But we’re sure they soon will…
A wretched hive of scum and villainy, just across the river from Richmond. Mos Isleworth is a weird combo of heavy rock hangout and Star Wars pastiche. For the faint of heart, this is not. The Qui-Gon Gin is lethal and, on one memorable occasion, made our kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. On Tuesdays, enjoy street food from the Admiral Snackbar.
Following the rehabilitation of frumpy aunt drinks such as sherry and rum, it was only a matter of time before someone championed advocaat as the hipster tipple of choice. Advocaat is surprisingly versatile, and will mix with literally anything, so long as you’re not fussy about taste, smell or texture. Try the ‘Homer’s Love Custard’ cocktail made from advocaat, Bols banana liqueur and Lilt. Your head will turn yellow.
Sick of pretentious basement bars? How about a bar in the basement of a basement of a wine cellar? To gain access to Seventh Circle, you must pass through the seemingly disused door at the back of a Dalston kebab shop, descend to its incongruous wine cellar, knock on the floor hatches, wait for the doorman to show you down to the secondary basement, and then climb into the tumble dryer, which actually contains a secret ladder leading down to Seventh Circle bar. Sadly, a no-reservations policy means that the queue extends all the way up through this procession of rooms, totally spoiling the mystery.
Our hyper-eponymous Mayor has already had his name attached to bikes, buses, an island, and more besides, so why not a bar? This Southwark fixture specialises in blonde lagers and huge, attention-grabbing concoctions with startlingly few ingredients. Boris Bar claims to have innovated many popular cocktails — including the much-hyped ‘de Pfeffel martini’ and ‘Docklands Dangleway’ – though a close look at the menu suggests that most were instigated by the bar’s previous mixologist.
Bring-your-own-bottle bars are all the rage: turn up with your favourite tipple, and the experienced bar staff will use it to mix you the perfect cocktail. But the pioneering BYOBADR on Hackney Road takes things to the next level, asking you to bring your own bottle and drinking receptacle. Rumour has it that the bar is gearing up for a special pop-up sister drinkery called BYOBADRAPSASA, a shorthand way of saying ‘bring your own bottle and drinking receptacle and power source and seating area’.
The Maple Leaf, Bar Polski, Zeitgeist, French House…you’re not a proper country unless you have a bar in London. This is genuine international law. The tiny state of San Marino was, until recently, without alcoholic representation in the capital. But this tiny wine bar on the Kings Road, has changed everything. Not only can you sup the micro-nation’s finest vintages, but you can also watch endless repetitions of Davide Gualtieri’s goal against England in the famous 1993 World Cup qualifier. Given the nation’s proud sporting history, it’s no surprise they’ve played up their Kings Road connections and co-opted the returning Chelsea manager’s surname for a site-specific pun. Visit before November, when the Chelsea manager is due to change again.
New ultra-fashionable Soho hangout located next to ‘Magenta’ and ‘Rapture’, and across the road from ‘Myriad’. Specialises in anything but real ales. Due to close down in November for conversion into something called ‘Gallant’ or ‘Sparkle’ or some other irrelevant one-word appellation. Look out for the ever popular ‘Waff’ ping-pong bar in the basement.
The Conveyor Belt bar
Imagine a sushi bar but with beverages on the belt, colour coded for potency and price. A popular drinking game here is to try and memorise every single drink that passes in front of your table over the course of two minutes. Any that you forget must be drunk. It’s like an entertaining version of The Generation Game.
The 1990′s Student Disco Bar
A new retro concept. Exchange £40 on the door for “student grant” fake money that gets you watery pints for “£1″ and shots of pastel-shaded, unknown spirits in a characterless dark hall. “Cheesy chips” food offering. Music: indie disco tinged with rave. Special prizes (basically, bottles of Merrydown) are awarded to anyone who can remember Menswear.
A new take on the speakeasy. After going through the usual routine of knocking on a dodgy looking door and giving the password, you’re led into a dimly lit basement bar with mis-matched furniture and prohibition-era music. So far, so speakeasy. But in a botanical twist, a small pea has been hidden at each of the tables (known as pods). If, during the course of the night, you successfully ‘seek peasy’, your final bar tab is reduced to half price — but only if you can convey the pea to the bar using chopsticks. Should you drop the foodstuff, everyone in the bar must shout “We have an ESCAPE-PEA!”. It’s all very strange.
Thirsty for more? Describe your own favourite London bar that doesn’t yet exist in the comments below. We might even treat proponents of the best ideas to a free cocktail in a speakeasy, if you could face drinking with us…and if any bar will still have us.