The Blind Phoenix, Stoke Newington
The Blind Phoenix is a wizard-themed speakeasy, molecular cocktail bar and art gallery in east London. Launched earlier this year, the team has now unveiled its menu for the festive season. Creations include: the ‘Ultimate Hot Chocolate’, a boozy chocolate creation with cacao powder and cognac; ‘A Very Happy Christmas’, a hot, enchanting elixir with rum, sweet vermouth, cinnamon bark and cayenne pepper; and ‘New Year’s Resolution’ – prosecco with clarified peach liquor, cherry bitters and ‘pixie dust’. All drinks are designed to be multi-sensory and interactive, and feature different effects: fire, ice, smoke, spherification, expansion, colour change and clarification are all part of the mixology team’s box of tricks. On arrival, guests can open up a tab on a ‘magic wand’ and pour a range of drinks from the bar’s Time Machine, a steampunk wall that siphons classic drinks from across history. We’re intrigued.
5 Stoke Newington Road, Stoke Newington, N16 8BH
Electric Shuffle, Canary Wharf
Shuffleboard bar Electric Shuffle has opened in Canary Wharf. The venue comes from the minds behind Flight Club, the social darts venues that supercharged the traditional pub game. The new place uses vision technology to create fast-flowing entertainment: up to 16 players, split into two teams, step up to the table and compete in three games. Circular weighted pucks are slid down the smooth wooden surface into the score zone to win points. The technology identifies where the pucks are on the table and automatically scores games, which are displayed on a screen at the end of the table, guiding players through their shuffleboard experience. Away from the gaming, the bar offers a decent selection of craft beers and cocktails, alongside a seasonally inspired menu including sharing plates and pizza paddles. Perfect for groups of friends.
10 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, E14 4EY
Machiya Bar, Soho
The fate of your drinking experience lies in the hands of Machiya Bar’s group of mixologists, as the team launches its ‘Cocktail Omakase’ experience. A variation on the popular Japanese dining trend that allows the chef to create a one-off multi-course meal, the experience offers drinkers a four-cocktail journey through cohesively crafted beverages. Mixologists will improvise and surprise with bases of gin, rum, vodka or sake – guided by each customer’s drinking preferences. A welcome drink and three cocktails costs £40 per person. The experience runs Tuesday to Thursday, lasts one-and-a-half hours and needs to be pre-booked. Tables are limited to four people.
5 Panton Street, Soho, SW1Y 4DL
Malt Lounge & Bar, Marylebone
Malt Lounge & Bar has opened at the recently launched Prince Akatoki London hotel in Marylebone. The intimate bar offers guests the chance to indulge in world-renowned teas and a Japanese-inspired afternoon tea during the day, then rare Japanese and international whiskies and sake at night. Signature drinks include the ‘Akatoki Highball’ (Pandan-infused Akaski blended whisky with fig liqueur, homemade salted caramel syrup and ginger ale), ‘Sunset’ (Roku gin, physalis and ginger syrup, homemade yuzu and hibiscus water) and the alcohol-free ‘Japanese Fizz’ (Seedlip Garden 108, kaffir lime, micro coriander, chilli, ginger syrup and lemon juice). The centrepiece of the whisky menu is the Private Cabinet Whisky Reserve, a collection of ultra-rare malts available by the bottle. A wide range of premium homegrown Japanese sakes are served from Japanese ceramic serving sets made up of a tokkuri flask and small ochoko cups. Seating 30, the modern Japanese space features chic leather and wooden seating, elegant wood-clad walls and flooring, and traditional sliding fusuma panels.
50 Great Cumberland Place, Marylebone, W1H 7FD
The Retiring Room, Mayfair
The Retiring Room is a new subterranean bar from Samyukta Nair, inspired by the faded glamour of the retiring rooms of India’s train stations. Decorated with accents of pale pink and bottle green, the bar is enclosed by brilliant cut-glass screens. Deep, burgundy leather-clad booths line the walls, while the timber-panelled ceiling is hung with decorative wrought-iron light fittings. Guests can expect a mix of familiar cocktails given an Indian twist and new creations. We like the sound of the ‘Paan Collins’, made with sloe gin, St Germain, paan – or betel leaf – liqueur and a homemade plum syrup; the all-black ‘Incognito’, with Gosling black rum, pineapple juice, ginger beer and activated charcoal; and the ‘Pearl of Bombay’ with Russian Standard vodka, passion fruit chutney, passion fruit juice and a garnish of edible pearls.
29 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 2PA