As UK hospitality slowly wakes up from lockdown, sadly slower than originally anticipated, there are a slew of new bars to go out and celebrate in. From new hotel classics to neighbourhood joints, Millie Milliken rounds up 12 new bars to visit in 2021.
As if opening an existing bar after being locked down for the best part of 18 months isn’t stressful enough, some madcap bar operators have decided to open brand new offerings – and it’s just the (nearly) end-of-lockdown news we needed.
Some of the biggest names in hospitality have given 2021 the boozy boost it needed – from the Nomad London to the Schofield brothers (who are also well known for their Schofield vermouth), and the kings of modern Irish hospitality – and we’ve rounded up some of the ones on our list, as well as a couple coming soon. So, get your diaries out – you’re in for a treat.
12 new bars to visit in 2021
Best for… the very cool kids: Side Hustle, NoMad Hotel, London WC2
Arguably the most exciting hotel opening in London, nay, the world, is the new NoMad Hotel in Covent Garden. Although the atrium restaurant and bar has taken Insta by storm, it is its darker little sister, Side Hustle that has had bar folk descend on the old police station the hotel is housed in. British-pub-meets-New-York is the vibe (the hotel’s NYC outpost is legendary) and the menu is split nicely between classics and new creations with a leaning towards agave spirits. Under the watchful eye of bar director Pietro Collina, it’s no wonder this place is the spot to be this summer.
Best for… classics lovers: Schofield’s Bar and Atomeca, Manchester
It’s hard to believe that the brothers behind one of this year’s most anticipated openings haven’t owned their own bar before. And not content with opening just one after a national lockdown, Joe and Daniel Schofield have gone and opened two. First up, is Schofield’s Bar. Classic in its stylings (white stone façade, a large glass entrance, white aprons) the menu comprises 12 classics – from Gin Fizzes to Daiquiris – and an additional 12 of the brothers’ creations. Second is Atomeca, a slightly more reserved but no less impressive small plates, wine and cocktail bar.
Best for… inquisitive drinkers: A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London E2
With this latest opening, bar mavericks Remy Savage and Paul Lougrat have taken their inspiration from the Bauhaus art movement of 20th century Germany and the ever-changing cocktail world. The coloured shapes above its door makes it instantly recognisable while also paying homage to artist Kandinsky. The team have already been causing a frenzy in the drinks world with their colourful, playful and scaled-back menu, innovative creations and what now, even after a few weeks of opening, feel like signature staff boiler suits. Get yourselves to 232 Kingsland Road. Now.
Best for… agave-spirits lovers: Mezcaleria, Kol Restaurant, London W1
This mezcal bar headed up by bartender extraordinaire Maxim Schulte (previously of the American Bar at The Savoy) is a very exciting addition to London’s burgeoning agave-centred bar scene. Part of Kol restaurant, headed by chef Santiago Lastra who champions Mexican food using British ingredients, Mezcaleria has over 70 different agave spirits on the menu (arranged by agave species) as well as a range of cocktails that include Schulte’s twists on classics, such as a French 75 using sea buckthorn espadin mezcal, sea buckthorn, Nixta corn liqueur and sparkling wine. Salud!
Best for… Irish whiskey heads: Homeboy Embassy Gardens, London SW11
Another bar that had drinkers itching to get out of lockdown is the new Homeboy bar from Irish duo Ciaran Smith and Aaron Wall. A larger offering than their Islington original, the new Embassy Gardens venue has more of an all-day vibe to it with an extensive food menu alongside the boys’ signature Irish whiskey-focused offering. 150 bottles of the stuff line the statement back bar while classics from the original such as the lads’ signature Irish Coffee feature alongside new creations, some with rather Insta-friendly glassware. And I think it might be illegal to visit without ordering a pint of Guinness and a bag of Tato crisps.
Best for… the after-work crowd: Lost Cat and Junior Jacksons, Manchester
Yet another double act of openings from Manchester, this time from tastemaker Lyndon Higginson (of Bunny Jaksons and Crazy Pedro fame). Housed on separate floors of the same building, the two bars are signature Higginson with neighbourhood vibes and fun events. On the ground level, Lost Cat serves up fun cocktails featuring ingredients like carrot cake syrup, cream cheese foam and miso caramel; downstairs, Junior Jacksons is the spot for bourbon and beer lovers, while both joints offer drink-friendly food from bagels to burgers.
Best for… savouring ingredients: Publiq, London W8
Positioned to be a modern British public house, this new opening from Greg Almeida and Charles Montanaro (the minds behind some of London’s most regarded hospitality joints) has already gathered copious amounts of praise from the drinks industry. When it comes to food, guests can expect regularly changing seasonal plates, but let’s focus on the drinks. Nine, seasonally driven cocktails sit on the menu including a Beetroot and Rosehip Highball, Lemongrass and Caao Gimlet and a Tumeric and Kumquat Negroni. There’s also an interesting wine list from countries including Morocco to Slovakia.
Best for… modern pub fans: The Cadogan Arms, London SW3
The Kings Road institution is being readied for reopening after new investment. A dream team of hospitality names are behind the project including James Knappet whose Kitchen Table holds two Michelin stars, while the drinks offering will be cask and craft ales alongside an extensive wine list and contemporary cocktails. Opening July 2021
Best for… those after a new regular: Fox and Chance, Birmingham
Opening soon at 45 Pinfold Street, Fox and Chance has kept a relatively low profile, but looks set to be an enchanting new addition to the Birmingham drinking scene. Teaser cocktails on its social channels showcase serves like The Flip & Pip (banana-infused rum, maple syrup and stout), a Stone Fence and a rather slick looking Espresso Martini.
Best for… natural wine inquisitors: aspen & meursault, London SW11
A new minimal intervention wine bar, café and shop is coming from Sunny Hodge, the man behind Elephant & Castle’s destination wine bar, Diogenes the Dog. The new venture in Battersea will looks to demystify the natural wine trend with a list including biodynamic Champagne and Franciacorta, orange wines plus low-intervention classics from around the world, even Wales. Opening August 2021