The bar at Caravan
With a terrace onto Granary Square, Caravan combines a stripped-back industrial aesthetic with a bustling open kitchen. Come for the buzzy atmosphere, the people-watching (Central Saint Martins is in the building) and a cracking playlist to accompany your drinks. The drinks list is surprisingly well-stocked, and a nice complement to its ‘well-travelled’ food menu. There are a few familiar favourites, but we suggest you skip those and try some of the more unconventional options. You’ll find cocktails infused with bee pollen, dehydrated blood orange, smoked cumin salt and delicious absinthe-macerated blackberries. It’s well worth being adventurous. Try: Dante’s Reserve, Caravan coffee-infused bourbon, muscovado and orange bitters. Find Caravan, at 1 Granary Square.
The Permit Room at Dishoom
Prepare to be transported to colonial-era Bombay – this Indian eatery is styled after the Irani cafés that were once part of the fabric of life in the city. The food has people queuing up most nights of the week. However the basement bar, The Permit Room, is worth a visit in its own right. Here the “daru-wallah” mixes some wonderful concoctions in the dimly-lit space. The drinks are inspired by the pre-prohibition scene in Bombay, and the menu sings with traditional ingredients – cardamom, Chai syrup and fiery ginger. Choose from slings, coolers, fizzes, flips and fancies, served over hand-chipped ice and ordered by the ‘peg’ – the traditional Indian liquor measure. Dishoom King’s Cross is at 5 Stable Street.
This is a café by day, bar by night affair, but really, Spiritland is all about the music. The sound system is billed as the best in the world, and the music programming is brilliantly eclectic. You’ll hear everything from dance music to reggae, country to jazz, every night of the week. The cocktails are uncomplicated but well executed – gin is soothed with grapefruit and elderflower, rum is deepened with smoked rosemary and dark chocolate. If you’re going alcohol-free, ask for the mocktail of the day. Don’t think you’ll be heading here to hit the dancefloor, instead, the best way to experience Spiritland is to sip slowly, hang out and enjoy the soundtrack. Try: Queen of Hills. East London dry gin, darjeeling tea liquer, grapefruit, elderflower and hops. Find Spiritland at 9 – 10 Stable Street
The Meister Bar at German Gymnasium
D&D London has done the seemingly impossible and made dining and drinking in this former Victorian gymnasium feel intimate. By carving the cathedral-like building into a series of softly lit spaces, they’ve created a stunning venue that was recently voted the world’s most beautiful restaurant. In the dining room, pair your meal with something sophisticated from the Royal menu, or kick off date night with a tipple from ‘Short and Seductive’. If you’re just visiting for drinks, then head straight upstairs to the Meister Bar. Here dramatic vaulted ceilings and sumptuous leather booths set the scene. Cocktails are served in vintage glasses, and the expert bartenders oversee a short but innovative cocktail list. Try: Perfect Blossoming. Babicka vodka, Solerno blood orange liquer and freshly pressed lime juice. German Gymnasium, 1 King’s Boulevard.
This perfectly-located pub and restaurant spans the entire edge of Granary Square on one side and Regent’s Canal on the other. With floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor seating on three levels, the views are hard to beat. The super friendly staff are on hand to help navigate the cocktail menu, which is pleasantly quirky. Brunel’s Brew, for example, lists Guinness as one of its core ingredients, topped up with Barcadi Carta Oro, apricot, agave, egg white and lemon – potent, but yummy. All the classics are available, but where’s the fun in that?
Try: The unappetisingly named but delectable Canal Water – Woodford Reserve, matcha tea, yuzu sake, egg white and elderflower. The Lighterman, 3 Granary Square.
Granger and Co.
This bright, airy all-day eatery has full-height windows looking out onto Pancras Square. The setting is cheerful and the decor draws inspiration from ltalian train stations of the 1980s – with terrazzo floors, a wood-panelled ceiling, retro lamps and elegant leather banquettes. On sunnier days, the little piazza is a lovely spot for al fresco drinks. The cocktails are deliberately stripped back – simple combinations designed to make the ingredients sing. Think gin with raspberry and mint, and tequila topped up with watermelon, blueberries and lime. The ingredients are well-sourced and fanatically fresh, resulting in some really exciting flavours.
Try: Lady Grey Sour. Lady Grey Sipsmith gin, lemon, agave and grapefruit bitters. Granger and Co., Unit 1 Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Square N1c 4AG
If you’ve just stepped off the train at King’s Cross, you don’t have to look far for a great cocktail bar. The glamorous GNH bar opens directly onto the station concourse. The bar is part of the revamped Great Northern Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel that first opened its doors in 1854, and was the work of Lewis Cubitt, the architect of many of the iconic buildings at King’s Cross. The bar welcomes travellers from 7am, with a gourmet menu and decadent cocktails served until late. Glittering chandeliers and moody decor evoke early 20th Century Paris. The styling includes a gorgeous corridor resembling a vintage train – find it on the way to the loos! The drinks list captures the hotel’s characterful heritage with the 1854, King’s Garden, The Voyager, and the Lady Violet, a notorious resident from the hotel’s glory days. Try: Mind the Gap. El Jimador Blanco shaken together with cinnamon syrup, cranberry and lemon juice. GNH Bar, Great Northern Hotel, Kings Cross Station.
Drake & Morgan
Head down the stairs from the main dining room and you’ll find Drake & Morgan’s destination bar. Perfect for an after-work, choose between the timeless classics, heritage cocktails, or go for something unexpected from the “inspired” list. Don’t plan to call in for just one though. On the menu are ‘sharers’ and ‘punches’ designed for two or four people, and the accompanying bar food calls for a crowd, with five varieties of heaped sharing platters. Cocktails continue to flow at the weekend.
Try: Death or Glory. Coffee-washed Bulleit bourbon, peach, lemon & old fashioned bitters. Drake & Morgan, Pancras Square.
Searcy’s Champagne Bar
On the Upper Concourse of the stunning St. Pancras Station sits hidden gem, Searchy’s Champagne Bar. Whether you are being whisked away for a romantic weekend in Paris, or just heading home from work on a rainy Friday, upgrade your commute with a stop at this elegant, art-deco inspired Champagne and oyster bar. Searcy’s is the longest champagne bar in Europe and offers a breathtaking view of the historic station. There is (naturally) a huge range of champagne, as well as classic cocktails. But really, you can’t leave without opting for a cocktail with a little fizz – just hit the ‘press for champagne’ button in one of the stylish booths for service. Try: The Grand. Grand Marnier, vodka, peach schnapps, 24 Carat gold leaf, brown sugar and Champagne. Fancy the fizz without the buzz? Go for a Raspberry fizz: raspberry puree, lime juice and fresh lemonade. Searcy’s Champagne Bar, St. Pancras International Station.
Granary Square Brasserie
What makes a great cocktail bar? What ingredients are making waves in the cocktail world? and, most importantly, what should we order at the bar? All these questions and more were put to William Beatty, bar manager at Granary Square Brasserie by food writer Rebecca Seal. Read the interview, and discover why he thinks London is the best place in the world to have at tipple…
Try The Granary – Loveage infused vodka, Kummel, Celery bitters and lovage powder. Granary Square Brasserie is at 1-3 Stable Street.