Nothing hits the spot on a hot summer’s day like a well-crafted gin and tonic – chilled, crisp and uniquely refreshing.
Given that London is the birthplace of one of the most celebrated styles of gin (the “London dry”), it stands to reason that London would also be home to some of the world’s most exemplary gin bars.
Here, we’ve collected six of London’s best – from the intimate to the expansive, from bars to pubs to distilleries. There’s no better city for saying “bottoms up!” with a G&T.
City of London Distillery
The City of London Distillery – otherwise known as C.O.L.D. – is situated right in the heart of the city, nearby the bank of the Thames in Blackfriars. The home of City of London dry gin, visitors can indulge in a distillery tour and gin tasting, or even head into the gin lab to experiment with designing and distilling your own bottle of the good stuff. Alternatively, you can just head into the speakeasy-style bar that overlooks the distillery’s copper stills, and order an expertly-made G&T.
London Gin Club
Hidden away in The Star at Night pub in Soho, the London Gin Club provides a cosy, unpretentious environment with over 200 gins on offer. These guys take G&Ts very, very seriously; each gin is paired with the perfect garnish and the ideal tonic, then served over ice that’s twice-frozen to make it extra cold and extra dry. Real ginthusiasts should get involved in the gin tasting menus, but remember to book! It’s a small room that only accepts walk-ins after 8:30pm.
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour is the Mayfair destination de rigeur for anyone who fancies a G&T in decadent surroundings that create the impression of an eccentric grandmother’s drawing room at the height of the British Empire. This is no case of style over substance though; with more than 150 gins on offer and a curious sideline in gin teas (G&Teas), there’s a lot more to write home about than the decor.
The Distillery is a four-storey ginporium on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road, so it should come as no surprise that this is where Portobello Road gin is made. A ground floor cocktail bar called The Resting Room is the ideal setting for sampling the local wares, while upstairs the GinTonica bar has perfected the Spanish-inflected art of the 21oz glass goblet of G&T. Finally, The Ginstitute experience offers a lesson in the history and making of gin, before guiding you in mixing your very own bottle of Portobello Road from your preferred botanical distillates.
Princess Victoria Pub
For a more laidback experience, stop by this grand old pub on the Uxbridge Road in Hammersmith and Fulham – within walking distance of our Hamlet Gardens properties. With light, spacious rooms and a high, intricately relief-patterned ceiling, the Princess Victoria dates back to 1829 when it was one of the original gin palaces. The pub has stayed true to tradition, with an extensive list of behind-the-bar gins that runs to three A4 pages.
South of the river, 214 Bermondsey is an inconspicuous bar tucked secretively away in the basement of the Flour & Grape restaurant. Handsomely decked out in reclaimed wood, 214 Bermondsey, of course, has hundreds of gins – but what sets this place apart is their tonic. The owners have concocted their very own gin mixer called BTW Tonic Water – made with real quinine and no added botanicals, allowing the natural flavours of any gin it’s paired with to shine through.