London’s Best Gin Bars
G & T are very close together on the keyboard.
Which is why you should never sign off an email with ‘regards’ …especially after you’ve had a couple of G&Ts.
But it might just be worth it if you have them at one of these excellent juniper distillate slingers, which are without a shadow of a doubt… London’s best gin bars.
East London Liquor Company | Mile End
This craft distillery-cum-cocktail bar is located in an old glue factory next to Victoria Park. With the help of two large, glistening copper stills they produce their own rum, whiskey, and gin all of which can be bought on site or enjoyed shaken up into a cocktail in their bar. And, as is only right for one of London’s best gin bars, they also run gin tours and tastings on Friday and Saturday afternoons that – G&T in hand – will take you behind the scenes into the distillery where you’ll hear a little of gin’s dark history and see how the stuff is made before moving through to the maturation room for a spirits tasting both East London Liquor Company’s own juniper-hooch and a selection of contrasting world gins.
Details: East London Liquor Company | 221 Grove Road, Bow Wharf, E3 5SN
The Distillery | Notting Hill
Home to Portobello Road Gin this four-storey venue houses – from top to bottom – a micro hotel, a gin museum, two bars (on of which is a Spanish-inspired temple to the G&T serving over 200 gins), and a 400-litre basement distillery tank. It’s also the new, thankfully bigger, home of The Ginstitute, where you can learn to blend your own gin, to your own personal tastes.
Details: The Distillery | 186 Portobello Road, W11 1LA
Tonica | Exmouth Market
And following the inevitable success of that little venture, The Distillery have now branched out East, with a gin and tapas spot in Exmouth Market. Under a canopy of plants, you can tuck into delicious Spanish small plates and supercharged G&Ts – or their famous 50/50 martini, with equal parts gin and vermouth.
Details: Tonica | 55-57 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QL
Ladies and Gentlemen | Kentish Town
A retro-inspired Kentish Town cocktail bar located – as it happens – in an abandoned underground toilet block at the bottom of Highgate Road. With the help of a humble 16-litre pot copper still they produce their own Highwayman Gin on site. They also run a Gin Club every Tuesday from 7pm which includes a history of gin, gin cocktails, and the chance to make your very own bespoke gin.
Details: Ladies & Gentlemen | 2 Highgate Rd, Kentish Town, NW5 1NR
Mother’s Ruin | Walthamstow
Housed in an old first world war munitions factory with two small orchards on site they use home-grown and locally foraged fruit and flowers to craft an array of fruit liquors. Friday through Sunday they open the distillery doors to host a tiny Gin Palace where – with or without their liquor selection – you can sample over 70 different types of gin.
Details: Mother’s Ruin | Unit 18, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, E17 9HQ
Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour | Covent Garden
Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour is the home of Phileas Fogg’s late aunt Gertrude Fogg …and over 315 bottles of gin. Book in for G&Tea where you can sip on a plethora of nectarous gin cocktails served to you in the finest china alongside a selection of home-made and authentically Victorian sweet and savoury delicacies. They also host their very own ‘Gin Safari’ where, as well as an hour-and-a-half of expert tuition and two first rate Gin & Tonics, you will also sample six different gins from around the globe.
Details: Mr.Fogg’s Gin Parlour | 1 New Road, WC2N 4EA
Pedler | Peckham
This well-dressed spot comes courtesy of the distillers behind Little Bird Gin, which has a way of finding itself not only shaken up in some hard-hitting cocktails but also the food from time to time. And what it loses in sheer choice, it makes up for in the reverence for which they treat their chosen tipple. Every famous gin cocktail on earth has been given a fresh twist by them, with ingredients like peri peri grown on the hillside of an African volcano spicing up their Red Snapper, to chocolate bitters in their Mai Tai.
Details: Pedlar | 58 Peckham Rye, SE15 4JR
Six Storeys | Soho
Six Sotreys is called Six Storeys because it literally has six storeys, and propping up those half-dozen floors, you’ll find The Lobby Bar, where they’ve taken the trouble of infusing selection of seven weird and wonderful gins with everything from Quince & Blue Cheese, to Camomile Meadow. There are tasting notes at the back of every menu letting you know how they’ve all been made, and how best to serve them.
Details: Six Storeys Soho | 11 Soho Square, W1D 3QE
By Appointment Only | Liverpool Street
A subterranean drinking den set inside a stunning Victorian Bath House, BAO is – no exaggeration – one of the most beautiful venues in this city, and, coincidentally, one of London’s best gin bars, too. The street-level entrance is a small, oddly incongruous Turkish-style building nestled among the offices of Liverpool St. Head inside, and you’ll find a gorgeous bar serving Ginspiration Boxes, including five in-house gin infusions, three mixers, two glasses, and of course – ice.
Details: By Appointment Only | Bishopgate Churchyard, EC2M 3TJ
214 Bermondsey | Bermondsey
Representing the South in the list of London’s best gin bars is 214 Bermondsey, whose bar is made of wood, concrete, and gin. In fact, there are 100 different varieties on display behind the timber bar, which you can sample solo, or in flights of three delivered you unlabelled (with a separate bottle of tonic) – the idea is to taste them, rate them, and they open the sealed envelope they came with to reveal which is which. They also host Gin ‘O’ Clock from Tuesday to Saturday, 5 to 6pm where double G&T’s are a mere fiver.
Details: 214 Bermondsey | 214 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3TQ
The Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room | Holborn
Okay so, if 100 different gins sounded impressive, get a load of the The Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room – they have four times as many, with 30 different tonics to go with them. All in all, that makes 14k possible G&Ts. So choose wisely. And if you end up deciding to stay and try a few more, it wouldn’t be the worst thing – with red leather bar chairs, and a stunning Art Deco bar, it’s quite a beautiful place to hang around.
Details: Holborn Dining Room | Holborn, WC1V 7EN
Gin… gin rummy… rummy…rum… Fate seems to want us to point you to a rundown of London’s best rum bars