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Dans Le Noir

designmynight.com's Nick Telson offers his expertise and insider tips on the best nightlife in London

Published on August 18th 2011.

Dans Le Noir

I am fortunate enough to have tried out the best nightlife London has to offer, from stunning rooftop bars to sumptuous cocktail bars. London, without doubt, has the best nightlife in the world and in this feature I will list my top 100 drinking dens; counting down three per week. Then…don’t just take my word for it, make sure you get down to these watering holes and experience them for yourself. 

The London Cocktail Club
The London Cocktail Club on Goodge Street is a bar where the food and drinks are quirky and top quality. What else would you expect from a bar that Raymond Blanc is involved with? Expect the unexpected at this intimate basement bar. The bar itself has the quality and know-how of a top cocktail bar but refreshingly with the ambience and non-pretense of a good old London pub. Feast on the affordable nibbles while sipping on my favourite, Brixton Riot – a blend of cranberry, lychee and rum, served in a flaming glass and a spinning flaming passion fruit floating on top. Or why not try their take on the ever-popular Jaeger bomb – an oyster shell, floated Jaegermeister and spiced red bull jelly. Perfect for mid-week after work drinks or smaller birthday gatherings; it is perfection in a London basement.



Hidden behind a small entrance, descend into the cocoon world of Zenna. Pitched as the first ever Indian-themed cocktail bar, Zenna is a cocktail lover’s paradise. The bar is headed up by top mixologist, Dan Thomson, which is reflected in the quality and know-how of the drinks served. The ambience is one of intimacy with low-lighting and wonderful, boothed vaults where you can kick back, relax and catch up with friends over fine drinks. The nibbles menu is an assortment of Indian snacks; from marinated prawns to the delicious lentil patties. Zenna’s main claim to fame is that they serve the world’s spiciest cocktail, Iliana, which contains a drop of pure chilli extract. It will blow your mind! My recommendation is the Garden Martini, simply one of the best cocktails I have tried in London.



McQueen is a new addition to the bourgeoning Shoreditch bar scene. What springs to mind when you think of Steve McQueen? Effortlessly cool? This Shoreditch drinking den is modelled on the iconic American actor. The décor is chrome, wooden and extremely stylish. Quite often multi-purpose venues fail to maintain the quality throughout, but McQueen is an American grill restaurant, cocktail bar and basement club, all under one roof. The cocktail bar is always buzzy after work or on weekends with regular events on, including the spectacular Secret Rendezvous that fuses the circus, burlesque and cabaret in the middle of the bar. The cocktail list is extensive and offers a few twists on classics. The boutique club is small, dark and intimate, hosting some big-name DJs, making it the perfect club to get up close and personal. Dare I suggest you grab a tasty steak, wet your whistle with a New York Sour in the bar, followed by clubbing until 3am? If you think you’ve got the stamina then head to this living embodiment of the ‘King of Cool’ and see if you can last the distance. 

 www.designmynight.com: London's nightlife price comparison site. Discover. Book. Enjoy 

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B. AdamsAugust 22nd 2011.

Anyone tried these places?

Richard TurpinAugust 24th 2011.

The London Cocktail Club is better than I thought it would be, never normally impressed with anything that Blanc does apart from Le Manoir, he whores his name about too much. But not as much as Marco Pierre White. I can recomend it.

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