Taking place from the 12th to the 22nd of October, London Cocktail Week is back and bigger than ever. With a plethora of £8 signature serves on offer at the city's top venues, we're sharing some hidden haunts for illicit sipping. From party havens behind unassuming front doors to slinky cocktail joints tucked away down a staircase, check out the best secret bars in London Cocktail Week 2023 and buy your wristbands here.
The Bar: Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town
Where It’s Hidden: Head to The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields – a diner serving up American-style pancakes and fried chicken plates. When you walk in, ask for the mayor (that's your password) and you’ll be led to a Smeg fridge. Open up and descend downstairs to the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.
What You’ll Find: Decked out with vintage décor and furniture, this secret bar in London in a fridge is offering a signature serve - the Journey to the Soul of Cuba - a mix of Ron Santiago de Cuba, strawberry, coconut shrub, guanabana, lime juice and mint. Peckish? The hideaway whips up £3 fries and £2 popcorn if you fancy a snack or two.
The Bar: Nightjar
Where It’s Hidden: Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Old Street in East London, this slinky subterranean drinking den is identifiable by its Nightjar symbol on the door.
What You’ll Find: This is speakeasy-style sipping at its finest. Think 1920s-inspired candlelit tables and tin cup cocktails, where jazz music will soundtrack your London Cocktail Week experience. When it comes to drinks, expect unusual takes on classic mixes with delish spirits.
The Bar: Callooh Callay
Where It’s Hidden: Ditch the hustle and bustle on Old Street and you’ll come across Callooh Callay. Inside is the member's club, JubJub Bar - you'll have to go through a wardrobe, unveil a curtain and head upstairs to visit the private watering hole.
What You’ll Find: This quirky cocktail den promises an ever-changing menu when it comes to signature serves. Order the Highland Sherry Reverie or Banana Bonanza while watching the bartenders work their magic on these complex yet tasty tipples.
The Bar: Stereo
Where It’s Hidden: It’s easy to miss but tucked underneath Covent Garden Market is Stereo, a moody and intimate drinking destination. One of the best secret cocktail bars in London? You'll find out when you go inside.
What You’ll Find: Drawing inspiration from New York and Paris, the venue’s interiors are absolutely gorgeous, complete with globe pendants and velvet-clad seating. Sit at the slick bar or chow down on eats from chef Andrew Clarke – think stuffed pickled jalapenos, fried mozzarella and burgers.
The Bar: The Luggage Room
Where It’s Hidden: Located in the corner of Grosvenor Square, The Luggage Room was previously home to – you guessed it – a luggage room. And key tip: you’ll need to enter through a super secret hatch to get in.
What You’ll Find: Once inside, embrace the vintage vibes while listening to jazz and swing music. And celebrate getting into this hidden gem by ordering an illicit cocktail or two. Let the menu take you on a blast from the past with tipples inspired by The Great War and drinks named after Hemingway.
The Bar: Opium
Where It’s Hidden: Concealed from the throngs of tourists that make up Chinatown and Central London, Opium is a retreat found down an elusive staircase.
What You’ll Find: This 1920s Shanghai-inspired cocktail bar and dim sum parlour is split across two floors, with multiple themed bars serving an array of swoon-worthy mixes. Why not go the whole hog and pair your Far East Cosmo with some mouthwatering scallop dumplings?
The Bar: Basement Sate
Where It’s Hidden: Check out Tottenham Court Road, and you’ll come across a sign that reads ‘This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes at this address’. Head downstairs and you’ll find a seriously cool underground bar.
What You’ll Find: Perfect for the sweet-toothed, Basement Sate is hands down one of the best bars to visit during London Cocktail Week 2023. Delve into an array of dessert plates with gorgeous cocktails to match – the lime meringue pairs lovely with the rum and Chai tea-infused Hint of Coconut.
The Bar: Disrepute
Where It’s Hidden: Nestled under Kingly Court between Carnaby Street and Beak Street, this basement bar can be easily missable amidst the busy streets of London.
What You’ll Find: Offering an exclusive aperitivo hour from 4pm to 6pm Sunday through Thursday, Disrepute is definitely worth a visit. Fronting decadent interiors with plush seating, the venue is slinging out cocktails which are showcased as short stories and inspired by characters from Soho’s past.
The Bar: Swift Borough
Where It’s Hidden: With additional sites in Shoreditch and Soho, we’re singling out Swift Borough for its exclusive speakeasy, Back Pocket. Just a stone’s throw away from London Bridge Station, the venue has a slinky setting downstairs so be sure to request a seat there.
What You’ll Find: Boasting leather-bound seating, dimly-lit candles and a slick bar, the ambience is perfect for date night and cool catch-ups with pals. Enjoy signature sips from the lemon sorbet-topped Sgroppinos to St Martin's martinis, complete with peach bitters.
The Bar: Discount Suit Company
Where It’s Hidden: A short walk from Liverpool Street Station, Discount Suit Company can be found on a street corner with the shutters pulled down and a staircase leading down to a mysterious curtain.
What You’ll Find: Mosey down to this secret hideaway and you’ll discover plenty of well-priced cocktails that can be created around your preferred palate. Taking inspiration from neighbourhood joints in NYC, the haunt has an eclectic crowd that usually ends up dancing on the tables together.
The Bar: Black Parrot
Where It’s Hidden: Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the City, this pirate paradise can be found down a hidden alley off Fleet Street.
What You’ll Find: Every buccaneer's dream, Black Parrot is a quirky bar dedicated to sipping tropical cocktails in colourful surroundings. Home to one of the largest rum collections, the venue will be whipping up £8 cocktails during London Cocktail Week such as the What The Funk, Colada and Mint in the Hood.
London Cocktail Week will be taking place from the 12th to the 22nd October with tickets for £15 (or £12.50 for a bundle). Buy your wristbands here and sign up to our newsletter for news straight to your inbox.