Things change fast in a time of coronavirus. Check on venue websites and social media ahead of visiting for the most up to date details.
They take sake seriously at Pantechnicon — multiple floors of bars, shops, restaurants, cafes and al fresco spaces, all dedicated to Nordic meets Japanese-inspired food, drink, and homeware — with multiple sake drinking spots within its huge, pillared walls.
It's not cheap, but hot damn it's good-looking. You can take over the Sakaya, a four seater bar and bottle shop on the ground floor, to sip your way across their extensive range of sake with a curated tasting, or you can order from an extensive range of sake in Eldr, their — very pricey, but hygge-ful — rooftop bar. But if you're looking for a truly special occasion, sakecentric dinner head underground, to Sachi — Japanese dishes, Nordic influences, high design decor, and a sommelier dedicated to sake matchings for your food.
Moto, Covent Garden
Small and sleek, this Covent Garden bar specialises in Japanese artisan drinks — including craft beer, vodka, absinthe, and tea — with a focus on sake. For many of the products on the menu they're the first UK importer, and they offer takeaway and delivery, but we'd recommend grabbing a counter seat in the bar for a sake flight — the most affordable and accessible route through their sake menu — and Japanese snacks. The fried chicken's breaded in tempura crumbs and sake, if you want to keep it on theme. Read about our visit to Moto here.
Moto, Covent Garden.
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Back in 2017 we went to visit Kanpai, London's first sake brewery, at their Peckham industrial unit. Read about our visit here. After crowdfunding in 2018, the team moved to a larger space, still in Peckham. The extra space allowed them to expand their brewing to include small, seasonal batches, on top of their core range, and to open a taproom. Visit Wednesday to Sunday for outdoor seating, guest chefs in residency, and sake on tap.
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The Madam Butterfly's a spicy love letter to lychee, made with sake, vodka, lychee liqueur, and chilli syrup — it's not going to replace the lychee martini in your affections, but it's complex, punchy, and lovely. And just one of the sake cocktails that My neighbours the dumplings is serving out of their neon lit underground bar at their Clapton restaurant. There's also a good list of sake by the glass, for the purists — and be certain to order their roasted peanut potstickers to soak it up.
Matilda's at My neighbours the dumplings, Hackney.
Chotto Matte, Soho
Sake crops up regularly on the menu at Nikkei restaurant Chotto Matte, with sake matchings for desserts, and inventive sake cocktails. If you want to explore the latter, you can drink bottomless sake cocktails at the Harajuku brunch every Saturday, where £85 gets you three courses of Nikkei sharing plates, and an hour and a half of unlimited drinks, including their excellent Tokyo Dreams — a goblet of frozen, sour, refreshing sake slushy — and the Nikkei Nights, like a gin sour, with an extra hit of yuzu and sake.
Chotto Matte, Soho.