Bokan – Mythical Cocktails, Stunning Views

January 4, 2020

Bokan cocktail bar in London showing a smoking cigar and cocktail

Riley’s resident mixologist Tom Wilkinson pays a visit to the Bokan rooftop bar in London’s Canary Wharf and shakes things up with a few mythologically-themed cocktails


Bokan
is situated atop the newly built Novotel in London’s Canary Wharf and is spread across several floors. On a warm summer evening, head for the rooftop terrace; the cool breeze is delightful and cuts through the stifling city heat.

Once the sun has set and the temperature drops you can cozy up inside to continue enjoying the surroundings through large panoramic windows. (In winter, heaters are placed strategically around the terrace to keep you warm.) If you look westwards, you can take in the Thames and stunning views of the centre of the city.

The view over London from Bokan's outdoor patio
Bokan features stunning views over London

While there, my friend and I sampled the delicious, mythologically-themed cocktails on offer. Here are a few of our favourite Bokan cocktails.


Cocktails at Canary Wharf’s Bokan Bar

The Boonrie

I’m not sure what type of creature a Boonire is, but this cocktail is a rich and complex drink that happens to combine three of my favourite flavours: it’s gingery and spicy with mild honey notes which blend into a gentle whiskey burn. It’s a very warming beverage that is enjoyable with either a cool summer breeze or to take the edge off the wind in winter.


The Basilisk

Made with homemade jams that lend a fruity flavour, this cocktail is not as overpoweringly sweet as you might expect. Cool and refreshing, this long drink is an excellent start to the evening before the sun sets. Refreshing and relaxing and a good way to cool down on a warm evening.

The Amarok

Long and sour, this is a good drink for the later evening as the weather cools down and you want to savour your cocktail. A sour and pomegranate-flavoured take on the traditional mojito that is a delightful twist on the classic formula.


The Sphinx

At first, I found this cocktail to have a sour and botanical taste.  But then the prosecco cut through, leaving a refreshing but unique taste lingering on my tongue. One of the most distinctive cocktails I have tried; one for the gin lovers to try.


A Light Bite: A Sampling of Food at Bokan

As the cocktails keep coming, you will likely want to sample the bar menu. Alternatively, you can pop downstairs for a table at the full Bokan restaurant,

We tried both the meat platter and hummus with focaccia. Delicious, lightly-smoked pastrami, delicately herbed salami, and beefy bresaola are perfectly paired with robustly herbed crackers that bring out the meaty flavours. The crusty focaccia goes will with the consistency of the hummus. The spices really make this dish pop with flavour as opposed to other, blander hummuses.

A plate of food at Bokan
The food at Bokan comes highly recommended

If you are looking for a different place to enjoy some of the best evening views in London, then Bokan is a superb choice.

  • Who: Bokan 39 Rooftop Terrace and Bar
  • What: A hidden gem of a London cocktail bar
  • Where: 40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London
  • When: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn… daily, noon to midnight(+)
  • Why: Tasty mythology-inspired cocktails with accompanied by breathtaking views over London

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Contributing Editor Tom Wilkinson makes cocktails in his spare time and podcasts about their history at Dr Wilko’s Campaign for Better Beverages. He also produces two other podcasts: Hat of Many Things, on random topics drawn from a hat and Unparliamentary Language about the state of British politics.