The first post in this series showed love for some of the top spots in Soho serving a classy cocktail in refined surroundings. If you’re more City of London than Soho, fear not as there are just as many brilliant bars in this part of the capital, which may be more convenient for those of you who work in the area. Here are a few bar suggestions that’ll show your first date you can do way better than two-a-penny chains.
110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
Closest stations: Liverpool Street, Moorgate
Average price per cocktail: £13
It may be an obvious choice, but even die-hard sceptics can’t fail to be impressed with the panoramic views across London from the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower. After whizzing up to these dizzying heights in a glass-fronted lift in 40 seconds flat, enjoy cocktails inspired by Peruvian, Japanese and Brazilian flavours on the highest outdoor terrace in Europe. To give you an idea of what to expect, there’s the Coconut Seviche (coconut gin with yuzu, passionfruit, dark chocolate liqueur) and the Samba Sour (think Pisco Sour with brandy, maraschino, yuzu, egg white and turmeric). If hunger strikes, order a few plates of sushi to share from the extensive menu.
Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ
Closest stations: Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Bank
Average price per cocktail: £13
Continuing with the sky-high sipping theme, Jason Atherton’s City Social Bar perched at the top of Tower 42 will also take your breath away. Once again, you can gaze out and feast your eyes on the London skyline from this unique position, as well as the glamorous interior, all with an interestingly-named cocktail in hand. Try Breakfast at Harry’s (Glenfiddich 15yr, coffee maraschino, liquorice bitters), Against All Hops (Martell VSOP, charred pineapple shrub, pale ale, soda) or Gold Plum-Sachs (Havana Club Seleccíon de Maestros rum, plum shrub, lapsang amaro, chocolate bitters). Food being Atherton’s speciality, highlights include mushroom ravioli, Cornish sea bass and Romney Marsh lamb fillet.
41 Gracechurch Street, London ec3v 0bt
Closest stations: Monument
Average price per cocktail: £8
If you prefer to drink at ground level, there’s no shortage of suitable options, starting with The Folly. Here, the indoors take their inspiration from the great outdoors, making you feel like you’ve been teleported to a Laura Ashley-designed country house. Before you start thinking it sounds frumpy, consider the exposed brickwork, colourful terrace-style furniture and leafy foliage; the designers have successfully mixed flowery upholstery, leather and wood to create a harmonious space. Expect classics like Mojitos, Bloody Marys and Bellinis alongside modern favourites such as the Porn Star Martini and the Hummingbird (Tanqueray gin, lime, elderflower, raspberry). To sate those hunger pangs, check out the all-day menu, which has something for everyone, ranging from beer-battered fish and chips, halloumi burgers and chargrilled tuna salad.
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
12-16 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS
Closest stations: Liverpool Street
Average price per cocktail: £9
For something even more offbeat, you should give The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town a whirl. With no distracting sights or decor like their flashy neighbours, apart from the odd quirky item on the walls, these guys are all about the drinks. Taking their name from famous song titles, you can find Purple Rain (Pisco, Kamm & Sons, grape syrup, Champagne) and Aloe, Is It Me You’re Looking For (Stolichnya vodka, orange and lemon juice, mango purée) alongside My Sherry Amore (sherry, summer berries, grenadine). Sharing platters are the order of the day here food-wise: cheese, pulled pork sliders and quesadilla. FYI, they also offer brunch at weekends, served upstairs at The Breakfast Club.
Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QS
Closest stations: Liverpool Street / Moorgate
Average price per glass: £11
It’s Friday evening, the sun’s out and the atmosphere is buzzing: welcome to Broadgate Circle. Grab a seat on the outdoor terrace or a stool at the bar and watch the barman shake up a tasty storm for you. For those wanting a light drink, there’s the Elder Blubble (Prosecco, elderflower cordial) or the Modenese Monk (Green Chartreuse, rosemary-infused Old Tom gin, balsamic vinegar, strawberries, basil). If you’re after much bolder flavours, try the Black Eye (Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, Drambiue, Crème de Cassis, blackberries, raspberries, mint) or the classic Espresso Martini. The modern European restaurant aims to please everyone with the likes of scallop and shrimp burger, pea and shallot tortellini and Wiener Schnitzel. If you don’t want the evening to end, head to the Soda Room, the basement bar/club where you can show off your dance moves.
Bio: Seetal Savla is the founder of www.savlafaire.com, a new food and lifestyle blog focusing on London restaurant reviews, foodie events and product/book launches. Living in the city for almost 10 years now and working as a Lifestyle Account Manager for a global concierge company has provided her with plenty of experiences to share on the blog. Prior to becoming a Londoner, Seetal lived in Paris and Montreal for several years and therefore speaks fluent French. Being surrounded by good food, wine and culture in both of these cities inspired her to get involved in London’s thriving restaurant and bar scene.