We don’t think we need an excuse for indulging in a cheeky mid-week cocktail, but if you’re looking for a reason to sip a sidecar or down a daiquiri, here it is: it’s London Cocktail Week! So put away those spreadsheets and power off those iPads, it’s time to make the most of this glorious week where drinking fancy beverages is highly encouraged. While London Cocktail Week has a whole host of great events happening this week, if you’re looking for a cocktail experience that’s a bit more off the beaten track, try some of London’s quirkiest cocktail bars. From front room fun to wonderland adventures, we’ve rounded up the good, the weird, and the downright silly. Bottoms up!
The Little Yellow Door
House parties are great, but no one loves the cleanup. Imagine then, hosting an incredible bash in your own living room but not having to worry about dealing with any kind of mess. The Little Yellow Door makes you feel like you’re raving in your own front room, but takes away the stress of hosting. This quirky and highly secretive bar in Notting Hill definitely believes that staying in is the new going out. Billing itself as “the ultimate flat share”, the creators behind The Little Yellow Door have gone all out to make you feel at home, right down to the loos where you’ll find nail varnish, reading material, a hairdryer, and other standard bathroom clutter to make you feel like you haven’t left your house. With cracking cocktails, expert DJs, and scrumptious food, this will definitely be the best house party you’ve ever been to.
The Little Yellow Door is located at 68 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3HT. Open Wednesday to Saturday 6pm-1am.
Looking Glass Cocktail Club
Step through the “looking glass” in this classy speakeasy bar to enter a secret back-room cocktail lounge. Decorated in Louis XVI inspired furniture and elegant brocade fabrics, this parallel world of decadence and opulent entertainment will have you forgetting the outside world in no time. The bar’s current drinks menu is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, offering signature drinks that follow the story of the Wonderland characters as they spiral down a rabbit-hole of intoxication. For a mean cocktail, some of the best live acoustic sessions in town, and a host of weird and wonderful events throughout the year, step through the looking glass and discover a world of tantalizing fun at this hidden gem bar.
Looking Glass Cocktail Club is located at 49 Hackney Road, London, E2 7NX. Open Monday – Sunday 6pm-12am
Kitschy, colourful, and utterly mad, Little Nan’s bar is the perfect place to let your inner teen out. A night at this lively Deptford bar is very much akin to spending a night in your own teenage bedroom, except of course for all the extra people and all the booze being consumed. Titanic-era posters of Leo deck the walls and half-eaten piles of pic’n’mix provide revelers with that extra burst of sugary energy they need to belt out the Backstreet Boys with the rest of the crowd. The décor is heavy on the leopard print and excessive in tat, but nowhere will you feel as young and carefree as in this kooky cocktail bar. Expect cocktails served in teapots and milk jars, and definitely expect to end your night feeling happy.
Little Nan’s Rio Bar is located Arch 14, Deptford Market Yard, Deptford, SE8 4BX. Open daily 11am-11pm.
Looking like a cross between a tacky, mid-60s Californian bachelor pad and a Tiki bar, Trailer Happiness might be a bit too off-beat for some, but don’t let appearances deceive you. This basement lounge bar on Portobello Road will impress even the most discerning cocktail aficionados with its selection of creative drinks. With a team of carefully selected mixologists, Trailer Happiness has some of the best cocktails in town. If you’re looking for something a little different and have a hankering for a perfectly made drink created by friendly staff, pop over to Portobello Road for retro chic cocktails at this delightful basement bar.
Trailer Happiness is located at 177 Portobello Rd, London W11 2DY. Open Sunday – Wednesday 5pm-12am, Friday and Saturday 5pm-1am.
This eccentric and wonderfully quirky cocktail bar is nestled in the heart of the East End on Shoreditch’s Rivington Street. Having won multiple awards over the years, including “world’s best cocktail menu” and “no.1 bar in the UK”, Callooh Callay has established itself as a beloved and highly esteemed London drinking institution. With effortless charm and a unique vibe, this cocktail paradise remains authentically quirky without being trashy or pretentious. The menus are held in empty cassette cases, and the toilets are hidden behind a secret door in the wall, but somehow Callooh Callay avoids feeling gimmicky, cutting through the hipster hype that so often surrounds these East End haunts. For killer drinks, quirky fun, and cracking service, get down to Callooh Callay as soon as possible.
Calooh Callay is located at 65 Rivington St, London EC2A 3AY. Open 6pm-1am daily.