The 50 best cocktail bars in the UK for 2023 are named, with London’s Satan’s Whiskers at number 1
The best cocktail bars in the UK for 2023 have been named – in the East London bar Satan’s Whiskers, that’s No.1
It surpasses that Top 50 Cocktail Bars ranked, with last year’s winner Lab 22, based in Cardiff, taking second place and Tayer + Elementary, based in Shoreditch, London, taking third place. London dominates this year’s list with 23 bars in the top 50, followed by beer-loving Yorkshire, which took five of the top 50 spots.
Chris Lowe, Editor of Top 50 Cocktail Bars, said: “While London continues to dominate this year’s list, it’s very exciting to see other major cities across the UK making their mark. The ever-growing interest in cocktails and bartending in the UK means we’re spoiled for choice on where to go, and this list allows the best of the UK bar scene to shine the spotlight – and consumers to find it hidden away gems.’ Scroll down for the full ranking.
No.1 – Satan’s Whiskers, 343 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London
“Oddly known as London’s ‘Bartenders’ Bar’, it’s not your clichéd swanky London cocktail bar,” said the Satan’s Whiskers judges (above)
The simple cocktail bar improved by four places compared to the previous year.
The jury said: “The team pride themselves on providing excellent service and great music and embody the ideal neighborhood bar.
“Whimsically known as London’s ‘Bartender’s Bar’, it’s not your stereotypically swanky London cocktail bar, but brimming with character, exuded by its exposed brick, taxidermy and hip-hop music, and unique décor.”
No. 2 – Labor 22, 22 Caroline St, Cardiff
Lab 22 ‘is a unique place in every sense of the word and offers a scientific approach to its cocktails’
laboratory 22Owned by Pajtim Tana Hasa and tucked above a well-known bakery, “has found its footing among the best cocktail bars in the world,” according to the jury.
They add, “It’s a one-of-a-kind place in every sense of the word and offers a scientific approach to its cocktails that adds a wow factor to any drink mixed, shaken or poured.”
No. 3 – Tayer + Primary School, 152 Old St, Shoreditch, London
The team behind Tayer + Elementary are “two of the most influential people in the bartender world”
The judges said: “Based on Old Street in London and accessible to walk-ins only, Tayer + elementary school by Alex Kratena and Monica Berg is a special place.
“The venue appears as a brutalist space with concrete and exposed steel ducts, but that doesn’t mean it’s cold and trendy. In fact, the team and the Who atmosphere of the venue offer a warm welcome.
“Kratena and Berg are two of the most influential people in the bartender world right now.”
No. 4 – Schofield’s Bar, 3 Little Quay Street, Manchester
Schofield’s Bar serves “classic cocktails as well as house styling…along with beer, wine, champagne and some food too”.
Manchesters Schofield’s bar is the brainchild of brothers Joe and Daniel Schofield, who together have over 25 years of bartender experience.
The judges said: “This stunning duo have moved up 12 spots to the top 5 in the ranks of the top 50 cocktail bars in just one year. Although some reservations are welcome, the bar itself is predominantly a walk-in operation, serving between 12pm and 1:30am Wednesday through Sunday.
“The menu consists of classic cocktails as well as signature styles created by Schofield’s, along with beers, wines, champagne and some food too.”
No. 5 – Swift, 12 Old Compton St, Soho, London
What Lies Below: Swift has a basement cave serving over 300 whiskeys and brisk operations downstairs
The judges said: ‘Fast is divided into two areas, with a looser, livelier layout on the ground floor and a relaxed – some would say sensual – lounge on the lower level.
“Operating seven days a week, the Cellar Cave has live music every weekend, over 300 whiskeys from around the world and is open from 5pm – it’s also recommended that you reserve a spot to avoid disappointment.”
No. 6 – Panda & Sons, 79 Queen Street, Edinburgh
Panda and Sons has a Prohibition vibe. “It’s a wonderful experience,” said the judges
Don’t be fooled by the exterior of the street level Barber Shop, Edinburgh’s cocktail bar panda and sons waiting just on the other side of a hidden door.
The judges said: “The fake appearance is part of the Prohibition-style disguise. Once you descend the stairs, the prohibition theme remains strong with witty curios adorning the walls and dim lighting. It’s a wonderful experience.”
No. 7 – Three Leaves, 510b Kingsland Rd, Dalston, London
Three Sheets is a “clean and simple bar” with cocktails with “interesting ingredients”
The judges said: “Retains his place for the second year in a row three sheets is a clean and simple bar with excellent flavor profiles.
“Multi-award winning, it is run by founding brothers Venning – Noel and Max – who are both well known in the cocktail world and beyond.
“The menu is well put together, with cocktails that feature some interesting ingredients. The drinks are seasonal though, making it a surprise every visit.’
No. 8 – Speak in Code, 7 Jackson’s Row, Manchester
Speak in Code has an “industrial New York vibe” and offers “outstanding cocktails”
Speak in code praised the jury: “With its first class service, delicious food and of course excellent cocktails, Speak in Code is an exceptional venue in the north of England and a must-see for near and far.
“The award-winning bar brings an industrial New York vibe to the area and uses an extensive and imaginative list of ingredients for its exciting plant-based menu.”
No. 9 – “Bar with Shapes for a Name”, 232 Kingsland Rd, Hackney, London
The “Bar With Shapes For A Name” serves cocktails “prepared and served in the most beautiful way”
This bar does not have an actual name, but three “Bauhaus-influenced primary colored shapes – a yellow triangle, a red square and a blue circle”. Which apparently can be summed up as “shapes”.
The idea is to “challenge drinkers to re-imagine what a bar actually is”.
Pretentious? Without a doubt. But the judges are imploring you to pay a visit for “very reasonably priced cocktails” that are “prepared and served in the most beautiful way”.
No. 10 – The Connaught Bar, Carlos Pl, Mayfair, London
The Connaught Bar in Mayfair is where “expert tenders shake, mix and pour new and classic libations to the delight of eager diners”.
The Connaught bar “Exudes class and sophistication from every millimeter of its structure,” according to the jury.
They added, “Conversations flow over sparkling glasses and candlelit tables while behind the bar, experienced tenders shake, mix and pour new and classic libations to the delight of eager diners.”
The martini trolley is highly recommended.
THE UK’S TOP 50 COCKTAIL BARS OF 2023, FROM BETHNAL GREEN TO BRISTOL AND EDINBURGH
1 Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green, London
2 Labor 22, Cardiff
3 Tayēr + Primary School, Shoreditch, London
4 SCHOFIELD’S BAR, Manchester
5 Swift, Soho, London
6 Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
7 Three Leaves, Dalston, London
8 Speak in Code, Manchester
9 Bar with Shapes for a Name, Hackney, London
10 The Connaught, Mayfair, London
11 Little Graces, Crouch End, London
12 Couch, Birmingham
13 Bramble, Edinburgh
14 The Pineapple Club, Birmingham
15 Ojo Rojo, Bournemouth
16 Disrepute, Soho, London
17 Artesian, Oxford Circus, London
18 hiding place, bathroom
19 Nightjar, Shoreditch, London
20 Society present, Liverpool
21 Publiq, South Kensington, London
22 Scarfes Bar, Holborn, London
23 Lyaness, South Bank, London
24 Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum, Chinatown, London
25 The Absent Ear, Glasgow
26 Happiness Forgets, Hoxton, London
27 Hey Palu, Edinburgh
28 Dirty XIII, Bristol
29 Homeboy, Islington, London
30 Soma, Soho, London
31 Coupette, Bethnal Green, London
32 Temporary Fantasies, Birmingham
33 Bar Termini, Soho, London
34 Seed Library, Shoreditch, London
35 Murder Inc., Soho, London
36 Penny Royal, Cardiff
37 Callooh Callay, Shoreditch, London
38 Silverleaf, Liverpool Street, London
39 Public, Sheffield
40 Fox & Chance, Birmingham
41 Blinkers, Manchester
42 under stairs, Leeds
43 Milk Thistle, Bristol
44 Gunho!, Brighton
45 Hedonist, Leeds
46 Amaro, Kensington, London
47 Cottonmouth, Nottingham
48 Tabula Rasa, Leeds
49 Lunar, Glasgow
50 Bank, Sheffield