Islington. Land of Angel. Singular. A fact that is explained by the prevalence of excellent booze-slingers peppering the entire neighbourhood, the very best of which we’ve rounded up for you right here…
69 Colebrook Row
69 Colebrook Row also goes by another name: ‘The Bar With No Name’…
… Which is, itself, a misnomer because it seems to have two.
And while we’re on the subject of names, let’s talk about Tony Conigliaro – one of the world’s most respected mixologists and the man behind this award-winning secret cocktail bar on a backstreet of Islington. He and his team are shaking up drinks like a Toffee Apple Fizz as well as other liquid treats made with esoteric ingredients developed at the Drink Factory – their research lab near Broadway Market.
Little Bat is the latest cocktail bar by the Callooh Callay team – hence the Lewis Carroll reference – serving… you guessed it, cocktails. Including the rum-loaded Pan Am which has won awards; probably for its services to great nights out. There’s also a short-but-sweet menu with booze-friendly comfort food. And, thankfully, not a winged mammal in sight.
Dead Dolls House
Dead Dolls House began life as a pop-up in Dalston, moved temporarily to Hoxton Square, and now resides in an impressive three-storey townhouse on Upper Street. So it can add social climbing to its list of talents. Just underneath where it says: ‘mixing a mean sharing cocktail’ (for you to share at your discretion) and ‘throwing parties early into the morning’ (the DJ plays ‘til 4am).
Slim Jims Liquor Store
Turns out Rock ‘n’ Roll isn’t dead after all. It’s just taking a bit of time out in a basement on Upper Street. Which turns out to be a late-night drinking and live music den with a jukebox loaded with classics from Led Zepplin to Guns ‘n’ Roses and a bar stocked with whiskeys and cold craft beers. Feel free to rock out under a ceiling replete with hanging lingerie.
The Canonbury Tavern
19th century pubs with good beer gardens don’t grow on trees. But we’ve picked one that’s famous for its landscaped backyard, as well as its handsome interior and great British grub. Making it the perfect place to root yourself for the entire day.
Hoxley and Porter
Inspired by a 19th century colonial explorer and rare gem dealer, Hoxley and Porter is an old-world bar with patterned wallpaper, vintage lighting and shadowy foliage. It’s probably best described it as a Victorian gentleman’s club in an old school train carriage moving through a surrealist jungle. All pretty standard stuff. So get suitably exotic with a Peruvian pisco sour or two, and prepare for a journey into unknown territories.
Four Sisters is a Dickensian bar that’s been name-checked by George Orwell. With a beautifully illustrated menu depicting serious cocktails like a barrel-aged negronis and other marvellous concoctions made with house infused spirits and syrups, it won’t be long before you’re asking ‘please sir, can I have some more’.
Like Islington’s best bars? Then – crazy idea – you might want to check out some of our other area guides right here…