We all know bees are... well, the bee's knees. Buzzing around London, these fuzzy fellas play a crucial role in maintaining our planet, pollinating the trees and flowers needed for food and habitat. Luckily, you don’t have to go full Thunberg to do your bit for these miniature-sized superheroes, with London’s bars and restaurants swarming to get a (honey-slathered) slice of the action. From exclusive menus dripping with the sticky sweet nectar, to urban beekeeping workshops and the resurgence of the mighty mead, our capital really is a hive of activity. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your hunnies and get ready to try out some unbeelievable food, drinks and activities.
Located a stone’s throw away from London’s luscious St James' Park, St. Ermin's Hotel homes 350,000 bees in their rooftop garden. Offering their tiny guests the VIP experience, the bee hotel comprises of several hexagon ‘suites’, specially designed to attract as many varieties of the flying insect as possible. Normal-sized guests of the hotel haven’t been forgotten though - they can see the busy workers in action from the third-flood viewing platform, or can get more hands-on by partaking in one of the regular beekeeping workshops, finishing off with a honey-infused cocktail in the swanky Caxton Bar.
Hiver Beer and Taproom
Hiver has been creating quite the buzz since its inception in 2013. Combining the worlds of urban beekeeping and craft beer, they produce both a honey blonde beer and a brown ale. Responsibly sourcing their sweet nectar both from London and the countryside, the differing locations of the worker bees is what gives the beer its unique flavour profile. While the city slicking bees (no doubt buzzing around with Apple Watches and keep-cups) bring citrus and mint notes, their country-loving friends are all about the apple blossom. And now budding beekeepers can give it a go for themselves, with this year's introduction of a two-hour urban beekeeping course, complete with a beer and food pairing session.
Keepers Kitchen & Bar
A shrine to all things black, yellow and fuzzy, Keepers Kitchen & Bar are taking the bee-loving to a whole new level. Located just a short buzz away from Tower Bridge, this hexagon-adorned eatery is serving up honey twists on classic British cuisine. Harvesting the produce from their own rooftop hives, the food here is just about as fresh as it comes. Feast on honey-drenched chicken wings before tucking into the honeycomb-topped rocky road sundae.
Making mead great again, Gosnells is the Peckham-based brewer with a love of all things sweet and sticky. The first London meadery in over 500 years, these guys are taking the ancient art of fermenting honey and well...making it cool. Opting to import their secret sauce from Spain, the fermentation process strips away the honey’s sweetness, revealing the huge depth of flavour that lies behind. Head to their Peckham tasting room to sample their full range of mead whilst also enjoying some mouth-wateringly good honey-infused cocktails. Ours is the Gosnells sour.
Partnering with Bermondsey Street Bees back in 2016, the Hilton Bankside Hotel now boasts some of the city’s most beautiful urban beehives. Created by famous jewellery designer Alex Monroe, the hand-painted hives take pride of place on the hotel’s central London rooftop. Not just a pretty face though, these babies are seriously productive, creating 70kg of honey every year that is used in the OXBO Bankside Kitchen for everything from glazing carrots to drizzling over deserts.
Florentine Honey Menu
Similarly, the Park Plaza at Waterloo has been getting in on the hive hype, last year launching a honey-focused menu in their Florentine restaurant. Working closely with urban beekeeping expert Dr. Luke Dixon, the menu spotlights the sweet stuff that is being produced on their very own rooftop. Priced at £36 per person the offering includes smoked burrata with a honey and rosemary dressing, honey and soy glazed duck breast and a honeycomb panna cotta, washed down with a Madame Bee cocktail. While not available at the moment, the menu is likely to return later this year, full of more sweet and sticky goodness.
Luxury four-star hotel Montague on the Gardens has recently invested in two beehives, home to 20,000 honey bees. Giving their guests the opportunity to learn about this much-loved creature, the hotel offers an exclusive beekeeping experience, inviting guests to get kitted up and witness all aspects of the bees' care first-hand. And to cool off from that full-body suit? There’ll be a honey-infused cocktail waiting for you in the oh-so-fancy Leopard Bar.
Looking for more eco-friendly eats in the capital? Check out our guide to the city's best sustainable restaurants here.