Most nights you’ll find BarChick boozing at some awesome bar, but when closing time hits it’s back to ours for the A.P. You can be the Queen of Booze but what are you without the best booze shops on hand to help stock up the home bar? Be ready - no one wants to come home to a warm Blossom Hill from Tesco.
Whenever/wherever you're making drinks, remember it's quality not quantity, so stock up from these shops and you'll end up with such killer ingredients, even the biggest loser can knock up a half decent drink if you give them the tools.
London's oldest whisky shop is a big deal. It's gone and had a refurb and like every shop should it's now got a bar setup making it the best pit stop for a dram. They've got the most immense range of Scottish single malts and blends, Bourbon, Rye and Irish but also worldwide whiskies like Japanese, South African and Swedish for you to try. The guys actually buy whisky collections too! Wanna flog late grandpa's killer collection for a bob or two? These guys are interested.
INSIDER TIP - The bookcase in the corner is the gateway to their secret basement bar with banging cocktails. Bingo.
WHAT TO TAKE HOME - The great thing about these guys is their knowledge, they know their sh*t and will pick out the best bottle for ya.
Milroy’s of Soho, 3 Greek Street, W1D 4NX
With the motto ‘you can buy almost any drink under the sun’, this is THE place that London’s bartenders head to to get their hands on new stuff, old stuff and pretty much anything their bar is lacking. Don't expect shiny displays and aisles made for browsing, this place is all business, it's tiny, with high shelves, and nooks and crannies jam packed with so much stuff that you just need to ask the helpful staff to guide you.
ADDED BONUS - Time it right and you’re likely to bump into the likes of Jake Burger pouring samples of Portobello Road Gin, or even Dan Aykroyd signing bottles of Crystal Head on one of his London visits.
STOCK YOUR BAR WITH - Whatever’s new or essential. This is where to get all the bitters, vermouths and necessary items for your home bar, or just ask the guys what’s new, you’ll leave a few shots down and armed with a bottle of something epic.
74 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UW
Elbow your way past the handbag shoppers on the ground level and head down to Selfridges’ underground booze and wine section. They’ve curated a selection of classics, new stuff, high end and boutique spirits down here, and it’s also the only place in town where you can buy the bottled cocktails from local bartending entrepreneur Mr Lyan, aka Ryan Chetiyawardana. Keep an eye on Twitter for the regular tastings.
ADDED BONUS - Turn popping out for a bottle of something nice into a day-long affair, with lunch and cocktails on the rooftop or in the basement Harry Gordon’s Bar. Just don't have one too many and do damage to the credit card, you are in Selfridges, you have been warned.
TAKE YOUR CREDIT CARD - Pick up a bottle of Mr Lyan’s Candlelit Manhattan (the added candlewax brings out the leather and spice notes of the bourbon), Sacred Gin (made in a Highgate Kitchen), Duppy’s Share Rum (brand new Caribbean rum exclusive to Selfridges) or Haig Club Single Grain Whisky (David Beckham’s a partner, and it’s actually really good).
400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB
From the chick that brought us QuiQuiriQui Mezcal and 184 on Hackney Road is Clapton's coolest off licence. When we're in this neck of the woods we make sure we head here to stock up because what these guys sell are the smaller, independent brands which aren't in your average shop. Craving that West Country cider you had one weekend? They've got a slamming selection and a Fill-Your-Own Wine Station too. They've got cocktail equipment if your short and for the novice cocktail maker they've got ready-made cocktails for that quick fix cocktail crave.
INSIDER TIP - Not just the liquor that's for sale, all the art, furniture, tableware and vintage booze-related finds have got a price tag on them.
WHAT TO TAKE HOME - Stay! They have masterclasses, tastings and events. You'll be a bundle of knowledge if you ever make it outta there.
Brahms & Liszt, 10 Chatsworth Road, E5 0LP
Amathus have 3 stores; one in Leadenhall Market, one in Soho and one in Knightsbridge. They are all kitted out like some kind of amazing library of kick ass booze, expect sliding ladders and big tables for masterclasses and tastings, Amathus specialise in tequila, mescal and rums, but have a great selection of all other spirits too.
ADDED BONUS - Sign up for the WOW Society, membership gets you into tastings and masterclasses, and you’ll receive a free wine samples from the in-store enomatic wine machine. Nice!
WHAT TO TAKE HOME - Ocho’s vintage tequilas, and the 100% agave from Calle 23, or some Rhum Clement from Martinique.
Tucked next to this awesome bar lies an emporium of spirits, bitters and vermouths from all over the world. Have a drink after you've bought your gifts and check out those sexy copper stills! They also have imported products and a small selection of beers. Open whenever the bar is open, go get some!
ADDED BONUS - There's an awesome bar next door, so you can shop and booze.
WHAT TO TAKE HOME - They make their own vodka and gin so make sure you sample it as best you can, and buy some for home too!
221 Grove Road, Bow Wharf, London, E3 5SN
Probably the biggest selection of malts in the city, Old Compton St’s Vintage House is the place to go if you’re looking for a gift for the whisky lover who has everything, or if you just feel like getting completely out of your depth. With creaky old wooden floors and endless bottles locked in glass cabinets, this is exactly where you’d expect to find rare or ancient bottles of Single Malts.
INSIDER TIP - The guys who work here can be downright surly, so unless you know your stuff we recommend taking along a whisky geek to help you find the perfect bottle.
WHAT TO TAKE HOME - That perfect bottle to impress the pants off your father-in-law/grandpa/boss.
42, Old Compton Street, London W1D 4LR
A trip here is worth it just for the history, BBR is the country’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, and they are also the folks that keep the Royal Family stocked with booze. The focus is on wine, but they stock a few must-haves in the spirits section, like The King’s Ginger liqueur and No 3 Gin.
INSIDER TIP - They sell BBR branded wooden gift boxes, sure to make your Royal Family loving gift recipient giddy.
WHAT TO TAKE HOME - One of the BBR Own Selection rare Scotch malts, or a bottle of King’s Ginger, everyone’s dad’s favourite.
3 St James's Street, London, SW1A 1EG