A Whisky Shop you can drink in too?
Those who know us will know we love a good dram of whisky and it doesn’t get much better than Milroy’s of Soho in London.
After a particularly gruelling day at work my colleague and I began looking up whisky bars for a much-needed post work drink and came across this little gem of a bar - London’s original, first ever speciality whisky bar Milroy’s of Soho.
Milroy's has a charming layout an old fashioned whisky shop stacked high with bottles and bottles and funky little barrels to sit on in the window, but the best place to be is perched up at the copper-top bar, nattering away to the bar staff and testing out their recommendations.
Don’t worry if your knowledge of whisky is a bit patchy, these guys know their stuff - they’ll even provide advice if you tell them what flavours you like or don’t like. In fact, once, after a bit of a disastrous job interview Niall requested a whisky that ‘felt like a punch in the face’ and the whisky that followed certainly delivered!
Milory’s of Soho is the Willy Wonka's of the whisky world, a magical place for grown-ups who love their whisky strong and their taste buds tantalised.
This tiny unassuming whisky bar has over 250 different whiskies from around the whiskying world and some of the loveliest and most knowledgeable staff I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting! If you’re drinking at the bar they will also give you a discount in the shop, which is very hard to resist.
When Niall lived in London this was definitely one of our go to places for a quiet post work debrief or a debaucherous Saturday night out, in fact it’s the first place we headed to after Niall popped the question last December. The atmosphere is buzzing, but never feels too busy and the lovely bar staff always make time to talk, advise and top you up - it’s a very cool place.
Through the bookcase...
Now you might think that all Milroy’s has to offer is a spectacular array of whiskies from Speyside to Yamazaki, but it gets even better…At the back of the shop is a bookcase and this bookcase holds a secret. If you push with all your might, it will open.
Head down the clanky secret staircase and there you will find The Vault (I almost don’t want to tell you this in case you go and there’s no table for me though, so please let’s keep it between us) The Vault is one of the first speakeasy bars Niall and I ever discovered, and it totally blew our minds when we first sat down.
The mood here is timeless and unpretentious, like you’ve fallen asleep and woken up in olden days London. It’s perfect for a late night wind down or just getting away from the hustle and bustle of London night life and this incredible little den makes the most delightful alcoholic concoctions.
No Bloody Mary’s or Pornstar Martini’s here – instead imagine ingredients like gin, ginger, saffron, fennel and honey; or rum with bergamot, wasabi, and hop and grapefruit bitters. Usually I’m a whisky purist but their tempting speciality whisky cocktails totally converted me. You need to visit this place. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.
The Vault isn’t the kind of joint to come for a quick drink though, it’s easy to get totally charmed and end up spending the whole evening here, so be prepared and make sure you have something to eat before you head in, it can be lethal!
We’ve never had a problem securing a space, but I think we’ve been very lucky. Both bars are only small, so arrive early at Milroy’s to get a seat at the bar. You can reserve a space at The Vault so I highly recommend you book ahead first to avoid disappointment. Really, the only problem is where to go next – once you’ve experienced the atmosphere, service and selection these lovely establishments have to offer it’s difficult to head on to a traditional bar or pub.
You can find our recommendations for more unusual, quirky and unique nights out plus the most tasty places to eat in the Big Smoke in our other Food and Drink reviews. but don't just take our word for it, here's a link to The Vault's page.