Neil Frame 07/08/22

The Nightjar

We’d like to begin with a confession.

Only it’s actually less of a confession, and more of an admission.

We feature a lot of bars – and pop up bars, specifically – that might accurately be described as “speakeasies”. Nothing wrong with that particularly, but it does make writing about Nightjar pretty tricky.

Because 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. The type of place that, even if all the other speakeasies got it completely spot on, would still come out on top (at least so far as authenticity; live music; ambience; style and cocktails – the important stuff, really – are concerned).

You’ll enter through an unmarked door on the definition of an unsuspecting street, head down a darkened staircase and slip into a genuine, prohibition-era bar.

nightjar bar

Through the candlelight and conspiratorial whisperings you’ll notice the rose-tinted mirrors, the art deco liquor cabinets (filled with vintage spirits actually dating from the Prohibition), and the illicit, darkened corners fitted with leather booth seating. You’ll hear the hum of live jazz emanating from the flat-capped band on stage, whatever time you visit – because Nightjar is one of those rare London bars with live music every night of the week.

Nightjar live music

And then, there’s Nightjars award-winning drinks. Cocktails that range from the fruity, creamy flavours of the pre-prohibition period (like the Filipino, with Bathtub gin, fresh snake fruit and coconut smoke), to the short, punchy and very strong drinks favoured during those heady days of anything but abstinence (like the Imperial Fizz, which comes with three types of gin and its very own pedestal)…

In fact, the drinks are so good, that Nightjar offers its patrons decks of cards inscribed with the full cocktail menu, and hip flasks to take away.

Nightjar’s the real deal: not much else to say.


NOTE: Nightjar is open daily from 6pm till late (3am Fri & Sat). There is live music every night from 6.30pm, and then again at 9pm – for which a small surcharge will be added to your bill. And it’s totally worth it. You can book online HERE.

ALSO NOTE: Turns out, amazing award-winning speakeasies are quite popular. Nightjar now has a Central London sibling, Nightjar Carnaby.

Nightjar | 129-131 City Road, EC1V 1JB

Psst… Check out our guide to the best hidden bars in London (then burn after reading).

The Nightjar

129-131 City Road, Shoreditch, East London, EC1V 1JB

0207 253 4101

9.6 | Amazing