‘modern-day Victorian men’s club’ and part ‘Masonic lodge’, the focus is on memorable times with great drinks in an outrageous space. Think, deep red velvet curtains, plush seating, jazzed-up Victorian portraits, opulent floor tiles and slightly garish wallpaper.
Named after legendary party fiend and general vagabond Baron Von Took (who evaded a date with the gallows and spent the remainder of his days in hiding – galivanting around the world at his leisure), The Escapologist is the ideal venue for an evening of fun. With secret doors, surprises around every corner, and twisted drinks in the underground basement, it’s still the perfect spot to evade the realm and unlock a new level of merrymaking.
The Escapologist’s drinks menu is all encompassing, with specialist cocktails – like the delicious Sugar Daddy, made from Chivas Regal Scotch, Disaranno Amaretto, cola, fruit juices and citrus – wine, bubbles, beers, shooters, and ‘tiki’ (all made with Havana Club Rum), gin, classic, vodka, seasonal AND non-alcoholic cocktails.
35 Earlham Street WC2H 9LD
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
A secret bar through a fridge? What will they think of next! Yet this underground bolt hole is, indeed, accessed only by walking through a fridge in the City branch of funky café, The Breakfast Club.
What might seem like ‘just’ a place to grab some tasty food, opens up to so much more behind a secret door – as long as you guess the password correctly… If you do, awaiting you is a bare-bricked darkened room with plenty of atmosphere, luscious cocktails, yummy bar snacks, and, as the neon sign proclaims, night-long thrills.
We recommend trying the delightful Mayor’s Tea Party cocktail – it’s made with Earl Grey infused Tanqueray Gin, Rin Quin Peach Vermouth, homemade lavender syrup, lemon and grapefruit bitter. Trust us – it’s unlike any other cocktail you’ve had.
12-16 Artillery Street E1 7LS
Strap on your cowboy boots and hold on to your hat – the Moonshine Saloon is a real ride! A cocktail bar unlike any other, and probably the quirkiest on our list, Moonshine Saloon combines immersive theatre with a top-notch drinking experience. Step inside to be transported from the streets of the City and into the Wild West to get your share of the illicit moonshine empire.
Moonshine Saloon allows you to become a part of the story as it unfurls – ‘smuggle in’ your own liquor and become central to a ‘covert liquor operation’ led by the self-styled King of the Moonshiners, Clyde Cassidy. Mingle with the ‘locals’, try your luck at card and dice games, and when the Sheriff comes calling, do your best to stay cool.
You’ll be made to look the part too, with the bar’s ‘local tailor’ dressing you up to look like the rest of the residents – all so that you don’t attract attention from the law!
Throughout the experience, you and your companions will be served delicious bespoke cocktails crafted from your ‘illegally smuggled’ liquor, expertly brewed by a team of world-class mixologists. Expect to see your liquor mixed in innovative ways – with liqueurs, homemade syrups, juices, bitters and garnishes.
Grab your partners in crime, get your moonshine at the ready and buckle in for a crazy, beverage-fuelled journey.
28-30 Houndsditch EC3A 7DB
Did you know that there’s a way for you to travel through space and time in Old Street, just a stone’s throw from the City? We’re not lying! With the help of the classic pickled cocktail – the Gibson, and an eclectic supporting team of over 40 imaginative cocktails, The Gibson’s menu is crafted around a fantastical calendar that takes you to different seasons in different eras.
Inasmuch, the bar is the time machine and through the selection of your drink, you are in control of your destination. Embarking from Edwardian London, where will you go? Your first stop might be hot summer evening in the 1920s or a winter’s night in a time yet to come!
The stunning interiors of The Gibson are well aligned to the theme, designed to emanate a futuristic Edwardian world so that you feel as if you have stepped through a portal. The room is packed with dark furniture and orange lighting, with just a hint of extravagance.
The Gibson is sure to serve up an eccentric evening from start to finish, so make sure to pay it a visit.
44 Old Street EC1V 9AQ
Looking for a more intimate drinking experience? You’ll love The Brig – hidden and personal, London’s smallest bar has been carved out within the bar at Merchant House of Bow Lane. It’s the perfect spot for chilled after work drinks, a quirky date night or a private celebration!
The Brig can be booked by the hour for two to four guests, priced at £65 per person, with all drinks and your own private bartender included – who are all expertly trained in both cocktail-making and the art of conversation. Expect plenty of pizzazz, humour and charm.
Pop on your own music, explore whatever spirits and cocktails take your fancy, engage with your bartender (who can make you personalised drinks based on your preferences), chat amongst yourselves and even make your own drinks, if you wish.
On the day of your booking, you will be sent a unique four-digit code to gain entry to The Brig during your timeslot, and then the fun can begin!
13 Well Court EC4M 9DN