Article by Helen Glaberson.
London’s gin revival continues apace, with more and more specialist drinking dens popping up across all corners of the city. These are our top 10.
The Gin Bar, Holborn
This year’s new-gin-kid-on-the-block turned heads when it opened, with its 400-strong gin collection and 27 different tonics, (including its own signature one). That’s an estimated 14,035 different gin and tonic pairings. Our heads are spinning already.
Holborn Dining Room, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
Under Antico restaurant in Bermondsey you’ll find this secret gin bar where the G&Ts are taken so seriously, they’ve insisted on making their own home-made tonic, (created with specially imported quinine that allows the delicate gin botanicals to sing out). Test your taste buds with a blind gin flight of three different G&Ts. Try and make it down to a Sunday Social, with a weekly changing menu of gin tipples from £5 a pop.
214 Bermondsey, 214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
Mother's Ruin, Walthamstow
North Londoners can’t rave enough about this tiny, no frills Walthamstow gin bar, which is based within the Mother’s Ruin distillery in an old first world war munitions factory building. These guys specialise in making fruit liqueurs, so if you’re a big sloe fan, this is where to head.
Mother's Ruin, Unit 18, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, E17 9HQ
Graveney Gin, Tooting
Up and coming Tooting naturally demands a trendy gin distillery and bar. These guys fill that hole with their organic, handcrafted batch gin, made on site at their little home in the market. A recent addition to their base this year was a small bar out the front, so you can pull up a high stool and glug fresh G&Ts from a large copper mug.
Graveney Gin, 21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN
Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour, Covent Garden
Head up the stairs at Mr. Fogg’s rowdy beer tavern and you’ll find this cosy old-world gin haven with fancy sofas, and one hell of a gin collection - there are over 315 bottles. You can also book onto a gin masterclass where you’ll get a full history of the good stuff while you sample a diverse range of gins from across the globe.
Mr. Fogg's Gin Parlour, 1 New Row, WC2N 4EA
The London Gin Club, Soho
This place is unassuming from the outside (it looks just like a standard London pub), but walk inside and enter a 1930’s gin shrine. It doesn’t look like it’s changed since it opened over 80 years ago. There are 270 different bottles behind the bar, and cocktail recipes dating back to the 1800s. Every effort goes into making sure you have the optimum gin drinking experience, served with large cracked ice so your drink won’t dilute. The tonic, and even the garnish, are carefully thought out to match perfectly with your gin of choice.
The London Gin Club, (The Star) 22 Great Chapel Street, W1F 8FR
This laid-back restaurant/bar is so big on gin that they even put it in their sausages. They also have a gin-dedicated cocktail list, all made with Little Bird (the local gin from just down the road). Tipples come in at a good price of £6-£8.
Pedler, 58 Peckham Rye, SE15, 4JR
The city sure isn’t short on gin distilleries doubling as bars. Located in The City of London Distillery, this smart speakeasy is a nice place to kick back, with plush leather seats and a view of the large copper stills. There are 180 gins behind the bar, and a strong gin-heavy cocktail list. You can also book in for a number of ‘gin experiences’ from distillery tours to distilling your very own bottle of gin. They’ll save the recipe forever so you can keep coming back for more!
C.O.L.D, 22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT
Worship Street Whistling Shop, Shoreditch
Dark, atmospheric and lit by an indoor street lamp, it feels like you’ve just stepped inside an old Victorian gin palace. The bar also has its own cocktail lab, with all sorts of crazy instruments used to create infused gin potions.
Worship Street Whistling Shop, 63 Worship Street, EC2A 2DU
Portobello Star, Notting Hill
A must-do for gin fans from bar legend Jake Burger. Home to Portobello Road Gin (it’s made upstairs), and with a whole load more behind the bar. Head upstairs to the Ginstitute for a masterclass in making your very own bottle.
The Portobello Star, 171 Portobello Road, W11 2DY
The Distillery, Notting Hill
After finishing all the gin at The Portobello Star, you can stagger the extremely short distance to London's first ever gin hotel. The four-storey venue has a 400-litre distillery in the basement, a visitor centre, pub, restaurant, Spanish gin lounge (!) and a handful of hotel rooms at the top. You'll need one.
The Distillery, 186 Portobello Road, W11 1LA