Olive Magazine
Interiors of Nine Lives Bar

Nine Lives, London SE1: bar review

Published: January 23, 2019 at 4:11 pm

Visit this speakeasy bar in London Bridge for zero-waste cocktails, lively DJ nights and shuffleboard tournaments

Nine Lives in a nutshell


A tropical, tiki-style basement bar in London Bridge from the Sweet&Chilli team, with a zero-waste ethos and twists on classic cocktails.

Where is it? Less than five minutes’ walk from London Bridge Station.

What’s the vibe?

This exotic basement bar is worlds away from the busy concrete thorough fares of London Bridge. Heady incense snakes through the air, and ivy winds round latticed walls, giving off distinct colonial vibes. Suited folk settle in for after work drinks while students come for the shuffle board tournaments and to bop along to the DJ at his retro station.

Nine Lives shuffleboard

What’s the drinks menu like?

The bar is run by Tom Soden and California-based Sweet&Chilli drinks agency, so the team really knows what it’s doing. There’s a focus on zero-waste – with not a plastic straw in site, ingredients are reused to create bitters and syrups, and any leftovers are made into compost.

For each spirit (gin, rum, vodka, scotch, bourbon, brandy, tequila), Nine Lives picks out a classic cocktail to serve, then twists it for their signature version, and finally a guest mixologist gives their take – Tess’s daiquiri, for example, sees the owner of The Flying Dutchmen in Amsterdam adding grilled pineapple and Union 55 rum to the classic daiquiri.

‘Our’ negroni twists the classic gin, Campari and vermouth combo by steeping Greek herbs in Campari and Vermouth for a herbaceous edge.

Someone holding a yellow coloured cocktail at Nine Lives bar

Is there any food? We saw plenty of thin, crisp pizzas going round, with colourful toppings, and vegan options too.

Where to go nearby for dinner: Nearby Bermondsey Street is a foodie-haven, with cute French bistro Casse Croute and Jose Pizarro’s lively tapas bar, José. A few minutes’ walk further gets you foraged-focussed dishes from Native and flavour-packed Portuguese small plates at Bar Douro. Check out our full list of London Bridge restaurants here...


olive says… It’s worth heading down for the Saturday night house parties when the team invites its favourite DJs to mix on the epic sound system. Check out the line-up on the website.

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