Neat? With ice? A dash of water to open up the flavour? However you like yours, it’s time to embark on a journey through the Highlands, across the world, and even back in time on the hunt for the smoothest single malt – all without having to stray beyond the City fringe. Here’s a handful of spirited bars to help you on your way.
Taking a dash of inspiration from the traditional ‘izakaya’, a casual Japanese tavern, this hallowed temple for whisky lovers has recently turned into more of a cathedral; London’s first ever whisky hotel. Try one of their tasting experiences (which take place in the aptly named Blending Room), before heading back to the bar to choose from almost 50 different whiskies.
9 Christopher Street, EC2A 2BS
Bull in a China Shop
Scotland and Japan are the world’s undisputed titans of whisky distilling. Inspired by the fierce reputations of both nations, this curiously named destination bar-restaurant hosts over 30 of their rarest single malts. Since opening its doors to London’s whisky buffs in 2017, it quickly became both a local favourite and number one on any visitor’s Shoreditch checklist. Don’t forget to grab something to eat while you’re there – their menu’s an eclectic mix including tempura, honey-glazed duck breast and even vegan haggis.
196 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6LGS
Milroy’s of Spitalfields
This latest contender to East London’s malted crown can only be described as a whisky emporium. And it comes with good pedigree: Milroy’s is the city’s oldest whisky merchant, first setting out its Soho stall in 1964. With this incursion eastwards comes a more modern incarnation preserving the unmistakeable character of tradition, but blended with something sleeker and more refined. Stocking over a thousand whiskies, scotch enthusiasts will think they’ve died and gone to heaven. Indeed, sitting here, you can’t help but feel you’re tasting the Angel’s Share.
76 Commercial Street, E1 6LYS
Squirreled away beneath the Blues Kitchen, this little low-lit speakeasy is a real goldmine for whisky aficionados. With gilded trimmings, stained-glass windows, and golden bottles glowing behind the bar, it feels like something of a shrine designed to entice those who gather here into a world of elaborate, whisky- driven cocktails and Rhythm & Blues. Don’t fight it. Settle in, order wisely ,and let the night slowly slip away...
134–146 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AR
Welcome to a world of braces, bow-ties and blends, a stone’s throw from Leadenhall Market. The perfect underground hideaway to escape the bite of those cold, dark winter nights, prepare to lose yourself in a different world. Swing away to live jazz, nod along to some delta blues and dance the Charleston into the wee hours – a 1920’s America time capsule beneath the cobbled streets of ye olde London.
25–26 Lime Street, EC3M 7HR
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