London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Cocktail bar

Anyone who has ever been out for drinks in London will almost certainly be familiar with the B@1 chain of cocktail bars. With twelve branches throughout the capital it's difficult to miss them and with a further four scheduled to open this year (plus more outside London too), they'll be taking over whole new neighbourhoods too.

For the uninitiated, B@1 is the loudest, boldest and most fun type of bar, full of after-work office drinkers and also those just beginning a big night on the town. Service is the name of the game here with the chain priding itself on the friendliness and efficiency of the staff. All the bartenders are trained in-house and are fully qualified, with a working knowledge of every cocktail on their extensive menu. Even at the busiest peak hours, the service is not compromised with a friendly greeting and a big smile as they prepare your drinks. Importantly, the staff all seem to enjoy their work, often appearing to be having as much fun as the punters on the other side of the bar.

The peak hours are busy, but for a very good reason. Every branch does early evening happy hours (times vary, see the website for details), but during these hours all cocktails are two-for-one, making them one of the best value bars in town. We'll let you into a little secret though - there is a way in which to extend your discounted drinking if you have a smartphone. Download the 'Be At One Cocktail Bar' app onto your iPhone (Android and Blackberry coming later this year) and this will provide you with a function to give you an extra 60 minutes of happy hour prices for you to use at any time of the day you choose. If more than one of your group has the app, then use one after other, and you could have a whole evening of happy hours.

The drinks themselves are as awesome as the service. If you like your traditional cocktails then we can certainly recommend the Old Fashioned: bourbon whiskey with a dash of fresh orange, sugar, maraschino cherry and bitter gives the debonair image of Mad Men-style 1960's sophistication, while the classic vodka martini has the charming elegance of a certain fictional spy, which we tried dry with an olive, but is also available wet or with a twist. A personal favourite though is the espresso martini: a shot of ice cold strong black coffee, vodka and kahlua, slightly sweetened. Like a grown up vodka Red Bull, this is guaranteed to leave you slightly merry and more than a little hyperactive - a great combination if you're planning on partying all night!

For more information about locations, happy hours and the iPhone app, visit


Average price per cocktail: £7.50
Service: 5/5
Price: 4/5


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