We all know negronis are fantastic. A single sip is like being slapped around the face by Campari, before getting a big old hug from sweet vermouth, and the giggles courtesy of our gal, gin. This quintessential Italian aperitivo can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere and anytime—in a flirtatious dark corner of a bar, in a charming Italian restaurant with al dente pasta, or in the bath. OK, maybe that last one is just us, but if that’s not ‘self-care’ then we don’t want it. But life is too short to drink bad cocktails so with that in mind, these are the negronis that always hit the mark of icy sweet-meets-bitter perfection.
Goldfinch is the kind of charming neighbourhood bar where the only thing that will distract you from your negroni is an essential impromptu look at the local rental rates in Tooting. You couldn’t just leave this bar and never experience true negroni contentment again, could you? That would just be too sad. It’s rare for a cocktail to cause separation anxiety but in our humble opinion, the Finch Negroni is the best negroni in London. Perfect size, perfect hit of cassis, perfectly chilled. A classic done right.
When it comes to negronis, Bar Termini doesn’t mess about. For starters, the staff at this tiny Soho bar wear old-school white server jackets and anyone who has attempted to get a red vermouth stain out knows that is true bravery. The house negroni is served sans ice but oh-so icy for a proper short, sharp dose of Italian class. FYI you can also buy a bottle of the house negroni to take home with you.
Perhaps you have come to a complicated phase of your relationship with negronis. The spark burnt bright but then you spent way too much time together and now you’re thinking about seeing other cocktails. This, friends, is when it’s time to hit up Forza Wine. The name of this upbeat rooftop bar and restaurant in Peckham says vino but the cocktail menu is packed full of big negroni potential. As well as an expert classic and our sexy mistress, the negroni sbagliato, Forza Wine also has a plum Campari version, a debatable whisky sour negroni mash-up, and our personal favourite—the sour cherry and white vermouth negroni. Between the skyline views at sunset and the cheeky break from red vermouth, this is the perfect spot to reignite the negroni flame.
Mele E Pere
Mele E Pere is a family-run Italian restaurant home to London’s largest selection of vermouths. If your cocktail senses are tingling then listen up. Mele E Pere on Brewer Street in Soho even has a homemade vermouth featuring over 20 botanicals. The negronis here are reliably superb and if you fancy yourself as something of a connoisseur, then dabbling in some of the rarer vermouths on offer is a real treat. Although this place is first and foremost a restaurant downstairs, the street-level aperitivo bar is perfect for sipping your worries away while watching the people of Soho do their thing.
You say Bao, we hear “one umeshu negroni, please”. Bao is arguably London’s most achingly cool mini-chain and there’s no denying that everything from the 30-day aged beef rice bowls to the signature weeping man merch is an instant yes please. But sometimes people overlook its plum negroni masterpiece. Available at the Soho, Fitzrovia, Borough, Shoreditch, and King’s Cross locations, the negroni contains Roka gin, Campari, and a sour hit from ume plum sake. That might make some negroni traditionalists incredibly stressed, but trust us when we say it’s a mighty fine remix. Critical intel for lazy Campari lovers everywhere: you can also order the umeshu negroni direct to your door from Bao’s online Covni store.
One day in the not so distant future we will write a sincere and scientific thesis on the intersectionality of places serving great bao and exceptional negronis. But for now we will summarise with the statement: order Daddy Bao’s plum wine negroni. As well as gin and Campari, this £8 cocktail contains a sweet plum wine, a subtle hint of bitters, and—ding ding ding—it’s barrel-aged. The smoke factor and sweetness makes it dangerously sippable, and when combined with Daddy Bao’s family-run friendly-fun feel, it’s the perfect recipe for a stomping mid-week hangover. Hey, you won’t even regret it.
Negronis want you to be drunk. They want you to dance and sing and pose for indulgent selfies and be so happy you forget your sunglasses are on your head. Sometimes they also want you to stain your white shirt fluorescent red at 6pm but that’s a conversation for a different time. The point is Below Stone Nest is the ultimate good time negroni enabler. This moody basement bar on Shaftesbury Avenue has distressed walls, an abundance of tealights on the small circular tables, and—CC: the gin rushing through your veins—live jazz music. The negronis here are simplicity at its finest: that tinkle sound of the ice cubes, one great slice of lemon, and the delightful price of £8.
Tabac is a moody little neighbourhood bar that everyone should know about but thankfully for our last-minute negroni needs, not everyone does. With exposed brick walls, a faux fireplace, and artisan cheese platters, this Kentish Town bar is low-key serving perfect no-nonsense negronis. Zero funny business, zero stress—just gin, Campari, vermouth, a sliver of orange peel, and a full glass of ice doing what they do best. The negroni is served in one of those ornate low-ball glasses that make you feel like you definitely finished reading that Marcel Proust novel and the intimate setting makes it our favourite spot for a negroni-fuelled date night.
We had one of the best full English fry-ups of our young lives at a hotel brasserie in Berlin. Outside of being privy to our sentimental food memories, this anecdote is very scientific evidence that sometimes the best things come from unexpected places, like expert XL negronis at a classic bar à vin. Beneath sophisticated French spot Maison François, Frank’s is perfect for schmoozing over comté and, plot twist, the negroni is reliably excellent. You can expect those giant ice cubes that ensure every single sip is chilled perfection and this classy establishment has a long list of gins so you can select your favourite.