East London is undoubtedly one of the best places to hang out in the capital. There is a diverse range of things to do in East London and it’s an area that is filled with character. Not to mention, it’s also home to some of the best nightlife that you’ll find in the city.
All around East London you’ll find an interesting mix of artisan cocktail bars and quirky pubs offering the most popular drinks, craft beers, and their own take on some of our favourite cocktails.
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Whether you’re looking for a trendy spot for a first date or looking to enjoy a drink with some mates, you’ll find them all in East London.
From Shoreditch and Spitalfield to Dalston, here are some of the best bars in East London.
Bringing a touch of France right to London’s doorstep is a French-inspired cocktail bar, Coupette. It is an award-winning bar in Bethnal Green, East London, and is well-known for its expertly crafted cocktails and Calvados.
Some of its accolades include the World’s 50 Best Bars and Best New International Cocktail Bar.
Coupette is situated in a 160-year-old building with an industrial-chic feel to it. Its name translates to “the cheeky one” and you’ll find evidence of this all through the bar from their character-filled menu to their decor.
Give their Champagne Pina Colada a try or enjoy their red wine and chocolate pairing. For something stronger, order one of their Calvados, a French brandy made from apples or pears produced in France’s Normandy region. Alternatively, you can also give one of their fruity ciders a try.
Coupette is the perfect place to hang out as it blends together the quirkiness of East London with the sophistication of Paris.
Voted one of the best pubs in East London by its residents, The Palm Tree is one with checking out. Standing alone is a single building in the Mile End area, The Palm Tree was once an abandoned pub that was revamped by owners Val and Alf.
The bar is split into two sections. The main section is covered with shiny gold wallpaper, complete with red velvet curtains and wooden benches and tables. If you’re after a real old-school East London atmosphere, then this is the place to be.
The main section also serves as an events space where you’ll find a jazz band that plays classic jazz music, adding to the charm of the bar. The southern section of the bar is where you’ll find a younger crowd.
If you’re after a good time in a place with a good vibe, then check out The Palm Tree. While the bar menu is not as extensive as some other places in East London, it’s still a great place to meet up with friends for a drink over the weekend.
Callooh Callay is hands down one of the best cocktail bars in East London. It’s come a long way since opening in 2008 racking up awards like the Top 500 Bars in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Its other awards include the World’s Best Cocktail Menu, World’s Best 50 Bars, and Top 50 Cocktails Bars which they have won multiple times.
It is one of the trailblazers of bars in Shoreditch, opening during a time period when bars in the area were a rare occurrence.
Since opening more than a decade ago they have welcomed thousands of people from across the globe into their warm and inviting space.
Callooh Callay is known for its exceptional experimental cocktail menu which includes all sorts of ingredients including coconut water and bubble-gum paired with tequila.
They have an extensive wine menu that features wines from Italy, South Africa, France, Spain, Argentina, and even as far away as New Zealand.
They also offer a number of beers, ciders, bar foods, and nibbles. If you’re looking for a fun night out, you can book their Cocktail Masterclass.
You’ll learn about the history of cocktails and after which you can try your hand out at bartending and creating your favourite cocktails. You can also try and make your own concoction.
A visit to Callooh Callay is one of the coolest things in Shoreditch that you can do, so don’t forget to check it out.
Whether you’re looking for a bottomless boozy brunch in East London over the weekend or unique cocktails in a warm and cosy setting, you’ll find both at the Duchess of Dalston.
Situated on the Haggerston High Street, the Duchess as it’s known by locals is one of the best bars in Dalston. From just £11, you can enjoy some of the best artisanal cocktails.
The Duchess prides itself on only using the finest ingredients sourced from local businesses.
The Duchess of Dalston is an intimate space with bright coloured ceilings, cosy leather booths, and the most unique pieces of art. Their imaginative cocktail menu has been tried and tested and you’re sure to find something that you enjoy.
In addition to cocktails, they also have a great wine list that features wines from Argentina, France, Italy, and Spain. They’ve also got great beer and food menus, where you can try delicious treats like braised Korean short rib tacos.
Pop in over the weekend to enjoy their amazing brunch with bottomless prosecco.
The Golden Heart in Spitalfields is one of the oldest pubs in East London, originally built in 1936. You can’t miss The Golden Heart located on Liverpool Street with its brightly coloured flower baskets and happy cheering from the inside.
It’s well known for being the hangout of artists like Tracey Emin and her YBA gang as well as Gilbert & George. One of Tracey Emin’s artworks can be found on the wood-panelled walls of the Golden Heart. The artwork is known as the Landlady Sandra Esquilant.
The Golden Heart is a true gem of Spitalfields. It’s filled with both history and character so it’s worth paying a visit. According to locals, you can find the best pint of Guinness in London here at The Golden Heart.
The Night Jar has developed a reputation for revamping old and forgotten cocktails and bringing a fresh perspective to everyone’s favourite classics. It is a speakeasy-style bar that looks like it still belongs in the Prohibition era.
Inside the Night Jar, you’ll find a low-lit bar with wooden floors, Art Deco liquor cabinets, leather seating booths, and tin roofs. If you enjoy live jazz music, then this is the place to be.
There are three jazz sets all lasting 45-minutes long, including an early evening piano, main act, and late-night set.
Over the weekend there’s an additional late set from 00:00 – 01:00, so if you’re looking for some chilled late-night vibes then this is definitely the place to be. The live jazz music will take you back to the Roaring Twenties.
Their cocktail menu is divided into three different eras known as pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, and Post-War with cocktails from those eras. They have put their own spin on some of them of course. They also have a signature and sharing menu.
Try their Filipino cocktail from the pre-Prohibition menu which features Bathtub gin, fresh lime, snake fruit wine, and “coconut smoke”. Fair warning though, this cocktail is not for lightweights.
Alongside their exciting cocktail menu, they have a great wine and spirit menu. They’ve also got a great food menu that serves a delicious array of contemporary tapas and bar snacks.
One of the bars in Bethnal Green worth visiting is the Sun Tavern. Situated near the Bethnal Green station, it’s a small bar run by three mates Andy Kerr, Stephen Thompson, and Alastair Tatton.
The bar is situated in an 1850s corner house. It was a former Victorian pub that had been revamped by the trio. It has a bit of a New York feel to it, mixed with the character of East London.
Inside you’ll find a long wooden bar with red leather stools and red leather chairs and banquettes at the back of the bar. It also features some exposed brickwork, marble top tables, and industrial lighting.
Their drinks menu is well crafted and features a range of cocktails, whiskies, wines, beer, and Poitin. The Sun Tavern also has a thoughtful food menu with a delicious cheese board and other snacks.
Discount Suit Company
Contrary to what its name suggests, The Discount Suit Company is a contemporary bar in Spitalfields. It was opened in January 2014 by the same trio that runs The Sun Tavern and is a former suit tailors storeroom, hence the name.
The Discount Suit Company is one of the coolest bars in London and has a very informal but warm vibe. It’s a very intimate space, making it a great place for a date night or quick meet-up with friends.
You’ll find fruity cocktails accompanied by the sound of soulful music perfect for a chilled evening.
For one of the quirkiest pubs in Shoreditch, be sure to check out the Queen of Hoxton. It’s a 3-level multifaceted space with loads to enjoy.
You’ll find a bar, rooftop terrace, nightclub, art gallery, and performance space all in one space.
Their rooftop terrace and bar offer some of the best views of Shoreditch and also serves up some pretty spectacular food.
To really experience the best of this bar, visit over the weekend where you can enjoy their bottomless brunch options.
One that you shouldn’t miss is their bottomless prosecco and waffles. Who doesn’t love an endless supply of waffles?
Bokan is an award-winning rooftop bar and terrace located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Canary Wharf building. It’s one of the more luxurious bars in East London and has an extensive list of sophisticated drinks.
You’ll find a list of premium cocktails, spirits, wines, beers, and Scotch. They’ve also got a good list of sharing plates and snacks.
Their terrace is also fully heated and is a great place to enjoy undisrupted views of London.
East London was once the home of the city’s distilling scene. Sadly, for some time this art was abandoned in this part of the city. All of that changed when after nearly 100 years the East London Liquor Company came to town.
They’re known for distilling some of the finest vodka, gin, and whiskey in London. Their bar and restaurant is a welcoming space where you can indulge in good food and great drinks.
The best part is their cocktails are made with their own spirits. One that you should try is the Christmas Rum One which is made with Demerara rum, apple cider vinegar, satsuma liqueur, and black tea. It will have you feeling festive no matter what time of the year it is.
You can book a tour of their distillery and see how their distinct spirits are made before heading over to try them.
If you’re looking for one of the best bars in Hackney, then the Lord Napier Star is one to check out.
It’s definitely one of the highlights of Hackney Wick and you certainly can’t miss it with its brightly coloured graffiti art on the outside of the building.
Spanning over three floors, you’ll find a bar with comfy booths, a rooftop terrace, and a restaurant. Their bar is well stocked with over 40 premium and standard spirits. Their wine and beer list are also great so you’ll have lots to choose from.
Pair one of their drinks with a dish from Krapow – their onsite restaurant that focuses on northern Thai dishes with an addition of western classics like burgers and sticky toffee pudding.
It’s no secret that East London is one of the top places to visit in the capital, and with a range of incredible bars, the list just keeps getting longer as to why you should visit this charming area.
You’ll find all sorts of weird and wonderful bars here with extensive lists of classic and newly invented cocktails, beers, wines, spirits, and much more. From Shoreditch to Bethnal Green, you’re sure to find a bar that’s just right for you.