Outside of Soho, it’s hard to know where to get a good cocktail in zone 1. But fear not: just down the road is Holborn and Clerkenwell, boasting award-winning, unusual and seriously inventive cocktail bars. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Bounce Ping Pong
Ah, the heady mix of ping pong and cocktails — why on earth did no one think of this before? This is a perfect combination: perhaps it’s because you don’t mind running after the ball every two seconds once you’ve had a drink. You’ll need to book a table at Bounce but it’s a fun night out if there’s lots of you. On top of the games, there are the cocktails — there’s a pretty lengthy list and non-drinkers are catered for, over and above the typical OJ or Coke offering.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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If you’re looking to impress then a date at Scarfes Bar won’t hurt your chances. It’s tucked away in the Rosewood Holborn hotel, but this is no ordinary hotel bar. The bar has become the personal art gallery of renowned cartoonist Gerald Scarfe. It’s stocked full of antique books and there’s a proper fire in the winter. Add to that their live jazz and inventive cocktails and you’ve got a romantic evening out.
The London Cocktail Club
The London Cocktail Club has planted itself all over London; we reckon you’re probably never more than a mile away from one in Zone 1. Which is lucky because their Happy Hour offers and drinks deals are legendary. Always up for a good time, the staff can knock out cocktails at a rate of knots and while it might not be as fancy as some other cocktail bars, it’s always party time at London Cocktail Club.
This basement cocktail bar and café has been quietly producing great nights since 1986. Inspired by the traditional coffee-houses of Vienna, Freud was the fist café-bar in the UK and offers a relaxed wine and extensive cocktail list alongside great coffees, teas and almost anything else you could wish for. It’s low-key and central.
1920 has been at the heart of Clerkenwell cocktail life for the last 15 years and regularly wins awards for its cocktail list and sultry, anything-goes kind of vibe. There are two floors, pool tables and the possibility of a late license — everything you need really from a central bar. The cocktail list happily sits on the right side of uniqueness without being too pretentious.
Clerkenwell & Social
This two-story pub is a great spot in the summer, sat on a cobbled square in the heart of Clerkenwell. House-infused cocktails can be balanced out with homemade pizzas — basically Clerkenwell & Social is the kind of pub you could come for lunch and end up staggering out at midnight quite happily. The cocktails are quirky (hello Breaking Good and Moby Kick) and inspired — a step up from your normal pub attempts.
The Zetter Townhouse
Inside the area’s coolest hotel sits one of its coolest bars. You never know who you might spot in the cocktail bar of The Zetter Townhouse: it’s a favourite of the media and music folk who work round here. It’s not hard to see why: the quirky Victoriana of the décor (inspired by a fictional Great Aunt Wilhelmina) and the award-winning cocktails make it a place you can easily lose a few hours.
Be At One
If you’re after quick off the mark cocktails that don’t take all night to make, Be At One is slick and stylish. Rather than try and mess with tried and tested, much loved recipes, Be At One has a lengthy list of traditional favourites and some less well known Prohibition style cocktails. It also offers masterclasses where you get to shake and strain your own.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.