Where to Sip the Finest Whisky in London

06 Sep 18
Visiting London

Where to Sip the Finest Whisky in London

06 Sep 18

Those who know their single malt from their American rye will heartily appreciate London’s exclusive selection of whisky bars. From a highbrow Scottish music venue lined with 1,000 whisky bottles to a local favourite cellar bar serving a whopping 250 distillations, you’re never far from a wee dram in the British capital. Here are our top five favourite whisky bars in London.


This stalwart is on every London-based whisky aficionado’s speed dial. It’s a shop and bar in Soho that stocks more than 250 whiskies, from classic Islay and Campbeltown Scotches to Swedish and South African malts. It offers a highly commendable tasting every Monday evening, with samples of rare drams from closed distilleries. However, Milroy’s real draw card is in its cellar, where an intimate whisky bar known as The Vault can be accessed through a bookcase at the back of the shop.


It’s easy to see why Black Rock has won the annual UK’s Best Specialist Bar award since it opened two years ago. Slicing through the centre of this cosy lounge bar in London’s hip Shoreditch is half of a huge oak trunk with two rivers of actual whisky flowing through its centre. One is Cherry River, a spicy house blend of bourbon, morello cherry and cinnamon, while the other is a table whisky that rotates each week. Don’t fancy either of them? The walls are lined with more than 250 bottles, all drawn from impressively far-flung distilleries across the world and accessibly categorised into fruity, smoky, sweet, fragrant and balanced.



Salt’s gleaming shelves offer more than 180 amber-filled bottles, with its compelling Prestigious Collection flaunting heavyweights such as the limited edition Ardbeg Auriverdes (at a beefy 49.9 per cent) and a heart-breakingly smooth 25-year-old Benriach release. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the intriguing Indian selection, which whistle-stops from Goa via Bangalore to the Himalayas. 


Not just home to fiercely unapologetic Scottish cuisine (haggis, smoked salmon, Caledonian ribeye), Boisdale of Canary Wharf also houses a 1,000 bottle-strong whisky bar – and its cigar library surely deserves a mention, too. With a menu that reads like a map of Scotland, you’ll find humble favourites from Auchentoshan and Oban Distillery rubbing shoulders with some highly covetable (and severely priced) 60-year-old malts. A wee dram of Glenfarclas 1952, anyone?


Japan is no stranger to a fine single malt, and Bull in a China Shop pays due tribute to specialist whiskies from the land of the rising sun. Just name your mood and the experts behind the bar will match you with your soul mate, whether that be a smoky, peaty Chichibu single malt or a convivial Suntory Royal blend. With more than 100 distillations to choose from, and an Asian-inspired food menu to pair with your selection, this is one subarashii whisky joint.


Feature images © Milroy's of Soho; Black Rock; franticstudio_iStock; ConstantinosZ_iStock; Rawpixel_iStock



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