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London's Best Vintage-Themed Bars

London's Best Vintage-Themed Bars

With the release of Baz Lurmann’s star-studded film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, the Roaring Twenties have burst back into the spotlight - although the decade has never really been all that far from our collective imagination. The era of flappers, Prohibition, and cool, sultry jazz has always possessed a stylish appeal - witness the popularity of television series such as Boardwalk Empire and Woody Allen’s recent film Midnight in Paris, both of which play up the romance of the period.

If you’d like to capture a bit of that glitzy, sophisticated elegance that defined the 20s, or indeed dip a toe into the atmosphere of any past era, it’s worth catching a coach to London and visiting one of the many cool vintage-style bars that have sprung up in quiet (and not-so-quiet) corners of the capital. Here are a few favourites to get you started on your bar-hopping trip through time:


For a drinking experience that’s as quirky as it is glamorous, try this petite but lively 1930s-inspired bar housed in a space that was formerly a men’s toilet. The moody lighting and retro burlesque décor lend a hint of classic film noir, but the bartenders are friendly and experienced in the preparation of both classic and signature blends. For those who wish to really sample a taste of times past, the bar also serves snuff – definitely a rarity on the modern bar scene. Drinks follow retro pricing (read: are cheaper) before 8pm, so get there early and grab a seat to watch the nightly live music and cabaret acts.


Purl combines the best of Prohibition-era style with a theatrical, experimental approach to its cocktails, which some would describe as weird and wacky but are certainly always entertaining. Each drink on the constantly evolving menu is served in unusual glassware (or other unique receptacles), often with an unexpected side dish and dramatic presentation that lends a touch of magic. Booking in advance is strongly recommended – the small, intimate space doesn’t allow for huge crowds but is a large part of this place’s slightly antiquarian speakeasy charm.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

For fans of vintage detective stories, this atmospheric, secretive bar is a must-visit drinking spot. After entering through a discreet doorway, you must negotiate an intercom interrogation before passing through a secret passage in the bookcase and taking your place in the dimly lit, artfully down-at-heels space within. With exposed brick walls and drinks served in brown paper bags, it captures the gritty gumshoe theme perfectly and is a delight for anyone who’s ever imagined themselves as part of a 1920s gangster movie.

The Nightjar

This quietly luxurious cocktail bar – think dark woodwork, plush red seats and glittering fixtures - is an appropriately glam venue for live jazz and swing, but the real attraction here is its range of vintage and modern drinks. With a cocktail menu that includes interpretations of popular tipples from the Victorian, Prohibition and wartime eras, there’s plenty to tempt the adventurous tastebud. You can even sample a range of rare vintage spirits - mostly distilled in the early 20th century - for a proper taste of history.

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The Best Places to Find a Real Ale in Central London

The Best Places to Find a Real Ale in Central London

For the real ale connoisseur, if you don’t know where to look, central London can appear to be something of a let down. There’s a whole wide range of establishments in which you can sup cocktails, down shots and get seriously boozy on some fantastic wines but beers often seem to fall down the list when it comes to quality social consumables and we are often forced to make do with watered down, unsatisfying or generic and chemical filled international brands instead of the real thing. However, fear not as, whilst it may seem to be a hub of cosmo girls and WKD boys, the capital also has a network of excellent hidden gems serving some of the best real ales in the country.

Pineapple – Kentish Town

As well as being a Mecca for music industry types this cool little local provides real ale lovers with plenty to wrap their chops around. Set a little away from the main drag and conveniently close to the Kentish Town Forum, here you will find a regular rotation of five real ales, such as Redemption from Tottenham, and a broad minded approach to new brews. Add to that a regular quiz night, plenty of outside seating and tasty Thai lunches for just a fiver and it’s easy to see how this place has become such a popular spot, despite its slightly out of the way location.

The Junction Tavern – Tufnell Park

Just north of the Pineapple in Kentish Town is another establishment that puts the ‘real’ in real ale. The Junction is so committed to its beery produce that it holds regular beer festivals, bringing an enormous selection of local and international options to the lips of its thirsty customers. If you visit during one of these events you will find beer barrels piled high around the bar and a buzzy, friendly atmosphere with bar staff who are happy to provide information and even little tasters on what’s on offer. The beer garden here is charming – with lots of heaters in winter - and the Sunday roasts some of the best in north London.

Wenlock Arms – Angel

You won’t get a pub sandwich or a Sunday lunch at the Wenlock – which is one of the only pubs in the city that doesn’t serve food – but you will find one of the finest ranges of real ales on offer anywhere in the capital. In fact as soon as you walk through the door the focus of this super traditional pub becomes clear as the lengthy row of hand pumps demonstrates its commitment to providing a range of proper drinks without any of the fuss and bother of sandwiches, cocktails or wasabi nuts. It’s not a glamorous location but it’s a good, old-fashioned pub in every sense, from the proper drinks through to the vintage décor and the house darts team.

The Euston Tap – Euston

No one is claiming that Euston station is a pretty location but if you’re looking for something beautiful in the glass rather than outside it then this is exactly the right destination for you. The Euston Tap is extremely convenient, transport wise, and so dedicated to beer that it has its own beer policy, which is neatly summed up as quality, variety and integrity. They have no affiliation with any particularly brewery and so you’ll never be forced into drinking low quality, mass-produced beers again and you’re just a quick stumble from the tube on the way home.

If you’re looking for the best spots in London for a pint of real ale then these are some of the finest. From local gems through to old school establishments there are many more real ale spots in London than most people anticipate, and certainly enough to justify a couple of exploratory pub crawls.

Amy is a guest blogger from London daily deals site, Deal Zippy who have a wide choice of deals on London pubs and bars, updated daily.

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The best specialist bars in London

The best specialist bars in London

With approximately 7000 bars and public houses, London is a haven for drinking enthusiasts. With so many to choose from, though, it can be a daunting (and expensive!) task to unearth the hidden gems in the London bar scene.

To help you out and get you started, I've listed some of the very best specialist bars in London. For a bit of variety, I've picked one bar per specialty – so if I've missed one of your favourite London watering holes please add them to the list using the comments at the bottom…


London is full of very refined and sophisticated champagne bars – and tourists don’t have to travel very far to find one of the very best, seeing as it’s in St Pancras International Train Station! Searcys Champagne Bar is renowned as the longest champagne bar in Europe, and its modernist design, coupled with the stunning St Pancras architecture, makes for a truly memorable drinking experience.


If you’re into your whisky, then Albannach in Trafalgar Square is for you. Their Scotch whisky list is handily split into the different Scottish regions – which amounts to over 120 different whisky variations for you to try! They also offer very reasonably priced Whisky Flights, which can either come pre-determined or you can make your own flight using 5 whiskies of your own choosing.


If you like a certain atmosphere and lots of history with your wine, then you’ll love Gordon’s Wine bar (47 Villiers Street, WC2N 6NE) – which is situated so far underground you can hear the humming of underground trains as they pass by! Don’t let that put you off though, as the unique underground atmosphere, rich history (both Samuel Pepys and Rudyard Kipling were known to frequent Gordon’s) and unrivalled selection and knowledge of wine make this the perfect destination for wine connoisseurs.

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