With a secure position on The World’s Best Top 100 Bars list, you might expect High Water to have eye-wateringly high prices. But prepare to be surprised. The drinks here are decently priced and the space itself, in a star turn that’s aging well, is understated. It exudes glamorously pared back, ‘we-just-got-out-of-bed-like-this’ chic. White and exposed brick walls. Simple wooden chairs. Dim lighting. They let the drinks do the talking. And, man, do they sing.
There are long drinks, on-the-rocks drinks and fizzy drinks, as well as miniatures, beer and wine. But it’s all about the cocktails for us. And for many of the clientele who are cocktail alums and bartenders themselves. This is where those in-the-know imbibe. For a jolt, the Etna (Reposado Tequila, Green Chartreuse, Suze, lime, Hellfire Habanero Shrub and coriander) is a solid choice. And the Calabrian Spritz will more than tickle with its boozy bubbles (gin, Italicus, Poire, lime, mint, prosecco and bergamot mist). The Rye Fidelity (Rye, Drambuie, Mezcal, and Peychaud’s bitters), meanwhile, remains a High Water classic for good reason.
Although it is low-key, it’s also firmly established on the Dalston drinking scene. So, unless you’ve got a big group who wants to colonise the “cosy space” at the back, you’ll just have to walk up and take a punt at getting a table. Friday and Saturday nights might be a bit of a push – High Water is beloved – but it’s worth persevering. The drinks really are world class.