Happy St Patrick’s Day. If you are more into cocktails than Guinness, allow us to steer you towards three excellent bars where you can still raise a glass to Ireland’s patron saint. Sláinte!
An ambitious newcomer from Clive Watson (Riding House Café, Village East), Blixen is a relaxed London version of the grand European brasserie, open all day and with daytime coffee drinkers and laptop tappers encouraged. It’s a high-ceilinged former bank, so expect lots of natural light, as well as greenery and covered outdoor space. The cocktail bar is downstairs, along with a private dining room. Favourite drink: a Mariachi Manhattan, made with Tapitio Anejo, sweet vermouth, maraschino and anise. www.blixen.co.uk.
Permit Room at Dishoom
London’s third Dishoom – the inventively themed Bombay Café famed for its bacon naan – is a fun addition to the superb redevelopment at King’s Cross. Its basement houses the Permit Room bar, where daru-wallah (barman)Carl Brown presides over bottled-aged cocktails such as Chai Paanch (house chai, Johnny Walker Black Label, Gosling’s Dark Rum, ginger and cocoa liqueurs), with Dishoom calamari or okra fries for snacking. Favourite drink: a great spring drink is the Tanchoi Fix, an apple-smoked mandarin shrub, barrel-aged with Caymans 1850 gin. www.dishoom.com/kings-cross/.
A brand-new, roomier sibling to bijou Happiness Forgets in Hoxton Square – one of very few London cocktail bars to compete globally in terms of bartender flair – Original Sin occupies a slender, dimly lit room beneath a trendy Stoke Newington diner. Play pool, flirt and enjoy world-class cocktails served by professional young staff. Open until midnight Tuesday and Wednesday, 1.30am Thursday to Saturday, and 11pm Sunday. Favourite drink: the Red Hook, made with rye, maraschino and Punt e Mes vermouth. www.originalsin.bar.