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Best Openings of 2017

2017 saw a slew of openings across London, as most years do, this is one of the world’s best gastronomic and cocktail capitals after all. Possibly the best – we certainly think so.

But a few stood out as truly unique and wonderful additions to the London scene. If you haven’t been yet get yourself down to the best openings of 2017:

With a concept based around the much underappreciated Normandy apple orchards and their incredible cidre – closer to wine than the overly fizzy two litre bottles that possibly spring to mind, available in every good corner shop – as well as this cidre’s distilled and mildly aged calvados, Coupette is a breath of fresh air for the Bethnal Green, and indeed London, bar scene. Of course Coupette isn’t just here for a glass of cidre and a shot of Normandy brandy. Tucked inside its cocktail menu are drinks ranging from vodka and ice cream concoctions to those with some serious nightcap strength, all served in its elegant yet paired back venue, complete with a bar top is made of old French coins.
Mint Gun Club

Mint Gun Club, in Stoke Newington has a very unique feel for London – it’s comfy but not in a basement, candle-lit and velvet curtain way. Instead it’s as if you’ve been welcomed into the light, airy kitchen of your favourite chef with their entire pantry to play with and none of the washing up. But no mistaking, this is still a bar. Open from midday you can pop in to enjoy teas, spreads, breads and exotic toppings with a book or your laptop. Come evening it’s all about the £5 Gimlets, given a thorough rework by the team and owner Rich Hunt, to include the likes of shiso tonic cordial or Cornish manuka flower. Aperitifs are light, fragrant and the long tonics and sodas are where you should certainly linger though, with not an ingredient wasted. This is the bar of a very welcoming, humble genius. Go and pay homage.
Eve Bar

Sitting snug beneath Adam Handling's new flagship restaurant The Frog in Covent Garden, the booze team here are inventive as they are hospitable. You'll find imaginative cocktails all served up inside this intimate and warm venue. The perfect pitstop on your night out in central London. 
Devil’s Darling

Devil's Darling looks unlike any cocktail bar you'll have drunk in. The tables feel as if you're in a comedy or jazz club with their kitsch lamps and pinned tableclothes - and the snack bowls, resembling Indian restaurant dip containers, only add to this vibe. Seriously it feels as if you're awaiting papadums and a stand up routine and yet it all looks very sleek and purposeful. The menu rotates daily, recommending three classics a day and always featuring something long and refeshing, something sharp and boozy and a cocktail that sits perfectly in the middle. Apart from these you can, of course, have anything and trust it will be executed perfectly. Great cocktails, a vinyl record playlist and a style of service we wish there was more of in London - Devil's Darling is a destination in its own right. 

An authentic sherry bar meets disco vibes - not many people could dream up such a fantastic idea for a bar. SACK is everything that bizarre combination promises, with an impressive range of sherry from across the bodegas of Jerez served in The Napoleon's rustic ground floor bar complete with barrels, cheese and jamon. The walls are littered with pictures the owners have taken from trips across the south of Spain and iconic images from Studio 54. So while you're there sipping manzanilla and wondering if your tastebuds are ready for an amontillado you'll be accompanied by some seriously throwback tunes. Quiet afternoons give way to the buzz of Jerez's flamenco bars after sundown when the locals are all sipping their favourite fortifed wine and enjoying the music. We'd argue disco tunes are a step better for London and could confidentally say SACK is DrinkUp's new favourite bar. 
Super Lyan

When White Lyan closed its doors early 2017 no one knew what to expect next. With upstairs remaining shut as it transformed into Cub, downstairs had a rapid makeover into what we all now know and love as Super Lyan. Intimate in space but bold on personality this cosy den serves up imaginative and daring twists on the classic cannon of cocktails. There’s the usual Lyan-esque bizarre ingredients but more importantly the liquid is tasty, the service is friendly and it’s the type of bar we’d happily come back to night after night. In fact that’s exactly what we do.
Cub is a restaurant unlike any you will ever eat at it, disguised in the skin and flesh of every other restaurant in town. There is a kitchen, chefs, tables and chairs. There is food and booze – but not as you know it. Instead Cub blurs the lines of bartenders and chefs and pushes sustainability into new realms. With a set menu that charts across five dishes and six drinks, each element is carefully considered for flavour, texture and its impact in the world. Book in for the full experience or come later in the evening for a few dishes and drinks – either way come with an open mind and prepare for something truly special. Just don’t expect meat.
Opening in April of 2017 this bar in Shoreditch comes to us from Talented Mr Fox, aka Matt Whiley who was behind Peg + Patriot (now closed) in Bethnal Green and who also just released his first cocktail book. So there’s some clout and pedigree behind the venture, no doubt. Scout is different to most bars in the area in so much as it doesn’t cater to the weekend crowd of cheap shots and bad music that Shoreditch succumbs too, hence we like it even more. Drinks here range from the ferments, local produce turned into outrageously good wine-like beverages, and cocktails that play into a closed loop system, ensuring almost every single part of the fruit and veg that enters Scout’s door is consumed. Snacks are delicious and the Spartan like space with deep booths and light wood keeps everything feeling intensely modern. Unique, certainly, but also fabulous for flavour and still in keeping with the essentials of a bar – hospitality and booze.
undefinedStill Water
Stillwater is a proper local’s watering-hole brought to the south-west by two of the best known names in the business, Dan Priseman of ex-NOLA and Four Roses fame and Simon Webster, from BarLife UK. Inside it’s pretty stripped back with brown leather booth seating, blue walls and not much in the way of décor – the bar itself is by far the sexiest part, it’s all glass shelves, mirrors, candles and liquid illuminated by the flickering light. And then there’s the drinks themselves, a list full of classics such as Brambles and Sherry Cobblers as well as some fantastical collusions where the Piña Colada meets an Old Fashioned and a Grasshopper gets a boozy tequila makeover. They’re not reinventing the wheel but down in this neck of the woods you get the feeling they’re demonstrating it for the first time.
When Giles Coren raves about you in The Times and Grace Dent similarly waxes lyrical in the Evening Standard it’s fair to say you know you’re doing something right. Ceremony is NW5’s best opening to date we’d say, well beyond 2017, serving up modern British vegetarian dishes and delicious drinks to locals and destination diners alike. With wholesome and hearty options, boozy brunches and late(ish) night cocktails, this place is fun, noisy and vibrant. Book in for dinner, swing by for drinks and be sure to grab your pals together for one of the best brunches in north London… maybe even the whole capital.
undefinedThe Other Naughty Piglet
Coming to us from inside Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new theatre, this is, as the name hints, the second Naughty Piglet – the first is found in Brixton and clearly Lord Webber like it so much he invited them in to play with the big boys in St James. Owned by sommelier Margaux (nee Aubry) and her husband chef Joe Sharratt, both the food and the wine seek perfect equality as an attraction – think modern British plates meet the best in the way of bio-dynamic and organic grapes. In fact both Jay Rayner and Fay Mascheler thought so too. And we’d never argue with them.
Canova Hall

A second site by Hackney’s Martello Hall, this time south of the river, Canova Hall is, in a word, relaxed. A huge sweeping bar dominates the place, sending out classic cocktails, wine from the tap and even absinthe which they serve a la francais. It’s buzzy, ambient and friendly and there’s even well-made pizzas to mop up all that booze. A perfect addition to Brixton’s growing scene.