Santa Chupitos

Santa Chupitos LiverpoolThis is Liverpool debauchery at its finest. Santa Chupitos‘ seasonal menu of fun, festive cocktails never takes itself too seriously and the clientele is much the same. So when you find their nondescript black entrance on the corner of Slater Street, check your inhibitions at the door and hop straight into the fun.

“Santas” are always hard at work experimenting with homemade ingredients to put on the menu, but it’s wise to test out their signatures as well, like the 5 Dollar Shake which will bring you straight onto the set of Pulp Fiction. Served in a glass milk bottle, it’s a blend of vodka, Chambord, blueberries and ice cream then topped with whipped cream … not great for the hips, but delightful on the lips. Or if you’re more in the mood for a fiery concoction (it’s literally on fire, so don’t be too far gone when ordering this one) try the Passionfruit Zombie with four types of rum, some tropical flavours and a flaming goslings lime shell.

The bar gives you plenty to explore and is split into three parts: the main bar which is open throughout the week, the back room where they up the ante with even more adventurous boozing, and finally El Bandito, their sister basement tequila bar just downstairs.

Best Bars tip: This place never closes any earlier than 2am (4am on Fridays and Saturdays), so it’s ideal for finishing out your night with flair.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

santa chupitos cocktail bar liverpool

Dirty Bones

Dirty Bones KensingtonDirty Bones is the latest gem to pop up in west London, an area that has been left somewhat wanting for hip late-night hangouts in the past. But that is no longer the case: this hot dog-centric spot will be serving up cocktails and dinner from 6pm.

Just slip through the secret door in their kiosk on Kensington Church Street (where you can grab Classic Yankee dogs earlier in the day) and head downstairs into a seventies underground haven – the quirky interiors courtesy of British designer Lee Broom.

Tapping into the Americana trend, this one has a bit of extra cachet as ex-Fat Duck chef Ross Clarke developed the concept as well as the menu. Think international-inspired hot dogs like the Asian with kimchi relish, crispy seaweed and wasabi mayo, or “Bones” dishes like fried chicken in a spicy coating. For a fresh and fruity cocktail, try the Top Dog with Finlandia vodka, Chambord, strawberries, lemon and prosecco; or if you’re looking for a classic then order the Dirty Bones Martini with olive oil-washed Tanqueray, Lillet Blanc and olives. For some smoky yet sweet business, try the Mutt’s Nuts cocktail with Woodford Reserve, cinnamon and vanilla-infused maple syrup and Angostura bitters.

Best Bars tip: This place is more conducive to seated imbibing rather than dirty dancing, but the drinks are stellar and the atmosphere is chatty and friendly – so have no doubt this one will be a nightlife staple for the long run.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSipsDirty Bones interior Kensington

Bounce

Bounce Ping Pong HolbornBounce is London’s mecca for all things ping pong, perfect for freeing your inner-Olympian. And while unsportsmanlike conduct is fast and furious here, it remains mostly in jest. This basement art deco-inspired megabar houses 17 ping pong tables, as well as a raised dining area from where you can watch the lacklustre skills of after-work drunks safe from rogue ping pong balls.

Beer is usually the drink of choice for most punters here, but their short cocktail menu is fun and colourful without falling prey to cheesiness. For a clean and lean drink, try the Wiff Waff with Hendrick’s gin, homemade Earl Grey tea syrup and topped with tonic.

This might not be the place for an intimate catch-up, but is ideal for party crews, suits looking to cut loose or table tennis aficionados. Try to book the 2012 London Olympics table where you can get a personal highlights video the day after your game.

Best Bars tip: If you manage to stick around until the wee hours, that’s when the music shifts from radio hits to seriously hip-swivelling tunes (think Stevie Wonder and The Supremes).

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

bounce bar london ping pong