Situated down a narrow alley off of Fleet Street, the City of London Distillery Bar (COLD Bar for short) is a true gem for any gin lover – or for anyone looking to learn more about this history-rich spirit. This is the first working distillery to open in the City for over 200 years, and with more than 175 gins to choose from (other reports count 220), you’re likely to feel overwhelmed. So get stuck in with a masterclass, a tasting, or sign up for a tour of the distillery and finish it off with a cocktail at the bar.
The cocktail menu is mostly gin-based, surprise surprise, but this incredibly complex botanical spirit is one that will keep your palate wanting. Don’t miss the house gin used in the majority of drinks, which is created in the two giant stills behind bomb-proof glass – easily spotted as they’re the ones emanating a copper glow onto the bar. Try the Corpse Reviver no. 2 with gin, lillet, triple sec, lemon and absinthe – we love that boozy liquorice kick. Or for a more approachable drink have a bubbly Smiley Girl with gin, grapefruit sherbet, fino sherry and a bit of soda.
The large space still manages to feel intimate with dark wood furnishings, green walls and copper fixtures – it’s old world luxury with a laid-back vibe. You won’t find the dregs of the Fleet Street set here, but rather you will be surrounded by a more discerning clientele, who are ready and willing to learn and try something new.
Best Bars tip: There are plenty of corners for more romantic encounters, so it’s great for any date.
— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips