Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend clearly hasn’t tried gin.
2020 has been a whirlwind. Many things have changed this year but gin being the nation’s favourite spirit is not one of them. Having been deprived of bars for so long, it’s only fair that you have a comprehensive list of where to go to get your gin fix. From cocktail bars and pubs, to distilleries and tasting rooms, we have complied the ultimate guide of spots for you to enjoy gin in London. (Featured image: Mr Fogg’s)
1. Holborn Dining Room, Holborn
With over 500 gins to choose from, Holborn Dining Room has the largest gin collection in London by far! They serve pretty much every type of gin under the sun, including international brands and those made in local distilleries. You can also expect an equally impressive range of tonics, so those after a G&T will have a whopping 14,000 combinations to enjoy, making each visit a whole new experience. You’ll also find an array of beers, wines and other spirits, as well as their famous Pie Room that serves some of the best pies in Britain. Gin enthusiasts will be in heaven in their stylish copper-topped gin bar and I can guarantee you will be back for more.
252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
2. Graveney Gin, Tooting
Graveney Gin is two for the price of one, with a stunning bar and distillery on site. They are known for their G&Ts and signature botanicals, which are each delicious and extremely Instagrammable. Pink peppercorns and goji berries are a great choice for a perfectly pink drink with a kick. They really know how to make a traditional G&T that extra bit fancy. And if you’re thirsty for more, they have a gin tasting experience every Thursday!
Unit 22A, Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN
3. East London Liquor Company, various London locations
This wonderful micro-distillery may be small but it packs a big punch, producing some of the best gin in the city! Gin, rum, whiskey and an array of equally delicious drinks are all made in-house, and if you like a drink with a view, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Inside you’ll find a view of the back room where two copper stills are hard at work, and if you head outside there is a lovely, quaint canal that makes the perfect backdrop for any G&T.
Unit GF1, Bow Wharf, Grove Road, E3 5SN / Borough Wines, 9 Stoney Street, SE1 1TL
4. The Four Thieves, Battersea
The Four Thieves is truly the gift that keeps on giving. This Battersea pub has its own distillery, nearly 50 types of gin, an enviable display of botanicals and house brewed ales. But that’s not all! You can unleash your inner child in their games room, which features VR booths and a number of retro arcade games–perfect for any Throwback Thursday. You may also find comedians or DJs performing depending on the day of the week. This eccentric boozer is the place to be for an unforgettable experience and a drink to remember.
51 Lavender Gardens, SW11 1DJ
5. The Gibson, Shoreditch
If you’re wondering where The Gibson got its name, you may be in for a surprise. The Gibson is named after a martini with a twist. Instead of the traditional olive garnish that we all know and love, this drink is topped with a pickled onion! And staying true to their name, you can expect a number of innovative and unexpected gin-based creations that will set your palette alight. The Electric Earl is a crowd favourite and is known to make your tongue tingle due to their ‘electric bitters’. Plus, this elegant cocktail bar is prohibition themed and will transport you to the roaring 20s during your visit. Gatsby, eat your heart out.
44 Old Street, EC1V 9AQ
6. The Distillery, Notting Hill
The Distillery is a ‘gin hotel’ – literally an entire hotel devoted to the world’s best spirit. If that’s not dedication I don’t know what is. This four-storey venue has just about everything you could ever need for the perfect day out. With a working distillery providing homemade spirits and a food menu that is to die for (including an indoor BBQ), the options are endless. Their G&Ts are served in beautiful Spanish Copa de Balon glassware with garnishes they refer to as ‘gin salad’ (we always knew gin was good for our health). Remember to try their wonderfully moreish house gin, Portobello Road and perhaps join the Ginstitute where you can embark on the journey of how gin came to be.
186 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 1LA
7. London Gin Club, Soho
In the heart of Soho you will find the London Gin Club. Their slogan is “dedicated to the enjoyment of drinking gin” and it’s very reassuring to know that they have their priorities in order. Popular for a reason, this vibrant bar features just under 200 gins varieties for you to work through. Plenty of classic G&T options are available or you can try their ‘ginfusion’ cocktails for a gin-based surprise. For those after a chat with a fellow gin lover or anyone looking for recommendations on what to drink, gin connoisseurs will be to hand for all your spirit-related needs.
(This bar is currently closed but will be reopen later this month—check their website for updates)
The Star, 22 Great Chapel Street, Soho, W1F 8FR
8. The Merchant House, City of London
This luxury cocktail bar has one of the largest spirit collections in the entire world. Their selection includes 600 whiskies, 400 rums and over 400 gins. That equals hundreds of gins to choose from and thousands of possible cocktail combinations, which is exactly the kind of maths we like! While this is a lively venue, they take their gin very seriously and have hired only the best gin experts to serve and advise you. They will even talk you through each of their spirits and botanicals so you can create your very own cocktail. Plus, if you’re interested in the art of making gin, they have weekly masterclasses.
13 Well Court, Off Bow Lane, EC4M 9DN
9. Mr Fogg’s bars, various London locations
Mr Fogg’s Tavern will transport you all the way back to the 19th century. For what looks like a humble venue from the outside, it’s quite the sight to behold once you venture in. Mr Fogg’s is a characterful pub like no other, with more than 150 different gins to explore. And they know how to garnish their drinks here, with botanicals including wild gooseberries, kumquats and rosemary on display. Whenever you visit, you will surely find a buzzing crowd, hearty homemade pies and craft ale, as well as an endless supply of gin, of course! Make sure you check out Mr Fogg’s other brilliant bars around town, including a dedicated Gin Parlour just around the corner from the Tavern, and the fantastically floral House of Botanicals.
58 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2 / 1 New Row, WC2N 4EA / 1A Bedford Street Covent Garden, WC2E 9HH / 48 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1QQ / 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, W1J 6JD / 37 Broadgate Circle, Liverpool Street, EC2M 2QS
10. Two One Four, Bermondsey
This gin spot is perhaps one of London’s best kept secrets. Two One Four is hidden underneath an Italian restaurant, so if you need to line your stomach beforehand you won’t have to travel very far. Head there for Gin O’ Clock which is a very happy hour boasting G&Ts from just £5. They have over 100 gins in their selection that pair perfectly with their homemade Bermondsey tonic water. These homemade tonics are not just tasty, they contain quinine tree bark and glow pink in the dark!
214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
11. Mothers Ruin, Walthamstow
Back in the day, gin had a reputation as a ruiner of mothers and a bad influence on the poor. Nowadays, we can’t get enough of the spirit! Thankfully, the name of this bar does not reflect their attitude towards gin. In fact, they have created a whole new gin drinking experience, serving several fruity and fragrant small-batch gins which are each perfect for a cocktail or G&T. The zesty rose geranium and fennel gin is a personal favourite. Open on weekends, this quirky bar also has a wonderful selection of handmade fruit liqueurs and modern art on display for you to feast your eyes on.
Unit 18, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Sherhall Street, Walthamstow, E17 9HQ
12. Ladies & Gents Cocktail Bar, Kentish Town
Ladies & Gents is undoubtedly one of the most unique bars on the list. Formerly a public Victorian lavatory, this venue has had quite the journey. It is currently a popular cocktail bar with its very own micro-distillery, proving that your past really does not define you. People return to Ladies & Gents for the retro music, great atmosphere, delectable cocktails and top quality gin. They even have a gin club named ‘Secret Speakeasy’, where you can uncover the history of the spirit, enjoy a cocktail of your choice and take home a personalised bottle. It’s not everyday you can say you went to a gin bar in a former public loo.
2 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, NW5 1NR
13. Martello Hall, Hackney
Martello Hall is a charming rooftop bar that specialises in – you guessed it – gin! It’s an elegant venue with beautiful views of the city and a wide variety of homemade spirits to choose from. This bar is always thriving, with a calendar full of events, including their very popular Sunday Jazz and bottomless brunches. Also their in-house distillery produces some of the most unique, rich and fragrant gins and is also where their G&T masterclass takes place. You can ‘shake your own cocktails and make your own bespoke gin to take home in a goodie bag’. Where do we sign up?
137 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 3RH
14. City Of London Distillery, City Of London
Another of London’s hidden treasures is the City of London Distillery. This speakeasy style cocktail bar has the aroma of fermenting gin in the air at all times – it’s the warm welcome we all want and deserve. You’ll also find a pair of copper stills behind the bar so you can see the gin being made while you drink it, it’s all very Circle of Life if you ask me. And if you fancy a charcuterie or cheese board, they have plenty nearby. For an insight into the gin-making operation, you can take a guided tour of the distillery. On the tour you’ll get a lecture on the history of the spirit and the chance to design and distill your own bottle in their gin lab.
22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT
15. Portobello Star, Notting Hill
Portobello Star is a chic, stylish and popular cocktail bar in the middle of Notting Hill. Customers can immerse themselves in the stylish surroundings of West London while enjoying the highest quality gin. You’ll discover innovative gin concoctions and traditional cocktails here, each made with their homemade spirits. And on the weekends, DJs perform at the venue to provide the perfect pick me up after a long working week. Portobello Star are continuing the Eat Out To Help Out scheme throughout September, so be sure to take advantage of the discount while you still can!
171 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 2DY
16. The Oliver Conquest, Whitechapel
This bar aims to one up itself by consistently adding to their thriving gin collection. With over 300 to choose from and an impressive cocktail list, The Oliver Conquest will keep even the snobbiest gin drinkers on their toes. Aside from their never ending spirit selection, they also pride themselves on presentation, so you can expect the most aesthetically pleasing beverages here. And they have something for everyone, with quality draught beer and specialist burgers also on the menu. Candles and fairy lights are the perfect finishing touches they’ve added to create a warm, relaxing atmosphere that you won’t want to leave in a hurry.
70 Leman Street, Whitechapel, E1 8EU