Top 5 East London Bars

By Phil Clarke, Editor of The Handbook website Phil Clarke |
20th March 2018

In a world of Instagrammers and so-called influencers it’s easy to start to miss real writing and journalism, after all there’s only so much you can get from 167 characters. A perfect antidote to that is Nicola King a.k.a’d as East London Girl. As well as a popular Insta account, Nicola continues her analysis of the ever-changing London food and drink scene in her long-form web posts on her website. Here she shares her top five East London bars with The Handbook.


What: A speakeasy with live jazz
Why: Tucked away in an unassuming location is the hidden gem, Nightjar. It is unsurprising that Nightjar is one of the World’s Best Bars with its innovative cocktail list, fantastic live music and awesome service. Oh and I was obviously swayed by the complimentary popcorn…
Make Sure You Order: The Yorkshire Punch, a sharing cocktail in an owl pitcher served with dry ice – it makes for a great video!

Where: 129 City Rd, Hoxton, London EC1V 1JB


Old Street Records

What: Pizza, Cocktails and Live Music
Why: There aren’t enough live music venues in London and even less with decent happy hours so finding Old Street Records was a bit of a win. With happy hour between 5-8pm EVERY DAY it doesn’t get much better than that!
Make Sure You Order: All the cocktails on 241 happy hour (!) or go on a Monday to Wednesday between 5 and 8 pm for the ‘cheap date’ package where you can get 2 pizzas and 2 drinks for only £19! Oh and definitely order the delicious nduja pizza!

Where: 350-354 Old Street, London EC1V9NQ



The Aviary Rooftop 

What: Rooftop bar on the 10th floor of the Montcalm Hotel in Finsbury Square
Why: If you are looking for a stunning venue in the City, the Aviary has a beautiful rooftop with fantastic views. With blankets and heaters in the winter and an open air bar in the summer, it is perfect all year round. If you get the munchies after a few tipples, the restaurant offers delicious Modern British dishes.
Make Sure You Order: The Honey Rider cocktail with Tanqueray gin, Crème de Mure, honey, mead, blackberries and thyme was refreshing and very photogenic!

Where: 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX


The Queen of Hoxton

What: Laid back rooftop vibes
Why: This was one of the first bars I visited in Shoreditch and it has been a firm favourite ever since! Whether it is the Wig Wam or Moroccan Medina in the winter or Las Vegas style in the summer, the Queen of Hoxton rooftop is always great fun and doesn’t break the bank.
Make Sure You Order: Mulled wine in the winter, frosecco in the summer or a Manhattan Sour cocktail any day of the week. There is also different themed food available throughout the year to line the stomach!

Where: 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX



What: A prison cocktail bar
Why: What an immersive experience at Alcotraz! You must sneak your alcohol into the prison with the help of the guards (make sure you keep them on side!) and when you are locked up, you have to complete a number of tasks. Just don’t mess with the warden or you will end up in the hole like I did…
Make Sure You Order: Whatever you want! You provide the spirit and the bartenders will provide everything else – just give them ideas of what you like or let them surprise you!

Where: 212 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA


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