One of the cool things about London is that the best bars are near each other; in this case, the next bar is literally right down the street. A few steps away from M&H is Jason Atherton’s The Social Eating House, which houses the Best International Restaurant Bar – Spirited Awards 2015 winner – The Blind Pig (not affiliated with the bar of the same name over here). This place has a more energetic vibe to it. Instead of hushed tones, there is a mild din of chatter that lends to the more dynamic feel without it being intrusive or annoying. It’s trendy, yet still classy. There are neon pink signs on the wall and the bathroom is so beautifully designed I had to take pictures of it! There’s an air of opulence but also of irreverence, like they’re polished but are not taking themselves too seriously.

Blind Pig
Blind Pig
The London Cocktail Club
The London Cocktail Club
The London Cocktail Club

Their cocktail menu is sexy, tasteful in all levels, but cheeky as well. They serve masterfully crafted cocktails so gorgeously garnished and exquisitely balanced, it makes me close my eyes and savor every sip. Then they serve you cocktails in a glass milk carton, a plastic crumpled cup design in glass and in wax paper cups with amazing flavor profiles. I wish I had created those cocktails myself! Their drinks are spot on and exceptionally made. I had the pleasure of trying several cocktails; so glad to be with a group of friends who share the love for libations! I got to enjoy the drinks I ordered and had a try of everyone else’s. Remember: Sharing is caring.

Who says cocktails need to be served in specific glasses? Forget the rules!
Blind Pig Cocktail Selection
Blind Pig Cocktail Selection

Just to recap, I went to a the super fun London Cocktail Club, travelled back in time through the grand dame of speakeasies, Milk & Honey, to the über trendy, posh and newly crowned best restaurant bar in the world, The Blind Pig. Now my dear fellow imbibers, I introduce to you the new kid on the block, a bar called The Cocktail Trading Club.

CTC childhood memories in a can

Continuing the theme of unassuming entrances to the best bars, The Cocktail Trading Club is inconspicuously located down a flight of stairs beside a regular restaurant. Blink and you’ll miss it. Now this place is extra special. The cocktails they serve here are all out of the box. They revive classics like we have never seen before. They take us back to childhood memories, ignite a sense of unconformity, of fun. These guys are producing and presenting cocktails like it’s never been done before. It reminds me to think that in cocktails, there are no rules! Just go as crazy and far as you can, and make it FUN! Their cocktails are so ingenious, resourceful (no need to spend thousands of $$$ for glassware), and inventive. They serve cocktails like the classic Tequila Sunrise in a sunscreen bottle! A cocktail in snow globe! I felt like a kid in a toy room (but with booze, so it’s way better). Their drinks not only look amazing, they taste immaculate as well. It’s not all for show. When I was sipping all these cocktails, I felt like I’ve died and gone to heaven’s bar! This is a place that you will need to tick off on your bucket list.

CTC bar display
CTC entrance

Being able to visit these excellent bars has been such a rejuvenating, eye-opening, and inspiring experience. Seeing some of the best bars in the world firsthand showed me what our local scene can look forward to, what we can aspire to, what we can achieve. I’ve been sooooo inspired that I have decided to retire my old cocktail menus and create a whole new approach. These bars each have different atmospheres and themes but instead of competing, they actually complement each other. They are raising the world’s bars together. In the Philippines, we are still at the infancy of cocktail and bar culture. We have a lot to learn from these guys. It’s exciting to see what we can accomplish and contribute to the international scene in the near future. London, we are calling!

CTC is located at The Basement, 22 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7HU; Blind Pig is located at 58 Poland St., London W1F 7NS

Restaurateur, expert drinker, creative proprietor of steam punk bar Hooch, SMITH Butcher and Grill Room, Ebeneezers, Poulet Manille, and Ampersand. She wrote The Standard newspaper’s Tipple Tales cocktail and spirits column and co-hosted the Manila episode of the Travel Channel show Booze Traveler with cocktail connoisseur Jack Maxwell. She is DrinkManila’s resident mixology expert.

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