WigWamBam at the Queen of Hoxton

Wigwambam woodlandia queen of hoxtonThis toasty little pop-up bar is an east London treasure in the colder months, situated atop the Queen of Hoxton  you can spot this rooftop teepee from around the block. WigWamBam is both wonderful and unusual, but more importantly, it is a warm welcome respite from the winter chill.

Open every day except Sunday between 5-10pm, it is ideal for an after-work drink or a cosy date night, giving you plenty of opportunity to snuggle into one another. Go ahead and order yourself some winter warmers: try the Egg Snog or a Hot Buttered Rum for a full festively warming experience. For hearty nibbles, you can tuck into the various charcoal BBQ items: from venison burgers to bourbon-smoked beef brisket.

Keep an eye out for the special events: from origami workshops to cider tastings … this bar likes things a little less ordinary, as do we. But remember, this childlike yet grown-up experience is only available until March  so go on, get stuck in.

Best Bars tip: You can’t book ahead here, so just show up early and hope for the best. And if you don’t make some s’mores, well … colour us disappointed. 

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips


Dean Street Townhouse

dean street townhouse londonIf you’ve always wanted to join a members club, but haven’t been able to snag a membership – then we have your answer: Dean Street Townhouse. Soho House Group gives us a glimpse into their way of life – no annual fees required – and we have to say, it’s pretty damn good. Smack dab in the middle of Soho, this classically styled establishment attracts the creative set so don’t be surprised when a celebrity or two pop in (we can’t name names, but it rhymes with Shmeyonce). And even if the previous statement is only half true, you’ll feel hipper and richer after a few here. Can’t say the same for your bank balance though.

This hotel-restaurant-bar is open all day and bashes out delightfully tasty nibbles and tipples. For sipping, order yourself one of the House Tonics – the short list of signature cocktails – because not only are they delicious, but they’re roughly the same price as a spirit-mixer. If you like to live life on the spicy side, try a Picante de la Casa with tequila, red chillies, coriander and lime. And if that sounds too hot to handle, order the Eastern Standard: a refreshing mix of gin, lime, cucumber and mint. For a vintage experience, the Kotei Mizu is a winner with Yamazaki 12y/o, Antica Formula and sherry. Smoky and dry? We like. For bites, the menu is rooted in the British classics and changes with the seasons, just as it should.

From boozy brunches to high tea to late-night swilling, Dean Street is there to serve. The really long bar is perfect for pulling up a stool and whiling away the time when you’ve got nowhere else to go. You might have to elbow your way in, but this is the type of place where no one will judge you for knocking back a martini (or three) by yourself. And for warm summer afternoons, snag a spot on the terrace for some great people watching.

Best Bars tip: The hotel rooms upstairs are small but luxurious, and you can snag one last minute for 50 squids if it’s free on the night. 

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

dean street townhouse terrace

Sager + Wilde

Sager and Wilde wine bar london

The narrow New York-style bar Sager + Wilde is wiping the dust off those vintages and giving wine a hip new edge. Owned by husband and wife duo, Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde, this relaxed grape oasis on Hackney Road comes after their successful wine pop-up in Shoreditch.

It’s a charming, unpretentious candlelit space with robust and affordable wines, as well as some delightful bites which are whipped up just behind the bar. The bar counter is a masterpiece in itself, made entirely from pavement lights. And to eat, we have to say the grilled cheese is a winner, helping to make that whole wine and cheese concept a even more accessible.

If you’re not up to scratch on your wine knowledge (don’t worry, neither are we), let the waitresses guide you to your selection. And since there’s often quite a few unusual offerings, it’s probably best to ask their advice either way.

Best Bars tip: The bar offers a few sherry-based cocktails, the She +T (sherry and tonic) and the Sherry Old Fashioned, which are likely to convince you that sherry ain’t just your grandmother’s drink of choice.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

Sager & Wilde 2013 - 2