If a bar choses just one spirit to specialise in..
…it can be a little whisky.
And when it is, it can be a little fantastic, as demonstrated by these fine establishments, who’re showing the rest of the city how to serve the brown stuff correctly. Behold, our finely cask-aged guide to London’s best whisky bars…
Black Rock | Shoreditch
It’s three bars rolled into one: a sleek, subterranean cocktail bar boasting a huge 185 year old oak tree for a table, with two ‘whisky rivers’ running through it; a more laid-back Japanese-styled pub; and a blending room, where you’ll find intimate whisky tasting sessions most days of the week. They also have four beautifully-designed penthouse hotel rooms (inspired by Tokyo’s capsule hotels) garnering it the title of ‘London’s First Ever Whisky Hotel’.
Details: Black Rock | 9 Christopher Street, EC2A 2BS
Milroy’s | Soho
Before it was one of London’s best whisky bars, Milroy’s was London’s first ever specialist whisky store, founded back in 1964. Upstairs you’ll find over 500 separate whiskies from every lauded spirit-producing nation on earth, including a selection of handpicked, cask-aged tipples from which you can pour your own bottles and make your own whisky blends. But make sure you check out the downstairs, accessible through a secret door hidden within a false bookcase, where a brooding, underground, candlelit cocktail bar called The Vault resides.
Details: Milroy’s | 3 Greek Street, W1D 4BD
Milroys Of Spitalfields | Shoreditch
Second to the highly successful bottle shop and bar in Soho, Milroy’s Shoreditch is a four-story whisky playground boasting a beautifully-designed, industrial-esque whisky bar; a dedicated cocktail bar; a private Members club (with its own smoking terrace); and a blending room.
Details: Milroys Of Spitalfields | 76 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6LY
Silverleaf | Liverpool Street
A bar to suit everyone’s tastes: this suave City slicker, headed up by Milroy’s founder Martyn “Simo” Simpson, his old colleague Chris Tanner, and Callooh Callay’s Liam Broom does a fantastic line-up of cocktails with one of the most intriguing menus in town. But given the Milroy’s connection, you won’t be surprised to hear that they also have an impressive library of whiskies, too – housed in their own golden vault recessed into one of the walls…
Details: Silverleaf | 80 Houndsditch, EC3A 7AB
Swift | Soho
Swift is a bar of two halves. Upstairs is a light, breezy bar for martinis, spritzers and aperitivi. But head downstairs, and you’ll be enveloped by a warmly lit drinking den specialising in nightcaps and cocktails with darker spirits. There’s live jazz and blues on Friday and Saturday nights, and you can pick from a globetrotting selection of over 250 whiskies; a collection that’s expanding… swiftly.
Details: Downstairs at Swift | 12 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TQ
Merchant House of Fleet Street | St. Paul’s
Tucked away on Bride Court, just off Fleet Street, you’ll find the whisky haven Merchant House. Home to around 500 whiskies, you’ll have the chance to sip them neat or in one of their many illustrious cocktails as you take in your fresh, floral and bright surroundings – created to mimic the youthful and uplifting flavours of the very whisky you’ll be consuming.
Details: Merchant House of Fleet Street | 8 Bride Ct, EC4Y 8DU
Soho Whisky Club (Members only) | Soho
This private members only bar is for the true whisky lovers. Located in the heart of Soho, above The Vintage House Whisky Shop, you’ll find 700 types of whisky by the dram. If you do decide to become a member, you’ll be able to enjoy complimentary whisky tastings throughout the year as well as making use of their outdoor cigar terrace. If that’s what you’re into.
Details: Soho Whisky Club | 42 Old Compton St, W1D 4LR
Bull in a China Shop | Shoreditch
Shoreditch’s Bull in a China Shop manages to create a unique blend of Japanese Izakaya, Scottish whisky bar, and Midwest America prohibition hide-out, with a low-lit blend of ‘30s glamour and industrial chic. Their library of brown booze consists of around only 100 bottles, due to their ruthless discrimination of anything remotely low quality. The list is predominantly Japanese/Scottish, and there are even ‘rarities’ from closed distilleries, or legendary small-batch releases.
Details: Bull In A China Shop | 196 Shoreditch High St, E1 6LG
The Sun Tavern | Bethnal Green
This 1850’s corner house has been converted into an all-day craft beer and cocktail-infused drinking den. Located inside a handsome old tavern on Bethnal Green Road, it features an expertly crafted list of high quality cocktails and more than forty Leprechaun Green Irish whiskies.
Details: The Sun Tavern | 144 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN
Tonkotsu Mare Street | London Fields
If you’re looking for an establishment that specialises in Japanese whiskies, you can settle your eyes on Tonkotsu Mare Street who have more than 60 whiskies on offer (with an extensive range from Nikka and Suntory, Paul John in Goa and several from the Taiwanese Kavalan). They’ve even got a resident whisky expert who’ll be able to recommend which whiskey goes best with the different ramens they have on offer.
Details: Tonkotsu Mare Street | 382 Mare St, London, E8 1HR
Boisdale Canary Wharf | Canary Wharf
With over 1,000 malt whiskies on offer and a whisky list consisting of 83 pages, it seems very fitting that they have a 12m long bar hailed as a ‘glowing amber wall of liquid gold’. And if that’s not enough to keep you busy, you can also have a little gander around their oyster bar & grill, cigar terrace, Cuban cigar library & shop AND their restaurant.
Details: Boisdale Canary Wharf | Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4QT
Last updated: 8th March 2022
Already tried all of London’s best whisky bars? We have you covered with London’s best gin bars, too…