FOR COOL INTERIORS:
Control Room B, Battersea
Control Room B is the latest opening as part of Battersea Power Station’s multibillion-pound development. Set in one the power station’s control rooms, the venue has been carefully renovated so guests can see the original stainless-steel control panels, desks and switchboard, with 1950s-inspired interiors. The bar itself is in the middle of the room and has been inspired by a huge turbine with cool art-deco lights to illuminate the spirits and drinks on the shelves. Staff dressed in utilitarian boiler suits will guide you through the menu – designed like an instruction manual – which includes champagnes, spirits and cocktails such as the ‘66,000 Vaults’ made with Grey Goose vodka, passionfruit purée and lime juice; and the ‘Smoke Stack’ with tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde chilli liqueur, agave syrup and smoked sea salt. The bar is also open daily from 10am for hot drinks and pastries.
Upper Ground Turbine Hall B, 270 The Power Station, Circus Road South, SW11 8BZ
FOR OLD-SCHOOL GLAMOUR:
Velvet At Corinthia London, Westminster
Corinthia London is one of the capital’s smartest hotels, with an award-winning ESPA Life spa, luxury rooms and suites, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Its newest addition is the Velvet bar, headed up by renowned bartender Salvatore Calabrese. The bar has dark and glamorous interiors with red and blue velvet seating, velvet curtains and a central marble fireplace. Cocktails are split into various groups, ranging from 1920s classics to cocktails from the modern era. Look out for a ‘Golden Era’ list featuring iconic sips like the ‘Clover Club’ made with Beefeater Gin, raspberry syrup, lemon juice and egg whites; and Salvatore’s Signatures which include a ‘Velvet Rose’ made with Ron Santiago De Cuba, Dom Benedictine, peach, raspberry, and Laurent-Perrier champagne. Treat yourself to bar snacks like crab tartlets or buttermilk fried chicken with chilli and pickled ginger.
Whitehall Place, Westminster, SW1A 2BD
FOR DJS & DANCING:
Stereo, Covent Garden
Experimental Group is behind some of our favourite Covent Garden spots, including Henrietta Hotel, so we were excited when it announced a new venue on the Piazza. Set to open its doors on Friday 9th December, Stereo will have a cocktail bar and restaurant headed up by Acme Fire Cult’s Andrew Clarke. Guests will be encouraged to arrive for an aperitif, stay for dinner and dance into the early hours. Every night, a house band will set the vibes before a number of rotating DJs and artists take to the stage. You can order bar snacks or American-inspired dishes from the main menu, all designed to make you feel like you’re in a cool NYC bar. Inventive cocktails, local beers and spirits complete the fun offering.
35 The Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BE
FOR LATE-NIGHT COCKTAILS:
The Libertine in the Royal Exchange, City
The Incipio Group – the one behind Pergola, Lost in Brixton and The Prince, to name a few – has opened its latest venture under the vaults of the Royal Exchange, the first place to serve alcohol in London with a royal licence back in the 16th century. The 450-cover venue has a spacious bar, a restaurant and two private dining rooms. Walk down the spiral staircase to sit at leather seats at the bar or settle down at one of the tables before choosing from a selection of world wines, craft beers and classic cocktails with a twist, like a Smoky Thyme Old Fashioned or a Pink Peppercorn Negroni. To accompany each drink, guests can order bar snacks for the table like aubergine crisps, nocellara olives and oysters.
1A The Royal Exchange, Cornhill, City, EC3V 3LL
FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION:
Vesper Bar At The Dorchester, Mayfair
As part of the Dorchester’s extensive restoration and extension, the hotel will open Vesper Bar next month. The new destination pays homage to the hotel’s connections to James Bond and Ian Fleming, who invented the Vesper Martini in Casino Royale. Martin Brudnizki is behind the interiors which are elegant with touches of 1930s glam, while the hotel’s head bartender Lucia Montanelli has created a new cocktail menu. Details remain firmly under wraps but if Lucia’s previous drinks are anything to go by, we’re expecting good things.
53 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1QA
FOR CASUAL DRINKS:
Swift’s award-winning bars in Soho and Shoreditch are long-time hotspots, so we were pleased when the group opened its third outpost in Borough last month. Spread across a two-storey townhouse, there’s an art deco-inspired bar with plush seating and a menu of classic cocktails. Upstairs only takes walk-ins, so you needn’t worry about booking ahead. Meanwhile, there’s a cosy seated area downstairs, ideal for dates and late-night drinks. In keeping with Swift’s ethos, the bar will showcase local stallholders with a range of local beers and low-intervention wines, as well as a small, seasonal drinks menu that changes regularly. Cocktails on the upstairs menu includes the ‘Berkeley’ made with gin, pear, lime sherbet, cachaça and lemon bitters; and the ‘Bodega’ with white rum, bergamot, lime and grapefruit.
66 Borough High Street, Borough, SE1 1XF
FOR NATURAL WINES:
Natural wine platform and subscription service Oranj was created in 2020 to showcase some of the best bottles on the market. Now, the team has opened its first bottle shop, wine bar and kitchen in Shoreditch. One of the coolest new openings on this list, it’s housed in a former Victorian warehouse, tucked away on Bacon Street. Founder Jasper Delamothe has described the space as “a pub for wine drinkers”, with a relaxed atmosphere where you can try low-ABV wines and plenty of orange wines from around the world. If that’s not your thing, there’s also a selection of cocktails like spicy margaritas and old fashioneds. Oranj also has a rotating kitchen, so expect foodie pop-ups in the coming months – southern street food brand Decatur will take over the kitchen from Thursday 1st to Thursday 22nd December.
14 Bacon Street, Shoreditch E1 6LF
FOR WATERSIDE DRINKS:
Bruno’s occupies a converted barge along Regent’s Canal in Islington. Created by Fin and Lorcan –sons of The French House and Sessions Art Club's Jon Spiteri – its moored next to their waterside restaurant Caravel. The brothers have taken inspiration from New York drinking dens; the bar has a long lounge with velvet armchairs and bar seating where you can look out of the boat’s portholes onto the water. There are also two marble tables at the back with space for 12 – ideal for Christmas celebrations. The cocktail menu includes drinks like the ‘Peach Drop’ made with vodka, lemon juice, peach syrup, egg whites and burnt sugar; and the smokey ‘Cookout’ with mezcal, barbecued lemon juice and orgeat. Guests can also choose from natural wines and nostalgic bar snacks, like reinvented ‘lunchables’ served in portioned lunch trays filled with cured meats and cheeses.
172 Shepherdess Walk, Islington, N1 7JL