London’s Best New Cocktail Bars – 2012

London saw some excellent openings during 2012, with another handful of great bars we’re sure will stand the test of time and become must-visits in the capital. Read on for our guide to the best new bars in London.

Oskar’s Bar at Dabbous

Dabbous is the brain child of chef Oliver Dabbous and bartender Oskar Kinsburg. It may take months to get a reservation in the restaurant upstairs, but take note, Oskar’s bar in the basement is rarely full – a hidden gem.

the best new bars in London

Industrial in style, the bar is beautifully decked out, if a little dark. The menu consists of classic cocktails and Oskar’s own inventions, including some beer based libations that we would definitely recommend trying.

The bar snacks are (unsurprisingly) second to none, mirroring some of the courses on the menu upstairs, making Oskar’s Bar one of the best new bars in London.

39 Whitfield Street W1T 2SF

London Cocktail Club

The first of our 2012 predictions to come true was the opening of a naval themed London Cocktail Club. The second LCC (third venue if you include Covent Garden Cocktail Club) JJ and James have brought their signature laid back atmosphere and feel good cocktails to Bloomsbury.

Rum is the name of the game here, with pin up girls and tattoo designs on the wall. The cocktails follow the same formula as the other venues, with all time classics alongside signature twists and bar snacks designed to complement your drinks perfectly. Go for banging drinks and a great party atmosphere at one of the best new bars in London.

224a Shaftesbury Avenue WC2H 8EB

Evans and Peel

Evans and Peel proved that, despite predictions otherwise, London’s appetite for speakeasy bars remained strong. This time entry comes via a detective agency, with a resident detective who will need to consider your case before allowing you in.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

With a sweet little cocktail menu including infusions and an antique radiator that dispenses beer, expect unusual twists along the way.

310c Earl’s Court Road SW5 9AQ

Bounce

Indulge your competitive side by combining your cocktails with a side of ping pong at Bounce. With history on its side (the venue sits on the same site where the game was created in 1901) they’ve gone all out, with multiple ping pong tables including one used in the 2012 Olympics.

The bar, homage to a gin palace, stocks a range of spirits, with a short but concise cocktail list.

121 Holborn EC1N 2TD

Beard to Tail

The long awaited second venue from Callooh Callay came with a distinctly foodie twist. As the name suggests, the menu features all kinds of unusual cuts of meat from pig and cow. The drinks offering has a strong American influence with craft beers and lots of bourbon so expect to find juleps, Manhattans and sazeracs.

Their brunches are well worth a look, if just for their amazing bloody mary, served with a side of crackling at one of the best new bars in London.

77 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3BS

Duck and Waffle / SushiSamba

If you love your cocktails with a side of epic view, Duck and Waffle and SushiSamba are for you. Gaze over London from either of the bars which sit at the top of the Heron Tower, just one super fast lift ride away. Part of the same venue but split over multiple floors each restaurant and bar has its own personality.

duck & waffle

Duck & Waffle sits up top, with an inside out bar of sorts, where you can stand alongside the bartender as they craft your drinks. SushiSamba sits beneath and has a stunning roof terrace framed around a beautiful tree, making it one of the best new bars in London.

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY

Bar Americain

It isn’t a speakeasy but Bar Americain at Brasserie Zedel oozes 1930s glamour – think Babette’s Supper Club from Boardwalk Empire. The cocktails keep to theme, with classics such as Sazeracs and Martinis on offer.

the best new bars in London

Visually stunning, although sometimes lacking a little in atmosphere, definitely pull up a bar stool when you visit.

Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street, City of Westminster, W1F 7ED

2013 Predictions…

Looking to 2013, keep an eye out for the bar in the shard, sure to rival the heron tower for their views, expect multiple new openings from LCC as the boys build on their empire, and watch out for a potential new bar from Dabbous…

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Emyr is the founder of Bon Vivant's concierge service and one of the main contributors to the luxury lifestyle and travel blog. Emyr has always had a passion for travel, dining out and trying new places, and you can be sure that if there’s a new restaurant or hotel opening, he’s there at the bar with a glass of champagne.

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