You may think that whisky is best enjoyed by the fireside of your Scottish castle, on a chilly winter’s night. Sure, it’s nice if you can get it, but we’ve got a better (and infinitely more feasible) idea. Whisky loves company, and there’s no finer place to enjoy it than at one of the best whisky bars in London. Grab your pals and head to one of these ten suave spots listed below for a classy evening drink!
1. Black Rock, Old Street
This beautiful Shoreditch bar has a very unique selling point, and it comes in the form of a massive 185-year-old oak tree filled with rivers of whisky. We’re not kidding. They’ve taken a trunk, laid it on its side and chopped it in half, chiselled two channels down its length and filled them both with 17 litres of whisky cocktails. The tree is then covered with glass and used as a table.
The drinks age as they sit in the trunk, and are delivered straight to your glass through taps at the end. There’s also a blending room which you can visit at Black Rock, as well as an informal beer bar which is loosely-based on a traditional Japanese Izakaya pub.
You’ll find Black Rock at 9 Christopher Street, London, EC2A 2BS. Nearest station is Old Street.
2. Bull In A China Shop, Shoreditch
Bull in a China Shop has over 100 Japanese and Scotch whiskies behind the bar, claiming to have something for everyone – even the most insistent whisky sceptics. They also have a magnificent list of signature cocktails, such as the chamomile and charcoal Old-Fashioned.
The popcorn chicken is also pretty darn good washed down with a glass or two of traditional Japanese whisky, and the bartenders are dab hands at knowing which whisky you’d be suited to.
You’ll find Bull In A China Shop at 196 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6LG. Nearest station is Shoreditch High Street.
3. Annabel’s, Mayfair
Annabel’s is a member’s club, so you’ll need to have friends in high places to get in (or stump up the money to join the club). Once inside, you’ll find a sumptuously decorated space, some pretty fab toilets and a whisky list that’s the envy of many other bars.
Our advice is to check out their selection of Talisker single malts, which include a rare 35-year old that’s pretty much guaranteed to be darn special.
You’ll find Annabel’s at 46 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 5AT. Nearest station is Green Park.
4. Scarfe’s Bar, Holborn
A range of inventive and highly playful cocktails are the top draw at Scarfe’s Bar, where witty irreverence is the order of the day. Artfully social and a mere stone’s throw from Covent Garden, the bar is named after famous British caricaturist and artist Gerald Scarfe.
The drinks here are pretty damn exquisite if we say so ourselves – whisky lovers should go for the Mac Daddy – a tasty concoction of Naked Grouse whisky, berries, tomato and Tasmanian pepper with clarified soda.
You’ll find Scarfe’s Bar at the Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN. Nearest station is Holborn.
5. Swift, Old Street
This award-winning, Scandi-themed cocktail bar has won numerous awards since it first swung open its doors in 2016, and has featured in the prestigious ‘Best Bars in the World’ list for three years running.
What’s unique at Swift is that all the cocktails on offer are named after famous people, including Dita Von Teese, Sir Ian McKellen and the Ab Fab stars themselves – Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders.
Whisky fans should go for the Vincent Van Gogh – a delicious concoction of Powers Distiller’s Cut Irish whisky, Cocchi Americano, poire, vetiver, orange bitters and absinthe. You could also go for the Ian Fleming – a mix of Hatozaki blended Japanese whisky, Zubrowka, lemon, chai and Æcorn aromatic aperitif. There’s also a sister bar in Soho.
You’ll find Swift at 91-93 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3HZ. Nearest station is Old Street.
6. The Connaught Bar, Grosvenor Square
For the second year running, London’s Connaught Bar was crowned the best cocktail bar in the world, according to The World’s 50 Best Bars 2021. Under the leadership of Director of Mixology Agostino Perrone, Head Mixologist Giorgio Bargiani, and Bar Manager Maura Milia, this swish spot was feted for their innovative, seemingly effortless cocktails and a consistent brilliance that had seen it kicking around the upper echelons of the list for a few years now.
So what better spot in town then to enjoy a glass of whisky or two? They’ve got a whole host of lovely whisky-based cocktails, and a range of single malts – including Islay and Highlands – as well as Japanese and American varieties.
You’ll find the Connaught Bar at Carlos Place, London, W1K 2A. Nearest station is Green Park.
7. The Vault of Soho, Soho
If you’re looking for whisky bars in Soho, then this one really is the place to be. A speakeasy-style spot, it’s hidden behind a bookcase in the oldest whisky shop in the city, Milroy’s of Soho. With stripped-back decor and dark wood-panelling, it’s a broody spot with lovely, attentive staff and a fantastic selection of cocktails.
Whisky is the focus at The Vault of Soho, just like the shop upstairs, and the menu changes seasonally. Our current favourite is the ‘Coconut Butter Old Fashioned’ – a delicious mix of Bourbon whisky, coconut and bitters. What more could you ask for on a thirsty Thursday hey?
You’ll find The Vault of Soho at 3 Greek Street, London, W1D 4NX. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.
8. The Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green
The Sun Tavern is all about fine ales, live music, classically-inspired cocktails and great craic with both staff and punters alike. They also claim to have London’s largest selection of Irish whiskey and ‘the world’s largest collection of Poitín’. For those not in the know, that’s ‘Irish moonshine’ – better order a pint of water while you’re at it!
They’ve got over 200 different whiskies on offer here – including a rare and vintage shelf known as ‘The Private Collection’ – and this list is always ever-growing. It’s definitely worth a visit to this pub if you’re in the Bethnal Green area.
You’ll find The Sun Tavern at 441 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN. Nearest station is Bethnal Green.
9. Boisdale, Canary Wharf
Overlooking the picturesque Cabot Square in Canary Wharf, Boisdale brings a wee bit of Scotland all the way down to London. There’s no better way to while away a few hours on the Cigar Terrace amongst tartan, upholstered sofas for some hearty dining and drinking.
The whisky here is – as you would expect – pretty fantastic and it comes from all over Scotland. And don’t worry if the night does get a bit chilly if you’re sitting outside – there are plenty of tartan blankets on hand to keep you warm!
You’ll find Boisdale at Cabot Square, London, E14 4QT. Nearest station is Canary Wharf.
10. East London Liquor Company, Bow
Rounding off this list of the best whisky bars in London is the East London Liquor Company, a charming canalside spot which was once an old glue factory. It’s now a distillery and they run guided tours throughout the year. There’s also a bar here too.
Open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, it can get fairly lively and it’s a great place to try some wee drams of whisky from all over the world. We’ll cheers to that!
You’ll find the East London Liquor Company at Bow Wharf, Unit GF1, 221 Grove Road, London E3 5SN. Nearest station is Mile End.