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Ten of the best whisky bars in London

Good whisky should be enjoyed in the right environment. Colin Hampden-White, editor of luxury magazine Whisky Quarterly, picks ten of the best whisky bars in London

The Soho Whisky Club is the quintessential whisky drinker’s bar. It’s not had millions spent on the décor, it’s tricky to find, and you have to become a member. However it is the best whisky bar in London. Thanks to the constantly changing number and selection of bottles, you will never get bored.

The manager, George Keeble is hugely knowledgeable and eager to impart his knowledge. There is also a covered external terrace with comfy sofas, heaters and a humidor replete with cigars.

sohowhisky.club / 42 Old Compton St, W1D 4LR

Innovative and stylish, Black Rock is a basement bar with a whisky river. The bar has a long table at its centre made from a single tree with a groove down the centre filled with whisky. The whisky selection is varied and laid out by flavour profile rather than by country and region making the choice of what to drink all the more easy. They are also known for their fabulous cocktails.

blackrock.bar / 9 Christopher Street, EC2A 2BS

Right in the heart of Soho, this previously traditional shop has had big changes. With a cocktail bar in the basement and a dedicated whisky bar upstairs, Milroy’s is a busy place. The staff know their whiskies well and can guide you to the right dram for you. They recently started to bottle their own whiskies which can represent great value for some something special.

milroys.co.uk / 3 Greek St, W1D 4NX

For a relaxed and casual atmosphere the East London Liquor company is a great destination. Behind the bar they have their distillery which you can see working away. They will even take you around when not too busy and explain how whisky is made. Not only making whisky, their other spirits are also superlative and worth trying and anything you particularly like they can sell you at their shop.

eastlondonliquorcompany.com / 221 Grove Rd, E3 5SN

In the books, James Bond’s most frequent drink was bourbon and whisky, and this bar is where the great Ian Fleming used to drink. Known well for Alessandro’s martini’s, the bar has a small but rare selection of single malts and old blends. Ask for a whisky cocktail and you can find yourself off the regular menu in a new world of indulgent flavour.

dukeshotel.com / 35 St James's Pl, SW1A 1NY

This bar is fabulous at any time of day. At the top of the building this bar has lots of outdoor space and is superb on a sunny day with a long cocktail which they are very good at. There are fabulous views over the city and the area around Bank. There is a fine dining restaurant and plenty of whiskies and a particularly good selection of Japanese expressions.

coqdargent.co.uk / 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ

With no names on their bottles, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is all about flavour. Ask at the bar for a whisky which tastes like a sooty fireplace with dried kippers, or strawberry bonbons laced with lemon icing and they will find the right bottle for you. All the bottles are at cask strength, unchilled, and filtered. They're also coded so you can find out the distillery if you wish.

smws.co.uk / 19 Greville St, EC1N 8SQ

There are four Boisdales in London, in Belgravia, Bishopsgate, Mayfair and Canary Wharf. Whisky lovers should be drawn to Belgravia and Canary Wharf – both are super stylish with fine dining and cigar terraces complementing the bars. Choose from huge whisky selections from the everyday to the exotic. In Belgravia there is a secluded traditional bar separate from the restaurant to while away the hours, serving cocktails as well as whisky.

boisdale.co.uk / 15 Cabot Square, E14 4QT

In St. Paul's, this restaurant specialises in steak. Luckily, whisky goes very well with steak and the selection at Barbacoa is extensive. There are the usual expressions well with everyone’s budget, and then there are some very special whiskies including Karuizawa and Port Ellen. Not only stocking whisky, there is also some rare whiskey from before the age of prohibition.

barbecoa.com / 20 New Change Passage

This is a very traditional London pub. Hidden down Dickensian Crown Passage in St James’s, it has a strong connection with Berry Bros & Rudd and with this connection comes a good selection of Berry Bros single cask whiskies. For whisky chat, the whisky team at Berry’s are often found at the bar. Order a dram and pick their brains.

RedLionCrownPassage / 23 Crown Passage, SW1Y 6PP

Need more? Why not consult our guide to London's finest Whisky Shops?

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