The List

Location – Soho, London

It’s an ornithologist’s dream, three of this year’s Top 50 Cocktails Bars named after birds – with Swift being the final in at number 10.

As we’ve already alluded to, the bar was born from the minds of the creative geniuses behind Nightjar (4th place) and Oriole (9th place) and has its own distinct look.

Swift is split into two areas, with a more casual buzzy layout on the ground floor and a relaxed – some would say sensual – lounge in the basement.

Drinkers in the upstairs bar, which is creatively called the Upstairs Bar, can walk in and receive table service.

There is a short cocktail menu in Swift’s Upstairs Bar, which is accompanied by a food menu of small bites, such as oysters, aimed at kicking off your evening of restaurant-going or a trip to the theatre.

“We are bringing back the time when there was a cocktail for every hour,” says Swift’s website.

Swift’s Upstairs Bar cocktail menu, now you ask, is reasonably priced, small and perfectly formed. It is also very much inspired by the Italian aperitif moment, including drinks like Sgroppino – lemon sorbet, Prosecco and Italicus (£7).

There are six classic cocktails on the menu at all times in the Upstairs bar.

Dishes on the menu include rock oysters (£2.50), native oysters (£3.50), steak tartare (£9) and Guinness Welsh rarebit (£7).

In the Downstairs Bar, meanwhile, there is a focus on whisky with more than 250 from across the world to choose from.

If you’re interested in whiskies, but not quite ready to drink something peaty and heavy neat, then many have been worked into longer drinks.

Reservations can be made for the Downstairs Bar, which may come in handy because the cocktail menu is significantly longer than its upstairs counterpart.

Despite the drinks being a little more complex than those served upstairs, they are still reasonably priced and a drink will set you back between £10 and £12.

Try the Fourth Gentleman, made using Chivas Regal whisky, umeshu and poire (£11); the Yardbird is made with Havana 3 white rum, Bonal, Branca Menta, lemon, thyme and honey (£10); and the White Water is made using Great King St Glasgow Blend whisky, coconut, falernum and banana (£12).


12 Old Compton Street

020 7437 7820


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