How have we reached the end of another year? After what sometimes feels like months of build-up you’ll soon be saying goodbye to the festive season of food comas and glitter getting absolutely everywhere, and hello January with its long dark days, juice cleanses and, that which must not be named, sobriety. With Blue Monday fast approaching and pay-day seeming like a spec on the distant horizon, should you agree with us that the gloomy first month of the year calls for anything but the dreaded concept of Dry January then we’ve got some top picks to add some alcoholic themed magic to kick off your 2017.
After the flurry of December’s festivities it’s not uncommon to feel a little flat come January, somewhat like a deflated balloon. The hidden gem that is Purl provides the perfect cure for this sinking feeling by popping actual balloons as part of its sensational multi-sensory sipping experience. The innovative conjurers at Purl make use of vapours, fogs and even liquid nitrogen to create a regularly evolving range of drinkable curiosities. As mentioned, one drink even involves an exploding bitters-filled balloon to rain down the ginger bitters into your glass, essentially leaving you feeling like you’ve been the very willing accomplice to one very delicious magic trick. With its cosy speakeasy vibe and two-hour table service slots, it’s definitely advised to book ahead to avoid disappointment as trust us, a Purl experience is not one to be missed.
Purl is located at 54 Blandford Street, W1U7HX. Open Monday to Thursday: 5pm – 11:30pm, Friday and Saturday: 5pm – 12am
The Shrub and Shutter
If pop culture references and a flair for the theatrical sounds like your cup of, well, booze, then an excursion to The Shrub and Shutter just tucked away by Brixton Village is a must. Open since 2014, the team at the Shrub pride themselves on their blend of creativity and humour to create the kind of drinks that appeal to the taste buds and imagination alike. With a regularly updated cocktail menu, past favourites have included everything from Game of Thrones themed tipples, 80’s classic inspired Goonies cocktail complete with treasure chest, and smoky delight The Deer Hunter perfectly accompanied with a slither of venison. Arguably not for the faint hearted traditionalist but surely a New Year means a perfect time to test out your sense of adventure.
The Shrub and Shutter is located at 336 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH. Open Tuesday to Saturday 5pm-Late
It’s all gone a bit Weird Science in the very best sense over by Liverpool Street thanks to these self-confessed “masters in the dark arts of molecular mixology”. Although the opulent Mad Men meets Dickensian décor vibe is a far cry from your old school science labs, if you’re after the deliciously quaffable version of a chemistry experiment then this is the place for you. From the self-explanatory but brilliant twist of The Colour Changing One to our favourite, the Smokey Old Fashioned, complete with conical flask billowing with smoke, a trip to The Alchemist is sure to make January go by with a big bang rather than a feeble fizzle.
The Alchemist is located at 6 Bevis Marks, EC3A 7BA. Open Monday to Friday: 8am – Late and Saturday: 12pm– 2am
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk
If your cocktail preferences err more towards something classic and perfectly executed without all the bells and whistles, or you’re just wanting to add a touch of old-school elegance to the beginning of the year, then pull up a stool at Duke’s Bar found inside the lavish Dukes Hotel in Mayfair. Frequently being afforded the accolade of creating the world’s best Martini, it’s no wonder then that James Bond author Ian Fleming was something of a Duke’s regular in his day. It’s even claimed that the superb Martini’s here were the inspiration behind Bond’s famous tipple of choice, including the line “shaken, not stirred”. If your resolution for the year involves channelling the cool and charm of 007 or the glamour and wit of Vesper Lynd then a Martini at Duke’s will definitely set you on the right track.
Dukes Bar is located at The Dukes Hotel, St.James’s Place, SW1A 1NY Monday to Saturday: 2pm-11pm, Sunday and Bank Holidays: From 4pm to 10.30pm
The Glade at Sketch
When people think of the venue Sketch, perhaps the two most recognisable visions that crop up are David Shrigley’s beautiful Gallery, whose décor and shades of pink are something straight out of a Wes Anderson film. And of course, those pod bathrooms; perhaps the most Instagrammed loo’s of all time. However, when it comes to Sketch, it’s the lush exotic fairy story of a bar that is The Glade that steals the show when all you need is an oasis to quench your thirst. Dreamt up by artists Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu, the setting is a perfect blend of 50’s vintage beauty meet A Midsummer Nights Dream etherealness. With an impressive drinks menu to match to appeal to the hero or the villain in you (chilli infused cocktail with fiery red chilli devil horns, anyone?), The Glade will cast the perfect spell to end any New Year gloom.
The Glade is located at Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG. Open Monday – Thursday: 5:30pm – 2am, Friday and Saturday : 12pm – 2am