Chef Adriana Cavita recently opened her Mexican restaurant Cavita in Marylebone. Now there’s a cocktail bar and mezcaleria in the basement. Headed up by mixologist Manuel Lema (of La Bodega Negra fame) the bar showcases the best of Mexican mezcal, tequila and other agave-based spirits. Ideal for a first date thanks to its cosy interiors and cool atmosphere, guests can choose from various flights to try out various spirits, or browse through the cocktail list which includes drinks like the ‘Doña Lucha’ made with The Lost Explorer Espadin, Campari, St Germain, fresh lime juice and sugar syrup; and the ‘Monarca’ featuring El Tarasco Reposado, Aperol, hibiscus syrup, fresh mint and soda water. There are also over 32 bottles of mezcal on offer – including a few rare brands from Mexico like Koch Barril.
56-60 Wigmore Street, Marylebone, W1U 2RZ
Soda & Friends, City Island
East London neighbourhood City Island is one of the capital’s coolest new areas. In addition to a street food market, taproom and coffee shop, it recently opened a destination bar, Soda & Friends. Inside, it’s a modern and minimalist affair, taking inspiration from Nordic and Japanese design – the focal point is the speckled green bar made from recycled plastics and glass. The menu focuses on highball serves (drinks in a tall cocktail glass) to showcase rare spirits mixed with house-made cordials, liqueurs and sodas. We like the sound of the ‘Soda House’ made with whisky, pear, apple, plum and soda water; and the ‘Irish Air Con’ with cantaloupe melon, apple, Irish vodka and cucumber soda. You can also order bar snacks – designed to complement each drink – like dumplings, pickled miso quail eggs and fried chicken bites.
20 Hopewell Square, London City Island, E14 0SY
Uncle Zorro, Covent Garden
Uncle Zorro offers all-day dining at its ground-floor café with through-the-window street service and a small indoor seating area. In the evening, head down to the basement to discover a speakeasy bar with cool 70s-inspired interiors – think low-slung furniture, retro lighting and warm colours throughout. There you can choose from a curated list of natural and biodynamic wines, as well as classic cocktails like negronis, margaritas and martinis. There will also be a snug vault in a separate room with a fully stocked vintage bar cart for private events. Late-night dates are best spent with a couple of glasses of wine and small plates from the sharing menu, like cheese toasties and charcuterie boards.
38 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9EN
Lucky Club, Camden
The original Lucky Club is set in a Mayfair townhouse, while its newer sister property in Camden spans the rooftop of a Grade II-listed building. With great city views, the bar has a retractable roof and gas heaters for year-round al fresco drinking. Elliot James is behind the interiors so expect neutral colours, plenty of outdoor plants and dim lighting for a truly romantic setting. Ideal if you’re partial to a spicy margarita or paloma, the bar specialises in mezcal and tequila-based cocktails inspired by Mexico City. From the extensive margarita list, we recommend the ‘Pica Pica’ made with mezcal, mango juice, lime, agave and chilli. In keeping with the Mexican theme, guests can also choose from tacos, quesadillas and sharing plates of guac and chips, as well as soft serve and churros for dessert – drizzled with mezcal-infused chocolate or caramel sauce.
The Terrace, Horse Hospital, North Stables Yard, Camden, NW1 8AH
Lost Property Office, Waterloo
Award-winning bartender Rich Woods (also known as The Cocktail Guy) has opened Lost Property Office, which is accessed through a secret door inside BrewDog’s new Waterloo station site. Woods is known for his scientific approach to mixology, so expect an interesting and unique experience. Ideal if you want to impress on a first date, the bar reimagines classic cocktails with new flavour pairings you won’t find elsewhere. The star of the show is the ‘Martini Roulette’: a trio of miniature martinis identical in size and colour, but each with a different flavour to highlight how the cocktail has changed over time. Other drinks include the ‘Poker Face’ made with LoneWolf Gin, Campari sweet vermouth, petitgrain (a sweet essential oil), and a neroli and blackberry infusion; and the ‘Lagerita’ (a twist on a margarita) which includes hopped Tapatio Blanco tequila, salt-baked blood orange liqueur, clear lime, bergamot and ‘beer cloud’.
Waterloo Station, Waterloo, SE1 7BH
In Borough Yards, Bar Daskal is a Spanish wine and cocktail bar named after seafaring artist Vladimir Daskaloff, who worked under the name ‘Daskal’ and set up a home and studio in Estellencs, Mallorca, after many years at sea. Daskal was the grandfather of the bar’s owners – Sam, Eddie and James Hart – who grew up visiting him in Estellencs and still visit the family home to this day. Bar Daskal offers an exclusively Spanish wine and sherry list and a short list of cocktails made with Spanish spirits. To eat, there are cold tapas and snacks – from expertly sourced Spanish jamon and cheeses to classic tortilla wedges with alioli. Looking to host a late-night party? Upstairs at Bar Daskal can host 25 and comes with its own bar.
10 Park Street, Borough Yards, SE1 9AB