Angel remains one of London's most popular drinking districts and it's real draw is the sheer quantity of bars and pubs that line up temptingly as you emerge from the tube. On the vibrant pub-lined streets of Islington is the best and the worst nightlife that London has to offer. Whether it’s trendy and chic you’re after or somewhere edgier to kick back and watch live music, Angel can, and will, deliver.
69 Colebrooke Row
Angel & Islington / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Modern European
Time Out's Best New Bar of 2009 and for one reason: cocktails. Tony Conigliaro - so important he has his own Wiki page - is the Heston Blumenthal of cocktails with his molecular manipulation, essences and aromas - a practice that saw him crowned the International Bartender of the Year at the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail conference. Gets busy very quickly due to its miniscule size, so arrive early and stay late.
House of Wolf
Angel & Islington / Bar / Restaurant / Club / Cuisine: International
Although technically nearer to Highbury and Islington than Angel, this theatrical bar, restaurant and club is worth inclusion. The ground floor main bar is home to live entertainment in the form of cabaret, talks and lectures, bands, DJs, and stand-up comedy. The Apothecary Bar on the second floor offers experimental cocktails, creating unusual ways in which to enjoy a tipple (we wont give the game away and ruin the surprise; oh, all right, give the Black Treacle cocktail a whizz, but only if you like black pudding). The Wolf Den on the 3rd floor is a hideout for anyone trying to escape the hoi polloi and The Attic pop-up restaurant has month-long chef residencies.
Hoxley and Porter
Angel & Islington / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
Tucked within a sumptuous hideaway on Upper Street is the newest of London's new-bars-with-eats. Inside you'll find a sensory cocktail of Victorian décor - a sort of mash-up combining Cairo, the Cape and a chintzy train carriage - with jaunty 20s music and mismatched lighting, all conspiring to make a fabulously evocative setting. The drinks are no less enthralling, with a cocktail list ready to intoxicate; one, wryly entitled 'Whatever Doesn't Kill You', changes colour and comes with an absinthe-coated scorpion garnish. If crunchy bugs won't sate your appetite, turn your attention to the nibbles which proffer tasty morsels like home-baked cheese twists, gourmet pork scratchings and more.
The Four Sisters
Angel & Islington / Bar / Cuisine: Pub
Originally a covert 1930s brothel and public house, The Four Sisters bar in Islington is a darkly Dickensian cocktail bar filled with cosy candlelit corners and specialising in incorporating a unique range of house infused spirits and syrups. The bar is enchanting north London's mixed drinks scene with a inspirational cocktail menu. Highlights include a distinguished barrel-aged ?Count Negroni? (Tanqueray Gin, Lillet Rouge, Punt e Mes, Cynar Artichoke, Campari and Fernet Branca) which is available dispensed either straight from an old oak barrel on the bar, or in a pre bottled and wax sealed bottle to take away.
Angel & Islington / Bar / Club / Cuisine: Latin
Stuck in Angel but wish you were somewhere a little more exotic? I hear you my friend, which is why you should get your dancing feet to Latin inspired Barrio North on the Essex Road. You feel you could be in Barcelona or Brazil or Mexico; anywhere but London. I found this quirky bar to have some of the best cocktails in Islington too, and drinking them in a caravan makes Barrio North that much more special.
Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar
Angel & Islington / Bar /
Far nearer Highbury and Islington than Angel but it's worth stretching your legs on Upper Street for a night out at this tiny pub with an even tinier 54-seater theatre on top. They put on drama but Hen and Chickens is best known as a warm-up venue for attracting big name comics before they tour. Beware, the room is so small you may become a bigger part of the show than you'd expected but afterwards, you can saunter downstairs to the comfortable bar and laugh off any piss-taking over a pint.
Slim Jim’s Liquor Store
Angel & Islington / Bar /
If you're looking for a slice of true America in London, you're going to have to look pretty hard. This discreet watering hole, hidden away on one of London's busiest streets has the feel of an LA dive bar, avoiding the Yankee-doodle-dandy factor that you get in some American-themed chains. Hunt it out, grab a booth, stick on the jukebox and tuck into the turkey. Wild Turkey that is... (Kate Williams)
Elk In The Woods
Angel & Islington / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Eclectic
Always busy but with a more mature crowd than many of Angel's other bars and pubs. With table service only, at the Elk in the Woods you can forget about bustling, barging bar queues and be guaranteed an artfully rustic seat. There's a decent wine list but go for a cocktail. Their range of Martini's is particularly tasty.
Angel & Islington / Bar /
The Library is a new bar and music venue located on Upper Street opposite the Union Chapel. Just a 2 minute walk away from Highbury Station, it's perfect place for a night out with your friends. Friendly and relaxed, The Library attempts to cater to all tastes with live music, comedy nights and screenings of the latest sports games. Soon to be the most iconic music bar in north london, offering the freshest and most up and coming events in all genres of music, comedy, and performance.
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