London's bar scene is always ahead of the trends. Here are four new ways to taste how true that is.
Qui Qui Ri Qui: London's first mezcaleria hosts more than 20 artisan offerings--the findings of the owners' months-long scouting trip in Mexico. Each bottling is served by the shot or carafe. The menu's cheeky tasting notes, such as "BBQ sauce with a hint of lighter fluid," provide excellent guidance. Qui Qui Ri Qui is hidden beneath a kebab shop, so you can grab a convenient snack on your way home.
House of Wolf Apothecary: The experimental cocktails at this bar, dispensed by bartenders in white lab coats, are delicious works of art. The rum-based Tiki, for example, comes with an edible beachscape of strawberry sand and coconut waves. Deep-fried pickle spears and oxtail sliders with bone-marrow mayo round out the bar menu.
Portside Parlour: This pop-up speakeasy is cleverly tucked away beneath Bar Off Broadway in East London. To enter, head to the toilet, pull an old-fashioned loo chain, and a wall swings open to reveal a candle-lit basement with red leather sofas. Rum is the obsession here, with more than 50 varieties that bartenders mix into drinks such as the Détente (see the recipe), which gets its complexity from pecan-coffee bitters. Portside Parlour moves to permanent digs at the end of May.
Happiness Forgets: Alastair Burgess, formerly of New York's Pegu Club, is the mastermind behind the brilliant cocktails at this underground Hoxton Square hideaway. The no-frills, nearly dive-y ambience is in perfect contrast with the menu, a concise mix of classics and new twists. Try the Perfect Storm, which adds plum brandy to the classic Dark 'n' Stormy.
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