Britain’s Best Cocktail Bars

From innovative tipples to staple classics, there’s a cocktail to suit every mood. But  with so many drinks lounges popping up across the UK, where should you go to enjoy the perfect summer cocktail? Bar Chick and Gin Monkey give their recommendations


Bar Chick recommends: Aqua

Aqua-bar-london-best-london-cocktail-bar-cocktail-bar-londonAqua has enviable views across town and is one of the best al fresco drinking spots in London.  So head high up above the streets of the West End, get out on to the terrace and sip in the sun.

AS07C--aqua-spirit-cocktail-Sakura-best-london-cocktail-bar-cocktail-bar-londonWhilst you’re there, enjoy: Sakura – cherry liqueur, sake, yuzu, egg white, cherry juice – it takes summer nights to new heights.

Aqua, 5th Floor  240 Regent St, London W1B 3BR

Bar Chick recommends: VistaVista-Bar-London-trafalagar-square-hotel-best-cocktail-bar-london-bar-chick-les-deux-messieurs

The party starts in the lift at Vista: sparkly floors, flashing lights and a trendy etched mirror; it’s like a 10 second journey in a mini nightclub. Once you’re up, cue the view: sun up or sun down, the view is always spectacular. All this coupled with some perfectly served cocktails and the sound of Vista’s chilled out beats – it’s what summer is all about.

Vista, 2 Spring Gardens, London, Greater London SW1A 2TS

Vista-Boulvard-cocktail-vista-london-best-cocktail-bars-london-150Whilst you’re there, enjoy: the Vista Boulevard. Grey Goose vodka, melon liquer, fresh lemon juice, agave syrup, ginger ale and marshmallows – light and citrusy with a delicious hint of ginger.


Gin Monkey recommends: 69 Colebrooke Row

69-Colebrooke-Row-best-cocktail-bar-london-gin-monkey-les-deux-messieurs-luxury-gay-hotels-london Hidden away down a side street in Islington this bar can be a little hard to find, especially in the winter where you have to buzz to gain entry. Not so in the summer though, when the windows are thrown open to the street, and you can sit back and enjoy the weather. With the ever experimental Tony Conigliaro heading up the show, expect unusual flavour combinations and drinks concepts that will blow your mind.

Flamenco---The-Bar-With-No-Name-2013-Tony-Conigliaro's-Summer-Cocktail-Recipes-les-deux-messieurs-luxury-hotels-london-150Whilst you’re there, enjoy: the Flamenco. It’s particularly fantastic. Make sure you try a Prairie Oyster, too. Not strictly summery, but a damn clever take on a classic hangover cure.

69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA

Gin Monkey also recommends: 


Frank’s Cafe – a pop-up venue on the 10th floor a multi-storey car park in Peckham! Open every summer, it’s glorious when the sun’s out. Start with an Aperol Spritz. Franks Cafe, 10th floor, Peckham Multi-Storey Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST


Hawskmoor Air Street
– it’s pure Art Deco, beautifully decked out, and the drinks are to die for. For something a little unique, try a Sunshine Mary – it’s a summery twist on a Bloody Mary, comprising Kamm & Son’s ginseng liqueur, yellow tomato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco, celery salt and horseradish. Hawksmoor Air Street, 5a Air St, London W1J 0AD



Bar Chick recommends: Last Word Saloon

last-word-saloon-edinburgh-cocktail-bar-best-cocktail-bar-edinburghBrought to you by the guys behind Bramble, Last Word Saloon is a more secluded drinking den just outside of town, and its serves up some of Edinburgh’s most sophisticated cocktails. With candlelit tables, an old Mercedes car bonnet and fur throws about the place, it’s also the place for romance and spontaneity .

apple-jack-daisy-last-word-saloon-edinburgh-best-cocktail-bar-150Whilst you’re there, enjoy: Applejack Daisy – Laird’s Applejack, Somerset Pomona liqueur, fresh lemon juice, home made grenadine & soda.

Last Word Saloon, 44 st Stephen Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5 AL
View full drinks menu

Gin Monkey recommends: Bramble 

bramble-bar-edinburgh-best-cocktail-bar-edinburgh-les-deux-messieurs-bar-chickOne of my favourite bars outside London is Bramble. It’s an institution in the Edinburgh cocktail scene. Hidden down a staircase, it’s worth the visit. Trust me, you won’t want to leave once you’ve sipped their libations!

the-bramble-cocktail-at-the-bramble-bar-edinburgh-best-cocktail-bar-edinburgh-les-deux-messieurs-bar-chickWhilst you’re there, enjoy: a Bramble, it’d be rude not to. The Bramble is a modern classic gin cocktail created by London bartender Dick Bradsall.

Bramble Bar, 16A Queen St  Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 1JE


Bar Chick recommends: Black Dove, BrightonPaloma-dove-brighton-best-cocktail-bars-summer-uk-brighton-cocktail-bar

Is it a bar or an antique shop? With vintage frames, elaborate empty bottles of booze, fairy-lights, sculpted candleholders, chandeliers, vintage fans, paintings and more, it sure is atmospheric. The Black Dove mixes Brighton’s best cocktails and they’ve just re-vamped their drinks menu for summer – what a perfect excuse to try all of them.

Whilst you’re there, enjoy: a Paloma – El Jimador Tequila, pink grapefruit juice and passion fruit

74 St James’s St, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1PA


Bar Chick recommends: The Alchemistthe-alchemist-manchester-best-cocktail-bar-manchester-bar-chick-les-deux-messieurs-luxury-gay-hotels-manchester

With its beautiful bar, dainty lights and floor to ceiling windows, The Alchemist showcases the swanky side of Manchester. It also boasts a huge outdoor area with covered booths – smoking and drinking…tick.  The hot barmen mix up some magic behind the bar with their molecular cocktails. Sitting outside with one of their creations is the perfect way to while away those summer nights.

Coconut-and-Lavender-Daiquari-the-alchemist-manchester-best-cocktail-bar-manchester-bar-chick-les-deux-messieurs-luxury-gay-hotels-manchesterWhilst you’re there, enjoy: a Lavender & Coconut Daiquiri – Bacardi Oro, Koko Kanu, coconut cream, lime juice and pineapple juice, topped with a lavender foam. View masterclass video and find out how to make it.

The Alchemist, Spinningfields, 3 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3HF



Gin Monkey recommends: Alvinos

A great little bar in Newcastle, with bags of personality, a great atmosphere and a cracking playlist. Head up the stairs and out the back onto the terrace in the summer months to soak up the sun and enjoy a cocktail or two. Simple drinks are executed well by friendly bar staff, what’s not to like?

Whilst you’re there, enjoy: The English Rose is a good shout: rose infused gin, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave.  A steal at less than £6.
Alvinos, 88 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 6SG.

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Keep informed about the UK’s best cocktail bars at Gin Monkey, and plan your nights out in London with Gin Monkey’s ingenious London Cocktails Tube Map, too.
Enjoy drinks responsibly. 

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