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With the highest number of licensed premises in the UK per capita, the streets of Angel and Islington are literally paved with amazing bars!

If you were to just spend an evening popping in to the venues lining Upper Street while walking from Highbury & Islington Station to Angel you'd be on for one of the best – and heaviest! – bar crawls in London, and that's without knowing about all the amazing cocktail bars, speakeasies and free form jazz saloons tucked away from the main strip...

Fortunately, being local connoisseurs we really do know an amazing bar when we see one, and have decided to share that hard-earned knowledge by rounding up our favourites in Angel and Highbury & Islington.

From swanky cocktail lounges to in your face American dive bars that have bras hanging from the ceiling, we give you the top 20 bars in the local area, cheers!

P.S. If you're after some inspiration on where to celebrate your birthday, check out our round up of the top 10 things to do in London on your birthday.

1) The Bar With No Name


Happy hour: Afraid not

Also known as 69 Colebrooke Row – because edgy cocktail bar names are cool and all but at the end of the day an Uber driver still needs to actually find your venue! – The Bar With No Name is the brainchild of world famous cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro.

Inside 69 Colebrooke Row you'll find some of the best cocktails in London, with an interesting 1950s Italian Café/Film Noir interior decor. There's also a pianist on Tuesdays and Thursdays and live bands every Sunday that tend to be of the jazz, swing or blues variety – molto di classe!

Drink until you can't remember the bar's name:

2) Lucky Voice Islington


Happy hour: Cocktails are 2-4-1 Sunday – Friday from 5-8pm

Located slap bang in the middle of Upper Street, Lucky Voice Islington offers guests a madcap fusion of world class cocktail bar, private karaoke rooms and late night party venue.

The front half of the venue is an off the wall club/cocktail bar with a large bar area, hireable fancy dress, a sizeable dance floor and live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights, while the back half is made up of the seven private karaoke rooms that the Lucky Voice brand is famous for. They also do a regular bottomless karaoke brunch – yes, that's a thing – on Saturdays from 12-3pm.

If I cannot fly, let me sing:

3) Little Bat Bar


Happy hour: Afraid not

This stylish cocktail bar just off of Upper Street is worth visiting for its gorgeous interior alone! A decor consisting of polished wood, burnished jade leather, gilt mirrors and a truly impressive array of different styles of lampshade all combine to give the feel of the sort of swanky private members club/library that Sherlock Holmes might burst into.

A sister venue to Callooh Callay in Shoreditch, you can expect to enjoy some of the best cocktails in the business while you await the arrival of the aforementioned deerstalker-clad detective, and there's also a decent array of nibbles to help keep your stomach lined – the brunching menu is particularly good.

Elementary my dear Watson:

4) Laki Kane Rum Bar


Happy hour: Afraid not

If you're in to rum, loud Hawaiian shirts and Caribbean grooves, there really isn't anywhere better to drink in London, let alone Islington.

All the cocktails at Laki Kane are painstakingly put together by award-winning bartender, founding partner and all-around rum genius Georgi Radev, providing the taste buds of thirsty punters with the very best that the sugarcane spirit has to offer. There's also live DJs Thursday – Saturday, and none of the rum cocktails at Laki Kane use refined sugar, so they're practically healthy!

Get your Tiki on:

5) Slim Jim's Liquor Store


Happy hour: Cocktails are 2-4-1 and pints are £3.50 Tuesday – Thursday until 8pm, Friday until 6pm and Sunday – Monday until 10pm

When Joan Jett sang "I love rock 'n' roll, so put another dime in the jukebox baby" she probably envisaged said jukebox being part of a bar very similar to Slim Jim's Liquor Store.

Decked out in the questionable interior decor of an LA dive bar – there's a load of bras hanging from the ceiling – Slim Jim's Liquor Store is a must visit for any lover of rock 'n' roll. Along with its jukebox, the venue regularly hosts live music from an array of awesome independent artists, as well as live DJs who specialise in throwing late night 'rock discos'.

Rock out with your Fighting Cock* out:

* It's a beloved American bourbon, get your mind out of the gutter.

6) The Four Sisters


Happy hour: Two cocktails for £12 Monday – Saturday from 4-7pm

There has been some form of public house serving booze at 25 Canonbury Lane under the moniker 'The Four Sisters' since the early 1930s. Indeed, the bar's reputation goes so far back it was actually frequented and name dropped by no less than George Orwell, who lived two doors down at number 27.

Nowadays you'll find a trendy cocktail bar at number 25 with an intimate Dickensian feel and an impressive menu of craft cocktails to sample. The bar's six week barrel aged negroni is a particularly punchy highlight!

What the Dickens:

7) Dead Dolls House


Happy hour: Cocktails for £6, house wine for £3.50 and bottles of beer for £3 Monday – Thursday from 5-8pm

The Dead Dolls House is a really cool Victorian townhouse on Upper Street that is a warren of different bars, event spaces and private dining rooms spread across three floors.

The ground floor is taken up entirely by the main public parlour bar where hungry and thirsty punters can look forward to sampling an array of swish cocktails and a solid a la carte menu. There's also a live DJ on weekends, and a locally famous brunching menu on Saturdays and Sundays with the option of adding 90 minutes of bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, house wines or house bubbles to your meal. Above the main bar are a number of gorgeous dining rooms that are available for private hire, and at the very top of the venue you'll find a ballroom that often transforms in to a late night cocktail bar/event space.

Brunch and Judy:

8) The Old Queen's Head


Happy hour: Every Wednesday all cocktails are £5

A fascinating combination of pub/bar/club, The Old Queen's Head has a solid claim of being the prettiest venue in all of Islington, which given some of the other stunning bars on this list is quite the achievement – just look at that gorgeous turquoise bar!

There's a gut-busting array of greasy goodness to be enjoyed from the bar's Lucky Chip kitchen, and on the weekend the whole venue transforms in to a surprisingly sizeable club that throws regular disco, hip hop, R'N'B, house and funk nights. You'll also find some interesting events on during the week like live folk music, topical debate panels, pub quizzes and stand up comedy.

For Queen and country:

9) Radicals & Victuallers


Happy hour: Afraid not, though they do 2-4-1 burgers every Tuesday

One of the most uniquely named and uniquely enjoyable venues in Islington, Radicals & Victuallers is a powerhouse combo of bar, night-club and eatery that deals in "craft beers, alternative music, naughty diner grub, and good times".

In case you were wondering, the name pays homage to the two things Islington is most famous for: radicals due to the area serving as a birthplace for the feminist movement, punk movement and workers movement to name a few, and Victuallers (people who are licensed to sell alcohol) due to the area's long history of late night entertainment. From a more contemporary point of view: the food is fab, there's loads of craft beer to wash it down with and weekly live music, rockaoke, pub quizzes and disco/funk club nights to keep you entertained.

Vive la Révolution:

10) Homeboy


Happy hour: Afraid not

Just a little further down Essex Road from The Old Queen's Head you'll find Homeboy, an Irish speakeasy that serves the best pint of Guinness in Islington as well as some very interesting cocktails.

The first bar from Irish duo Aaron Wall and Ciarán Smith, Aaron previously worked at the helm of the London Cocktail Club as well as Callooh Callay, and Homeboy's drinks menu is a fun fusion of contemporary cocktail concoctions and more traditional Gaelic boozing. The food is also wonderfully comforting – they whip up an absolute showstopper of a poutine and the best Irish stew you'll have outside of Dublin.

Top of the evening to ya:

11) Humble Grape


Happy hour: Afraid not

Humble Grape is an independent London wine merchant that has four wine bars scattered across the capital. Its Islington venue is a bright and airy haven for wine aficionados, with a lovingly curated wine list that offers a taste of handcrafted organic vinos that you've probably never head of, as they are a specialist wine merchant for procuring vintages from lesser known vineyards.

You'll also find the prices surprisingly reasonable for the quality of wine on offer, as the team at Humble Grape import all of their stock directly from the vineyards so as to avoid the usual agent and distributor fees. And, if you fall deeply in love with a certain vintage, you can order a year's supply from the Humble Grape online store!

Sip sip hooray:

12) Simmons Bar


Happy hour: Two cocktails for £10, bottles of beer and single spirit mixers for £2.50 and house wine for £3/glass Sunday – Friday from 4-9pm

The Angel branch of the Simmons Bar Group delivers the chain's usual cheeky shenanigans – expect an eclectic music selection, a Sega Megadrive or two, live DJs on the weekend and buckets of drinks offers including the infamous Simmons happy (five) hour(s). There's also a hefty menu of sugar-laden cocktails to work your way through, including The Big Top which is served in a metal top hat with an upside down bottle of Prosecco as a garnish!

Cometh the man, cometh the happy hour:

P.S. Simmons also has a fab bar in Soho – make sure to check out our round up of the top 10 bars in Soho if you're after debaucherous night out in the heart of London's nightlife.

13) The Ladybird Bar


Happy hour: Two cocktails for £12 Sunday – Friday from 5-9pm

A neon-heavy cocktail bar and club with some very left field interior design choices – just look at that fresco above the bar! – The Ladybird has been a stalwart of Angel and Islington's nightlife since 2006. There always seems to be a DJ downstairs spinning anything from funk to electro, and on the weekends the bar hosts probably the best house night in the local area.

House every weekend:

14) Barrio Angel


Happy hour: Two cocktails for £12 Tuesday – Saturday until 9pm, and all day Sunday & Monday

If you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain... chances are you will also love Barrio in Angel!

Dedicated to all things funky fresh and tropical, Barrio is a wonderful Latin drinking den with an eye-wateringly vibrant interior decor – think flowers, lots and lots of flowers – and wild atmosphere on the weekend. The bartenders are all certifiably insane and several of Barrio's signature cocktails involve a truly copious amount of fire.

Muy picante:

15) Hoxley & Porter


Happy hour: Afraid not

"Step off Islington's bustling Upper Street and prepare to embark on one hell of a drinking and dining adventure" is the first line of Hoxley & Porter's description on their website and they certainly don't fail to deliver on that promise!

A unique interior decked out in an airy Victorian style that sits somewhere between a first class train carriage and safari lodge houses both a world class restaurant and cocktail bar. Expect a modern British menu of both cocktails and food – the kitchen's restorative Sunday roast combined with a Bloody Mary is well worth checking out as a hangover cure to Saturday night's revels.

Dine like a classy Victorian gentleman:

16) John Salt


Happy hour: Cocktails are 2-4-1 Monday – Saturday 5-7pm, and Sunday 5-11pm

While Young's are far more renowned for their pubs than bars, the John Salt on Upper Street is such a good example of the latter they might want to think about diversifying their portfolio more often!

In keeping with the area, you can expect a laid back vibe, fun cocktail menu and live DJ spinning vinyl on the weekend. There are also some fab regular weekday fun to get involved with – Monday nights are for retro gaming on the bar's big screen projector with rewards for the fastest Mario Kart lap, on Tuesdays it's B.Y.O.V. (Bring Your Own Vinyl) and on Thursdays it's the infamous Cocktail Club where you can enjoy half price cocktails all night.

Living Young's and wild and free:

17) Alphabet


Happy hour: Afraid not

A restaurant/bar combo that specialises in tasty Mediterranean and Moroccan food during the week and delectable cocktails with music to match during the weekend.

Rising up from the ashes of Alphabet Bar in Soho, Alphabet Islington offers the same unique fusion of stripped back New Yorker bar and Mediterranean taverna that made the original famous. The service is excellent as you'd expect and there's a decent cocktail menu plus live DJs and a late licence on the weekend. Make sure to try one of the kitchen's signature kebabs!

As easy as ABC:

18) Dirty Martini Islington


Happy hour: Half price martinis, £12.50 bottles of wine and £3.5o bottles of beer Monday – Thursday 4-10pm, Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 3-8pm and all day Sunday

The Islington branch of Dirty Martini offers the small independent chain's usual experience – lots of world class cocktails and a plush art deco interior that seems like it was pulled straight from the pages of an Agatha Christie thriller. A great bar to consider for special occasions – they offer table service all week and do their name justice with some of the best martinis in London. It does close at midnight even on the weekend, so more of a stop off than end of the night kind of bar!

Talk dirty to me:

19) Wenlock and Essex


Happy hour: Afraid not

Another bar/night club/restaurant combo on Essex Road, the Wenlock and Essex boasts award winning sourdough pizzas during the day and full on party mode during the night.

There's a wonderfully tacky club room at the back of the venue that features a light up dance floor beneath a mirrored ceiling that gets pretty rowdy on the weekend, with live DJs dropping tracks until 2am on Friday and Saturday night. There's also a decent menu of classic cocktails and a strong selection of craft beer to provide you with a bit of dutch courage before you hit said dance floor.

Wen-lock, stock and two smoking barrels:

20) The Vineyard


Happy hour: Afraid not

A spacious bar on Upper Street that really comes in to its own during the UK's few months of sunshine due to a large and lovely outdoor space.

The interior is pretty nifty too, with funky retro furnishings underneath an exposed brick vaulted ceiling. The food menu here – of which the pizzas are a particular highlight – is exceptional and quite reasonably priced. There are also several screens to watch most sporting events and a live DJ on Friday and Saturday night.

Fruit of the vine:

Not found what you're looking for? Holborn is another great part of London for a fab bar crawl, check out our round up of the top 15 bars in Holborn for even more inspiration on where to go in London.