SAMBA ROOM

Features

Hattie Lloyd 04/04/24


The Best Bars in Liverpool Street & The City

Liverpool Street.

Truly, it is where your liver belongs.

Teetering on the border between The City and Shoreditch, Liverpool Street is the booze-laced threshold between work and play; a spot where you can head for a post-work drink or an aperitif to a night out. There’s illicit hidden speakeasies and activity bars; subterranean drinking dens and rooftop bars for sky-high cocktails.

So without further ado, we present the best bars in Liverpool Street, Bank and the City of London:

Black Rock

Black Rock - liverpool street bars

To call Black Rock a bar would be slightly misleading. Because there is no bar – instead, they’ve split a 185 year old tree in half, filled it with two home-blend whiskies, and attached two convenient taps at the end. And while placing your mouth directly under those taps is generally frowned upon, they’re more than happy to mix the contents into cocktails or serve you a dram from their 250-strong whisky library.

Details: 9 Christopher Street, EC2A 2BS | Book here

Silverleaf

Silverleaf bar in city of london

Alba

An ultra-suave cocktail bar in the Pan Pacific Hotel, headed up by Callooh Callay’s Liam Broom. Silverleaf’s an excellent place to take a big group from the office, because it nails everything. Cocktails? Take a look at the unusual menu, with flavour profiles denoted only by two core ingredients. Post-dinner nightcap? There’s a golden whisky vault recessed into one of the walls. Big booze-up with the whole team? Hire out Alba – it’s basically a private drinking room, where you can even stash your own spirits…

Details: 80 Houndsditch, EC3A 7AB | Book here

Lounge Bohemia

lounge bohemia bar in the city

A portal to 1960s Prague, a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street Station. Track down the right kebab shop off Bishopsgate, press the buzzer and – assuming you’ve made a booking – you’ll be led down to a midcentury lounge with original vintage furnishings and cosy little banquettes. The owner-bartender puts together some once in a lifetime molecular cocktails, that frequently turn up bubbling out of test tubes or served in upside-down lightbulbs.

Details: 1e Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3EJ | Book ahead on 07720707000

Discount Suit Company

Discount Suit Company best bars Shoreditch

The ultimate in basement bars: DSC is a raucous brick-lined cocktail vault hidden below an old tailor’s, replete with leather sofas, a Motown soundtrack on vinyl, and an ever-changing cocktail menu leaning heavily on old-school bitters and aperitivi. You’ll have to first spot the dilapidated sign hanging off the side of the building; bat your eyes at the doorman; draw back a heavy curtain at the bottom of the stairs and hope that you’ve got the right address…

Details: 29a Wentworth Street, E1 7TB | Book here

SAMBA ROOM at Sushisamba

samba room bar

Until now, the most extravagant cocktail bar attached to this high-flying Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant was the outdoor terrace with a life-size, illuminated orange tree growing out the centre of the bar. But they’ve just cut the ribbon on a second bar, SAMBA ROOM – which you’ll enter via a mirrored walkway that opens out onto a retro lounge surrounded by glittering, 39th floor views. And the cocktails – featuring ingredients like purple yam and homemade plum liqueur – hit the same heights, too.

Details: Salesforce Tower – 39th Floor, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY | Book here

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

Fridges are cool places… and this has never been truer at The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, a secret bar accessed by walking through a fridge at The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields. It’s a subterranean den clad in exposed brick with quirky portraits of royals, off-beat decor and whimsical cocktails mixed with earl grey-infused gin and served in tea cups. To get in, just ask the staff to see the Mayor.

Details: 12 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS | Book here

Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar

hawksmoor spitalfields bar

The best thing about Hawksmoor Spitalfields isn’t the classy, art deco-style decor. It’s not the triple-cooked chips, or the bone marrow gravy. Hell, it’s not even the steak. It’s the moody bar underneath it all, closely guarded by those in the know, and serving a killer cocktail list including butter Old Fashioneds and the Nuclear Banana Daiquiri (which gets glowing reviews).

Details: 157a Commercial Street, E1 6BJ | No bookings – open Fri & Sat evenings, 5-10pm

Clays Moorgate

clays bar moorgate

If you haven’t tried clay shooting mixed with potent cocktails before, then you should definitely give it a shot. Clays is the first activity bar in London to offer virtual clay shooting via state-of-the art tech and massive 4k screens (and actual shotguns), while upping the ante with alcoholic drinks and bar snacks from a former Ritz chef. You’ll definitely want a few rounds…

Details: 55 Moorgate, London EC2R 6LL | Book here

Iris

Helix and Iris Liverpool Street bars

The very top of the Gherkin was designed as a show-stopping, surprisingly intimate, entirely glass-encased cocktail bar with one of the best exclusive viewpoints in London: a staggering 360 degree view of the city that only an elite circle of private members were able to access. Until now.

Details: The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP | Book here

Swingers City

Swingers best Liverpool Street bars

Not one but five bars, surrounded by the bucolic rolling hills of two crazy golf courses, filled with quintessential golf club touches like sand traps, loop-the-loops, lighthouses, cocktail-bearing golf caddies and giant tanks of Greenwich’s Meantime beer.

Details: 8 Brown’s Buildings, (Between Bury Street and St Mary Axe), EC3A 8AL | Book here

Merchant House

Merchant House City bars

A soothingly low-lit den with a staggering collection of 600 whiskies, 400 rums and 400 gins. Helping you to navigate them is a knowledgeable fleet of bar staff and an antique-looking menu taking inspiration from the Victorian age of exploration, with a story behind every cocktail. Hire out the Brig, and you’ll find yourself in the city’s smallest bar – a private drinking den for two with your own bartender in tow.

Details: Merchant House of Bow Lane, 13 Well Court, London, EC4M 9DN | Book here

City of London Distillery (C.O.L.D.)

City of London Distillery Bar

Be sure to pay your respects to Jennifer and Clarissa in the City of London Distillery bar. You’ll recognise them as being silent, rotund and made entirely from metal: they’re the two huge copper distillery tanks responsible for what the bar describes as a “faint aroma of gin vapour that hangs in the air.” But if you’re after something a little more tangible than vapour, the bar here serves up flawless G&Ts, signature martinis, tasting flights and ‘forgotten’ gin cocktails – or you can join one of the many tours, masterclasses, and even workshops to distil your own gin. Either way, you’ll be taking some of that aroma with you when you leave.

Details: 22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT | Book here

Humble Grape

Humble Grape Fleet Street city bars

Nobody does wine like Humble Grape. Which might sound like a bold claim to make, until you realise that their Fleet Street wine bar is housed in the 300+ year-old vaults of a church designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and that their cellars hold a not-so-humble collection of around 200 different wines. Happily, you don’t have to work your way through all of them to find what you like best – their crack team of sommelier waiting staff will be able to find something right up your street.

Details: 1 St Bride’s Passage, EC4Y 8EJ |8 Devonshire Row, London EC2M 4RH | Book here

 


Like discovering great new places? Check out the best bars in Shoreditch