For those who live in East London, or out in Essex like me, travelling in to the centre of London for a night out can be a bit of a trek. London Docklands can often be an excellent alternative location. Canary Warf is a hub of classy shops, restaurants, and bars, and a night out here can make you feel like a million bucks. And why wouldn’t it? Built on one of the busiest docks in history, all sorts of riches would be coming and going, and its been transformed into the perfect place to hang out with friends.
Dinner and drinks at Canary Warf has been a long time coming, but a day out in August 2021 reignited my love of East London, and the bars in Docklands. Here are my top three for you to consider visiting, whether you’re on a girls’ night out, boys’ night, or date night!
Located directly on one of the quays, The Pangination is perhaps the classiest of the three. There is a large outdoor seating area which is perfect for cocktails on a summer evening, and offers great views across the water. If you prefer (or are forced) to sit indoors, it’s just as good.
Inside is large, light, and airy. Most of the tables are high, with two yellow bar stools on either side to match the yellow and white wood panelling on the bar. However, there are some at a ‘normal’ height, and even a couple of leather sofas for some real comfort. The staff dart between tables with a smile on their face, even on a summer Friday evening, and we were served ridiculously quickly. Of course we ordered Pornstar Martinis, and even when I knocked over my Prosecco shot, it was replaced in an instant!
Just next door to The Pangination is Electric Shuffle, a bar created by the founders of Flight Club. It’s probably the most fun of the Canary Warf bars, since its one of the only places in London where you can play shuffleboard, you know, the old game that Henry VIII loved to play.
The bar itself is quite dark, and ebbs steampunk vibes. Copper piping decorates the walls and ceilings, and there is distressed leather on the furniture. Again, seating is primarily bar stools, but of course it would be – you don’t want to get too comfortable when you have to get up and play your turn!
On our most recent visit, we booked bottomless brunch and loved it. Four of us had an hour on the shuffleboard, with Prosecco and pizzas on demand for two hours.
The most exciting of the three Canary Warf bars is The Alchemist. It’s both a restaurant and a cocktail bar, so if you’re organised enough, get a reservation for dinner. If you’re unorganised like us, you could find a spot in the bar or in the outdoor seating area – which yes, does have heaters!
The selling point of The Alchemist is the way the cocktails are made. Some – like the Pornstar Martini and Espresso Martini below – are made the regular way but are served in quirky glassware. My prosecco shot was served in a tiny beaker with passionfruit bubbles instead of the passionfruit slice in the martini glass. Some drinks however are served with theatrics. It’s almost like sitting in a Hogwarts potions class.
You could hit all three bars in one day, or you could combine one bar with an afternoon shopping in the Canary Warf mall. Either way I’m sure you’ll have a great time there like I do!
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