The world’s best new cocktail bar has been revealed (and it’s in Bethnal Green)

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Moya Crockett
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A raft of international cocktail awards went to London bars at this year’s prestigious Spirited Awards. We’ll see you in the queue… 

If you live in London (or, indeed, have ever set foot in the capital), you’ll know that it’s a great place to go out drinking. Whether you prefer sleek, ultra-Instagrammable pop-ups or atmospheric, old-school dives, there are thousands of different watering holes across the city from Archway to Wimbledon – even taking into account the fact that 25% of London’s pubs have closed in the last 15 years.

The UK capital’s stellar reputation as a city for discerning drinkers was cemented over the weekend at the 12th annual Spirited Awards in New Orleans, which were set up in 2006 to honour the world’s best bars, bartenders, writers and cocktail experts.

An impressive seven out of eight international awards went to London bars – and one of the most hotly-anticipated prizes of the night went to a laidback neighbourhood bar in east London.

Coupette, a French-inspired bar in Bethnal Green, took home the gong for “Best New International Cocktail Bar”. With a drinks menu devised by a former head bartender at the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy, Coupette is a low-key bar with highbrow leanings: its cocktails are inspired by “French avant-garde cultural icons”, and rely heavily on French tipples such as Moët & Chandon champagne, St Germain elderflower liqueur and Noilly Prat vermouth. 

Coupette wasn’t the only Bethnal Green bar to be recognised at the Spirited Awards. Tucked away underneath a railway arch near Bethnal Green tube station, Sager + Wilde Paradise Row was named the “Best International Restaurant Bar”. We recommend visiting on a weeknight for their very reasonable (and utterly delicious) £10 pasta and negroni deal.

The most decorated London bar of the night was the American Bar at London’s Savoy hotel. It’s now the proud owner of the most prestigious award of all – “World’s Best Bar” – as well as the honours for “Best International Bar Team” and “Best International Hotel Bar”.

“This is an incredible achievement and a real tribute to every member of our team, who work so hard and in such a collaborative way to ensure the success of The Savoy’s American Bar,” bar manager Declan McGurk told drinks site Imbibe.

“We are proud of the worldwide reputation the American Bar has established over the years, and being recognised at such a prestigious event demonstrates that we are succeeding in our efforts to continue to position it as a forerunner in the industry.”

Happiness Forgets, a bar in Hoxton Square that describes itself as offering “high end cocktails [in a] low rent basement”, was awarded the prize for “Best International Cocktail Bar”. A perfect date spot, the small but perfectly formed bar has a policy of “great cocktails, no wallies” – a mantra we’re sure everyone can get behind.

Finally, Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Dandelyan at London’s Mondrian Hotel was named as having the “World’s Best Cocktail Menu”. Dandelyan was named “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” at last year’s Spirited Awards, and previously won the “Best New International Cocktail Bar” prize in 2015. Clearly, it’s not going anywhere.

Get booking – these bars are likely to be very busy for quite some time.

Main image: Helena Yankovska / Unsplash