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Friday, 30 October 2015

London's Bottle Shop Bars

Another collaborative post with Jezza from www.beerguideldn.com (@BeerGuideLondon). He is one of a select group of London heroes that keep me in the know in their respective fields, and his guide to pubs and breweries in London is second-to-none. Most of the words are from Jezza and most of the photos are from me.

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Visiting New York a few years ago I - and other beer tourists - noticed a sudden proliferation of a new type of beer place. These are essentially beer shops which allow customers to choose any bottle from the shelves and drink it on site. Later versions often included a bespoke bar offering draft beers, which doubled up as a growler filling station for off sales. In short, they were a perfect illustration of what I will call - for the purposes of this article - 'bottle shop bars': a combination of a bottle shop and a bar.

Like most good American ideas it didn't take long for this concept to reach the UK, and in London we now have a number of rather excellent establishments offering variations on this basic concept. The most fully developed example is probably Mother Kelly's in Bethnal Green, but this is definitely more of a fully fledged bar with a bottle shop rather than bottle shop with a bar. Visit and you'll see what I mean.


At the other end of the scale - bottle shops with on site drinking possibilities - here are some of London's best:

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We Brought Beer - 28 Hildreth St, SW12 9RQ / 78 St John's Hill, SW11 1SF

Opened in Balham earlier in 2015, this smart and deceptively simple place has been such a stunning success that their second branch opened this week (Weds 28 October) offering around 450 beers in Clapham Junction (78 St John's Hill, SW11 1SF). The new site is bigger than the original, with a heated garden out back and a useful tasting room upstairs for 'meet the brewer' events and brewing workshops. Both outposts have 4 draft lines for growler fills and that all important on site drinking.

In Balham, on hip Hildreth Street, there's an immaculate range of 350 top quality bottles from around the world. Grab a beer and a stool, sit down and enjoy whilst perusing the fine range on the shelves. Rarities from Port Brewing, AleSmith and Hopping Frog are typical of the US selection, complemented by a great choice from the UK in the overall range.

Order beers online at Hubbub and enter WBB20 to get £20 off  your first order





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Hop Burns and Black - 38 East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AX - Closed Mondays

This smart but cosy and welcoming shop between East Dulwich and Peckham Rye opened at the tail end of 2014 but already feels like a well established part of the London beer scene. New Zealanders Jen and Glenn are incredibly friendly hosts, organising regular special events to go alongside their excellent range of high quality beers from around the world, hot sauces and vinyl (these three elements giving the shop its quirky but accurate name).

New outside seating - with heaters for the winter - provide additional space in which to enjoy a beer. And just check out that amazing flagon filling station - a state of the art beauty offering an eclectic and top quality range of fine draft beers to take away and enjoy at home.

Order beers online at Hubbub and enter HBURNS20 to get £20 off  your first order




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The Bottle Shop - 128 Druid Street, SE1 2HH - Saturdays only

Druid Street is perhaps the epicentre of the famous Bermondsey Beer Mile, being home to two breweries and the excellent Bottle Shop. This is a great example of a bottle shop bar. You can choose from any of the 200+ bottles and drink them here - or choose one of the ever changing drafts. Enjoy your beer in the seating area high up on the mezzanine level. With regular tap takeovers and 'meet the brewer' events with some of the country's best breweries, and an outstanding selection of bottles, you are sure to find something of interest here. Note the restricted opening hours, which are listed in our Guide entry here (currently open Saturday only).

Order beers online at www.bottle-shop.co.uk and get 15% off with a BottShop15 code

Photo taken by The Bottle Shop

Photo taken by The Bottle Shop
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The Hop Locker - Southbank Centre Market, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX - Friday-Sunday 

Being a market stall in the bustling Southbank Centre market, just behind the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, The Hop Locker is a variation on the theme. However, as it offers drafts and bottles to drink at the market it still fits the bill of being a 'bottle shop bar' selling the best of UK beer to take away or drink on site. The range is expanding all the time and knowledgeable owner Joel now offers around 50 bottles and 8 constantly changing draft lines. While The Hop Locker only serves beer, there are plenty of food options from the other market stalls - many of them excellent. Wrap up warm over the next few months, however, as the drinking here is necessarily all outdoors. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday only at the time of writing.




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The Wanstead Tap - 352 Winchelsea Road, E7 0AQ - Closed Mondays

Another variation on the theme, The Wanstead Tap is many things under one roof: bottle shop; bar; 
coffee shop; events space; cinema and general community space. While it may sound like it's trying to be all things to all people, they appear to do all these things well: the beer range is over 100 and very high quality, at excellent prices. So it's well worth the 10 minute walk from Forest Gate or Wanstead Park stations, but check the opening times carefully before you set off.

Photo provided by @BonsVoeux1

Photo provided by The Wanstead Tap

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The Beer Boutique - 134 Upper Richmond Rd, SW15 2SP

Belgian Marc opened The Beer Boutique in 2010 in between East Putney and Putney stations. It got off to a slow start, fighting over licence issues, but has grown into a fantastic bottle shop with 400+ beers and two (very affordable) draft lines. There's a reasonable 25p corkage charge to drink in, which won't bother you greatly if you are tucking in to sharing bottles from the likes of The Bruery and Rodenbach.

Much like Hop, Burns & Black, they have a fondness for vinyl, though it's not on sale here. It's one of the more homely bottle shops on the list - a place you'll want to spend all day in. Keep your eyes peeled for events and tastings on their website.

Opening times: Sun-Wed 12-8, Thu 12-9, Fri 12-9.30, Sat 11-9.30

Order beers online at www.thebeerboutique.co.uk




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Drink of Fulham - 349 Fulham Palace Rd, SW6 6TB - Closed Mondays

Technically called Dr.Ink of Fulham, this friendly bottle shop was ahead of its time when it opened in 2010, allowing customers to open bottles on-site to drink in the heated front garden, at no extra cost. On top of that, owner Shrila sells her own freshly made Gujurati curry pastes on a daily basis, and wonderful snacks on Saturdays (70p samosas!). To drink, you'll find world beers from the likes of Mikkeller, De Molen and Ballast Point alongside a wide range of British ales and craft beers. It's not the easiest place to get to, but it's worth the 10-15 minute walk from Putney Bridge and Parsons Green tube stations. The 220, 430 and 74 buses go very close too.

Opening times - Tue-Fri 2-8, Sat 11.30-8, Sun 12-4




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Thanks to Jezza for writing the majority of this post. His guide to pubs and breweries in London can be found online at: www.beerguideldn.com

The site contains full details of Mother Kelly's, We Brought Beer, Hop Burns and Black, The Hop Locker, The Bottle Shop and The Wanstead Tap – including opening times, which you should check carefully while planning any visits. You can also follow Jezza on Twitter @beerguidelondon or @bonsvoeux1 for frequent updates.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read our recent post on Beer on the Southbank, and Jezza's up-to-date guide to the Bermondsey Beer Mile.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Matt The Jaunts : London Fields to Hackney Wick

Matt The Jaunts preamble: Whenever I take Matt The List abroad (keep an eye out for #MattTheTrips on Twitter / Instagram) we fit in as much as possible each day, from the pre-brunch coffee and doughnut (two separate stops of course) right through to the final nightcap at a 4am bar or a late night pizza delivery (thank God for Sizzle Pie).

Highlights have included 15 food & booze stops and as many miles of walking on my first day in NYC with Tim back in 2014, and similar hauls more recently in Paris and Portland (Oregon) with a strong team, all of which deserve proper posts on here at some point.

After a silly summer of travelling and ticking off a tonne of places (including 120 joints around West Coast USA in 14 days), visiting American friends inspired us to embark on similar outings around London.  It's an expensive game, and particularly exhausting for those with hefty work schedules, but we always love London a little bit more after an epic day out exploring.

So that's what Matt The Jaunts is...

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Route 1 : London Fields to Hackney Wick

Mentmore Terrace in London Fields

10.30am - Two tubes, two buses, and a train later, and boom I'm in London Fields. Just like that. Our first stop is Patty & Bun 'The Arch' on Mentmore Terrace.  All-time leading points scorer Tim is already seated and has got his legs out. 

Brunch buns are served from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and 10am-7pm Sunday, otherwise it's Smokey Robinson burgers all round. I power through a magnificent Smoked Ox Cheek, Scrambled Egg, Westcombe Cheddar & Pickled Chilli Bun (£6.50) whilst Tim desperately tries to contain Cheesy Scrambled Egg, Smoked Guacamole, Slow Roasted Tomatoes & Spring Onion Creme Fraiche (£5.50). Delicious carnage. Allpress Filter coffee with unlimited refills for £2 doesn't hurt either.

Smoked Ox Cheek Bun with Scrambled Egg, Westcombe Cheddar & Pickled Chilli at Patty & Bun "The Arch"

11am - We can't resist popping in to E5 Bakehouse next door for a treat. Brunch looks good here too, but on this occasion we come away with a gooey chocolate and sea salt cookie. They are pretty serious about their bread here, and there are often baking and cooking classes to get involved with. If you are craving pizza, pop in here on Sundays (or head to Lardo nearby). E5 Bakehouse is open 7am-7pm every day.

Looking for more coffee stops nearby? Try Climpson's Arch, Bolt or Coffee is My Cup of Tea.

Sea salt and chocolate cookie from E5 Bakehouse

11.30am - Two points already in the bag, and it's time for a loosener. Netil Market is hiding a teeny, tiny brewery and beer shop called ºPlato Brewing and Supplies so we stopped by for some 5% How Now Nut Brown Ale and a 5.4% Tenterhook IPA, direct from the source. Locals Olly and James join us, but they stick to classy cans of Red Stripe from another stall.

Netil Market is a glorious place; possibly London's loveliest little market. Be sure to visit if you haven't before, and start with a Bao bun and a Terrone coffee. It's open every Saturday from 11am-6pm.

Never been round the corner to Broadway Market? Head to The Cat & Mutton for Mother Clucker fried chicken, Hill & Szrok for next-level meat, and Kansas Smitty's for jazz and juleps.

Beer taps at Plato Brewing & Supplies in Netil Market

Plato Brewing & Supplies beers in Netil Market

12pm - Since it's sunny, we head up countless (three) flights of stairs to reach the Netil 360 Rooftop, only to find that it's their "closing party" and £3 entry despite it being a) midday and b) totally empty. No deal. 

We celebrate our combined £12 saving by snacking on artisan croissants and a Breton-style Kouign-amann (key-in-your-man) from Yeast Bakery. N.B. It's only open on Saturdays from 9.30am-5pm (at the time of writing). 

A couple more local London Fields tips: 

- A new bar and restaurant from Night Tales called NT's has just opened with top booze, a great view, and banging food from street food heroes Morty & Bob's. Check out my photos from a recent visit on Matt The Tumblr

Leo Carreira is about to start his residency at Climpson's Arch. Som Saa will be a hard act to follow, but the ex-Viajante chef is more than capable of handling that.

Kouign-amanns from Yeast Bakery

12.30pm - We trade O&J in for Sparkles, an experienced team member from our recent USA road trip, and head down Well Street towards the relatively new Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop. I'm a huge fan of the original Mother Kelly's in Bethnal Green. This little sister site in Homerton is currently just open for bottle sales and growler fills - no drinking in. Ask nicely and you can taste some stuff from the taps. Rumour has it they are converting the basement in to a drinking den. I'll be back. Damn fine bottle selection unsurprisingly.

After something stronger? Head over to Brahms & Liszt on Chatsworth Road for all the Mezcal and more in an off-beat off license and tasting room from Quiquiriqui queen Melanie Symonds.

Growler fill station at Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop

Great sharing bottles at Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop

Cans for the road from Mother Kelly's Bottle Shop

1pm - We purchase some high-class roadie cans for later, and head a few doors down to The Gun, a charming little pub with a vintage façade. The nice lady behind the bar kindly agrees to chill our Mother Kelly's stash whilst we sip on brews from Buxton, Partizan and Pressure Drop, and watch Spurs struggle against City.

1.30pm - Ella comes to join in the fun, and we ascend to The Gun's modest rooftop for a game or two of Shut The Box. I proceed to Batten Down The Hatches at the first time of asking. Downstairs, Spurs have found their shooting boots. It's all coming together.

Anything else nearby? Well Street Kitchen looks friendly, and a new neighbourhood bar called Machine No.3 is opening any day now.

The Gun on Well Street

Shut The Box!

2.30pm - Ella is too good at Shut(ting) The Box so we push on for Hackney Wick with our crafty Mother Kelly's cans, stopping for roadside LPs at Vinyl Pimp and incredibly slow coffees at The Hackney Pearl, a colourful café with lots of al fresco seating.

Seminal records at Vinyl Pimp

The Hackney Pearl

3pm - We level up from a strong quartet to a five-a-side team as List Leader 2013-14 Natalie joins us at Hackney Wick station. We march on to Crate Brewery and Pizzeria for... well, beers and pizza. It's a marvellous spot for outdoor boozing on the canal, especially when the sun is out, though the interior design is worth a look too, as is their Brew-Shed events space down the road.

The core beers are solid if not terribly exciting, though a couple of specials and a Crate sour catch the eye before I realise there are some awesome American bottles in the fridge.  A big bottle of The Bruery Reueze all the way from San Diego is reasonably priced - another beer is ticked off the bucket list.

Their pizzas do the job, though there are many better and less expensive examples of the genre in London these days. Across the car park, Burgerhub are slinging out enormous burgers for £6 - just sayin'. Our sixth and final team member Andy heads straight for it.

Crate Brewery and Pizzeria

A bottle of The Bruery Rueuze from San Diego at Crate Brewery and Pizzeria

Courgette, Feta, Red Onion and Gremolata pizza at Crate Brewery & Pizzeria

4.30pm - Our ultimate stop is the Howling Hops Tank Room bar, where 10 beers are served super fresh, directly from the brewery tanks. It's a beautiful, enormous room, evoking America's spacious brewery taprooms more than our Network Rail cupboards. Howling Hops grew up brewing out of The Cock Tavern's basement, but they have really moved up the property ladder here - something to aspire to!

Howling Hops Tank Room Bar

Howling Hops Tank Room Bar

Tim & Sparkles sharing

Natalie's tankards

Big Ella or small beer?

From Howling Hops, our ninth stop in 6 hours, we all go our separate ways, though there's plenty else nearby to enjoy. Counter Café & Roastery is another special spot on the canal, and you could peek behind the scenes Sandows cold brew coffee brewery and Truman's Beer round the corner if you so wish.

Got some suggestions for additions to this route? Want to send us out around another part of London? Leave comments below and I'll get back to you straight away.

Scores on the doors - 9 food & drink stops, 8 of them new to us: Tim (8), Sparkles (4), Ella (4), Olly (2), James (2), Natalie (1), Andy (1). Check the Team List leaderboard here.

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Coming up on Matt The Jaunts : 

King's Cross to Camden // Duck & Waffle to Dandelyan // Balham to Brixton 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Kyrö Spirits at Opium - Beer & Cheese with Comté - London Cocktail Week Preview - Balcony Booze

Today on the blog, booze and cheese from France to Finland via my balcony plus a look at upcoming London Cocktail Week.


Wednesday 23rd September - I went along to the UK launch of Kyrö Distillery Company at Opium in Chinatown. That’s Kyrö, not Cairo, folks - watch your pronunciation!

Kyrö Distillery Company started distilling rye-based whisky and gin in 2014 in a beautiful old dairy in Isokyrö, Finland.

Former stand-up Mikko (”Two Ks, One Beard” - not to be confused with Mikka or Miko) told us that they hope to be the best known rye distillery by 2022, and they’re off to a flying start with four fantastic products.


Let’s start with the Napue rye gin, named after a fairly disastrous battle for the Finnish back in 1714. It’s a 46.3% beast with 12 dry botanicals plus 4 special extras - meadowsweet, sea buckthorn, cranberries and birch leaves. These are added in distillate form in order to guarantee consistency from the unpredictable foraged botanicals. 

It makes a great G&T - they recently won Best Gin & Tonic at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) after an exhaustive blind-tasting process. It also stands up well in a Tom Collins and a Negroni - my kind of gin.

Then there’s the Koskue - a 42.6% barrel-aged gin that’s more suited to sipping and an Old Fashioned. Meadowsweet is dominant again here.



Juuri (meaning “origin”, or a starter dough for bread) is a 46.3% unaged, new-make whisky, but don’t let that put you off. It’s full of flavour (I got honey on toast mostly) and is best treated like Grappa or Pisco. Sours all the way then.

Finally there’s Verso (or “sprout”) - a 46.5% whisky, aged in white American oak for 4 months in small casks. Expect more honey and rye notes with some oak and sweetness on the nose.


They’ve certainly come a long way since Googling “How to make gin” a couple of years ago. I expect we shall be seeing a lot more of Mikka, Mikko, Miko and co. at Kyrö Distillery Company in the future. For now, pick some of their classy bottles up at The Whisky Exchange or order online at Master of Malt.

Rye Rye!



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Tuesday 22nd September -  Now for some photos and words on an evening of beer and cheese matching with Comté Cheese at La Cave à Fromage in South Kensington, hosted by “curd nerd” Patrick McGuigan.



Comté is a protected cheese from the Jura mountains in East France. Cows produce milk in idyllic conditions - each one must have a minimum of 2.5 acres of pastureland to graze in the warmer months, and they eat local hay in winter, leading eventually to two distinct styles of cheese.

Photo provided by Comté PR

3000 or so small farms supply raw milk (unpasteurised) for around 170 small dairies. Here, the fruitières must craft the milk into cheese within 24 hours. They create curds with rennet, cut them into smaller pieces, and bring them up to 55°C. They are then poured into moulds, and the liquid whey is drained and left out. A few hours later, you have cheese!

Photo provided by Comté PR

However, there’s still a long way to go with Comté, as the cheese is then sent off to affineurs, masters of cheese maturation. They keep the Comté in affinage cellars at varying temperatures from 4 months up to 24 months, using all of their senses (and occasionally little hammers) to ensure that each cheese realises its potential, X-Factor style. A rind is also created here by regularly rubbing the wheel with salt.

Photo provided by Comté PR

After ageing, each wheel (about 80lbs & 3ft in diameter) is graded out of 20. 15-20 gets a green “Extra” label for being rather superior. 12-14 gets a brown label, and usually has some small defect e.g. a crack. Anything below 12 sadly cannot be called Comté and will most likely end up as cooking cheese.

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Now on to the beer & cheese matching. After a few glasses of Wild Beer Co’s celebratory Ninkasi (fittingly made on a cheese farm next to Westcombe Dairy), we tucked in to five pairings with a variety of brews and a mix of summer and winter Comté cheeses (all supplied by The French Comté).

1. Harbour Brewing Co. Pilsner with 10 Month Summer Comté

2. Thornbridge Chiron American Pale Ale with 12 Month Winter Comté

3. Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. Cwtch Amber Ale with 18 Month Summer Comté

4. Siren Craft Brew Liquid Mistress Red IPA with 24 Month Summer Comté

5. Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout with 24 Month Summer Comté





Harbour’s Pilsner was crisp and clean, almost palate cleansing, making you go back for more of the 10 Month Summer Comté. Thornbridge’s Chiron was a touch fruitier, going well with the nutty, less floral 12 Month Winter Comté. The beers got more serious as the cheeses got older and more complex, and Siren’s punchy 6.8% Liquid Mistress was the perfect foil for a 24 Month Summer Comté. We finished off fittingly with a Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout, which has lactose added to prevent the yeast from fermenting, leading to a sweet, creamy beer.




I was more than a bit cheesed out by then end, and I’ll tell you about the dreams another time, but it was a very enjoyable exercise. Beer & cheese are fine bedfellows, and Comté is an approachable, subtle cheese with a fascinating, artisan production process. Get some for yourself and see!

Patrick’s final words of wisdom: If you keep your cheese in the fridge, put it in a paper bag in the vegetable draw so that the cold air flow doesn’t dry it out before you get to enjoy it!



Patrick McGuigan - www.cheesechap.com

The Comté was supplied by www.thefrenchcomte.com

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Right, time to get serious. Next week (October 5th-11th) is London Cocktail Week. For seven days, London goes cocktail crazy, with popup bars, boozy events, masterclasses, tastings, guest bartenders, collaborations, and most importantly, £5 drinks, all over the city.


What you need to do:

1. Cancel all your plans for the week, and send your boss a bottle of [insert vice here].

2. Start making new cocktail-based plans for the week - check out my top tips below.

3. Buy a wristband for £10 here to take part in all the fun and to be eligible for £5 cocktails at 275+ participating bars.

4. Stock up on Ohayo in preparation for hangovers (or pick some up in the LCW Village during the week)

5. Once the week is under way, pick up your wristbands and guidebooks at one of the two main London Cocktail Week 2015 hubs, or one of three new "micro hubs":

- Soho - World Class London Cocktail Week Hub - 51 Poland Street, London, W1F 7LZ
- Spitalfields - The London Cocktail Week Village - Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW
- Micro Hubs - East London Liquor Co., Portobello Star, Ladies & Gentlemen

6. Spend all your Christmas money. You were only going to buy booze and socks anyway.


Matt The Tips:

There's so much to choose from that it's all a little bit daunting, especially to a first timer. If you are feeling keen, trawl through the LCW events page, and plan some self-guided cocktail bar tours here. There are plenty of free events which you will have access to with a wristband.

Here's what I'm looking forward to, vaguely in date order:

The London Cocktail Week Village - Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW

Old Spitalfields Market will be transformed in to a bustling drinks market full of bars, brands and booze. You can come here to pick up your wristband before heading out on a bar crawl, but you might never make it outside! Chivas Whisky Blending sessionsBar Termini masterclasses and Soda Stream x Mr.Lyan pop-ups await. Upstairs you'll find The House of Angostura, a pop-up house party overlooking the cocktail village.

The World Class London Cocktail Week Hub - 51 Poland Street, W1F 7LZ

Last year, the central hub was in Seven Dials, but it's made the big move to Soho for 2015 and joined forces with World Class. You will enter speakeasy-style through a record shop to find all sorts if temporary treats and bars from the likes of Tanqueray, Ketel One and Haig Club with plenty of opportunities to make your own cocktails.

The Dead Parrot Presents "The Flying Circus" - 5th-11th Oct, Midday-11pm, 2 Ely's Yard, Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury St, E1 6QR

It's always worth popping in to one of Monkey Shoulder's crazy creations. This year, the team from The Dead Parrot bar in Sussex have created a bar themed on The Flying Circus in the Old Truman Brewery. What's not to love?


The Happiness Sessions - 5th-10th Oct, 3.30pm / 4.45pm, £20, Happiness Forgets, 8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU

For one hour (and £20), you will be looked after by the world-renowned team at Happiness Forgets in an intimate group, drinking specially created Fords Gin cocktails and tasting spirits from The 86 Company. Book ahead for sessions starting at either 3.30pm or 4.45pm via reservations@happinessforgets.com.

Buffalo Bourbon Empire - 5th-10th Oct, 5pm-late, 1 Kingsland Road, E2 8AA

Buffalo Trace Bourbon always put on a good show in London Cocktail Week, and this year they have a pop-up bar in Shoreditch from 5pm til late, from 5th-10th October. There are several free events & masterclasses there during the week including a chance to sample this year's Antique Collection - more details here. Book now to secure your spot!

Auchentoshan & Ales Workshop - 5th-9th Oct, 5.30pm-9.30pm, Translate Cafe Bar , 12-14 Kingsland Road, E2 8DA 

From 5.30pm-9.30pm Monday-Friday, LCW wristband wearers can drop in for free workshops with Glasgow-based Auchentoshan whisky. Guests will learn about the distilling process, make their own cocktails, and pair Auchentoshan whiskies with beers provided by Clapton Craft. You also might get to take home your own bespoke cocktail kit. All for free? Yes please. Email auchentoshan@whitelabeluk.com to book.


The Art of the Old Fashioned - 6th-10th Oct, 6pm-11pm, 347 Old Street, EC1V 9LP

Woodford Reserve Bourbon have created a pop-up bar in Shoreditch for LCW celebrating the Old Fashioned. Top bartenders including Jack McGarry of Dead Rabbit NYC and Marion Beke of Nightjar have contributed to a menu full of unique takes on the Old Fashioned, each priced at £5 for wristband wearers.

Oriole Pop-Up with The 86 Co. Spirits & Gin Mare - 6th-7th Oct, 8pm-10pm, £20, Bear Gallery, 8A Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3NT

The Nightjar team will be previewing 4 drinks from their hotly anticipated Oriole bar at a pop-up space in Shoreditch for two nights only. £20 all in. Oriole will launch in Smithfield Market on 20th November.

Bar Termini Masterclasses - 8th-10th Oct, 2pm, Bar Termini Stand, Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, London , E1 6EW

Time your lunch break correctly and you can go along to some fabulous free masterclasses at 2pm at the Bar Termini stand in Old Spitalfields Market towards the end of the week. Just turn up on the day and join in to learn more about coffee cocktails, Italian aperitivo culture, or the increasingly popular Amaro category.


Ocho Tequila Vintage Tasting with Tomas Estes - 8th Oct, 4pm-6pm, Bear Gallery, 8A Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3NT

Living legend Tomas Estes (Tequila Ambassador for Europe and brand owner of Ocho Tequila) is holding a tasting session taking you through the Ocho Tequila vintages for free on Thursday afternoon. Book ahead or beg for a place if they are all gone.

Courvoisier : The Toast of Paris -  8th Oct, 6.30pm-10.30pm. £10, Looking Glass Cocktail Club, 49 Hackney Road, London, E2 7NX

Courvoisier are taking over at Looking Glass Cocktail Club for one night only, transporting guests back to Paris' Golden Age. There will be live music, cocktail demonstrations, entertainment, prizes and more. The £10 ticket includes one cocktail. Book yours here.

Last Great Malts at Mussel Men - 9th Oct, 5pm-midnight, 584 Kingsland Rd, E8 4AH 

Brand amassador Jamie Mac will be introducing Dalstonites & LCW travellers to the awesome Last Great Malts range of whiskies (Aberfeldy, Aultmore, The Deveron, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla) that I had the pleasure of tasting from the source last year. Take my advice and book an £18 ticket for the masterclass at 6pm on 9th October, or go along for £5 cocktails throughout the evening. Get a dram of Craigellachie 19yo if you can.


24 Hour Bar Build - 10th Oct, 6.30pm-late, £35, N&C Showrooms, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PG

This sounds awesome. 24 of the world's best bartenders are splitting in to 4 teams representing New York, London, Paris and Singapore. Their mission is to conceive, design and build a cocktail bar & menu in 24 hours inspired by either Patrón Tequila, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Grey Goose Vodka or Bacardi Rum. The bars will open for one night only on Saturday 10th October from 6.30pm, and a £35 ticket (snap one up here) gets you access and 5 tokens for cocktails. Additional tokens for food and booze can be purchased at the venue.  The winners will be announced at 10pm.


London Cocktail Week Wrap Party - 11th Oct, midday-midnight, East London Liquor Company, Unit GF1, Bow Wharf, 221 Grove Road, London, E3 5SN

Finish off the week in style at East London Liquor Company with oysters and bloody cocktails all day long. LCW wristband wearers can get their first G&T on the house. See you there.

On Trade - If you are lucky enough to own an on-trade wristband, and be largely free during the day time, then there are events galore for you. Imbibe have made a fine round-up here, and there's a dedicated page on the LCW website here. Your main issue will be deciding which World's 50 Best Bars after-party to go to - Trick Dog & Callooh Callay or Glass After Dark? Both?



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I'd like to finish with a new Matt The List segment - Balcony Booze.

I discovered last week that drinks look pretty great on my edgy, urban, industrial, unkempt balcony, so I've started taking snapping some beers, cocktails, and the occasional bottle that gets sent my way to share with you all.

Balcony Booze #1 - This week we have one of my favourite British beers, The Wild Beer Co.'s Modus Operandi - a glorious, tart, 7% old ale, oak aged for 90 days with wild yeast. Go and pick some up at your nearest #craftbeerwanker shop and thank me later. Try Beer Boutique, Hop Burns & Black or We Brought Beer for starters.

We also have the first in a series of Mr Black cocktails. Mr Black is a cold press coffee liqueur from Australia that was kindly sent my way, and I'll be showcasing it in a few cocktails this month. First up is the Black Negroni, a drink developed by Mr Black head distiller, Phillip Moore. You need:

1 part Mr Black // 1 Part Gin // 1/2 Part Campari // 1/3 Part Sweet Vermouth.

Stir with plenty of ice in a mixing glass, and strain into a rocks glass. Top with a citrus twist. I used Cocchi di Torino for my sweet vermouth, and Portland Dry Gin 33 from New Deal Distillery in Portland, Oregon. I've made several more since.