Much like its patchwork of neighborhoods, the city’s drinking culture offers something for every taste. Here, five new haunts that define the nightlife scene right now.
The Whip, Mayfair
The Vibe: A Kentucky Derby theme sets a fanciful mood: racing-green-striped walls, equestrian knickknacks (riding crop; horse paintings), and vintage furniture upholstered with jockey silks.
Who Goes: Burberry-clad bankers and tony Mayfair residents; expat Triple Crown fans.
What to Order: A julep, of course. The Whip, made with rhubarb vodka and dry gin from the owner’s distillery, is served in a pewter tin.
Blind Pig, Soho
The Vibe: A blindfolded boar marks the door of Jason Atherton’s speakeasy-style spot, where vintage design by Russell Sage (chocolate-hued banquettes; copper-topped bar) evokes an old members’ club feel.
Who Goes: Young fashionistas and media types; spillovers from Atherton’s downstairs bistro, the Michelin-starred Social Eating House.
What to Order: The Silver Screen—toffee corn-infused bourbon and “cherry cola” comes with a mini tub of popcorn. Or try the Cereal Killer: bourbon, crème de cacao, vanilla bitters, and cornflakes-flavored milk.
Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour, Chinatown
The Vibe: Dumpling house meets Asian apothecary at Eric Yu and Dre Masso’s three-story town house, where liquor is stored in Chinese medicine bottles and a section of the menu is devoted to spiked teas, such as an ancient Hainan Island spiced brew, stirred with gin.
Who Goes: Mustachioed hipsters and cocktail fanatics who take classes at the mixology academy in the attic.
What to Order: The signature Opium Cocktail No. 5—tequila, cactus-and-cherry-pepper-liqueur, and oolong tea—with cubes of dry ice that emit billows of smoke.
White Lyan, Hoxton
The Vibe: A black, minimalist space evoking 1980’s New York is the backdrop for master mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana’s bottled cocktails—crafted with house-made cordials and a noticeable absence of perishable ingredients (no fruit, vegetables, or ice).
Who Goes: Creatives from nearby “Silicon Roundabout” and the occasional A-lister (Jay-Z and Beyoncé).
What to Order: The conversation-starting Moby Dick Sazerac, mixed with rye, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe-soaked rice paper, and whale ambergris.
Cat & Mutton, London Fields
The Vibe: A 300-year-old, saloon-style boozer plucked straight from a spaghetti western (enameled mirrors; leather barstools), updated by Tom Gibson, who also owns the beloved Ruby’s, in Dalston.
Who Goes: Local craftspeople and artists; football fans cheering on the Three Lions.
What to Order: A Bloody Ruby: gin and Campari blended with blood-orange juice and egg whites.
Sarah Miller is Travel + Leisure's European Editor.