Autumn’s hottest global bar openings
From agave bars hidden in basements, to roof terraces with views that are far from secret, autumn has been filled with amazing bar openings, and these are a few of our favourites.
If you have a taste for the theatric, you’ll love London’s new immersive bar experience, or if you prefer something a bit more music-based, the line-up at one of Soho’s iconic live music venues isn’t something you’ll want to miss.
Swift Borough, London
They’ve conquered Soho, they’ve taken Shoreditch – now the team behind Bar Swift have set their sights on London’s market neighbourhood of Borough as the third location for their legendary Irish Coffees and Aperitivo Happy Hour.
In keeping with the distinct identities of the other two sites, Swift Borough reflects the unique neighbourhood, and shines a spotlight on seasonal produce provided by its market neighbours. Like the Soho original, this is a bar of two halves, split across two floors. Downstairs offers a more intimate, seated-only area with an original, high-concept menu, while upstairs is an easy-breezy drinking spot for lighter, brighter after-work drinks.
Clase Azul, San José, Mexico
The producers of one of the Tequila world’s most iconic decanters have upped their game and opened a luxury travel experience in San José, Mexico.
The doors to Clase Azul México’s luxury experience and boutique Los Cabos opened recently, offering unique spaces for the ultra-premium brand to come to life – and it of course includes a bar.
The Bar, which has dedicated its offering to Tequila and mezcal, provides guests with an ‘adventure through mixology’. Head mixologist Sheila Zenteno has created a menu of cocktails from a selection of the brand’s spirits, all inspired by delicacies unique to the region of La Baja.
The Lower Third, London
Denmark Street is the beating heart of London’s music scene, and this new multi-level space on the site of the now-closed institution The 12 Bar Club has got it pumping.
The Lower Third has brought world-class cocktails by renowned bartender Shannon Tebay and performances from a line-up of exciting artists to this historic Soho spot.
As is expected from Tebay, the bar boasts an exceptional drinks programme based around accessible twists on classic cocktails, beers, wines and boilermakers.
The space comprises multiple distinct spaces and performance areas. After sampling the drinks selection in The Lower Third bar, which features stripped back wood, dark leather and warm lighting for an intimate and informal feel, guests can explore more of what the space has to offer, from a small stage for acoustic performances to a large-capacity club room.
2022 might have been a dramatic year, but this new London bar due to open in December hasn’t shied away from amping the theatrics.
Avora is a new kind of cocktail experience – a gateway of discovery to a world of ‘unparalleled beauty’, where guests are invited to forage for their cocktails and decide whether to join an underground resistance to protect Avora or mine this new wonder of its beauty for financial gain. Like we said, they haven’t shied away from the theatrics.
The one-of-a-kind cocktail experience features awe-inspiring theatrical sets and talented actors ready to guide guests through a fun and exciting cocktail experience. Avora draws parallels with events on Earth exploring the deeper themes of climate change and the exploitation of natural resources.
Richard Branson might have his own airline, his own island and his own media company, but everyone knows a portfolio isn’t complete without a bar. Introducing Eve, Edinburgh’s newest all-day entertainment venue from Virgin Hotels, which opened last month (October).
Eve has enough space for up to 160 guests, and has been designed to be a playful environment to eat, drink and socialise in the heart of Edinburgh.
Open until late, post-dinner cocktails are always on the menu here, with a range of bespoke creations all with locality in mind – if you’ve ever wondered what Scotland tastes like, this is it. From park bench aperitivos such as Strong-Beau (a nod to the nation’s favourite fruity cider) to twists on classic cocktails such as the ‘Pin-Up’ (a reimagining of the Pornstar Martini and East 8 Holdup), the cocktail menu is all about bringing nostalgic flavours firmly into the 21st century.
Common Decency, London
The final piece in Nomad London’s puzzle, Common Decency celebrates the spirit of London, carrying the concept of yin and yang into its new subterranean digs by connecting the two very different personalities of London’s West and East Ends.
The menu’s 16 serves are centred around eight highly seasonal ingredients, each of which has two stylistically opposing interpretations. The cocktails in part one are highly technical in preparation yet minimalist in presentation, while by contrast, part two embraces the classic and traditional with a whimsical presentation, but forward-thinking yet approachable flavours.
Seasonality is, of course, key and the menu changes as ingredients come in and out of season. On one visit, you might see tomato mixed two ways while on another, it might be cobnuts. That’s reason enough for us to return again and again.
Sterling Bar, Manchester
On the lower ground floor of Manchester’s Stock Exchange Hotel, Sterling is the latest highly anticipated bar to come from the multi-award winning Schofield brothers.
Expect elegant and discerning classic cocktails as only these siblings do, alongside a selection of their own creations. Bar food has been developed by Lush by Tom Kerridge (expect truffle cheese gougères, whipped taramasalata, and crème fraîche and caviar from the two Michelin-starred chef). When it comes to the decor, bespoke wood-panelled interiors reflect the history and glamour of the old Stock Exchange building with space for 100 guests. Understandably, Sterling has already become a destination in its own right.
Giddy up for this Singaporean opening – a new gastro-cocktail concept at Farrer Horse that celebrates Singapore’s old racecourse.
Guests are treated to plush velvety and leather sofas that are juxtaposed against elegant cane work chairs, while a grandiose bar highlighted by gold and timbre trimmings commands attention.
Stable is the premium cocktail space featuring a drink program designed by The Compound Collective. The menu features six horse-themed cocktails named after famous racehorses, including the Rocket Man, an umami cocktail featuring ingredients like horseradish, and Secretariat, a honeyed spirit-forward cocktail that incorporates ingredients from a horse’s diet, such as hay and apple.
Apotheke rooftop at Nomad, New York
This striking rooftop terrace and penthouse lounge is now open at Apotheke Nomad, the sister of the award-winning and beloved Chinatown locale, which opened in October.
The concept takes its inspiration from old-world apothecaries, offering a medicinally-inspired cocktail menu built around ingredients with restorative and functional properties.
Designed by the late Christopher Tierney, the penthouse lounge is only accessible via a private elevator, and framed by a wall of breath-taking stained glass windows designed by Tierney himself.
Out on the rooftop terrace, guests will find a lush garden filled with plants and herbs that are featured in the venue’s seasonally changing cocktail menu. Expect a line-up of botanical draft cocktails on a seasonal rotation, as well as a raw bar featuring an assortment of fresh seafood, sustainable caviar and seasonal crudités. Oh, and an unreal view of New York’s iconic skyline.
Passing Fancies, Birmingham
You’ve heard of an explosion in a custard factory, but how about a bar?
Passing Fancies is located in Digbeth’s iconic Custard Factory (the former home of Bird’s Custard company), with space big enough to accommodate 54 drinkers.
The bar’s name nods to their vow to move with the times, regularly changing their menu and straying away from a set theme.
With a layout akin to ‘the kitchen at a house party’, the bar is the centre of atmosphere, and where the team has brought a new kind of approach to luxury.
Salvatore Calabrese, AKA The Maestro, is the man behind this new destination bar at Corinthia London, which hopes to bring back the theatre to cocktail making.
Opening this month, Velvet’s cocktail menu will showcase a selection of his much-loved creations, such as the Breakfast Martini, Spicy Fifty and a range of non-alcoholic options as well as a menu of small plates.
Being a luxurious hotel, guests can expect luxurious surroundings. Furniture has been upholstered in shades of red and royal blue, and deep velvet curtains provide a touch of glamour, alongside convex mirrors, and lavish lighting.
Essencia is the Russian Doll of Barcelona – the bar hidden within a bar, run by industry icons Simone Caporale and Marc Alvarez, and is set to open in November.
Known for their forward-thinking approach to mixology, Essencia has been created to encapsulate the duo’s reimagining of the modern cocktail experience.
Occupying a custom-designed space behind Caporale’s multi-award-winning Sips Drinkery House, Essencia represents the evolution of hospitality, as the pair see it. Rather than outlining the drinks available, the unique menu is all about a curated selection of concepts. On choosing their concept, guests will be presented with the associated drinks (plural), in sequence, showcasing the unrivalled innovation and inimitable flair of the team.
Stereo by Experimental Group – London
The latest bar from Experimental Group is Stereo, which is set to open in December on the site of former industry favourite Roadhouse in Covent Garden Piazza.
Honouring Roadhouse’s history as one of London’s best live music venues, Stereo will be the place to hit up for a curated and dynamic live music programme each night, with a house band and rotating series of DJs and one-off performances from up-and-coming and well-known talents.
Inspired by the vibrant late-night cultures of New York and London, complete with undertones of Parisian chic, Stereo will offer a masterfully curated mix of music, food and drinks. A place to arrive for an apèritif, stay for dinner, and dance into the early hours.
Naked & Famous, London
Tucked away in the basement of Grecian restaurant Zēphyr on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road is this intimate new 35-seater agave bar.
Guests visiting Naked & Famous will find 70s-inspired interiors with a monochrome marigold palette, accompanied by soft furnishings and a cosy atmosphere. And plenty of agave.
Yes, this place has tunnel vision for the best mezcals and Tequilas in the trade, keeping the bar stocked with close to 40 expressions of both, many of which can be found in the 10 cocktails inspired by classic recipes, with a modern twist.