Whisky has never been more fashionable, with a host of cool whisky bars in London to cater for your obsession. So if you’re a lover of this malted grain and fancy exploring drams from Scotland or even Japan, check out our top ten favourite bars
Words Georgie Rutherford
Top 10 whisky bars in London
Spice and Rye
Join Glenmorangie at their pop up Spice & Rye bar and celebrate the return of rye whiskey. A gorgeously clandestine, dimly–lit, whisky laced speakeasy on Percy Street. Decked out in authentic 30s style and furnished with grandfather’s armchairs, you’ll sip your way through a world-class selection of whiskies. At the bar guests can enjoy whisky cocktails inspired by the era such as the Chapel St. Sour accompanied by the swinging sounds of a live jazz band. Open for five nights only, guests are invited to pre-book early to make sure they don’t miss out!
The Vault of Soho
If you’re looking for top quality whisky, Milroy’s – London’s oldest whisky shop – has lit a new spark in its underground cavern. Head downstairs to the basement bar, aka The Vault, via a ‘hidden’ door and arrive in a dimly lit room with dark-hued furnishings. With an unpretentious and whisky cocktail list, this is bound to be a visit you’ll never forget.
In the labyrinth of streets behind Liverpool Street Station sits one of the most revolutionary whisky bars in London. With no actual bar, you work your way through three cabinets filled with over 250 bottles of whisky all organised by flavour profile: smoky, fruity and spicy. Not forgetting the bar’s main attraction, the two booze-filled rivers flowing through an 18 foot oak tree trunk table. Trust me, the novelty of this bar will never wear off.
One of our favourite whisky bars in London, find this whisky haven tucked away in a deserted alley off Fleet Street. There are a stupendous 500 bottles of Scotch and Irish whisky stocked behind the bar – famous for their youthful and uplifting flavours. The bartenders know all the prices by heart so make sure to ask before you buy. Don’t miss out on Whisky Wednesday, where the first shot – poured while you peruse – is on the house.
The Sun Tavern
Nestled at the end of Bethnal Green Road, this pub is a cosy hideaway filled with a spectacular collection of Irish whisky. There are over 70 to sample, as well as a few famous whisky cocktails. The stripped back interior and the retro turntable pays homage to the history and charisma of this east London favourite.
Go on a voyage of discovery in this brooding basement. Split over two floors, the upstairs is ideal for affordable aperitivos while the basement is the perfect nightcap destination. There are 250 drams to explore and over half of them are Scotch and the rest hail from Ireland, Japan and America. The space is intimate and cool – the perfect date night destination – with art deco features throughout. Promising a slightly darker approach from the crisp cocktail menu upstairs, down here you can expect more complex cocktails and possibly the biggest whisky library in London.
Bull In A China Shop
Opposite the iconic Tea building in Shoreditch sits this whisky bar with a subtle hint of the Orient. The ‘oriental curiosities’ theme continues with the décor as well as the menu with activated charcoal found in everything from the burger buns to the cocktails. The whisky collection isn’t overwhelming and feels well thought out, featuring a few exclusive finds including Karuizawa. Dare to try something new because you won’t be disappointed.
Boisdale of Canary Wharf
A big favourite with the Scottish whisky fans is the Boisdale’s whisky bar, a 12 metre long ‘amber wall of liquid gold’ that holds over 1000 bottles of malt whisky. This place is Scottish in both style and substance, with crimson red walls and tartan seating – while the cigar room and heated terrace are the perfect finishing touches.
The Bar At The Athenaeum
Inside this decadent five star hotel, you’ll find a treasure trove of rare whisky. Though they’ve recently trimmed their collection to around 52, all are extremely special bottles including The Athenaeum’s own unique blend. Whiskies range in price from £9 to an astounding £342 for a Glenvit 1984. So if you’re willing to splash out on something special, this is the place to go.