If you’re a ghost reading this, you’re in the right place.
Because happily, all these bars serve spirits.
And if you’re a regular human being looking for the best bars in Shoreditch, well, you’re in the right place too – because we’ve crafted a bespoke, highly curated guide of the area’s best bars for you.
JUMP TO: Rooftop Bars | Hidden Bars | Bars for Live Music & Dancing
Unusual Shoreditch Bars
Tayēr + Elementary | £££
Tayēr + Elementary comes to us from the dual partnership of Monica Berg (whose last bar was Oslo’s Himkok, No.19 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list) and Alex Kratena, whose last bar was London’s own Artesian, previous No.1 on the same list for four years running. So, to put it bluntly, they know how to mix a drink.
Details: 152 Old Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9BW | Open Tues-Wed 3pm-12am, Thurs-Sat 3pm-1am | Walk-in only
The Gibson | ££
The Gibson likes to think of itself as a time machine, offering you the opportunity to traverse space and time through the medium of cocktails. The interiors are a beautiful Belle Epoque mash-up, drinks arrive served on candlesticks and in smoking coconuts, and there’s regular music nights (from different decades, naturally) to accompany you on your temporal travels.
Details: 44 Old Street, EC1V 9AQ | Open Thursday-Saturday evenings | Book here
Swift | £££
It’s another power couple line-up – only this time, there’s a couple of couples. Namely, Mia Johansson and Bobby Hiddleston of Milk & Honey, and Nightjar founders Edmund Weil & Rosie Stimpson. Together, they opened a sleek Soho cocktail bar, which proved so popular that they’ve just opened a second in Shoreditch – and in the midst of a pandemic, no less…
Details: 93 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HZ | Open daily from 11am | Walk-ins only
CTC Brick Lane | ££
Cola liqueur. German whisky. 19th century buchi leaf gin. You know a bar’s special when the fact that they serve a Bag O’ Chips cocktail (mingling Irish poitín with roast potato seasoning syrup) isn’t their most interesting feature. Here, wild, theatrical cocktails are served against the warm backdrop of an old Victorian parlour, with live music every Wednesday evening.
Details: 68 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6GQ | Open Tues-Thurs 5.30-11pm, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 2pm-12am, Sun 2-11pm | Book here (Fri & Sat walk-in only)
Milroy’s Spitalfields | ££
A suave, four-storeyed temple to whisky with a cocktail den in the cellar, a ground-floor bar stocked with over a thousand whiskies (and a fleet of barkeeps ready to mix up whatever you want), a members’ lounge serving exclusive drams, a cigar terrace and a whisky tasting room for in-depth masterclasses.
Details: 76 Commercial Street, E1 6LY | Open Tuesday-Saturday 6pm-12am | Book here
Seed Library | ££
The latest bar from cocktail whizz Ryan Chetiyawardana, a.k.a. Mr Lyan, a.k.a. the man behind the former #1 bar in the world (Dandelyan, before he closed it and reopened it as Lyaness). Serving classic cocktails with a twist on the ingredients, it’s a louche subterranean den beneath the newly opened 100 Shoreditch hotel…
Details: 100 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JQ | Open Wed-Sun, 5pm-1am | Book here
Flight Club Shoreditch | £££
The people behind Bounce (which combines ping pong with booze) and All Star Lanes (which combines bowling with booze) put their minds together to create Flight Club, a darts bar that combines private booth areas, striking industrial-Victoriana decor, oven-baked pizzas, fast-paced games and a set of high-tech animated darts boards designed by a literal rocket scientist… with booze.
Details: 2a Worship Street, EC2A 2AH | Open Mon-Wed 11.30am-12am, Thurs 11.30am-12.30am, Fri & Sat 11.30am-1am, Sun 11.30-10.30pm | Book here
Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar | ££
With porthole doors, subway tiling and shimmering, beaten metal walls, the Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar is like a glamorous submarine. Take a seat in their intimate alcoves and sip now-classic numbers like Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew; Green & Red margaritas and the Penichillin slushy…
Details: Below Hawksmoor Spitalfields, 157a Commercial Street, E1 6BJ | Temporarily closed
TT Liquor | ££
This converted Victorian police station has gone from putting people behind bars to… well, putting some more people behind bars. Only needless to say, they’re a lot more happy about it. It’s now a temple to booze, including a rare bottle shop, a cinema, a mixology classroom and a subterranean cocktail den with intimate booths set in the former cells. The drinks menu rolls through the great cocktailing eras, which they’ll also happily curate into a bespoke drinking journey for your group.
Details: 17b Kingsland Road, E2 8AA | Still temporarily closed
Shoreditch Rooftop Bars
Boundary | £££
Winter, summer, rain or shine; Boundary is the year-long rooftop bar and grill restaurant atop Terence Conran’s Shoreditch hotel. And they’ve got pretty close to perfecting the mathematically foolproof formula for romance, with fire-pits, festoon lighting, Champagne and tables for two beneath shady trees.
Details: 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, E2 7DD | Open Mon-Thurs 4-11pm, Fri-Sun 12-11pm | Walk-in only for drinks
The Culpeper | ££
This Spitalfields pub is hard to top. So they’ve gone all out with a roof terrace and vegetable garden with a bespoke BBQ grill, a functioning fireplace, a privately hireable greenhouse with its own cocktail bar and a series of rooftop sessions from yoga and drawing to astronomy nights.
Details: 40 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6LP | Open weekdays 4.30-10pm, Sat 12-10pm, Sun 12-7pm | Book here
Sushisamba | £££
The highest outdoor terrace in Europe doesn’t just rely on its views to draw the punters in. To match the cuisine (spanning from Japan to Brazil and Peru), there’s cocktails like bottle-conditioned negronis infused with cherry blossom; Kobe beef fat-washed Japanese whisky highballs; and a caipirinha made with kaffir lime leaves, which you can sip overlooking the city until 2am.
Details: 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY | Open Sun-Wed 12pm-12am, Thurs-Sat 12pm-2am | Just walk in for drinks
Upper 5th Shoreditch | ££
A chimney pot-skimming rooftop set above a former courthouse, where you can sip on a selection of wines, beers and classic cocktails while absorbing the panoramic views.
Details: 335–337 Old Street, EC1V 9LL | Open Weds-Thurs 4-10pm, Fri-Sat 2-10.30pm, Sun 1-9pm | Book here
Passione Vino | £££
Passione Vino isn’t exactly hidden — if anything, the sky-blue shopfront is one of the more attention-grabbing facades on Leonard Street. But all is not as it seems, for this is not merely a bottle shop stacked with low-intervention wines from Italian producers, hand-picked by grape fanatic Luca Dusi. Scattered around the checkerboard-floored interiors are intimate, candlelit tables. Take a seat, and a member of the team will — like a grape-hooch GP — suss out the perfect wine to suit your tastes, your mood, and the Italian dishes you inevitably end up ordering too.
Details: 85 Leonard St, London EC2A 4QS | Open weekdays 2-10pm | Book here
Nightjar | £££
Hidden behind a small wooden door overlooking the Old Street roundabout you’ll find a subterranean, date-worthy speakeasy with nightly jazz performances and award-winning cocktails. It’s very possibly the best bar in London, let alone Shoreditch.
Details: 129-131 City Road, EC1V 1JB | Open Weds-Sun, 6pm-late | Book here
Black Rock | ££
Black Rock is a love letter to whisky. Upstairs, you’ll find a more casual ‘whisky tavern’ serving highballs in Japanese-inspired surroundings, a drinking terrace, and a blending room to create your own signature dram… but it’s the basement where you’ll find a dark, moody drinking den and half a tree filled with whisky.
Details: 9 Christopher Street, EC2A 2BS | Open Friday-Sunday evenings | Book here
Lounge Bohemia | ££
Despite its location underneath an innocuous-seeming kebab shop in Shoreditch, the fact that it sports a mid-century Czech Republic aesthetic and serves gin and tonic droplets in basil leaves, Lounge Bohemia remains – somehow – completely unpretentious. Experimental, innovative and beautifully presented, the cocktails here come courtesy of Paul Tvaroh, a self-trained mixologist. Proof, if ever was needed, that if you want something doing right, you should do it yourself.
Details: 1e Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ | Open daily 6pm-midnight (11pm Sun), book ahead | Book on 0772 0707 000
Callooh Callay | ££
This multiple award-winning bar is inspired by Alice in Wonderland – though we’re fairly confident that the drinks here won’t have any unexpected side effects regarding your height. They are, however, extremely delicious – though if you get tired of the offering down here, you can always ask very nicely to make your way through the mysterious-looking wardrobe, and head up to the members’ bar upstairs where bartenders take over on a monthly basis to try out new concoctions.
Details: 65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY | Open daily 6pm-1am (2am Fri-Sat, Jubjub bar open 7pm-1am Thurs-Sat) | Book here
Happiness Forgets | ££
As Jacques Prévert wrote, “Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it”. Sage advice, given that HF is the ultimate in candlelit, subterranean cocktail bars, lying low beneath Hoxton Square. It comes to you from an ex-Pegu (in NYC) mixologist, who’s put together a menu of purely excellent cocktails – even if you can’t remember them the next morning.
Details: 8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU | Open daily 5-11pm | Book here
Note: Happiness Forgets recently got a sister bar in the form of Everafter, conveniently located…right upstairs. It’s sort of part bar, part restaurant shaking up the same top quality-serves, alongside modern European small plates guaranteed to leave you happy…Everafter. Book here.
Discount Suit Company | ££
Despite the name, Discount Suit Company is ready to kit you out with a very different set of ‘tails. Tucked down an unmarked door on an otherwise deserted street at night, it’s a genuinely illicit-feeling drinking den, with a roaring soul soundtrack, industrial bulbs glowing softly against exposed brick walls, and cocktails that may – nay, will blow your mind. Details: 29 Wentworth Street, E1 7TB | Open Sun-Thurs 5pm-midnight, Fri & Sat 5pm-1am | Book here
Shoreditch Bars for Live Music & Dancing
Blues Kitchen | ££
If you’re looking for somewhere that combines nightly live music from a fleet of rambunctious funk, soul and blues bands with over 100 varieties of bourbon; dancing; BBQ ribs; chandeliers made from gramophones; a hireable airstream caravan and a small animatronic fishing boy… then this is really the only place.
Details: 134 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AR | Open Mon-Wed 12pm-12am, Thurs 12pm-1am, Fri 12pm-2.30am, Sat 10am-3am, Sun 10am-11pm | Book here
Old Street Records | £
Currently unable to offer its usual line-up of live music and gigs, Old St. Records is going back to its roots by spinning records nightly till ‘late – though you’ll want to get there early for the £6 cocktail happy hour from 5-8pm.
Details: 350-356 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NQ | Open Mon-Wed 5pm-1am, Thurs-Sat 5pm-2am | Book a table here, or just turn up
The Old Blue Last | £
A pub run by Vice with live music from big names (Florence and the Machine, Diplo, Charlie XCX) and up-and-comers (your faves, Joe and the Shitboys), very often for free. Plus, they brew their own beer. Bring a disposable camera and shoes you don’t care for.
Details: 38 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3ES | Open Sun-Wed 12pm-12am, Thurs 12pm-1am, Fri & Sat 12pm-2am | No table bookings, book for gigs here
Find more Shoreditch inspiration in Your Ultimate Shoreditch Guide