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Written by Mae Bristow - 21 March 2024

Our selection of the best Hackney cocktail bars

Some would say Hackney is filled with too many arty types who think living in the East End is a personality type. While there is a level of truth to the stereotype, what London borough doesn’t have stereotypes?

People north of the river love to complain about the South, and those in the West End swear off the East End, and vice versa. It’s okay to have your preferences and your favourite spots, but let us not forget that London is vast and multi-faceted, and that’s why we love it.

Say what you will about Hackney (or any other part of London for that matter), there’s a great collection of bars spread across the borough, and we’ve made it our business to provide you with a selection of our favourite Hackney cocktail bars – serious business, so it is.

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people at behind this wall cocktail bar hackney london
a cocktail at behind this wall cocktail bar hackney london

1. A cocktail bar where the drinks are curated for you: Behind This Wall

Hackney, London

There’s something about top-quality cocktail bars with impeccable hi-fi sound systems we’re just drawn to.

Behind This Wall can be found in a basement beneath the Narrow Way in Hackney Central. It’s relaxed, and low-key, and features a carefully constructed sound system that seeks to emulate the Japanese listening bars so fabled by audiophiles.

What makes this Hackney cocktail bar stand out is the lack of a menu – guests are asked their preferred base spirit and cocktail style and BTW’s bartenders then curate cocktails. When in doubt, you can always order classics and the bar also offers a weekly special.

Behind This Wall's interior is minimalist Scandi/Japanese in style. The place doesn’t need much decor: it only cares about the drinks and the tunes – as do we.

interior of three sheets in dalston in london
cocktail at three sheets in dalston in london

2. A hole-in-the-wall cocktail bar in Dalston: Three Sheets

Hackney, London

The Dalston area of Hackney is known more for its dives and clubs but Three Sheets is a little hole-in-the-wall cocktail bar on Kingsland Road that breaks from that stereotype.

This Hackney cocktail bar has made it onto our list by virtue of its absolute bangin’ cocktail menu. There’s something to be said for doing simple things perfectly.

Reservations are a must as this place is so tiny, but its green walls and white marble bar always feel welcoming when you step inside for a classic cocktail. We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: it’s the kind of place we like to start our night in.


3. The absinthe bar: The Last Tuesday Society & Absinthe Parlour

Hackney, London

The Last Tuesday Society is one of the few places in London where you can enjoy absinthe served in the traditional way: an antiquated contraption of a fountain that slowly drips water onto a cube of sugar suspended over a glass of absinthe.

If this sounds too strong, never fear! You can also enjoy an absinthe high ball or a cocktail, and the bar serves great cocktails for those people who aren’t into the green stuff.

The cocktail bar-cum-absinthe-parlour is gloriously Victorian gothic and macabre. In fact, located in the basement is the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, a strange little place and collection of the weird and the wonderful and so, so worth a visit – especially after a couple of drinks.


4. The Hackney cocktail bar for antiques-lovers and foragers: The Natural Philosopher

Hackney, London

Ah, basements and cocktail bars, they’re basically synonymous. The Natural Philosopher – found through an "Apple repair" shop – has a decorated basement cocktail bar with an eclectic collection of antiques in a way that only an eccentric Victorian with a passion for curiosity cabinets could.

The cocktail menu focuses on foraged ingredients from eight different terrains of the UK – hence the reason behind its name. This dedication to quality ingredients and its passion for cocktails makes the Natural Philosopher a unique cocktail bar; there’s no minimalism and frozen margs here, just top-class cocktails and potted plants in Victorian digs.


5. The Hackney cocktail bar so low-key you’ve probably walked right past it: Satan’s Whiskers

Hackney, London

The Hackney nay-sayers will roll their eyes at the fact that this cocktail bar is easy to miss because its facade is so covered in graffiti – but truthfully, it’s one of the things we like about it, you have to really know your cocktail bars to know it’s there.

We keep sneaking this one onto our Hackney lists even though it’s technically located where Mare Street turns into Cambridge Heath Road. If you’re already on Mare Street and looking for a cocktail bar, there’s no reason you shouldn’t head to Satan’s Whiskers – it has been on lists for the world’s best cocktail bars with good reason.

Inside, you find a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere soundtracked by hip-hop, and world-class cocktails, of course. You can order classic cocktails here, but the stand out for us is the bar’s daily changing cocktail menu. It's been on a couple of our lists for good reason, one you should find out for yourself.

people outside off broadway in hackney london
cocktail at off broadway in hackney london

6. The American bar: Off Broadway

Hackney, London

It’s not every day you find a cocktail bar that’s as comfortable as your living room. Off Broadway is hard to miss: it occupies the corner of Broadway and Dericote Street; if you’ve ever visited Broadway Market, you’ve walked past it. You should have gone inside.

The atmosphere is so relaxed you could easily (dangerously) spend an afternoon and evening in the place. Not surprisingly, the menu focuses on American cocktails and beers – the drinks are lovingly made, unpretentious, and don’t make you feel guilty when you’ve had not one, not two, but several.

This Hackney cocktail bar is well-known and well-loved, not just for its location, cocktails, and live music, but for its kitty regulars – be prepared to see a cat try and drink your cocktail or perched at a window watching the world pass by. As we said, it's as relaxed as your living room.

exterior of two more years in hackney wick london
deck seating at two more years in hackney wick london

7. Not specifically a cocktail bar, but still does good cocktails: Two More Years

Hackney, London

Two More Years, located on the River Lea in Hackney Wick, has made its way onto our list for several good reasons.

First, the location. The inside is spacious and industrial – a fairly standard Hackney interior but it's the deck for a beer garden that we really love. Have you ever sipped a blood orange margarita or a negroni outside while overlooking the river? Exactly.

Second, it’s the kind of place we go for a couple of cocktails and then hit the dance floor. They’ve got DJ sets every weekend. Lastly, you can find us on Saturdays, negroni or margarita in hand, for the late ‘80s and ‘90s House and Disco night. We lied.

cocktail at fontaines in hackney london
interior of fontaines in hackney london

8. A place for Dirty Martinis and classic films: Fontaine’s

Hackney, London

Fontaine’s, the West Hackney cocktail bar whose name perfectly matches its Art Deco styling and offering of classic cocktails. True to its name and aesthetic, Fontaine’s is known and loved for its cabaret nights and film nights screening old Hollywood movies.

Complete with little cocktail lamps on little cocktail tables, kitschy armchairs and sofas, Fontaine’s is the kind of place where you sip on a Manhattan or Dirty Martini with extra olives.

Post-dinner drinks, cabaret, film night, or booked out entirely for a special occasion (it has a capacity of 150 people), Fontaine’s is an unapologetically retro cocktail bar and entertainment venue. We respect its love for classic cocktails and old movies.

cocktail at corocchios cantina in hackney london
interior of corocchios cantina in hackney london

9. The late-night Hackney cocktail bar for your tequila and mezcal cravings: Corrochio’s Cantina

Hackney, London

A cocktail bar it may be, but Corrochio’s Cantina is a Dalston dive through and through. A few of you may know it by its former name, Ruby’s, but it’s Corrochio’s Cantina now, and it’s our top pick for a late-night cocktail bar in Dalston.

The owners are the same, the great cocktails are the same, and even the DJs who play at weekends are the same. The underground bar traded its shabby kitsch Americana decor for shabby kitsch Latin decor, and gave its cocktail menu a tequila and mezcal flavour with a healthy dose of tajín – and we love it.

This is definitely the kind of place you end up in late at night when you really don’t need anymore to drink but you just can’t resist telling the bartender you’d like a Cornholio while doing your best not to say it in a Beevis & Butt-head voice – and we love it.

bar 161 hackney cocktail bar london
exterior of bar 161 in hackney london

10. The classic neon-lit Hackney cocktail bar: Bar 161

Hackney, London

With a fondness for neon signs, Bar 161 could easily be the location of a scene in an A24 film. Throw in a couple of Persian rugs and candle-lit tables and you have yourself a verified Hackney cocktail bar.

Bar 161 is our top pick for a signature cocktail menu, and if we could only recommend one to you it would be the Rising Sun Sour – a lovely little concoction of bourbon, yuzu saké, fresh lemon & lime juice, sugar syrup, and orange bitters all shaken up into zingy goodness that goes down way too easily.

Bar 161 also offers a classic cocktail menu alongside the signature menu. And when you’ve had one too many it also has a karaoke room. It’s £10 per person per hour with a minimum of five people. Just get your friends well and truly drunk – convincing them to do karaoke will be much easier then.

The best cocktail bars to hire in Hackney

Finding the perfect Hackney cocktail bar shouldn't be a chore. Let us bring you the very best Hackney has to offer in beautiful cocktail bars available to hire. From rooftop bars to underground venues, hidden speakeasies to famous cocktail bars with the best mixologists – hire out your own room, or even the entire venue, without any hassle. Hackney has an unbeatable cocktail scene and a range of stunning venues to enjoy. Take a look at the top selections below, or let us know what you're looking for and we'll make sure the perfect cocktail bar venues reach out to you.

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Guide to hiring cocktail bars in Hackney

Hackney, a vibrant borough in East London, is renowned for its diverse and creative atmosphere. If you're planning a special event or a night out, hiring a cocktail bar in Hackney can elevate your experience. This guide will take you through the steps to find the perfect cocktail bar for your occasion, whether it's a birthday celebration, a corporate gathering, or a casual night with friends.

Define Your Event:

The first step in hiring a cocktail bar in Hackney is to clearly define your event's purpose. Are you hosting a formal corporate event, a themed birthday party, a romantic date night, or a casual get-together? Understanding the nature of your event will help you select a bar that complements your vision.

Set a Budget:

Determine your budget for the event. Hackney offers a wide range of cocktail bars, from budget-friendly to upscale venues. Knowing your financial constraints will help you narrow down your options and make cost-effective choices during your planning process.

Online Platforms:

There are an endless amount of websites that will provide you with a rundown of the best cocktail bars in Hackney. It can often feel overwhelming to search through these sites. That’s why at HeadBox we work with the best venues and will circulate your event details directly to them. You’ll hear back from trusted venues that have availability and cater to your event. If only it was always this easy.

Location Matters:

Hackney encompasses a variety of neighbourhoods, each with its unique character. Consider the location carefully. Do you prefer a cocktail bar in Shoreditch for its trendy vibe or a more relaxed spot in Dalston or Hoxton? Location can affect accessibility for your guests.

Capacity and Space:

The number of guests you expect to attend is crucial when choosing a cocktail bar. Hackney's cocktail bars come in various sizes, so pick one that can comfortably accommodate your group. Consider indoor and outdoor spaces, especially for events during different seasons.

Amenities and Services:

Identify the amenities and services you need for your event. Some cocktail bars in Hackney offer private rooms, professional mixologists, tailored cocktail menus, live entertainment, and more. Ensure your chosen bar can cater to your specific requirements.

Ambiance and Theme:

The ambience and theme of the cocktail bar can set the tone for your event. Whether you desire an intimate, rustic setting or a chic, modern environment, Hackney's bars offer a wide spectrum of styles. Choose a venue that aligns with your event's theme.

Cocktail Selection:

Cocktail bars in Hackney pride themselves on their craft. Explore the bar's cocktail menu to ensure it matches your guests' preferences. Some bars offer unique signature cocktails, while others emphasise classics and custom creations.

Entertainment Options:

If you want to add entertainment to your event, inquire about the bar's offerings. Hackney cocktail bars often host live music, DJs, and themed events. Make sure your chosen bar can accommodate your entertainment choices.

Licensing and Regulations:

Understand the licensing and regulations associated with hosting events in Hackney cocktail bars. Check for any specific rules regarding opening hours, music volume, and compliance with local regulations. Ensuring you meet these requirements is crucial for a successful event.

Reservation and Booking:

After finding the ideal cocktail bar for your event, get in touch with the venue as early as possible to secure your reservation. Hackney's popular bars can be booked well in advance, especially for weekend dates and peak seasons.

Hiring a cocktail bar in Hackney, London offers you the opportunity to host a memorable and stylish event in one of the city's most dynamic areas. By following the steps outlined in this guide and taking time for thoughtful planning, you can ensure your event is a success. Hackney's diverse range of cocktail bars ensures there's a perfect venue for every occasion, whether it's a sophisticated corporate function or a casual night out with friends. Start your search for the ideal cocktail bar in this eclectic London borough, and you're on your way to creating unforgettable memories.

Frequently asked questions

Most cocktail bars in Hackney are equipped to serve non-alcoholic beverages and mocktails. It's a good idea to check with the bar about their non-alcoholic options, especially if you have guests who don't consume alcohol.

Many Hackney cocktail bars offer the option to customise the cocktail menu for your event. Discuss your preferences and requirements with the bar's mixologists to create a tailored experience for your guests.

Most cocktail bars in Hackney allow you to decorate for your event. However, it's important to discuss your decoration plans with the bar management and adhere to any guidelines or restrictions they may have.

The amenities and services included in the rental package can vary between bars. Common inclusions may consist of access to the bar area, seating arrangements, bartenders, cocktail menus, and audio-visual equipment. Always inquire about what's covered in your rental agreement.

It's advisable to book a cocktail bar in Hackney as early as possible, especially if you have a specific date or a popular venue in mind. Popular bars can get fully booked several months in advance.

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