The most exciting new bars launching in May 2022

As we enter official rooftop bar season, get set for sky-high drinks offerings - as well as counterpoint basement cocktail bars, and an unusual new venue that's serving up sparkling wine with tins of fish

Words by Laura Richards

wagtail rooftop bar in london

Rooftop bar season is officially upon us, with a smattering of international sky-high destinations reopening their doors for the summer – and a selection of newbies welcoming drinkers for the very first time. That means you can get dizzy on the drinks at London’s new Wagtail, which is boasting 360-degree views of the UK capital. And while it’s not quite on the ‘roof’, you can make the most of a month-long pop-up at none other than New York’s Empire State Building, from the minds that brought you East Village speakeasy PDT.

If you prefer your drinking to be done on ground level – or even just beneath – there are still plenty of secluded watering holes opening up around the world in May, from a basement agave bar (another launch in London) to a modern take on the Tiki trend that’s coming to Hong Kong. And if none of the above is quirky enough for you, why not check out LA’s Kippered, a bar that combines sparkling wine and, curiously, tinned foods.

Global bar launches: May 2022

kippered LA bar owners


Los Angeles, USA

The offering at Kippered might sound an awful lot like one of many nights on the sofa during lockdown, but there’s a genuine buzz around Downtown LA’s new sparkling wine and tinned food concept. The opening menu at this ‘neighbourhood wine and tin bar’ is set to feature 50 types of tinned fish, which will be served in inventive dishes and paired with glasses of fizz. It’s not merely a case of ‘does what it says on the tin’, though. Since Kippered is being brought to the area by the owners of DTLA Cheese, visitors can also expect to see a side of fromage with their seafood.
Now open, @get_kippered

mayahuel cavita london bar


London, UK

While there’s a spotlight deservedly being shone on the arrival of Adriana Cavita’s debut restaurant Cavita in London this month, we’re just as excited about the venue’s basement bar, Mayahuel. The bar will have its own dedicated entrance from Wigmore Street and its drink list will be centred around the Mexican agave spirit mezcal. While there will be mezcals made for sipping, the bar will also be shaking up cocktails designed to be served alongside tuna tostadas and fellow bar snacks inspired by Cavita’s Mexican heritage.
Now open, cavitarestaurant.com

pdt at empire state building

PDT at the Empire State Building

New York, USA

Taking over floor 86 of the Empire State Building is another New York icon, PDT (which stands for ‘Please Don’t Tell) – with the speakeasy bar stepping into the light in about the most visible way possible. PDT has been going since 2007, hidden inside an East Village hot dog joint. For one month only, they’ll be bringing grub from Crif Dogs along with some of the bar’s most popular cocktails for a residency towards the top of the skyline favourite, on its observatory deck. Don’t expect speakeasy hours, though, with the pop-up just open each evening until 10pm – and an entry fee to contend with, too.
Now open, esbnyc.com

pearl chablis and oyster bar

Pearl Chablis and Oyster Bar

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is getting a spin-off from Pinchy’s Champagne and Lobster Bar, similarly lavish in its food and drink offering, and set to champion yet another culinary match made in heaven. Pearl Chablis and Oyster Bar in the CBD is said to be pouring from the largest Chablis menu in Australia, as well as offering an impressive line-up of fellow Burgundy wines – while, from the New World, there will be seasonal oysters sourced from the NSW coast and shucked on demand. Each month, Pearl is also set to shine a light on one specific Chablis producer, serving a selection of vintages across dedicated wine flights.
Now open, pearloyster.co

the social den bar

The Social Den

Hong Kong

Just coming out of soft launch is The Social Den, a cocktail bar and hangout aiming to offer a modern slant on the Tiki theme. The Polynesia-inspired bar has been dreamt up by a pair of Filipino bartenders – Joe Villanueva and Bryson Rivera – who have worked across high-end hotel bars in Hong Kong before taking the leap on their own venture. Expect DJs and happy hours, with drinks that feature Asian spirits and tropical fruit flavours, and aim to tell the story of ‘the vivid heritage of Polynésie Française’.
Now open, @thesocialden.hk

wagtail rooftop bar london


London, UK

There’s the temptation of 360-degree views from this new City bar based towards London’s Monument and taking over the roof of an old House of Fraser department store. Wagtail is being brought to life by the same team behind City rooftop bar Aviary, so expect a smart décor and a modern European menu – with cocktails at the top floor bar and terrace incorporating seasonal ingredients, and a restaurant beneath led by chef Phillip Kearsley, who joins from Corrigan’s Bar and Restaurant. But really, it sounds like it’ll mostly be all about those panoramic views.
Opening Thursday 12 May, wagtaillondon.com