I’m flicking through Drink London The 100 Best Bars and Pubs. Many of those listed are way outside my usual London stomping grounds but many are not and I wasn’t even aware they even existed.
I‘ve probably walked passed many without realising the gem within.
Take the Ape and Bird on Shaftsbury Avenue:
“.. it doesn’t look much like your average Dog and Duck. On the ground floor is a casual restaurant and a separate (almost) traditional drinking space, but the real appeal comes with the downstairs ‘dive bar’, a seductively lit and secretive spot with simple cocktails and high-backed booth for groups. Among the theatres, chains, rip-offs and endless crowds of the West End, this is a highly civilised hideaway.”
I’ll have to go.
From the maps the concentration of recommendations is in the West End and a clutch of options over in Shoreditch with a noticeable dessert across Moorgate and St. Pauls. Peckham? Highgate? Hackney? Not places I really have a need to visit but some establishments in these areas sound so tempting, so delightful, that it might be worth making a special trip for.
Drink London is small enough to have a permanent place in my camera bag. For those regular – for I am invariably early – periods when I am kicking my heals before appointments this guide is going to be a godsend.
The guide is split into Cocktails (Hawksmoor, Nightjar, Mark’s Bar, Coburg Bar at the Connaught and 14 others), Legendary Locals (14 places listed), Craft Beer , Ale and Cider (from the Royal Oak in Borough to up-starts Brewdog), Liquid History (“a glimpse into lost London a world away from the typical tourist zones of the West End”), Wine and Spirit Specialists (14 recommendations) and finally quirky places With A Twist (“But just because a bar has a silly name, or a password is required to get in to or it’s at the top of a tall building, doesn’t mean it’s actually worth leaving the house for.”)
There is a tick sheet at the back for those collecting, the maps showing general location and each listing has a recommended drink to try. What there isn’t is an indication of the cost level of each place. Is a cocktail going to be £8 or £15? The only fault I could find in a book stuffed with new discoveries and atmospheric photographs.
Drink London The 100 Best Bars and Pubs is to be published in October 2014. Amazon is listing a pre-order for £8.71.