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Written by Luke Bull - 09 October 2023

Our favourite 10 Old Street bars

Old Street is many things – a station, street, and an area all in one.

From its distant industrial past to its more recent creative and party-heavy decades, this area has long been a place for offbeat artists, their studios, and unpretentious galleries – or their walls and buildings evidenced by graffiti and street art.

You still find the odd old British pub dotted amongst the modern constructions of Old Steet and Shoreditch. And while you’re more likely to be here for cocktails or to attend an opening at a gallery, we still love its graffitied streets and old-school boozers. And yeah, the cocktails are good.

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cocktail at found the bar in old street london
interior of the found the bar in old street in london

1. The Old Street bar you want to keep secret: Found

Old Street, London

With a door at street level, 5 Ravey Street is a basement cocktail lounge called Found. Many cocktail bars only attempt the level of intimacy Found effortlessly achieves.

Bar stools align the wooden bar at the base of the stairs, and the small adjoining rooms off the central bar, with their low ceilings and candle-lit wooden tables create a den of nooks and crannies.

Found keep things simple and unpretentious with good music and atmosphere, drawing you into their banter behind the bar. They want to know the flavours you like so they can craft damn good cocktails for you. It’s no wonder the folk here are regulars.

cocktail at tayer and elementary in old street in london
interior of elementary at tayer and elementary in old street in london

2. Old Street’s tale of two cocktail bars: Tayēr + Elementary

Old Street, London

Everything about Tayēr + Elementary is nuanced. The outside is nondescript. Inside, the decor is sleek and industrial. The presentation of the cocktails is minimalist. But, take the first sip, and you will realise the drinks are a masterclass in cocktail-crafting.

There are two aspects of this Old Street bar. Elementary is a minimalist bar offering cocktails on tap. Separated only by a wall, Tayēr features an elegant, green ceramic tile and wood-furnished bar focused on high-quality and unique ingredients.

We recommend many of Tayēr + Elementary’s offerings, but especially recommend the One Sip Martini served with a blue cheese olive, the Penicillin, and the Cherry Whisky Sour. And lean into feeling swish by ordering a plate of oysters – they do really good oysters.

people at the bar in dream bags jaguar shoes in old street in london
cocktails at dream bags jaguar shoes in old street in london

3. The Old Street bar/venue/gallery: Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes

Old Street, London

A 10-minute walk up Old Street, under the signage of a 1980s bag and shoe shop, you’ll find Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes (we know it’s a mouthful). The bar-venue-cum-gallery has been a Shoreditch fixture for over two decades.

On the other side of its shop front windows is the ground floor bar and exhibition space where you can pair your drinks with several Taco Collective street tacos. In the basement, you find the venue space where they host gigs and DJs – it gets rowdy, and we like it.

So, whether you're into contemporary art, enjoy a good drink in a unique setting, or are just really into your street tacos, Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes (say that five times fast when you’re drunk) is our pick for the Old Street bar with the most character.

speakeasy bar nightjar shoreditch in old street in london
cocktail at nightjar shoreditch in old street in london

4. The basement jazz bar: Nightjar Shoreditch

Old Street, London

Why are jazz bars always in a basement? We don’t know, either. But I have three more words for you: cocktails, absinthe, jazz. They may be a dime a dozen, but we can say this for Nightjar – it does basement jazz and blues bar well.

The cocktail menu reads like a history book divided into four distinct eras: Pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, Post-War, and Nightjar Signature cocktails. Take your pick. Have a few. This Old Steet bar is conveniently close to the station when you decide you’ve had one too many.

And if you’re into absinthe (like we are), Nightjar boasts one of the largest collections in the UK. They offer a traditional fountain serve (which we recommend), or you can enjoy cocktails where absinthe is the star. A word of the wise: make a booking.

exterior of home bar in old street in london
bottles behind the bar at home bar in old street in london

5. The Old Street bar the size of a kitchen: Home Bar

Old Street, London

Just around the corner from Old Street station, right next door to its sister bar, Found, Home Bar is as unpretentious as it gets; that's probably why it’s named Home. It's the kind of place where you will be on a first-name basis with the bartender by the end of the night.

Home Bar is a simple square room with a bar along the left-hand wall. There are a few stools at the bar, but most folks stand and take their drinks outside onto Ravey Street. There may just be more bottles of booze in the place than people.

Regulars crowd in, order cocktails and take shots with their favourite bartender – one shot glass of tequila immediately followed by another filled with a zesty lime and coriander concoction. We like Home Bar – it says a lot about a place when a cocktail bar in the middle of a city has regulars.

interior of the prince arthur pub in old street in london
cocktail in the prince arthur pub in old street in london

6. The proper backstreet boozer in Old Street: The Prince Arthur

Old Street, London

The Prince Arthur pub is a 5-minute stroll from Old Street station, hidden away on a backstreet in busy Shoreditch and frequented by the locals. Most of these Old Street bars have been just that: bars, so when we recommend a pub, it’s with good reason.

It’s a modest pub; the original frontage is understated, and inside, the wooden floors and tables, the warped glass in the windows, and the brick fireplaces all have that cosyness of traditional pubs we like so much.

The Prince Arthur is worth a visit whether you’re popping in for a pint and a game of darts with pals, or to check out live music, or to book for an event or party – you get your own space with a private balcony with views of Shoreditch. All in all, it’s a good spot.

interior of swift bar shoreditch in old street in london
cocktails at swift bar shoreditch in old street in london

7. The Old Street bar for Aperitivo: Bar Swift Shoreditch

Old Street, London

our pick for late afternoon cocktails. And pre-dinner cocktails. And nightcaps. What we’re trying to say is Swift Shoreditch is a favourite.

It’s on the small side, with high bar tables, stools, and booth-style seating along the walls. Like its other Bar Swift companions, the space is dominated by white marble, mirrors, and an L-shaped bar serving cocktails, wine, and beers.

We like this Old Street bar for offering an Aperitivo Hour until 6pm, Monday to Friday – ideal for those early finish days if you work in the area. We recommend the Taverna & Tonic. But let’s not forget Swift is a cocktail bar; our recommendations: the Burnside and the Sgroppino.

cocktail at apothecary east in old street in london
tables in apothecary east in old street in london

8. The Tokyo-inspired Old Street bar: Apothecary East

Old Street, London

Apothecary East is on our list for a couple of reasons: handcrafted cocktails, Japanese whisky, sake, beers, and Japanese-style small plates and bar snacks. Did we mention they serve sake? Note: chilled sake to be sipped like white wine.

The space is open – a great spot for an event – with elegant touches of natural elements like wood, stone, and lush green plants. We especially approve of the atmosphere with their specially curated playlists by music masters Spiritland, and DJ sessions.

Don't miss out on pairing the flavours of the small plates with your cocktails, beer, and sake. We recommend the Found in Translation cocktail – a clever concoction of sake and apricot oolong tea and an equally clever name (if you know, you know).

the vintage bar in the griffin pub in old street in london
beer at the griffin pub in old street in london

9. The Old Street bar for the after-work crowd: The Griffin

Old Street, London

Just a stone's throw away from Old Street station, The Griffin is a traditional British pub with long windowed-doors that conveniently open onto Ravey Street directly across from cocktail bars Found and Home Bar. Three birds with one stone? Start at the Griffin.

The Griffin is a spacious pub dominated by a vintage bar running the length of the place. With all that space, there’s still a beer-toting crowd outside during the after-work hours mid-week.

It’s a craft beer pub with regular tap takeovers and Beer Flight Sundays. We like the beer, we like the atmosphere, and we like that it’s just as full of regulars at the weekends as it is during the week.

booths at old street records in old street in london
espresso martini at old street records in old street in london

10. The bar if you’re looking to dance: Old Street Records

Old Street, London

We reckon you have to go to Old Street Records when you’re in Old Street. We like the exposed brick walls, retro furnishings, a wall of vinyl records, and neon accents. So, grab a seat, a cocktail, and maybe grab a pizza, or do what you came here to do: dance.

Old Street Records is dedicated to live music and DJ nights; there’s something different every night, from Motown to Funk to House. Some nights, the vinyl gets exchanged for a live band. The commitment to music is real.

The bar is spacious enough that it’s a great place to book a party, but equally good when you’re on a night out with pals and – although you “never dance” – the drinks have kicked in, and now you have an overpowering urge to dance. Yeah, this bar is good for that.

Check out the best bars in Old Street

We've put together the best bars in Old Street for you to find and book. From activity bars for a corporate day out to cosy pubs to swanky cocktail bars, Old Street is full of amazing bars for you to explore. Take a look at all our bar venues in Old Street. Alternatively, tell us exactly what you need and we'll make sure the very best Old Street bar venues respond to your enquiry.

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Guide to hire bars in Old Street

Old Street, located in the heart of London's vibrant East End, is a thriving area known for its eclectic nightlife scene. If you're planning an event or just looking for a great place to unwind, this guide will provide you with valuable insights on hiring bars in Old Street, London.

1. Define Your Event: Before embarking on your search for the perfect bar, it's essential to define the nature of your event. Are you planning a birthday party, a corporate gathering, a casual meetup, or a themed event? Knowing the purpose of your gathering will help you narrow down the options.

2. Location Matters: Old Street is brimming with bars, each offering a unique atmosphere. You can find cosy and intimate bars, lively and energetic venues, rooftop bars, and historic pubs. Choose a location that aligns with the ambience you want for your event.

3. Budget: Budget considerations are crucial when hiring a bar in Old Street. The cost of hiring a bar can vary significantly based on factors like venue size, location, and the type of event you're hosting. Some bars offer package deals, while others may charge a rental fee. Make sure to account for other costs like decorations, entertainment, and catering.

4. Size and Capacity: Ensure that the bar you select can comfortably accommodate your guest list. Old Street has bars for intimate gatherings as well as larger events, so always check the venue's capacity to avoid overcrowding.

5.Online Platforms: There are an endless amount of websites that will provide you with a rundown of the best bars in Old Street. It can often feel a little overwhelming searching 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.

6. Amenities and Services: Consider the amenities and services you need for your event. Some bars in Old Street offer catering services, audiovisual equipment, dance floors, or private event spaces. Find a bar that can fulfil your specific requirements and offers the services necessary to make your event a success.

7. Catering and Drinks: The menu options at the bar should align with your guests' preferences. Whether you're looking for craft cocktails, a wide selection of wines, a range of beers, or a diverse food menu, make sure the bar can provide the food and drinks that suit your event.

8. Entertainment: Think about the entertainment options available at the bar. Some bars have in-house DJs, live bands, or a stage for performances, while others may offer areas for activities like karaoke or trivia. Ensure that the entertainment matches the vibe you want for your event.

9. Accessibility and Transportation: Old Street is well-connected by public transportation, including the London Underground and buses. Verify the proximity of the bar to the nearest transport hubs, making it easier for your guests to attend. Additionally, consider parking options for those who prefer to drive.

10. Advance Booking: Bars in Old Street can be in high demand, especially during peak seasons. To secure your reservation, book well in advance. Make sure to confirm all the details, including the date, time, and any additional services included in your package.

11. Personalize Your Event: Make your event in Old Street memorable by adding unique touches, such as decorations, party favours, or a signature cocktail. Ensure that your guests have a fantastic time and leave with unforgettable memories.

Old Street offers a variety of bars that cater to different tastes and preferences. By carefully defining your event, setting a budget, and considering all the essential factors, you can find the perfect bar in Old Street, London, to create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. Cheers to a successful and memorable event!

Frequently asked questions

Bars in Old Street are versatile and can accommodate a wide range of events, such as birthday parties, corporate gatherings, engagement parties, networking events, or casual meetups. The type of event you're planning will determine the ambiance and services you require from the chosen bar.

It's important to inquire about any specific requirements or restrictions set by the bar. These might include age restrictions, noise level limitations, closing times, and rules related to bringing outside decorations or catering.

The costs can vary based on factors like the bar's size, location, and the type of event you're planning. Bars often offer different packages, which may include a minimum spend requirement, a rental fee for private spaces, or an all-inclusive per-person price. Be sure to discuss your budget with the bar management to find a suitable option.

It's crucial to understand the cancellation policy when hiring a bar. Find out what happens if you need to change or cancel your event and what the associated costs may be. This information will help you plan for unexpected circumstances.

Old Street can be challenging for parking, but it's well-connected by public transportation, including the London Underground and bus routes. You can suggest public transport options to your guests for easy access. Additionally, inquire whether the bar has partnerships with nearby parking facilities or offers valet services for your event.

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