London’s coolest cocktail bars that only the locals know about

Mar 10, 2018

The Brits love a good drink, and Londoners, in particular, know a thing or two about cocktails. The city mixes up some magnificent creations that have tourists lining up round the corner to sample. But what about those cocktail bars that only the city’s trendsetters are lining up for? We uncover the future superstar bars and underground watering holes that are causing a stir amongst Londoners in the know.

Waeska at The Mandrake Hotel


The Waeska Bar, hidden away within the new Mandrake Hotel, is a world of hedonistic fun with just a hint of the surreal. The eclectic interiors are decorated with priceless works of art, intriguing soundscapes and specially designed Azzi Glasser scents.

The team of talented mixologists is handpicked from leading bars around the globe by award-winning bar manager Walter Pintus (The Ritz, The Connaught), and the drinks collection is unlike anything else to be found in London. They are specially designed by Pintus and his international team – divinely decadent and made with the world’s most exotic ingredients. We love Satyr, made with truffle Portobello gin, saffron syrup, citrus, dry sherry and absinthe, and She Devil made with Somerset brandy, homemade rhubarb cordial, Campari, sea buckthorn tincture and champagne. All the syrups, infusions, garnishes and bitters are made on site – with even the ice handcrafted to perfection. This place really offers both substance and style, and it’s only a matter of time before the guidebooks wise up to Waeska’s glistening charms.

Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road

SEE ALSO: PHOTOS: 7 elegant cocktail bars around the world

Punch Room at The London EDITION


Punch Room may be just off the chaotic Oxford Street, but is thankfully a secret corner of calm in Fitzrovia, within The London EDITION. Their speciality is the daily changing sharing punch bowls or classic house punches. There is also a Scandal Water menu (Friday to Sunday) in partnership with Rare Tea Co for an alternative (and more exciting) answer to the famous British afternoon tea. This menu includes five Rare Tea Co teas, punch and food pairings – for example, smoked ham hock, green tea jelly, capers and cornichons matched with Emerald Green Mao Feng tea or Cold Ruby Punch. Or for those with a sweet tooth: almond, lemon and rosewater cake with English peppermint tea and Toledo Punch (who would have thought this combination could be so refreshing!). If punch tasting was a thing, this would be its birthplace.

Punch Room is inspired by the grand traditions of Great Britain – from the English country manor to the quintessential London private gentleman’s club. In the daytime, it’s quiet and relaxed, perfect for intimate catch-ups or playful daytime dates. In the evening, it caters as more of a hot spot for social groups, with Punch bowls available for up to eight people at £14 (US$19) per person.

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road