Like gin? Then you’re in the right city. Since the Middle Ages, London has been distilling vast quantities of the spirit. So much so that by the mid-18th century, the capital was in the grip of a ‘Gin Craze’, forcing Parliament to pass Gin Acts and distillation bans. Thankfully, things have relaxed, and you’ll ﬁ nd craft distilleries and gin bars galore.
Holborn Dining Room’s Gin Bar boasts more than 400 varieties of the spirit and 30 diff erent tonics. With more than 14,000 possible gin and tonic pairings, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. So let the bartenders know what herbs, spices and ﬂavours you like, and they’ll ﬁnd the drink for you. Our favourite? East India Company gin with Ledger’s naturally sweet tonic (252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN). For those who can’t face the journey from bar to bed, there’s The Distillery – a gin hotel in Notting Hill. This is where the world-famous Portobello Road Gin is made.
Downstairs, there’s The Resting Room, a timeless cocktail bar, and upstairs is GinTonica, a tapas and gin bar (186 Portobello Rd, W11 1LA). You can see how some of the capital’s award-winning gin is made at the City of London Distillery (C.O.L.D) in Blackfriars. Choose a tour – try the Evolution of Gin Tour to ﬁnd out how this popular spirit has developed over the centuries (22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT).
MAGPIE & STUMP
Opposite the Old Bailey courts, this historic pub dates back to the 1500s. 18 Old Bailey, EC4M 7EP. T: 020-7248 5085. www.magpieandstump.com. Station: St Paul’s. D10.
THE SPANIARDS INN
This ancient pub by Hampstead Heath was loved by writer Charles Dickens. Spaniards Rd, NW3 7JJ. T: 020-8731 8406. www.thespaniards hampstead.co.uk. Station: Hampstead. Off map.
Irish-themed pub with live music. 14-16 Rupert St, W1D 6DD. T: 020-7287 0255. www.waxy oconnors.co.uk. Station: Piccadilly Circus. E7.
YE OLDE CHESHIRE CHEESE
Historic pub with 17th-century rooms and narrow passageways. 145 Fleet St, EC4A 2BU. T: 020-7353 6170. Station: Blackfriars. E9.
BARS & CLUBS
THE BACK ROOM
Next door to Hard Rock, the bar boasts iconic music items, including a door from the Apple Studios signed by the Beatles. Enjoy cocktails. www.hardrock.com. 148b Old Park Lane, W1K 1QZ. T: 020-7514 1700. Station: Green Park. E6.
This trendy club and restaurant attracts a fashion-conscious crowd. 145 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7PA. T: 020-3667 5222. www.buddha barlondon.com. Station: Knightsbridge. F5.
Located on the 52nd ﬂoor of The Shard, Gong is the smart lounge and bar. The cocktails and views of the capital are superb. 31 St Thomas St, SE1 9QU. T: 020-7234 8208. www.shangrila.com. Station: London Bridge. E10.
GORDON’S WINE BAR
There is a large selection of wines in this brickwalled basement, established in 1890. 47 Villiers St, WC2N 6NE. T: 020-7930 1408. www.gordons winebar.com. Station: Charing Cross. E8.
RILEYS SPORTS BAR
There are 34 screens, table football and American food. Daily B, L & D. £. 380 Haymarket, SW1Y 4TE. T: 020-7930 0393. www.rileyssports bars.co.uk. Station: Piccadilly Circus. E3.