Turns out “you’re barred” is not, in fact, a term of high praise for someone who has valiantly spent all evening assessing the best bars to visit in a particular area, no matter how long you debate it with the doorman. We found this out the hard way. But luckily, now you don’t have to…
The ultimate modern-day gin palace, The Distillery is a four-story bonanza dedicated to Mother’s Ruin, with 3 bars and over 200 types of gin, as well as The Ginstitute – where you can learn to blend your own gin if none of those are quite up to scratch.
Details: Open daily | The Distillery, 186 Portobello Road, W11 1LA
The Churchill Arms
‘If you’re going through hell, keep going…’
…or just head to The Churchill arms for a pint of real ale and let your problems wash away in one of London’s most famous watering holes, a favourite of Churchill’s grandparents back in the day. What’s more, it was the very first pub in London with a Thai restaurant, and is now garlanded with so many hanging shrubs and flowers that it may well be the prettiest of its kind, too.
Details: Open daily | 119 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LN
The pursuit of happiness can be a long and winding road. Luckily for you, we know a shortcut. And it leads to a hidden little tiki den on Portobello Road.
The intimate basement lounge bar is wall to floor kitsch with dodgy decor and a 60’s playlist that will have your foot tapping, even if you don’t want it to. Expect tiki twists on classic cocktails like their Trailer Colada mixing rum, coconut tequila, and pineapple roasted in molasses.
Details: Open from 5pm daily | 177 Portobello Road, W11 2DY
Notting Hill Arts Club
Notting Hill Arts Club has a habit of launching things. Mainly careers (Lily Allen and La Roux can attest to that), but also in the form of your night from mediocre to marvelous.
Blank walls are lit up by arty projections, providing the backdrop for live bands, DJs and other music nights with everything from reggae, to house, to punk, to indie, to everything in between. Drown cocktails and bottled beers from the circular basement bar, and mingle with trendy creative types.
Details: Open 7pm-2am Wed – Sat | 21 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JQ
Because you can never have too many nice boozers on one list.
Details: Open daily | 40 Holland Park Avenue, W11 3QY
Beach Blanket Babylon
Beach Blanket Babylon has occupied an old Georgian Mansion in the heart of Notting Hill since 1990. Within its walls are more gold statues, candelabrum and lavish chinaware than you can shake an ornately carved stick at.
Which is great if you’re after your Rococo fix, but also if you want eclectic handcrafted cocktails (like their famous Pornstar Martini with vanilla vodka, passion fruit puree and vanilla sugar). It’s become a glamourous institution of the London restaurant, bar and club scene. And it’s still going strong after 25 years.
Well, if it ain’t baroque…
Details: Open daily until midnight | 45 Ledbury Road, W11 2AA
Main image: Beach Blanket Babylon
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