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Time Out London’s 10 most read bar reviews of the year

Posted at 4:34 pm, December 30, 2013 in Food & Drink

Remember July? It was suddenly really hot, everyone wanted to have a drink outside, but nobody could think of anywhere? Apparently, you all turned to Time Out to solve that conundrum. Here are the ten bar listings that got the most traffic on our site this year – let’s just say if someone opened a speakeasy on a rooftop, they’d probably do quite well.

10) Evans & Peel Detective Agency, Earls Court

Evans and Peel Detective Agency bar, London

The speakeasy trend reaches its apogee/nadir, depending on your taste, with this basement bar accessed off Earl’s Court Road. Inside, it’s dark: supernaturally dark, ‘Pit and the Pendulum’ dark, which is fine if you’re just enjoying a cocktail, but a bit annoying if you’re trying to eat. ★★★☆☆

9) Booking Office, St. Pancras

Booking Office bar, St Pancras

Perhaps the only place-to-drink-in-a-train-station that’s actually nice. The cocktail list, drawn up by Nick Strangeway and the late Henry Besant, gives a prominent place to traditional punches, served in mugs. And the free bar snacks, coated peanuts, are dangerously addictive. ★★★★

8) Skylounge, Tower Hill


This rooftop bar offers lovely views over the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the Shard – especially at night, and most particularly from the outdoor terrace. ★★★☆☆

7) Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch

Boundary Rooftop London

This unsurprisingly popular spot is perched atop the Terence Conran-designed Boundary Project, which also contains a boutique hotel, a restaurant (Boundary), a café (Albion) and a deli. The alfresco rooftop retreat in the heart of Shoreditch offers impressive panoramic views of London, with the City skyline at its most dramatic after dark. ★★★☆☆

6) Tonteria, Sloane Square

Tonteria, London

Tonteria is a serious – and expensive – tequila bar, with an arm-long list of spirits ranging from down-in-one party slammers to a £5,000 bottle of Reserva del Alma. Money has clearly been spent on the drug cartel underground lair aesthetic – it manages to be both kitsch and classy at the same time. ★★★★

5) Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, Spitalfields

Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, bar, London

Reminiscent of a Twin Peaks cabin with moose heads, mirror balls, retro wallpaper and a clock with unnerving, oscillating eyes. The cocktails, consisting of classics and house specials, are well-crafted on the whole, and with Timothy Taylor and Modelo Especial, the beer list is also better than some. ★★★☆☆

4) Milk & Honey, Soho

Milk & Honey, Soho

If you’re prepared to put up with all the near-total darkness, difficulty getting in and ferocious air conditioning, this is a great place for perfectly executed classic cocktails. ★★★★

3) Aqua, Soho

Aqua bar terrace, Soho

When the sun does come out, Aqua is the place to be for a sundowner cocktail. Why? Because it of its unexpected views across Soho and Mayfair rooftops, with the sun setting over Marble Arch. (Expensive, mind you.) ★★☆☆☆

2) Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown

Experimental Cocktail Club

Arranged over three floors of an old Chinatown townhouse, flatteringly lit and expensively decorated, serving rarely surpassed cocktails★★★★

1) Radio Rooftop Bar, Aldwych

Radio Rooftop Bar, Aldwych

What you can’t see from up here isn’t worth its place on the London skyline. The bar attached to this view is great too – if you ignore the last ten years’ worth of bar craft, bar design and innovation in beverages. This is a sleek, glammed-up, ‘Sex and the City’ destination for long-legged model types and ski-holiday-brochure chaps with unseasonal tans. ★★★☆☆

More drinkspiration:

The 50 best bars in London
London’s best wine bars
London’s scrumpiest cider pubs
London real ale pubs

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