London's best-stocked bars!

We've researched this thoroughly

Variety is the spice of life. And if your particular brand of spice includes a wide and varied range of booze then you're in luck... things are about to get spicy...

We've trawled London's expansive nightlife scene (completely against our will, of course) to research this topic for you. You're welcome.

So, two things we've learned:

1) London does indeed have a glut of well-stocked bars (we'll list the best below)

2) Alka-Seltzer is actually fairly useless




The Nightjar
129 City Road EC1V 1JB
Region: The City

AIL Says: In 2011 Nightjar launched a selection of 12 different types of absinthe, the largest range available in any UK bar - this has now expanded to an incredible 25. It’s still a relatively unknown spirit as legend once had it that absinthe could send people mad, although it was in fact the wormwood which has hallucinogenic properties. Try the appropriately named Barrel Aged Zombie, with rum, absinthe, apricot brandy, pineapple and tamarind soda.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
BrewDog
51-55 Bethnal Green Road E1 6LA
Region: Bethnal Green
Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Punk brewers Brewdog pride themselves on craft beer, but also on making the booziest brews possible. Their Sink the Bismarck is 41% - that’s the same as whisky. The Tokyo stout is available at their bars, still a staggering 18%.

    Polpo Smithfield
    2-3 Cowcross Street EC1M 6DR
    Region: Clerkenwell
    Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: Outdated since the late 70s, vermouth, gin and Campari are enjoying a revival, and so the Negroni Bar at Polpo is in vogue. Negroni is gin, vermouth and bitters, perfect for an aperitif. You’ll find it in the basement of the popular restaurant.

    • ITALIAN
    La Bodega Negra
    9 Old Compton Street W1D 5JF
    Region: Soho
    Nearest Station: Leicester Square (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: It’s not been easy for tequila to shake off its image as a student/stag do favourite, however Mexican restaurants like La Bodega Negra are proving there is more to it than being an aid for drunken pranks. Here there are around 35 varieties of tequila which you can purchase as a shot, carafe or bottle. There’s plenty on the cocktail list too: try the Afilador, with tequila, absinthe, lilletblanc, orange liqueur and maraschino.

    • MEXICAN/TEX MEX
    • USERS 9/10
    The Blues Kitchen
    111-113 Camden High Street NW1 7JN
    Region: Primrose Hill
    Nearest Station: Mornington Crescent (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: Bourbon is the drink of choice here, starting from well-known Jack Daniels to more discerning types like Woodford Reserve. If you want a cocktail order the sazerac, a refreshing yet robust drink made with rye whisky and bitters.

    • OUR REVIEW 7/10
    • USERS 7/10
    Powder Keg Diplomacy
    147 St John's Hill SW11 1TH
    Region: Clapham
    Nearest Station: Clapham Junction (0.4 miles)

    AIL Says: This Battersea restaurant and bar pays homage to British gin palaces with a wide variety of strong gin-based cocktails. There’s even a nod to the UK’s colonial past with drinks like the rum-heavy Baron’s Navy Grog and Henry Martini Rifle, the latter a blend of gin, green tea vermouth, maple syrup and bitters. Drinks are served in old fashioned vessels that make the experience all the more pleasurable.

    • OUR REVIEW 8/10
    • USERS 10/10
    London Cocktail Club
    224A Shaftesbury Avenue WC2H 8EB
    Region: Charing Cross
    Nearest Station: Holborn (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: The bartenders at London Cocktail Club will wiz up a cocktail based around your preferred spirit if you don’t fancy any of the classics on their list. On our visit they excelled at whisky-based drinks, so killer Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.

      Bar Polski
      11 Little Turnstile WC1V 7DX
      Region: Holborn
      Nearest Station: Holborn

      AIL Says: Vodka may have lost some cred to gin and vermouth in recent times, but this Polish bar near Holborn is still one of the gems of London’s bar scene. Looks-wise it’s simple and canteen-like, but no matter, there are more than 50 types of vodka, from dry to sweetened, and thankfully there are Polish snacks to line your stomach with too.

      • OUR REVIEW 7/10
      Quo Vadis
      26-29 Dean Street W1D 3LL
      Region: Soho
      Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)

      AIL Says: As befits a venue of this calibre – Quo Vadis has been going since 1926 – the cocktail list spans all the continents and flavours of the world. We’re particularly taken with their martini-making, which can be tailored according to your preference; options include gin, vodka, extra dry, dirty, twist, rocks, rocks and Gibson.

      • EUROPEAN
      • 68/100
      American Bar
      Strand WC2R 0ET
      Region: Charing Cross
      Nearest Station: Embankment (0.1 miles)

      AIL Says: The American Bar at the Savoy is considered by many to be the best bar in the world. It is also the home of the dry martini, first put together by Harry Craddock in the 1920s. It is the most controversial cocktail, as measures of vermouth are hotly debated – Winston Churchill is believed to have said that it should be made by merely glancing at the vermouth while pouring the gin freely. Either way, it’s a stiff drink not everyone can handle.

      • USERS 9/10


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