London’s New Cocktail Bars

No more shivering on terraces! This autumn we’ll be embracing these cosy new openings, where cocktail hour is glamorous, grown up and without a puffer coat in sight.

Abajo at Sucre, Great Marlborough Street

80s Buenos Aires is the inspiration behind Abajo – meaning ‘down’ – the downstairs cocktail bar beneath Sucre on Great Marlborough Street. It’s the latest opening from Argentinian bartender Tato Giovannoni, founder of the award-winning basement bar, Florería Atlántico in Buenos Aires. Expect exposed brick walls, a sleek steel bar and highballs served to the sound of vinyl DJs and live music. The cocktails are colour-themed, Something Red includes fernet branch, maraschino, cherries and pink grapefruit soda, whilst the Something Yellow mixes altos tequila, strega, turmeric, pollen and lemon soda. Upstairs at Sucre find Latin American open fire cooking from Chef Fernando Trocca.

Image: Carol Sachs

Le Magritte Bar at The Beaumont

Centred around the Magritte painting hanging behind the bar, there’s an old school New York vibe to the Beaumont’s cocktail bar that’s moved location as part of the hotel’s major re-furb. Opening this August, Le Magritte has space for just 30 guests to sip the house classics like the Bohemian 75 with champagne, wine, absinthe, elderlflower and lemon, or the Autumn Fair with rye whiskey, frangelico, amer picon and chocolate bitters. Part of the re-design includes the new Magritte terrace – a chic, sheltered space where you can sit at rattan armchairs and enjoy your drinks along with heartier treats like cheeseburgers and salt beef bagels as you look out over Brown Hart Gardens.

Image: ZAC and ZAC

Martinez Members Bar, Greek Street

Take away the pressure of finding a table on a Friday night in Soho with a membership to Martinez, the new members club on Greek Street where it’s all about the cocktails. The house signature and its namesake is the Martinez; a mixture of gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters, an age-old classic that sets the tone for the menu that includes forgotten favourites as well as modern reinventions. Annual membership is £300 (or £75 paid quarterly) and includes a £75 bar tab, members events and a guaranteed spot for a drink from 5pm-1am Tuesday to Saturday.

Bandra Bhai, Fitzrovia

If Dishoom did cocktail bars they might feel at little like Bandra Bhai, a new Bombay-inspired bar in Fitzrovia. More is more, with kitsch decor and a fun menu where you could kick off with a Rajdoot Martini – made with samphire infused reyka vodka, tanqueray gin, cocchi americano and move on to the Spiced Jaggery Old Fashioned with woodford reserve, jaggery, chat masala and aromatic bitters. Don’t miss the spicy selection of bar snacks – try the Old Delhi chicken tikka and the Mangalore buns filled with crab sukka.

Be-oom, Exmouth Market

A Korean tea house by day, Be-oom opens late from Thursday-Saturday to serve its ‘tea-tails’. These infuse the fragrant teas with a choice spirit – think cold brew persimmon tea with Petite Cigue cognac and magnolia-infused vodka with lemon and soda. There are also a few natural wines on the menu that come served with cold-brew tea and evening snacks known as ‘Anjoo’ in Korean.

London's new cocktail bars
— Daisy Allsup
1st September 2021

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