food-and-wine

Cheers! Top bars in London

Aug. 3, 2012 at 7:14 PM ET

Courtesy of Callooh Callay via Food & Wine /
With its offbeat décor and intriguing cocktails, London's Callooh Callay is among the best bars in the city.

With 11 million visitors attending the 2012 Summer Olympics in London right now, locals and tourists may need a drink. Here's an insider’s guide to their favorite bars in the city.

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Calooh Callay
Named after a line in the nonsense verse poem "Jabberwocky," by Lewis Carroll, this superhip spot has cocktails that would make the Mad Hatter rethink his predilection for tea. The oddball menu includes the Marmageddon, a cocktail made with tequila, fresh lime juice and beer that’s garnished with a savory swipe of the polarizing British condiment Marmite. In addition to a bar and lounge with wacky decor, the pub has a members-only area called the JubJub that changes its cocktail selection weekly.

Happiness Forgets
A cross between a pub and a speakeasy, this dark-wood subterranean bar run by Alastair Burgess, formerly of New York City staple Pegu Club, offers superb classic cocktails like White Russians, as well as playful variations like a bourbon, cream and vanilla drink served with Oreos for dunking.

Quo Vadis Club
This members-only club in a former home of Karl Marx is on two floors above the excellent British-food destination Quo Vadis. It offers a pool room, a martini trolley and a bartender who creates drinks based upon a patron’s favorite spirit and cocktail ingredients.

The Rake
This minuscule pub by the owners of Utobeer, the famous beer shop in Borough Market that’s stocked with more than 600 global microbrews. Fittingly, it’s a connoisseurs’ pub, the sort of place that offers such rarefied beers as organic Lambic from Belgium’s cult Cantillon brewery.

Terroirs
This natural-wine bar leans toward organic wines made with minimal intervention.

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