London, Beyond the Sauce

One of Europe's most fermented cities played a fitting host last week to the world's largest annual gathering of spirits aficionados at London Cocktail Week, where mixologists from 300 bars around the globe convened in The Big Smoke to test their boozy chops.
The shakes
London, Beyond the Sauce Amelia Pape for Newsweek

One of Europe's most fermented cities played a fitting host last week to the world's largest annual gathering of spirits aficionados at London Cocktail Week, where mixologists from 300 bars around the globe convened in The Big Smoke to prove their boozy chops.

But beneath the fanfare bubbling up around so many startenders is an interesting tension: the urge to wile out in a city that's firmly edging its way into cocktail dominance on Friday night and also to fit into one's favorite pair of jeans Saturday morning. In London, the Pret a Mangers easily outnumber McDonald's, and smoothie bars are vanquishing the greasy spoons. How long before the global wellness industry comes for the cocktail?

Sufficiently sauced, we explore not just cocktail week, but the city's best alternative options for imbibing in moderation, or outright abstinence.

Take a walk
London has a cavalcade of interesting facades, like this exterior of the Hotel Amba Charing Cross, from ancient to modern. Instead of spending a whole week staring at the insides of pubs, take a night off and explore the city’s architecture. Winston Ross for Newsweek