Trimming down this list of unmissable spots in Islington to just six was hard work. A neighbourhood brimming with ridiculously cool speakeasies, popular live gig venues and even a cocktail bar styled as an opulent first-class train carriage, these are exciting times to be heading for a night out on Upper Street. From raucous late-night pubs to tasty new restaurant openings, here’s six of the best to try next time you’re in the area.

Little Bat

Still a newcomer to the neighbourhood, stumble upon this date night hotspot before the masses discover it. Little Bat is the younger sibling of Callooh Callay (who just won a Best International Cocktail Bar award) and is a charming and intimate bolthole with lots of snug tables for 2 and candles flickering throughout. A must-try if you'd prefer to keep away from those Upper Street crowds, cocktails are around the £8-9 mark - pretty reasonable considering the excellent quality - and there's dreamy Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese balls to snack on while you work your way through the menu.

Cocktail bars in Islington

Inventive and exquisite mixology is to be expected from this prime date night patch.

Brewhouse & Kitchen

Reckon you'd be fairly useful at brewing your own beer? Prove it at the Brewhouse & Kitchen, which holds 'Brewery Experience Days' as well as tutored tastings from their comfortable bar-cum-restaurant behind Angel station. The ideal stop-off whether you're coming for a pint brewed fresh from the on-site brewery or popping in for one of the most indulgent Sunday roasts in north London, there's even a handy Beer and Food Pairing chart to help you maximise the flavours on show.

Swig beers direct from the on-site microbrewery at the artisanal Brewhouse & Kitchen.

Rok Smokehouse

If you're after something a little different, check in at the Rok Smokehouse. A fresh new restaurant and bar opened inside a Grade-II listed building just last month, treat yourself to a spread of delicious Nordic-inspired food at this relaxed and serene eatery. You can expect a small but perfectly formed menu of smoked meats that you'd typically find spread across tables in Northern Europe, with the drinks offering featuring bespoke creations from cocktail guru Matt Whiley as well as biodynamic wines from smaller producers.

A cracking Nordic spread you'll likely find scattered across tables at Rok.

The Old Queen's Head

No guide to going out in Islington is complete without a nod to this legend of an Essex Road boozer. The Old Queen's Head is about as versatile as pubs in London come, with everything from eccentric comedy nights to Lucky Chip burger residencies and low-key quiz nights to pumping DJ sets going down across the week. Go on Saturday for nothing less than wall-to-wall debauchery then head back the next day to cure the hangover with Bloody Mary's and a Sunday Roast.

Unmissable DJ sets, wacky comedy nights, burgers from Lucky Chip; the OQH has it all.

The Bar With No Name

The Bar With No Name at 69 Colebrooke Row is one of the most infamous elusive drinking dens in London. It’s owned by the acclaimed mixologist Tony Conigliaro and offers nothing short of a spectacular cocktail drinking experience, where bartenders cloaked in white lab coats shake, stir and otherwise muddle unusual ingredients as part of their bespoke menu. With room for just 40 don’t be surprised to find it crowded, especially when house pianist Maurice Horhut sits down to do his thing every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

Blink and you'll miss The Bar With No Name.

100 Islington

While plenty of venues claim to offer “the best value lunch in London”, 100 Islington might actually have a point you know. Ideal for busy workers pressed for time, stop by this friendly new hangout where the £5 Lunch Boxes offer regularly rotating Meat, Fish and Seafood options that are brimming with Asian influences. 100 is cheap, it’s convenient but most importantly it’s absolutely delicious, with the fresh-pressed juices and gourmet coffees making way for unique cocktails and wines as day becomes night.

Great for lunch with colleagues or cocktails come sundown, don't miss the second 100 restaurant.

Check out our guides to Brixton, Wimbledon and Hackney Central to discover more great things to do in London!