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The Guide to London Cocktail Week bars

From October 5, London Cocktail Week is back. This seven-day celebration (October 5-11 2015, various London venues) is your chance to sample the finest boozy concoctions and classy cocktails in London.

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It’s all-black with a minimalist New York ’80s sort of look about it. Instead of a back bar stacked with spirits there are big fridges holding the pre-made products of hours of labour by Ryan and his team – most of the hard work here is done before opening.

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This popular Portobello Road basement bar calls itself a tiki bar, but the hilariously dodgy decor resists simple categorisation. It looks like a suburban-American rumpus room circa 1964; even Alan Partridge might find it a bit much. But underneath the thick layer of kitsch is a very good cocktail bar. Staff go to great lengths to make sure you order the right drink for you, and the bartenders know their business. They also spin a great ’60s playlist.

Upstairs at The Ten Bellsimage The Guide to London Cocktail Week bars The Guide to London Cocktail Week bars image4

The Ten Bells is best known as a classic East End boozer, a knees-up kind of place and a part of the Spitalfields set of grounded pubs with a bit of character. The interior still focuses on historic charm. Paintings on the wall and a neon light behind the bar are the only modern signals in an otherwise chintzy room with armchairs and warped wooden floorboards.

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The less intrepid Londoner may be put off by the street view of Satan’s Whiskers: it looks every bit a down-and-out dive bar. Inside though, it breaks the east London bar mould, with hip hop on the stereo, a smartly modish setting, vintage French posters on the wall and some of the best cocktails to be found in Bethnal Green’s burgeoning booze scene.

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If you love to adulterate the sophistication of cocktail hour with a cringeworthy pun, Oskar’s is the place for you.

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A lovely cocktail bar (with good retro music) housed in a former underground toilet in Kentish Town.

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A dream of a West End bar: accessible prices, great drinks, and professional but personalised service.

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We hope that you like our few suggestions of our favourite London bars participating in this year´s activities.

See also: WHY YOU CAN’T MISS THE LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK

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