It’s LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK 2017! How did that happen? Seems like only yesterday I was playing chicken bingo with Dewar’s Whisky, drinking Vestal Vodka martinis on a canal boat, and analysing my thoughts at the Hendrick’s Institute of Dreams (see how #LCW16 went down here). So, what’s in store this year? As usual, 250+ bars across the capital are offering up unique serves throughout the week for £6 (a slight increase on last year), there’s a tonne of exciting popups, bar takeovers and events, and the magnificent Cocktail Village is back again in Old Spitalfields Market. Head to the website here for all the info.
What’s new? No more wristbands! #LCW17 has gone digital – you can buy your digital pass here which you can then access on the free DrinkUp.London app. Also, the cocktail village is now ticketed in the evening – after 5pm, tickets are £5 if bought in advance with a digital pass, or £10 if you want to chance it on the door. What’s the plan? Up to you, but here are a few things that I’m hoping to check out…
The Cocktail Village | Old Spitalfields Market | Mon 2 Oct – Sun 8 Oct
The sprawling maze of pop-up cocktail bars, experiences and food vendors in Old Spitalfields Market is unmissable. This year, it’s split into two sessions – free from 12pm-4.30pm, and then ticketed from 5pm-9.30pm. Grab a ticket for £5 in advance with the free DrinkUp.London app, or queue and pay £10 on the door. N.B. Both sessions on Saturday are ticketed, and on Sunday there is just one ticketed session, from 12pm-6pm. I’m going to head straight to FeverTree’s #MixInTheDark escape room, before relaxing in the Kyrö Distillery Company Sauna Bar.
Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, E1 6EW
Mon 2nd Oct – Fri 6th Oct | 12pm-4pm (Free entry), 5.30pm-9.30pm (£5/£10) || Sat 7th Oct | 12pm-4.30pm (£5/£10) || Sun 8th Oct | 12pm-6pm (£5/£10) – tickets here
Occupy Scout by Operation Dagger | Scout | Mon 2 Oct – Sun 8 Oct
There are many bar takeovers worth checking out during #LCW17, but you’re most likely to find me at Matt Whiley’s Scout on Great Eastern Street. The team from Operation Dagger in Singapore are in town, showcasing a selection of Woodford Reserve cocktails in Scout’s basement, whilst upstairs the fine folk from Scout have created unique Bombay Sapphire drinks. This takeover is part of Woodford Reserve’s “Woodford Alliance” events which also sees Satan’s Whiskers host Tales and Spirits from Amsterdam on Monday, and Three Sheets welcome New York’s Employees Only bartenders on Tuesday. P.S. You might also be interested in the Dead Rabbit takeover at The Sun Tavern – more info here.
Scout, 93 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3JD
Mon 2 Oct – Sun 8 Oct | From 5pm | Free entry
Secret Breakfast | Magpie | Mon 2nd Oct – Fri 6th Oct
Fancy some Talisker cocktails over breakfast? Magpie and Diageo’s Ali Reynolds have you covered from 8am-10.30am, Monday-Friday this week. Book yourself in for sneaky sips of twists on the Bloody Mary and a Morning Glory Fizz from Magpie’s special #LCW17 menu. Also, Ali will be joining the Magpie crew behind the bar on the evening of Friday 6th October if you don’t make it for the early shift.
Magpie, 10 Heddon Street, W1B 4BX
Mon 2nd Oct – Fri 6th Oct | 8am-10.30am | Reserve a breakfast spot here
Trash Tiki – Anti-Waste Pop-Up | Nelsons Head Basement | Tue 3 – Sun 8 Oct
Globally touring Trash Tiki is returning home for #LCW17. A pop-up and online platform founded by Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths, Trash Tiki creates all of the ingredients for a tiki bar from off-cuts, unsold products and other raw materials that would otherwise end up in the bin to raise awareness of the amounts of waste produced by the food and drink industry every day. To prove their point, the entire pop-up will be run from the food and drink waste donated by vendors at The Cocktail Village.
Nelsons Head, 32 Horatio Street, E2 7SB
Tue 3rd Oct – Sun 8th Oct | 5pm-11.30pm | Free entry
Cocoa-Skye | Black Rock | Tue 3 Oct
For one evening only, and for just £15, Thom Solberg of Black Rockis pairing four whiskies from Talisker with four chocolates from Cocoa Runners, with a cocktail thrown in for good measure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot in this fantastic bar asap before they are all gone. And whilst you are there, you should probably drop in to Black Rock’s sister bars, Sack & Devil’s Darling, for some more £6 #LCW17 signature serves. P.S. Devil’s Darling have a similarly wonderful event on Thu 5th Oct, with a 5-course cocktail tasting menu set to a soundtrack of vinyl records – more info on that here.
Black Rock, 9 Christopher Street, EC2A 2BS
Tue 3rd Oct | 6pm-8pm | £15 – email email@example.com to reserve a spot
The Scotch Egg Club Emporium | TT Liquor | Tue 3rd Oct & Wed 4th Oct
Dewar’s Whisky’s Scotch Egg Club was one of the hits of last year’s cocktail village in Old Spitalfields Market. This year, they’ve moved their Scotch Egg Club Emporium to TT Liquor in Dalston for two nights of whisky, chicken and games set across three rooms. Expect some raucous chicken bingo, whisky and scotch egg pairings, crafty cocktails, a chicken photo coop, whisky highball pong, and more.
TT Liquor, 17B Kingsland Road, E2 8AA
Tue 3rd Oct & Wed 4th Oct | 6pm-12pm | Free – £12 – more pricing info here
Hendrick’s Air Departure Lounge | The Golden Pineapple | Sat 7th Oct & Sun 8th Oct
Hendrick’s have a great reputation for creating ridiculous, immersive experiences. The Hendrick’s Institute of Dreams was the highlight of #LCW16 for me, and their musical cucumber popup at the RHS Urban Gardening Show earlier this year was nothing short of genius. For the last two days of #LCW17, they are inviting us to their departure lounge at The Golden Pineapple on Brick Lane: “Hendrick’s will be whisking our international guests to the airport after a series of innovative therapies, treatments and polite diversions, while local guests can also enjoy all of the wondrous benefits of the lounge.”
The Golden Pineapple, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL
Sat 7th Oct | 10am-8pm || Sun 8th Oct | 10pm-6pm | Free entry – apply for your lounge access card here
Tequila & Mezcal Fest | Old Truman Brewery | Sat 7th Oct & Sun 8th Oct
If you love agave as much as I do, you’ll want to head over to the Old Truman Brewery at the weekend for Tequila & Mezcal Fest 2017. There will be over 50+ of Mexico’s best agave spirits to sample, distillers to meet, superior street food from the likes of Temper, seminars, secret speakeasy bars, live music, boozy cocktails and even an Aztec ceremony or two. £20 tickets include a welcome cocktail.
The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, E1 6RU
Sat 7th Oct | 12pm-9.30pm || Sun 8th Oct | 1pm-7pm | £20 – tickets here
Bad Sports x Candelaria | Bad Sports | Sun 8th Oct
Finish off #LCW17 in style by heading over to Bad Sports on Hackney Road for one-off night of fun with the wonderful team from Candelaria in Paris, set over two floors. Upstairs, you can expect the usual awesome Bad Sports tacos, with a few Candelaria favourites thrown in. And downstairs, there’s a full Candelaria food takeover with drinks specials from both bars. See you there.
Bad Sports, 184 Hackney Rd, E2 7QL
Sun 8th Oct | From 6.30pm | Free entry
That should be enough to keep you busy! I’ll either update this article with pictures as I go this week, or upload them to a separate #LCW17 highlights post. Keep an eye on my Instagram stories here for live updates throughout the week!
London Cocktail Week 2017 – drinkup.london/cocktailweek
P.S. Most of the images and flyers used in this post came from the #LCW17 website!