The newly opened Dram Bar on Denmark Street is many things. A bar, obviously; indeed it’s several bars, situated beyond and beneath each other with all the jagged precision of a tetris game. You might even call it a Tardis – for Dram Bar is bigger on the inside and will significantly alter your perception of time and place.

Dram Bar is also a work space, opening at 9am and serving coffee and snacks throughout the day. It’s a pool bar – well, it has a pool table complete with a vending machine to ensure players needn’t pause their game to quench their thirst.

The list continues. Dram Bar is a whisky connoisseur’s heaven, a cocktail lover’s paradise. It’s a private dining room, it’s a drinks lab, it’s a subterranean speakeasy. It’s your dream bachelor pad. Above all, Dram Bar is a labour of love.

Dram Bar, Basement Bar

The labourers in question are Chris Tanner, Martyn Simpson and Jack Wallis, three veterans of the London bar scene whose CVs boast the likes of Milroy’s of Soho and Silverleaf. Tanner gives us a tour of the venue and his passion for what he and his mates have built is hugely endearing. And I do mean built: Dram Bar might be housed in a 17th-century building but the interiors were designed and constructed over one extremely arduous summer.

Hard work yields great results. Allow me to play Tanner for a moment and take you on a tour. You will step off the street into a compact little bar stocked with enough whisky bottles to serve an army – the place is called Dram Bar after all. Not a huge fan of the brown stuff? No bother: numerous other spirits are available, as well as beer and non-alcoholic stuff. Take a table or, better yet, pull up a stool.

Dram Bar, Terrace

Once you’ve polished one off, head outside to the terrace. We visited in late December so its population was minimal but in the warmer months I imagine the benches will be packed. Straight ahead is the private dining room, boasting a table so large and solid I half expected to see Excalibur sticking out of it – plus several more bottles of grog. In Dram Bar, an alcoholic drink is never more than five seconds away from you.

That’s even true of the pool room, which is kitted out with a cocktail can vending machine – see what I mean about dream bachelor pad? Every home should have a pool table and a cocktail can vending machine beside it. The table is free to play: simply ask for tokens at the bar. Another string to Dram Bar’s bow: it would make a cracking date spot. “Fancy a game of pool? I know a place…”

Dram Bar, Pool table and vending machine

Extend the evening at the basement bar. The basement bar narrowly edges out the pool room as my favourite part of Dram Bar. It’s sharp and sparse, sort of futuristic noir; you feel an alien in a trench coat might stroll in at any moment and order a double Nikki on the rocks. Many evenings will be lost to the basement bar. Lost but not wasted. Not that kind of wasted, anyway. (Drink responsibly, folks.)

Downstairs is where the cocktail action happens. You can order cocktails such as Vodka & Passion Fruit from tap upstairs – for a place with such pedigree, Dram Bar is refreshingly unpretentious. In the basement you’ll find more sophisticated offerings: Plum & Whey (Kentish Plums, High Weald Whey, El Dorado 3, Aquavit) or Peach Bamboo (Peach, Tio Pepe, Carpano Bianco, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur). The menu is compact: two people could polish it off in a visit, and at £13 per cocktail you won’t hate yourself the next morning, either.

London boasts countless fantastic cocktail bars and new arrivals need something extraordinary to stand out. That will not be an issue here: this is a special place, a bar worth giving a Dram about. 

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7 Denmark St, London WC2H 8LZ; Dram Bar