Booking Office 1869
Talisa Dean 17/01/23
The Best Bars In King’s Cross | Fancy A Drink? These Are Just The Ticket…
WE WRITE ALL OUR JOKES IN CAPITALS.
THIS ONE WAS WRITTEN IN PARIS.
And on returning from our writing sojourn across the channel, we took the opportunity to size up the food, drink and shopping options that have suddenly sprung up around King’s Cross.
With the unveiling of the swooping new development Coal Drops Yard, next to the fountain-filled Granary Square, King’s Cross – once merely a travel hub for students, businessmen, and children pushing trolleys with owls headfirst into platform pillars – has become a food and drink destination in its own right. Some of the best restaurants in King’s Cross now include renowned Spanish restaurant and tapas bar Barrafina Kings Cross (whose central London sister Barrafina Dean Street boasts a Michelin star); Assaf Granit and Tom Dixon’s critically acclaimed Coal Office; Casa Pastor and Plaza Pastor; as well as many more.
All of which you should definitely visit…after an aperitif at one of the below bars.
Et voilà – the best bars in King’s Cross…
Racketeers may be fraudulent businessmen, but you won’t be cheated out of anything at The Racketeer, one of the best bars in King’s Cross for both cocktails and a casual pint. You’ll find it squatting in the old Carpenters’ Arms pub; a shabby-chic space with a bottle-shop, a basement dancefloor and a secret walled garden out back. For the most part they serve cocktail classics with a twist, although there’s also a small menu of wines and a few beers on tap, all of which you can sip with a side of charcuterie and/or cheese. Bottle-shop wise they sell wine – mostly from small producers – and craft beer, which they’ll happily wrap up for you to smash back at home.
Address: 105 King’s Cross Road, WC1X 9LR | Book here
It’s the Hart brothers’ answer to the mic drop; not their first, or second, but their fourth venue in Coal Drops Yard. And, whilst the other three (Barrafina, Parrillan and Casa Pastor) are spin-offs of already existing (and undeniably amazing) restaurants, this one’s a first: one of the best wine bars you’ll find in King’s Cross, set up in one of the development’s railway arches, focusing on delicious wines at all price points with some British bar fare on the side.
Address: Unit 22-24, Bagley Walk Arches, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DH | Book here | More of the best wine bars in London
Permit Room at Dishoom
Head down to the basement of Dishoom King’s Cross and you’ll find The Permit Room, a dimly-lit subterranean cocktail bar made up of cobbled floors, dark bentwood stools and marble tables, and enough vintage lighting, photographs and hand-painted signage to take you back to the 40s. It gives a nod to the introduction of Bombay’s Prohibition Act in 1949, when alcohol was banned except for those carrying a medical permit. Here, however, you can freely sip on their selection of Pens & Paanch; Slings, Coolers & Fizzes; and Sours & Fancies with fervour. It’s table service too, which means no cramming and queuing at the bar. Instead, your drinks will be delivered to your table, alongside a selection of Bombay-inspired snacks, should you permit.
Address: 5 Stable Street, N1C 4AB | More info
This lofty bar and restaurant opened in London’s first purpose-built gymnasium hall back in 2015. And it worked out. Perched up on the mezzanine, the gold-hued Meister Bar serves up some of the most unusual cocktails in the area. Currently, the menu’s inspired by the Bauhaus movement, so sip on liquid versions of paintings by Klee and Kandinsky like the Spitzen im Bogen, with whisky, Cherry Heering, Frangelico and Electric Bitters. It should pep you up.
Address: King’s Boulevard, Kings Cross, N1C 4BU | More info
The Standard London
Sweeties is a ‘discotheque and late-night lounge’ in the Standard Hotel. Expect plush retro interiors, DJs, cocktails including ingredients like ‘adaptogenic mushrooms’, and what can only be described as “a six-foot antique phallic sculpture.”
Details: 10th Floor, The Standard, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG | Book here
Booking Office 1869 is huge. It’s massive. It’s gigantic. There are eight-meter-high palm trees that barely seem to come half way up to the cavernous ceiling. Light cascades in from the vast, arched brick windows lining the walls. It feels almost more like a church than a restaurant. And at a massive 22-meters long, it’s also home to one of the best bars in King’s Cross. The cocktails, curated by one Jack Porter (formerly of The Ned) include a Clear Margarita (given a smoky kick with “Ilegal Joven” mezcal), a Victoria Sour that throws pisco together with long pepper spice & plum syrup; and their Ol’ Signalman, which is built from an inventive pecan nut-infused bourbon, and topped off with coconut bitters…
Address: Euston Road, NW1 2AR | Book here | See more unusual restaurants in London
Spiritland’s King’s Cross bar is an undeniably handsome space – a retro-inspired mix of caramels and lime greens – whose centrepiece is a world-class, multi-million-pound sound system that allows them to host talks, gigs, album launches, and sets by world-renowned DJs (as well as the day-to-day playlist of handpicked instrumental). Somehow they still have time to focus on the food and drink, with an excellent all-day offering spanning breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch and dinner, as well as a drinks menu full of softs, cocktails, sake, beer, wine, and…. spirits.
Address: 9 – 10 Stable Street, N1C 4AB | Book here
As the name suggests, these guys have got all the tekkers necessary to pick a great bottle of wine, constantly keeping their 200-strong wine-list fresh with the best grapes. You can order by the bottle, or there are plenty available by the glass, both of which you can enjoy alongside a few dishes from their daily-changing menu, mostly focused on British fare.
Address: 3 King’s Boulevard, Kings Cross, N1C 4BU | Book here
Vermouth and cycling. Apparently, they’re two themes that work well in tandem. This unique King’s Cross bar is a cosy, brick-walled space with a terrace for the warmer months, and vintage posters of aperitif spirits and cycling competitions plastered across the walls. The drinks here are suitably focussed on vermouths (both on tap and by the glass), Americanos, amaros and bitters, as well as cocktails combining them – but there’s a solid wine and beer list, too. Pop by for a couple of dishes in the evening – since chef Anthony Demetre co-owns the place, it’s a stellar line-up.
Details: 38-39 Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ | Book here
GNH Bar and Terrace
As a hotel bar in King’s Cross, the caveat here is that you might find yourself with a couple of businessmen for company. Sometimes, though, it’s a good idea to follow suit. That’s especially so when they lead you into a polished, art deco cocktail lounge (with glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling) that specialises in G&Ts and barrel-aged cocktails that have spent 2-3 months in French oak barrels. If you’re after a view, they have one of those too: from a shaded terrace that looks over King’s Cross station and beyond.
Address: Great Northern Hotel, Pancras Road, N1C 4TB | More info
Hokus Pokus is not like other bars. The first thing you’ll notice will be the steampunkey decor, and the second will the the steam-like vapour being piped to create a very literal senses of atmosphere. With walls lined with eccentric artefacts and wonderfully macabre paraphernalia, it feels like you’ve stumbled into the den of some mad scientist, whose sole aim in life is to get you very pleasantly tipsy. So it won’t surprise you to learn that the place was inspired by a very real made scientists, James Morison, who experimented with botanicals and elixirs in the 19th century.
Speaking of, the barkeeps here certainly play the part, with a range of gloriously experimental concoctions, ranging from hibiscus-infused pisco tea, to an ultra-smokey blend of three rums, to a sidecar make with a cherry cognac infusion, and an almond whiskey rye that gets set on fire at the tableside. They’ll make sure you get something to suit your palate, and they’ll try to push the envelope a little while they do it.
Address: The Megaro Hotel, 1 Belgrove Street, WC1H 8AB | Book here
King’s Cross Pubs
Looking for somewhere more casual to drink? Peruse our guide to the best pubs in King’s Cross, taking in a canalside beer terrace, typical Victorian boozers and cosy gastropubs…
Heading into town? Check out our pick of the best bars in Central London
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