5 must-visit London bars this winter

Here in London, we are spoilt for choice of drinking venues. But the huge concentration of bars, pubs and restaurants means it’s often hard to know what’s new and where to go. So, here’s just a short list of some of our go-to spots for drinking – don’t worry, you’ll find plenty to eat too – in London, just in time for the festive season.

1. Market Halls Fulham

This south west London hub is housed in an old Edwardian underground station on Fulham Broadway. If you’re looking for atmosphere, bites from some of London’s coolest kitchens and a varied selection of drinks, plan a visit into your December diary.

Our must tries:

- ‘End of the Line’ cocktail. Plum Sake liqueur is shaken up with East London Vodka and jasmine tea cordial, resulting in a seriously aromatic, smack-your-lips kind of cocktail.
- Cold nights call for a boozy hot chocolate. Alcoholic, sweet, hot and bitter – what a sultry sounding winter warmer.

The boozy hot chocolate at Market Halls

2. Fare Bar + Canteen

This new project from hospitality king Michael Sagar and mixologist Marcis Dzelzainis oozes East London coolness into Clerkenwell. Hearty and delicious British, Mediterranean and modern European plates are accompanied by a stonking 250+ wine collection, with something from pretty much everywhere.

Our must tries:

- The Carignan ‘Old Vine Pale’ from Garage Wine Co challenges your expectation of rosé. This gem from the Maule Valley in Chile is dark and moreish. Try with the whole, flame-grilled mackerel and pomegranate chermoula.
- With a list like this, you’ve got to try a style, region or grape you’ve never had before… perhaps a skin-contact Savagnin from the Jura?

3. The Thomas Cubitt

London has a lot of pubs. We know. But this cosy public house has great comfort food (the roast is particularly good) and a strong selection of drinks. Throw in some Victorian charm and friendly staff, and you’re onto a winner.

Our must tries:

- Their homemade Christmas cake vodka, packing a festive punch.
- For an alternative to mulled wine, try the Sipsmith Hot G&T to warm you up.

Coal Drops Yard

4. Coal Drops Yard

Kings Cross got a lot cooler this October when it opened the architecturally-stunning, culture destination Coal Drops Yard. Among the high-end shops, you can snack on plates from Barrafina and Bodega Rita’s, or drink at wine bar The Drop.

Our must try:

- The Drop champion a different wine each month, and most currently, grower Champagnes. I doubt we need to convince you to go and try for yourself...

5. Mews of Mayfair

This four-floor restaurant and bar is full of fun. You are spoilt for choice from the cocktail bar, lounge, courtyard bar (if you’re willing to brave the cold), and even a wine room dedicated to offering wines by the glass at every price point. And if you’re hungry, the pizza bistro is pretty great too.

Our must tries:

- Go by the glass in the wine room and be wonderfully unrestricted by their list, so you can taste to your heart’s content.
- The ‘Christmas Berry Blazer’, served up in the cocktail bar, is made with Hennessy Cognac, Grand Marnier, Chambord and berries and set alight before your eyes. Theatre and flavour, perfect for Christmas drinking.

Christmas Berry Blazer

Where’s your favourite drinking spot? We’d love to know! Comment below to share your must-visit venues this Christmas.

A gastronomic love affair began young, when this caviar adoring child ended up chasing Michelin stars as an adolescent. Many meals later, a wine obsession grew. Now she’s learning fast and delving into the wine world with ambition and a great passion, writing, taking pictures and tasting where she can. @lottiejlevy

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