Nightjar is an exclusive speakeasy-style Hoxton cocktail bar that combines jazz and blues music with high-skilled cocktail making.
Top tip: get a seat next to the bar to watch the bartenders in action – it is more exciting than an episode of Game of Thrones.
Visitors to the bar tend to walk away with a pack of Nightjar playing cards, which feature pre-prohibition, prohibition, post-war, Nightjar signature and sharing serves, which is also how the menu is ordered.
The bar opened in 2010, but has become so popular that you can only get a seat by booking through an online system that charges you if you do not show up, but why wouldn’t you show up?
Some have criticised the booking system as “taking away the spontaneity” of stumbling across a bar, but Nightjar is not a venue one should be stumbling into anyway. It is a haven of old-fashioned, laid-back, relaxed sophistication.
Nightjar features on The World’s 50 Best Bars list at number 43 (2017), which describes the downstairs Shoreditch cocktail bar as the “darling of the London cocktail glitterati”.
Cocktails are priced from £12-£15 for single-serve cocktails and between £20 and £60 for sharing cocktails, which serve between two and six people.
From the pre-prohibition section of the menu, drinks include the Barrel-aged Hong Kong Punch, made using Appleton Reserve Blend Rum (£14); Turf Club made with Jinzu Gin (£12); and Ward 8 made using Bulleit Rye Whiskey (£12).
Prohibition drinks include Imperial Fizz made with De Borgen Before Gin Genever (£14); White Tiger’s Milk made with Pisco Porton (£14); and Norsemen’s Brew made using Roe & Co Irish Whiskey (£14).
Nightjar also serves low and no-alcohol cocktails priced at between £4 and £10, including a Calabrian Cooler (low alcohol) and home-made Galangal beer (no alcohol).
An interesting range of Champagne, wine, beer, cider and soft drinks has also been curated for those who want something a little more familiar, but still exciting.
Nightjar’s founders also launched Oriole (9th place) and Swift (10th place), continuing the bird theme with their names.