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The Ultimate London Underground Bar Guide

The Ultimate London Underground Bar Guide

 

Underground bars.

People tend to dig them.

Mostly, because they have three major benefits:

1) They offer cooling respite during the scorching summer,
2) They offer warming coziness during the harsh winter.
3) Conversations there are always pretty deep.

Which, quite frankly, is persuasive enough for us to put together a list of the very best subterranean boozers in the capital. So, below and behold:

Discount Suit Company | Spitalfields 

Enter a dimly-lit subterranean cocktail bar entirely composed of exposed brickwork, scaffolding planks, Victorian floorboards and Motown records. There you’ll find head bartender Dorian – a man who returned from travelling the world completely fluent in the language of mixing killer drinks – serving up their signature cocktails. VIEW DETAILS

Ruby’s Bar And Lounge | Dalston

Not to be confused with Ruby’s. Which is, confusingly, what this place used to be called. But now it’s three times bigger and does food and craft beer – but retains the subterranean den that made the space famous. VIEW DETAILS

Happiness Forgets | Hoxton 

The staff at this candlelit, subterranian den of iniquity know their stuff, and are capable of magic. The list changes frequently too, so break with the tradition of the place and remember what you had each time so you can demand it again. VIEW DETAILS

Bounce | Holborn 

Set over 12,000 square feet of a Russell Sage-designed space in Holborn, Bounce features an impressive 17 ping-pong tables, a 40 foot bar serving seasonally-inspired drinks, a DJ booth and a raised restaurant for overlooking the action. In short, if table tennis was fun before the addition of cocktails & music – which it was – then Bounce has done the nearly impossible, and actually made it better. VIEW DETAILS

Original Sin Stoke Newington

The highly anticipated second bar from the troop behind Happiness Forgets, not only does it look like the sort of brooding, dimly lit basement bar you might find in NYC’s meatpacking district… it’s also one of those rare gems which combine style with, well, fun. VIEW DETAILS

The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town | Shoreditch 

The Breakfast Club Shoreditch houses within it a moodily-lit cocktail dungeon that has exposed brickwork, an air of exclusivity, some great music and a wide selection of cocktails, from the Rosie and Gin to the Lynchburg-Leith Lemonade. VIEW DETAILS

NOTE: Nudge Members get exclusive access to a secret happy hour, with 2-4-1 drinks every day from 5-7. For them, and them only. 

5cc | Shoreditch & Exmouth Market

One under a pub in Shoreditch, and the other above a pub in Exmouth Market, both 5cc’s are sexy, low-lit copper affairs – combining dark wood with leather and exposed brickwork – and have cocktail menus featuring their Forgotten Range (custom mixes created from individual, self-pour vintage perfume bottles and housed in an original apothecary cabinet) alongside a strong selection of vintage liquors sourced from boutique suppliers. VIEW DETAILS

Basement State | Soho

Because the two best parts of any night out are dessert and cocktails, Basement State decided to dedicate their entire underground Soho spot to dessert and cocktails. It turned out to be a pretty good decision. VIEW DETAILS

By Appointment Only Liverpool Street


That cocktail bar is By Appointment Only, a subterranean drinking den set inside a stunning Victorian Bath House, which is – no exaggeration – one of the most beautiful venues in this city. It’s big, too. They have house-infusion cocktails, sharing platters of food, and a goddamn bathtub filled with Champagne. VIEW DETAILS

Disrepute | Soho

Upon arriving at Disrepute, you’ll find yourself making your way down a set of stairs before emerging into an intimate, wood panelled basement den. The vibe is unique, the cocktails are great, and there’s even a membership scheme. VIEW DETAILS

The Worship Street Whistling Shop | Shoreditch

A quirky underground cocktail bar inspired by Victorian gin palaces and dram shops of old, Worship Street is second creation of Fluid Movement – their first being Purl, a quirky underground cocktail bar inspired by Victorian gin palaces and dram shops of old. Only this time, they have a laboratory on site… VIEW DETAILS

BYOC | Covent Garden

Arrive armed with a bottle of your favourite spirit, pay an entrance fee, and the masterful bartenders will use the many potions at their disposal to turn it into something that’s like your favourite drink, but better. And underground. VIEW DETAILS

Below & Hidden | Farringdon

Concealed beneath the Bourne & Hollingsworth buildings, this place is everything that the light, airy upstairs isn’t. It’s small, the walls are covered in unicorn tapestries (and they light up at midnight), the cocktails are served in huge lego heads, and there are sparklers. VIEW DETAILS

NOTE: Nudge Members get a free, off-menu cocktail on arrival at the B&H Buildings. 

Baranis Farringdon

A basement cocktail bar with a simple menu of traditional French snacks and a sizeable array of the region’s prime anise-flavoured apéritif, pastis. They also have a gravelled indoor pétanque court, where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball. Simple. VIEW DETAILS

Cahoots | Soho

Up until now, there have been two major problems with London’s most theatrical, vintage tube carriage-containing, live music-delivering, 1940s-style cocktail bar: 1) It hasn’t existed, and 2) Had it existed, it wouldn’t be in a convenient Central London location. Well, Cahoots has neatly solved both of those problems. VIEW DETAILS

Purl | Marylebone

Purl: an old English drink consisting of warm ale, gin, bitters, brandy or milk, sugar and spices. Also, one of London’s best cocktail-lovers bars, found underground in Marylebone. VIEW DETAILS

Freuds | Covent Garden

One of the best kept secrets in the city, Freuds has bare concrete walls covered in rotating artworks, pint glasses filled with cheap & delicious cocktails, and you’ll need to talk very loudly to overcome the charged, giddy atmosphere. Precisely nothing about it has even a veneer of artifice, and precisely everything about it is fantastic. VIEW DETAILS

Gordon’s | Embankment

A crepuscular, subterranean, semi-circular cave carved from bedrock, and lit by candle light, Gordon’s is the sort of place that you can escape underground and tuck yourself away in a corner to sample an award-winning wine list of unsuspectingly modern drops from both the classic regions of France to South America and beyond… and some of Gordon’s 17 cheeses, evening tapas or Sunday roasts. VIEW DETAILS

 

Cellar Door | Embankment 

This tiny, low-lit lounge below Embankment has mirrored walls, purple seating, regular live music, and even a weekly cinema night. Just look out for the weird-looking unmarked staircase that descends literally into the pavement in Embankment. VIEW DETAILS

Evans & Peel Detective Agency | Earls Court

Expect exposed brickwork, beaten white tiles, dickie-bow-clad bar staff and soft lighting – you’ll be served illegal bottles of booze in brown paper bags, and beer poured from a radiator. Oh, and the whole thing’s hidden behind a bookshelf.  VIEW DETAILS

The Clarendon Cocktail Cellar | Pimlico

A hidden subterranean basement bar serving up cocktails inspired by iconic artworks, including sippable incarnations of artworks like Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, and Georges Seurat’s concisely-named A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte -served on coasters of the paintings themselves. VIEW DETAILS

La Cabina | Dalston

Hidden in a telephone box (dial 2850), this dark basement space may be small, but they amazingly manage to fit in a cocktail bar, a DJ booth, a tapas restaurant, and several private curtained-off areas, too. It’s open ‘til 5am most nights. VIEW DETAILS

The Natural Philosopher | Hackney

This 1920s-style cocktail lounge has a bar sunk into the floor so the barman can converse with your shins, while serving you one of their six signature cocktails. VIEW DETAILS

NOTE: Nudge Members will get an off-menu welcome cocktail when they stroll in. For free. 

Joyeux Bordel | Shoreditch 

This place was modeled after a 1920s French bathtub. Yep, another one. It’s from the brains behind Soho’s Experimental Cocktail Club, so you can trust that it’s good. And experimental. VIEW DETAILS

Lounge Bohemia | Shoreditch


Photo by Nick Webb, edited

This Soviet styled, 50s era, underground Czech cocktail spot has some of the most interesting cocktails in the city; expect them to come in perfume bottles, toothpaste tubes, and more unexepcted vessels. And expect them to be delicious, too. VIEW DETAILS 

Nightjar | Shoreditch 

Nightjar is an actual, bona fide speakeasy. It’s the type of place that all of the other speakeasies want to be when they grow up. It’s got rose-tinted mirrors, leather chairs, and illicit, darkened corners. You’ll hear the hum of live jazz emanating from the flat-capped jazz men on stage, and winding its way through the shadows to the bar where Nightjar’s award-winning cocktails are created. VIEW DETAILS

Call me Mr Lucky | London Bridge

Found deep within London Bridge’s Breakfast Club, the music’s loud, the lighting’s low, the drinks are strong… and there’s a makeshift Wheel Of Fortune on the wall which – when someone spins the arrow to land in the right place – wins a round of shots for everyone else in the bar. VIEW DETAILS

NOTE: If you bring your Nudge Membership card (physical or digital), you can expect a free shot, and 2-4-1 on any cocktail on arrival. 

Confession Box | Peckham

London’s first arcade-game themed bar – The Four Quarters – has a secret level. It’s a concrete-filled basement space which boasts 40+ Belgian beers, and tables made from old arcade games. VIEW DETAILS

Belle & Co | King’s Cross

After decades teaching the world’s best bartenders how to mix drinks, the folks at Shaker & Co. decided it miiiiiight be a good idea to open their own cocktail spot. And hide a Belle Epoque style speakeasy beneath it, with it’s own bar, drinks list, and even a stage. VIEW DETAILS 

 


Tired of underground bars? Then head to one on a rooftop



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