24 Cornhill, EC3V 3ND

It's taken us two months to accept that Abacus, the original (and best) City bar, is no longer. Thankfully for the sake of the Square Mile's livers, it's back as Forge – and it's had a facelift in the form of leather booths, low lighting and exposed brick. There are no more platters, buckets of cocktails or dance floors tarred by years of Jagerbomb spillages – what it has left behind, though, is the buzzy atmosphere, with top steaks and 100 unique cocktails. We're yet to see it at 2am on a Friday, mind.

10-15 Queen St, EC4N 1TX

In its previous incarnation as Apt, it was Abacus' sister bar and the place you went if you wanted an alfresco pint in its minuscule outdoor patio area. Now rebranded as Core, the bar has decor inspired by trendy New York warehouses, with hot dogs and innovative cocktails replacing half-price bottles of chardonnay. Make sure you order the Gaffa cocktail – it comes with a free transfer tattoo (that we were still sporting over ten days later).

33 Cornhill, EC3V 3ND

As the old adage goes, why drink a regular cocktail when you can snarf a barrel-aged one? Cornhill newbie Silk & Grain blazes the Square Mile booze trail with its innovative cocktails, including some aged with leather and, er, metal. Try the Gardening Leave, with leather-infused whisky, or the Queen of Cornhill with tequila and champagne (we ordered two – one for each hand). Drink, feed on snacks including pigs' ears and scotched quail eggs, before heading off to A̶b̶a̶c̶u̶s Forge next door.