5 Top London Cocktail Bars to Try in Chinatown
Chinatown London certainly conjures up images of food, having gained a reputation as one of London’s top foodie destinations. However, this vibrant district also boasts some of London’s best cocktail bars. Often hidden in plain sight, the signature cocktails are well worth sampling and the transportive atmospheres and themed decors are a world away from the bustling streets. Whether you’re looking to book venues for a private party or are seeking a quiet place to sip your favourite tipple into the early hours, here’s our guide to some of Chinatown London’s best cocktail bars.
Viet Lounge (at Viet Food)
Vietnamese street food has always been up there as an all-time favourite of ex-Hakkasan, Michelin-starred chef and Founder of Viet Food, Jeff Tan. Venture to the uppermost level of the three-storey building and you’ll find the beautifully art-deco Viet Lounge. The bar is run by mixologist Alex Loy (formerly Head Barman at The Dorchester, Park Chinois and Hakkasan) who’s known for his homemade syrups which form the base of many of the signature cocktails on offer. Sichuan peppercorn syrup is a key component in the Coa Cao cocktail, which blends Maraschino liqueur, gin, lemon, and egg white with whole Sichuan pepper for a with a kick. Also look out for homemade yuzu, butterfly pea flower syrup, and many more.
Find it at Viet Food, 34-36 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QT
Heritage restaurant and cocktail bar brings a culinary wave of Modern Europe to Chinatown. The sleek low-lit restaurant offers a Swiss menu from the Alpine region serving prime cuts of meat and seafood, all whipped-up with ultra-elegant execution.
After dark is when the magic really happens at Heritage, as their cocktail list has been expertly crafted. The ultra stylish interior has an industrial feel with low level lighting, the perfect laid back setting to enjoy cocktails which have been created exclusively for the restaurant.
Find it at Heritage 18-20 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DF
Find dim sum, tea and cocktails all under one roof at Opium – an exotic, secluded little bar, tucked away from the Chinatown bustle. With three different bars set over two floors, it’s an escapist’s paradise. Doused in themes from a bygone era, it juxtaposes 1920s Hong Kong and modern hipster, while dropping 1970s beats from American-Kung-Fu-inspired funk.
Cocktails created with tea, spice, smoke and theatrical flair are the norm at Opium. Spirits are ‘dispensed’ in Chinese medicine bottles, and the peckish can dine on their inspired East-meets-West dim sum menu, available until late.
Find the Jade Door at 15-16 Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JE
The Light Lounge
Between Leicester Square and Chinatown’s stretch of Asian eateries, the reflective cocktail bar The Light Lounge occupies its own glamorous stratosphere. With its twinkly chandeliers, elegant grey banquettes and perfumed lilies scenting the air, it’s an upscale escape from the chaotic streets outside.
This sanctuary is from the same team as downstairs Ku Bar, and if cocktails are your poison, quality mixology is what these guys do best. With a rotating, refined menu of seasonal house specials, they harmonise the finest of spring/summer and autumn/winter spices, spirits and juices into the most quaffable of creations, polished off with an elegant signature flourish.
The best deals are during happy hour, which runs until 7pm daily and all-day Sunday and Monday. For the non-cocktail minded The Light Lounge have a superb range of prestige spirits and Veuve Clicquot champagnes.
They’ve now also extended their opening hours until 3am throughout December.
Find it at 1 Newport Place, London WC2H 7JR
The Experimental Cocktail Club
Inconspicuously sandwiched in-between two Chinese restaurants on Gerrard Street, looking for the Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) can prove tricky. Once inside, the vibe is more sexy Shoreditch speakeasy than Chinatown drinking den – all raw, exposed brick, juxtaposed with luxurious furnishing flourishes.
The brainchild of Les Trois Garçons founders, Romée de Goriainoff, Pierre-Charles Cros and Olivier Bon – in partnership with ex-Hendrick’s Gin ambassador, Xavier Padovani – ECC was established in 2010 and has been serving up exquisitely-formulated cocktails to discerning sippers ever since.
Their menu is pure alcohol alchemy, with wittily-named, beautifully-harmonised house cocktails that are a mixologist’s utopia. If you think you know your premium spirits, you might want to think again. ECC offer a selection of old-fashioned cocktails fashioned from rare and hard-to-source vintage spirits. They also present a great selection of prestige champagnes or, if you’re peckish, there’s cheese and charcuterie to nibble on.
Address: 13a Gerrard St, London W1D 5PS
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