Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) picks his top five London bars and pubs.
1. Sager + Wilde, Hackney
Not only is the space welcoming and warm, the approach to wine is what makes this place so special. It’s so easy for wine to seem opaque, or for some to purposefully make it so, but at S + W, the focus is on great product and service. Grab a seat, order some bites and simply ask for something delicious. What (wine) service should be like.
2. El Nivel, Covent Garden
I was so taken with the service in this lovely shrine to agave that I almost missed how excellent the drinks are. It’s impossible to not be won over by Tomas’ infectious passion, and this gem channels it with aplomb.
3. Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park
Introduced to me by very close friends on a wonderful sunny day where the overgrown garden provided the perfect haven for some good company and a pint of Guinness. Busy, chaotic and a great pub for both these reasons.
4. Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green
There are several East End bars that do a wonderful job of warm service, great atmosphere and killer drinks – High Water, Happiness Forgets and co. all do wonderfully – but this Bethnal Green spot does classically styled drinks in a great setting with the brilliantly welcoming vibe that London does so well (and that London does better than anywhere else in the world).
5. The Golden Heart, Spitalfields
I was introduced to this East End pub by James Lowe and have loved it since. From the history, the vibe and the art to Sandra’s wonderful presence, it’s got the great buzz you can only get in a pub. Great at so many different times of the day.
Thirsty? Here’s our guide to the best 100 bars and pubs in London.