Summer. It makes me want to run / totter (as I’m usually in wedges) to the nearest beer garden and chill the heck out.
It usually involves working my way through a cocktail menu too. As my quest for living sustainably is ever growing, I wondered if I could pair my love of both these things.
Could I find decent cocktails from independent bars with sustainability at their core AND enjoy them outside in cool surroundings?
Ever the researcher, I did some digging. I found some real gems – and they’re not all in London!
Midnight Apothecary, Rotherhithe, London
Midnight Apothecary is a beer garden above Brunel’s Thames Tunnel in Rotherhithe. This place is a true hidden gem. It’s nestled beside the Thames, surrounded by greenery and cosiness. Cocktails are made using seasonal, homegrown or locally foraged botanicals.
If you’re hungry, their frequently changing street food menu also serves seasonal and locally sourced fare. They also have vegan options.
Entry is from £4 and needs to be pre-booked. It includes marshmallows, which are a must for toasting around their amazing firepit! Midnight Apothecary is open Friday and Saturday nights until the end of October.
Brixton Port Authority, Pop Brixton, London
Pop Brixton is a community space, home to more than 50 social enterprises. One of these is Brixton Port Authority, a bar serving drinks with a local, craft vibe. All their beers and real ales are brewed in south London. Which they say “showcases the brewing revolution taking place on the right side of the river”.
Their spirits are from small batches produced by independent distillers across London and the UK. Plus, there’s also organic wines and prosecco.
Whether you’re from north or south of the river (or further afield!), this cool bar with its outdoor seating is well worth a visit!
No 29 Power Station West, Battersea, London
Featuring a brand new outdoor space under a pergola, No 29 Power Station West does sustainable and sophistication. Although most of the wines are from overseas, lots of the craft beers are brewed locally. Plus the food menu focuses on seasonality.
The cocktails feature homemade fruit syrups and sherbets and if you need a pick-me-up, the coffee (also used in their espresso martini) comes courtesy of the local Caravan Coffee Roastery. This bar is part of the new Circus West Village, Thameside next to the iconic Battersea Power Station.
The Piculpeper, Spitalfields, London
The Culpeper pub have made space for a fab bar within their rooftop garden. The rooftop Piculpeper bar has tables dotted amongst vegetables growing in the London sunshine.
The drinks menu includes natural wines from small (worldwide) growers and most of the beers are locally brewed. The cocktail list changes with the seasons and is based on the herbs that grow on the rooftop. The food menu also changes regularly, but expect a heavy emphasis on peppers, cucumbers and pickles.
The Ethicurean, Bristol
The Ethicurean is primarily a restaurant. But the owners (and brothers) Matthew and Iain actively encourage people to come in for a cocktail. And as this place is inside a gorgeous Victorian walled garden, who are we to argue?
The whole ethos here is sustainability and they grow much of their fresh produce on site. Any fruit and veg they don’t use is pickled or made into jam for use during the winter months.
Drinks-wise, the bar is “alive with experimentation” which is reflected in their cocktails. The cider is made on site, the wine is made sustainably and the beers are local. And I don’t think there’s a better name than Ethicurean for such a planet-friendly establishment!
No Planet B Festival, Cotswolds
A weekender rather than a bar, the No Planet B Festival had to make my list. It’s the UK’s first vegan, zero waste festival and it’s in the Cotswolds from 17th to 19th August 2018.
Alongside sustainable vegan street food and drink, there’s workshops and yoga sessions. And the acoustic musical sets at sundown sound amazing! How else to spend the last days of summer than at this “TED talk meets music festival”?
Trying out new places is exciting. And doing good by the planet at the same time, makes it even better. We all have a duty to think more sustainably, even when we’re two or three cocktails down.
As our population increases and our demand for resources soars, it’s up to us all to think more about our actions. Our individual choices make a difference, including where we hang out with friends.
We can combine being social with being planet-friendly and these places are a great way to start. And although I haven’t checked them all out yet, I’m looking forward to trying.
So, with train tickets in hand, off I go. See you at the bar!
* Sunshine not guaranteed