It’s OK, nobody’s wazzed up the walls in Ladies & Gents for at least a few months! Kentish Town’s “only neighbourhood bar” has a cocktail menu crammed with fresh fruits gathered from Hampstead Heath allotments and syrups made with local ingredients. Romantic? Sounds it. But it used to be a toilet, mate. A toilet.
If it’s some serious Scotch imbibing you’re after, in a mood-reflecting dark hole, then Black Rock’s deserving of your attention. Forget all that queue-at-the-bar time-wasting – there is no bar in this… bar. Just one long ancient oak table with whisky taps plumbed into the wood, meaning you’re essentially mainlining malted barley. The Water Of Life!
The bad boy of Upper Street here. Probably backs the quitters from Corbyn’s cabinet. Imagine it! Sneering through the sea of lovely brunch spots is the always-up-to-11 Slim Jim’s Liquor Store – the diviest of US dive bars in London. All the beige foodstuffs, bourbon, bad taste and repressed depression that makes America great (again), under a roof full of hanging bras.
Once a grim Chinese, now a dark, windowless and brilliant Dalston cocktail gem, Ruby’s is the last place icky romance will think to find you. Hush your lips as you wallow into a Hyde-hyped Old Fashioned, and you can still hear murmurs from its former life. “Load that mother with MSG!” the walls’ll whisper. “More… More!”
Okay, this one can feel kinda terrifying. The punks, rockers and metalheads at The Black Heart will sneer at any hint you may once have experienced joy. But suck it up, or this is the price you must pay for access to a seriously good craft beer line-up. New stuff from Siren, Magic Rock and Stone & Wood will calm those frayed nerves on entering.