The Hottest New Bars in London Right Now | February 2020
Last Updated: 31st January 2020 | Main image: Tincture
Welcome to our pick of the best new bars in London right now: a regularly-updated list of our favourite drinking-den openings from the past few months.
We’ve created it because if Christopher Columbus were alive today – and if he wanted to visit the best new bars in London – he’d have wanted a First Mate just like The Nudge to act both as his primary navigator and his moral compass.
But mainly as a navigator.
Which means, long story short, you are Columbus, and we’re here to help.
We’ll start by letting you know about the best new drinking dens in London – right now:
The newest addition to London’s bar scene, Tincture comes with strong pedigree. It’s the brainchild of Carl Brown, who designed the drinks for Dishoom and spent a good few years as Head Bartender at the Waldorf. For his own solo spot, he’s shining a light on tinctures – alcoholic spirits infused with different flavours. The resulting cocktails on the menu look deceptively simple, with only three ingredients each – but arrive layered with nuance. Plus, it’s all set in a laid-back, prohibition-styled basement – making it very easy to wile away an hour or two.
Aaaand the prize for most beautiful new bar goes to… Smokey Kudu. Particularly because, given its location under a railway arch, you’re hardly expecting it. A grand chandelier casts shimmering gold tones over the central horseshoe bar and the banquettes crammed around the rest of the space, providing the world’s most flattering lighting for a date. And it’s not just a pretty face – as the next opening from the Kudu team, the South African-inspired cocktails and biltong snacks are all tip-top.
Recently reopening after a January break, Bar Aspen is one for the wine lovers. It’s a pop up housed in the cellars of a Camden coffee shop, and feels like a Parisian wine bar that’s been hustled into London. The natural-led wine list has been compiled by Sunny Hodge, founder of South London’s Diogenes The Dog (also worth a look), and you’ll be serenaded with live music as you sip.
For a different kind of wine, head to Moto. It’s a dedicated sake bar in Covent Garden that helpfully arranges its bottles on a flavour scale behind the bar; from light to rich, aromatic to umami. If you want to try a bit of everything, they group trios together in flights – or you can sample them in the form of cocktails, with a couple of traditional Japanese dishes on the side. And if you find something you really like, you can take it home with you, too.
Finally, there’s Doña – it’s a pop up mezcal bar that’s been open for a few months now, but is very much worth a trip – even if you’re not a mezcal fan. The female-led team behind it (who also run London Mezcal Week and created Dangerous Don mezcal) have taken over a Stoke Newington basement and transformed it into a boozy boudoir, with pink walls, feather boas round the bar and tiny little chilli pepper lights. What you’re here for, though, are the agave-leaning cocktails – which go down very well with their nightly live music.
So there’s nothing tequila the atmosphere.
Want to know where’s good to eat right now? Check out the hottest restaurants in London…