10 Best Cocktail Bars in East London

East London may be better known for its dirty warehouse raves or underground dive clubs than for cocktail culture, but in fact some of the city’s most innovative and impressive cocktail bars are located right here, often with that added edge of the east. Pretty much any type of cocktail bar you’re looking is tucked away somewhere in this part of town from the high-end creativity at Viajante in Bethnal Green to the underground gloriously ramshackle Ruby.


More and more hot bartenders are turning to the east to open up shop, as the city’s playground for experimentation, such as super barmen Ryan Chetiyawardana and Iain Griffiths’ White Lyan, offering solely pre-batched drinks with no perishables and no prep needed. The new-fangled concept is certainly causing a stir in the cocktail world. 


The serious art of drinking has never been in a better state in this city than right now. The World’s Best Bars 2013 list just crowned London the cocktail capital of the world, dominating four of the top ten spots. The east’s Nightjar and Happiness Forgets both scooped a well-deserved place.


While bar culture changes fast in this city, there are plenty of ways to keep up from following the city’s leading independent bar guide BarChick to the many cocktail events that take place across the city. This list represents a cross-section of the best, but there are of course many more that could have been included.




This cocktail bar brings a taste of the Big Easy to Shoreditch. New Orleans is a city with a rich cocktail history (arguably the birthplace of the cocktail itself), and head bartender, founding member and gentleman imbiber Dan Priseman certainly...  Read More



Tacos and cocktails go together like east Londoners and funny hats; at least they do at this little neighbourhood hideout. When LA-born owner Byron adopted London as his home he blessed this market street with a taste of the street food of his...  Read More



Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes takes diners on a blind tasting exploration of his native land and further afield. Diners put their trust in the man himself for a 6, 9 or 12 course tasting menu, which might include anything from scallops with...  Read More



The entrance is hidden on one of East London's busiest streets between a kebab shop and a newsagent. Every detail in this basement bar has been considered from the retro furnishings to the cocktail menus disguised in old Czech books. It's dimly...  Read More



From the people behind Marylebone's incredible Purl, this place is bringing together our rose-tinted fantasies from the days of gin palaces and all the squalor and elegance that the Victorian era conjures. The entrance is easy to miss, but once...  Read More

69 Colebrooke Row
Photo courtesy of 69 Colebrooke Row


'The Bar with No Name' may solely be referred to as it's street address, 69 Colebrooke Row, but that doesn't make it that secret. It is difficult to find however, at least for the uninitiated, located on a dark side street in Angel. You'll need...  Read More



"Callooh! Callay!" was an exclamation of pure joy and celebration in Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem the Jabberwocky, and a well-deserved utterance on stepping foot in this bar. The name is taken from the Lewis Carroll's poem the Jabberwocky,...  Read More



It's tagline is 'Great cocktails. No wallies,' which is exactly what you can expect at Happiness Forgets. Hidden away in a basement beneath wally-haven of Hoxton Square, it's just secret enough to keep out the masses, as well as the fact there's...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Nightjar


This slice of old school glamour is hidden between two cafes on the fairly grimy City Road near Old Street tube. Head through the unmarked door, down a dark staircase and into the Nightjar: a bar with lilting jazz tunes to lift the soul and send...  Read More


Meet Tyler Wetherall

Tyler Wetherall is a freelance writer specialising in travel, food & drink, covering topics as varied as narcs in the Colombian jungle to cocktail drinking in Cuba. Tyler has lived in London...  More About Tyler