The UK’s Best New Drinking Establishments
2015 looks set to be the year when the UK realises that Shoreditch is not the centre of the social universe, with high-end bars and drinking dens popping up all over the country in their droves.
Experimental and serious cocktail theatrics seem to be here to stay, and unique venues are the concept du jour.
With this in mind, here are our five of the best new UK bars that you should visit in 2015.
1. Ladies & Gentlemen
Subterranean cocktail bar Ladies & Gentlemen opened late last year. Housed in a disused public toilet in north London’s Kentish Town, this beautifully restored neighbourhood bar is owned by Will Borrell (yes, that’s the brother of Razorlight’s Johnny), who lovingly restored the premises to incorporate its pre-second world war marble floor and antique bar.
Cocktails are comprehensive and slick, with ingredients sourced from local allotments. You’ll also find a record player and vintage speakers, as well as live music to entertain you from Thursday to Saturday.
Address: 2 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 1NR
Opening Hours: Tues – Sat, 5pm – 12am
2. Hold Fast
This nautical-themed drinking den, hidden in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, serves some powerful cocktails for truly out of London prices (£5.75). They also offer up a vintage-inspired cinema lounge where cult movies play, and retro video games to keep you busy all night.
It smacks of Brooklyn, with its white tiles and industrial design touches (look to the bar for an example of how to do modern reclamation well), but its geeky details and rollicking playlists keep this gem on the fun side of cool.
Address: 50 Newton Street, Manchester, M1 2EA
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs, 12pm – 12am; Fri – Sun, 12pm – 2am
3. The Cocktail Trading Company
The brainchild of bartending wunderkinds Elliot Ball, Olly Brading and Andy Mill, The Cocktail Trading Company is a homage to experimentation and adventure, located beneath brasserie Central & Co in Soho.
Cocktails come served with packets of herbs, in wellies and spilling out of rationing tins, with the entire premise being that this is one big collaborative project between customers and the bartenders, who regularly try out new fun ideas and drinks recipes.
The interior is a little bit ‘boys club’, but the attention to detail more than makes up for it.
Address: The Basement, 22 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HU
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 4pm – 12am
4. The Joker
Brighton is no wallflower, and its lanes and outlying areas are spilling over with places to eat, drink and be merry. The Joker, however, is something of a find: curated by one of Brighton’s most infamous club promoters, FunFair, it is a high-achieving all-rounder.
A large and impeccably designed rustic pub space – serving up a selection of cocktails and ales, along with New York-style chicken wings and salt beef – sits beneath live music venue ‘The Devil’s Disco’. With the likes of The Smoke Fairies, Hinds and Is Tropical on their billing, 2015 looks set to welcome The Joker with open arms.
Address: 2 Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 4QF
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 12pm – 12am (see website for club and gig times and prices)
Established in 1964, Milroy’s whisky shop has long been a Soho staple and is credited with bringing single malt from Scotland to London.
Under new management, the prestigious brand has been transformed into a refurbished 55-seater cocktail bar, called The Vault, and the more exclusive whisky bar with room for only 12.
Clad in dark wood, with exposed brick walls, The Vault is exactly what you’d expect from these stalwarts: sleek and understated, there are over 250 whisky’s to taste (along with a cheese board to round off the night) from some of the best producers across the globe.
Address: 3, Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D 4NX
Opening Hours: See website for details