We’re written articles aplenty on where to drink cocktails in London, often highlighting some of the best cocktail bars in the world that just so happen to be in our humble capital. We’ve also advised you on the best places to drink gin and sip at the perfect G&T. We’ve told you where to find some of London’s best tequila lists. And we’ve given you the lowdown on some of the smoothest whisky selections around. But what about rum? Where are all the rum bars and places dedicated to our favourite sugar distillate? Um, they’re right down there. Below this sentence.
1. Burlock Rum Room, Mayfair
You basically have to kick off any run-down (rum-down, even?) of rum bars in London by mentioning the place that literally has rum in the name, right? And it’s not like they just popped the word into the title and called it a day. This hidden basement bar lends some Cuban flair to the affair, and they serve up their hefty rum menu neat or mixed into house daiquiris. With a huge array of choices from around the world, you can even take a trip to where the rum you’re drinking comes from by checking out the menu’s map.
They also offer up bottomless rum punch brunches, and regular rum tastings where you can learn more about some of the world’s best rums. And, don’t worry, they may specialize in rum, but they do have plenty of ‘non-rums’ – from cocktails to wine to beer and more.
2. ABV, Brixton
This intimate sister site to Brixton restaurant Wood + Water, is housed inside a shipping container at POP Brixton. Framed as a rum focused cocktail bar, ABV offers a short but meticulous selection of cocktails that highlight, educate, and entice all at once. Drinks make use of gorgeous rums and intriguing ingredients such as pimentos, Indian spice, and plantain skin extract. There’s even a Wimbledon on the menu that serves up strawberries and cream together in a rum-base cocktail. Oh and don’t skip the KMU & FMU, a rum take on the espresso martini.
With tastings and rum masterclasses available, they’re one of the many rum specializing bars in London keen to share their knowledge and spread the good word about the spirit. And with an Operations Manager (Lee Tan) who has over 20 years of experience, you know you’re in good hands.
3. Rhythm Kitchen, Walthamstow
We’ve got two words for you: rum slushies. Yeah, that’s got your attention hasn’t it? Well then you’ll definitely want to hit up this East London institution. Serving up traditional and authentic Caribbean food, they promise proper portions and proper cocktails. There’s more than 130 rums on offer, and monthly rum clubs to get down and nerdy with industry professionals. You can also find them in the Westfield Stratford world food court, but for the full experience you’ll definitely want to get out to E17. Bring friends and an appetite and join in the delightful atmosphere.
4. Trader Vic’s, Mayfair
It’s the birth place of the Mai Tai. Do you need to know any more than that? They’re also responsible for the creation of over 200 more cocktails, many of them tiki classics. As London’s original tiki bar, visiting Trader Vic’s is essentially a rite of passage for anyone with even a passing interest in rum. The incredible list of cocktails and spirits, with plenty of rum of course, can be intimidating (and can take a while to read all the way through!). So if you want to go all in, opt for the Rum Keg – where there’s enough of the pineapple, rum, apricot, and passion fruit drink for four people. Or go classic and simple, and sip at a Mai Tai steps away from where it was first served.
All of that without even mentioning the plethora of delights on offer from the on-site Polynesian kitchen. Plus there’s another brunch option for you, with their Cheeky Tiki Brunch. Just try and stay away!
5. Sugar Cane, Clapham Junction
Sugar Cane brings a tropical escape to the environs of Clapham Junction. With a jam-packed roster of events, you’ll be coming back equally to sample the incredible cocktails and rum selection as the variety of evenings on offer. There are tiki brunches, rum and burger discount deals, and cocktail masterclasses. There’s also speed dating, tiki throwdown party nights, silent discos, and tons more.
Sugar Cane is one of those unique venues in London that works no matter the vibe of your night. Simple nights out with just one or two friends work equally well here as massive blowout parties where you don’t even know half the attendants. Whether the night is young, or already long in the tooth, a touch of sugar is sure to help.
6. Laki Kane, Islington
Laki Kane is one of those bars that’s just been showered with accolades and praise from the moment it opened. One of those places that knew what it wanted to do, and executed it flawlessly. Pan-Asian food complements a cocktail list that makes use of house-distilled rum that perfectly compliments their always natural, often unique, ingredients. They’ve got plenty of visually stunning tiki cocktails that come in an array of outlandish vessels, but they’ve also got the classics for those who take joy in the simpler things.
To top it all off, they’re constantly throwing events at Laki Kane. Weekend brunches, cocktail masterclasses, rum tastings, a rum making experience, and even, erm, romantic cocktail making? I’ll need to practice my slow cocktail shaking while maintaining sultry eye contact before giving that a go!
7. East London Liquor Company, Bow
Gin fans may remember ELLC from our gin bars in London roundup, where we complimented the distillery’s sometimes surprising collaborations and gin experimentations. Well, they also make a pretty banging rum – and where else to drink it than at the source? Their cult-favourite canned rum and ginger cocktail is unfortunately sold out (at the time of writing) for now. But head to the distillery itself and you’re in with a chance at sampling their East London Rum, and their East London Rarer Rum that gets aged in ex-bourbon casks. And, yeah, while you’re there you might as well sample all their other liquors and cocktails. When in Rome a distillery, right?
Buster Mantis are a Jamaican-focused food and drinks venue that take inspiration from all around the globe. These inspirations show themselves in the food and across the drinks menu. It’s a delightfully bustling venue underneath the railway arches, mere steps away from Deptford station. Classic rum cocktails get a Buster Mantis twist, and Mama’s Punch gets the evening started with a kick.
Thursdays are the absolute star of the show at this Deptford venue, though, as they offer up Five Pound Thursdays. For the duration of the day, a huge selection of food and drinks will run you only £5 each. There’s tagliatelle with ackee, sweet peppers and tomato, grilled octopus with a variety f veg and a fresh salsa, and loads more. And you know there has to be a rum punch on the £5 cocktail list – with Wray and Nephew white rum, pineapple, ginger, bitters, and lime serving up a refreshing delight.
9. Mahiki, Mayfair
Infamous for their A-list clientele as much as for their legendary drinks, Mahiki is a rum-fueled experience nestled in the centre of London. A list of rum bars in London would frankly be incomplete without including them. It’s all tiki kitsch and silliness in the bar itself, but the drinks are plenty serious. There’s over 200 rums on offer, and they recently overhauled their 14-year-old tiki menu for contemporary tastes. Sharing cocktails come in elaborate presentations (treasure chests, oversized clam shells, and surfboards) and can sate the thirst of up to 10, or even more, people. But the individual serves are just as uniquely presented, coming in Hemingway-adorned tiki mugs, glass birds, or even in the jaw of a shark. The whole affair is decidedly tongue-in-cheek, bordering on camp, and spades of fun. It’s easy to see why this rum bar became so popular with its famed patrons.
10. Trailer Happiness, Notting Hill
Where Mahiki is pure adrenaline-fuelled partying with kitsch galore and non-stop tiki vibes, Trailer Happiness turns it down for a rum bar that finds industry professionals and rum lovers kicking back with expertly-made cocktails. A world-famous destination for rum drinkers, the venue is hidden away in a basement with luxe touches everywhere. With a handy 200+ rums to choose from, you won’t need to head anywhere else any time soon for your rum fix. And with regular rum clubs you can be sure you’re learning as you’re sipping (should you want to).
11. Merchant House, The City of London
Like East London Liquor Company, we’ve written about these guys before. And like East London Liquor Company they’ve more than earned their spot in this list. Because they boast the same number of rums as they do gins: an eye-watering 400+ bottles. Different bottles – it’s not 400 bottles of the same rum. That would be absurd. But if you want an absolute plethora of choice, Merchant House offers that up with a wink. Just try and pick only one from this list, they almost seem to say as they slide the menu over. And you’re definitely going to have to try out London’s smallest bar, The Brig, while you’re there. Doesn’t it just sound so delightfully pirate-y to complement your rum drinking?