The UK's Weirdest Bars
by Leighanne Bent
Gone are the days of heading to a standard bar for a white wine spritzer. Theatrical cocktails can be found at every turn and there’s loads of themed bars to discover - you just gotta know where to find them. To help you on your merry way, we’ve called on our friends at DesignMyNight to handpick the weirdest bars across the UK. From drinking dens in converted toilets to wacky school-themed hangouts, this list is guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
As far as weird bars go, one that resembles a school is pretty up there. The Schoolhouse in Battersea is the perfect place to drink if you’re after a trip down memory lane. It’s got just the right amount of quirk, with worn wooden tables, a used whiteboard, bookshelf wallpaper and plenty of science labels to go around. Their all-day grub is served on school dinner trays, and the menu is aptly themed with meals like The Headmaster’s Big Breakfast and The Teacher’s Conference Sharing Board stealing all the limelight. Drink-wise; they stock over 60 craft beers, but take our advice and go for the disobedient-sounding Naugh-tea Schoolgirl.
Things don’t get much weirder than dining in a former loo, do they? Although spending your evening in a toilet may not sound appealing, don’t knock it until you try it. Cue WC Wine & Charcuterie Bar. Take the steps below Clapham Common station and find a quaint but charming space where old tiles and brickwork are paired with candle-lit cosy booths and tables. Meat hangs from the bar (yep, really) and they stock an anything-but-standard selection of wines that are great with a cheese board. Not a vino fan? Fear not, they also have a selection of cocktails and London craft beer on offer.
An Eastenders super-fan has had their wicked way with this quirky gem. Not only is Little Nan’s a colourful shrine to everyone’s fave power couple of Pat Butcher and Patrick Truman, it’s a kitsch lovers’ dream. The decor is tropical themed with pineapples, fur animals, pink umbrellas and a dizzying amount of leopard print wallpaper. Cocktails are served in bric-a-brac teacups and there’s a dress up box, too.
What could be more unusual than a bar resembling a flat that’s dedicated to throwing wild house parties? If you're looking for a whimsical evening you’ll find it at Flat 0/1; a unique bar kitted out with a kitchen, bed and sofa. Much in the same way as a dated student house, it looks like the decor hasn’t been touched since the 70s, don’t be fooled though - this adds to the venue’s kooky charm. Whether you settle in for a weekday bevvy or opt to dress up for one of their raucous club nights, you’re guaranteed a top time.
A bar that comes up trumps on the quirky front is Cane and Grain in Manchester. It boasts not one, but three cocktail lounges, all with their own distinctive flair. Settle into the rib joint and tap room for American food, bourbon and craft beers, with an 80s skate scene backdrop. Scoot up a level to the science and industry lounge; a sleek, industrial looking space with dim lighting and peculiar taxidermy. Or if these don’t take your fancy, hit the liars’ lounge. It’s a tiki bar-come-rum shop. Each hangout has a unique cocktail list too giving you plenty of cocktails to lust after.
If you adore drinking rum as much as Jack Sparrow, then you need to pay The Smugglers Cove in Liverpool a visit. The grand fireplaces, nautical vintage trinkets, reels of rope and candelabras will make you feel as though you're in a pirate’s galleon. Stocking over 150 types of Jack’s fave tipple, you’ll always find an excuse to return to this unique hangout. Start your night off with their passion fruit and grapefruit twist on the Mojito, or gather your cronies to share a Dead Man’s Chest. This knockout drink contains Bacardi Carta Oro, raspberry and almond syrup, pineapple, orange and zesty lime.
The guys at Drink, Shop & Do are based in King’s Cross and have recently upgraded one of their bar spaces. Its new look pays homage to the celebrated American film director, Wes Anderson. Famous for his distinctive style, the Spritz Bar has captured his quirkiness down to a T. It’s brimming with whimsical trinkets, and the decor highlights the hues spotted on one of his film backdrop, but your eyes will undoubtedly be drawn to the gleaming orange bottles of the Aperol and Campari at the bar.
Remember the good old days of Pac Man and Space Invaders? Relive those forgotten days at Four Quarters in Peckham, a quirky bar that’s packed to the brim with arcade games. Hard-core gamers and lovers of all things nostalgic will be in their element at this joint. This spot also serves delicious all-American grub and they stock plenty of craft beer to keep you hydrated.
Burlock is the largest rum house in the UK; they stock over 200 bottles and the space itself resembles a drinking den from the 1920’s Havana hey days. It also features a grand house veranda and a Havana-style barber shop. Make sure you attempt their Grasshopper challenge: you’ll have to eat an actual grasshopper followed by a shot of rum and a Barbadian 10 Saint beer. As if that wasn’t enough to tempt you to this weird and wonderful joint, they boast a continuous happy hour.
(Be-e warned, when you arrive here, you’ll be greeted by a rotating mannequin head – no biggie.) This quaint little pub is brimming with oddities, but it’s just as cosy as it is fun. There’s no shortage of nooks to be found either with a live music room and mirrored basement den to wander through. If you love beer, this pub will also double up as your favourite-place-on-earth; they stock extravagant drafts and bottled tastes from around the world. The roster of events they host reflect their status as an unusual boozer too; you’ve got everything from movie nights and acoustic American folk music to life drawing classes to occupy your evenings.
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