Next week sees the return of London Cocktail Week, the world’s biggest cocktail festival with more than 300 partnering bars opening their doors and offering £6 cocktails to those with a Festival Pass. This year, the festival has gone completely digital: week-long passes are just £10 but now there’s no guidebook, no wristbands and most importantly, no queueing. To be part of the festival, just visit DrinkUp.London or download the free DrinkUp.London app. Here’s Jane to tell you more about it…
There are plenty of things our enormous, expanding, heaving, thriving capital city does well. But no one likes a brag, especially the British, so let’s quickly supersede that by saying London has a few things that it misses the mark at, too: being simultaneously a world capital and beach destination is sadly one of the failures. Hospitality, on the other hand, is something that nowhere else in the world comes close to London for, especially our drinks scene. New York, eat your heart out – yes, we’re bragging but only because it’s very, very much deserved. For there is nowhere else where such creativity and such rule-bending and questioning exists behind the bar, and there is nowhere else where our bartenders are so highly valued.
London has always understood the importance of a cosy corner and sharp drink at the end of a long day. It’s also always allowed people to push the mark and we’ve evolved that scene from boozers to well-designed bars and ales to refined spirits, mixed with all the flavours you’d find in a kitchen and then some. Maybe it’s our cold, dark months that have pushed this scene, or the heady mix of people revolving through the city that need a spot to slow down at and the chance to meet a friendly face. Most likely, though, it’s because in this wonderful city you can turn anything into success, and a few bartending souls did just that to a job a lot of people thought not a lot of.
From improving the small things such as fresh juices, good ice, spirit knowledge and friendly smiles across the bar, we’ve jumped huge leaps to venues such as Dandelyan, recently named the world’s best bar, which pushes not only innovative flavours but also thought-provoking concepts across the bar. We have brilliant local cocktail bars like Satan’s Whiskers and Original Sin which have brought the well-executed Daiquiri, Manhattan and Martini to the neighbourhoods surrounding central London. And we have venues that champion their service and their guests beyond the clamour for cash or recognition. You can spot them because they’re the ones that last.
London Cocktail Week was started back in 2010 to shout about this industry and ensure that all Londoners understood their city was the best. By throwing open the doors to venues all around town and inviting you all in, we hope you’ve got to see just how wonderful our bars are. Today London Cocktail Week is the biggest cocktail festival in the world. And yes, we’re still celebrating our scene and inviting more and more of you in. Because on the inside, in the cosy corners with the well-made and delicious sharp drinks is so much better than on the outside where London is still failing to embody that destination beach.
New bars joining London Cocktail Week Tours in 2017
Mint Gun Club
Inspired by his adventurous travels, award-winning bar champ Richard Hunt brings you this light-and-bright tea room and aperitivo bar.
Classic cocktail bar opened by an all-star team within The Napoleon Hotel with a kitsch yet elegant decor.
An Instagram dream of a bar – millennial pink, neon and disco tunes. What’s not to love
Classic bars rejoining London Cocktail Week tours
Award-winning tiki-tastic basement drinking den tucked underneath Portobello Road.
Multi-purpose eating and drinking venue known for its modern European cuisine, extensive drinks list and beautiful courtyard area.
The Booking Office
Terribly grand bar and restaurant attached to King’s Cross station. The iconic red brick has been left exposed so you always know where you are.