Lonely Planet Writer

Drink your way around the world's bars at London's cocktail festival

If you fancy drinking your way around some of the world’s best bars, then make sure you head to London Cocktail Week running until  Sunday 8 October. With nearly 30,000 visitors expected and a week-long cocktail village at Old Spitalfields Market, the world’s biggest cocktail festival is back for its 8th outing in the capital.

Cocktail week kicks off in London this weekend
London Cocktail Week gets underway Old Spitalfields Market next week. Image by: DrinkUp.London

This year, a £10 digital pass will get you unlimited £6 cocktails in 300 of London’s top bars for the entirety of the seven-day festival. What’s more, there are masterclasses, talks – and perhaps most excitingly – bar takeovers from all over the globe.

A late glory fizz at Worship Street Whistling Shop. Image by: DrinkUp London

Named the Best International Cocktail Bar at the 2017 Spirited Awards, Melbourne’s Black Pearl will be kicking the week off with a one-night-only superhero style collaboration at Hoxton’s Super Lyan. Here, a special menu of Bacardi serves will accompany the partnership with founder Ryan Chetiyawardana and head bartender Will Sleeman joined by Black Pearl’s team.

“The amazing thing about London Cocktail Week’s capacity to bring people together can be lost to a lot of locals,” says Sleeman. “The enormity of this event means that some of my favourite people from around the world can join us here, in the motherland, for a small and specific time period. As an Australian, it’s a luxury to be in such a vantage point that means such great people can be invited from the Southern Hemisphere to show how fantastic they really are. And what they can show us up North.”

Speaking of fantastic people, from Tuesday 3 to Wednesday 4 October, the guys behind The Clumsies will be bringing a taste of Athens to Fitzrovia with a preview of new drinks at Meraki. Coming in at number nine on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2016 list, this is the innovative bar that created a Mojito served with mint and green apple pulp which you brush onto your teeth before sipping (toothbrush provided). One thing’s for sure, whatever they bring to London will provide plenty of Instagram opportunities.

And finally, the one not to be missed: New York’s The Dead Rabbit – regularly voted as the Best Bar in the World – lands in The Sun Tavern at Bethnal Green on Wednesday 4 October. The Dead Rabbit’s beverage director, Jillian Vose, will be pulling a guest shift behind the bar, with a bespoke cocktail menu curated around Slane Irish Whiskey.

So, finding the best bars on earth all in one city? We’ll drink to that.

By Tess Harold