Best Cocktail Bars in London
Not only does London serve some of the best cocktails in the world but the bars themselves have also become works of art. No longer do you have to go to a London hotel bar to get a good cocktail; head to any part of London and you will unearth some incredible cocktail bars with equally incredible cocktails. Also look out for the new phenomenon of cocktails with theatre: smoking, flaming, bubbling...expect the unexpected. We have selected our best London cocktail bars based on the ambience, decor and the cocktails themselves. So if you want a great cocktail in London, head to one of the following recommended cocktail bars London.
The London Cocktail Week returns to the capital on the 5th October, bringing a wave of unlimited £5 cocktails at 275 of our best watering holes. Now in its sixth year, the festival partners up with bars like Purl, Opium and Oskar’s to offer discounted drinks throughout the week, with plenty of extra deals to take advantage of along the way.
Purl is one of the most imaginative cocktail bars around; think nitrogen gas and delicious aromas in the air. With a name derived from an Old English tipple made from gin and ale, Purl sets itself up for unusual drinks and that's exactly what you get.
An international award winning bar based in Shoreditch, this incredible cocktail haunt is inspired by the culture and history of New Orleans. Promising a cigar terrace, an authentically-inspired drinks list and a cool-as-you-like ambience, Nola is hidden away above Bedroom Bar on Rivington Street.
A delicious dim sum location with slap-up drinks to boot, this cocktail bar in Clapham celebrates and things ornamental and oriental. Paying homage to Sax Rohmer with an inspired cocktail list, not only can you indulge in hand-made treats in a unique archway enviroment, there's dim sum to boot.
Hoxley and Porter burns with a low amber flame amidst all the wonderful, bizarre and experimental cocktail bars of London. Non-tricksy, it infuses simple drinks with the flavours of possibility and discovery. Be instantly transported to exotic lands with a Dark and Stormy, or try a firey Chipotle Off The Old Block with gin, lemon juice, albumen, sugar and Mikey’s chilli bitters.
With master mixologists at the helm, Simmons Camden is easily one of the best cocktail bars in London. During their outrageously long happy hour (five hours, to be exact - every day!), guests can get their hands on two cocktails for £10, or a spirit and mixer for only £2.50. As one of our recommended cocktail bars in London, book your spot now!
Not just your average gaff, the Magic Roundabout is Old Street's answer to all that is burger bonkers, disco diner orientated. The almighty bearded Burger Bear will be boxing up patty piles and a bar bursting with creative cocktails and beer. Listen to big tunes from their crackin' sound system and get your scoff on.
Fronting mean mixology from world class bartenders and exuding the charm and austerity of a classic Americana watering hole, Cartizze Bar is a staple for creative cocktails and atmospheric drinking. Nestled in Mayfair you'll find crystal-cut glassware, leather textures and a chrome framed bar where you can perch and sup to your liquor loving hearts content.
Just a short stroll away from Covent Garden station, the Matador presents the wondrous spices and flavours of Spain to Central London's eager tapas enthusiasts. Based in the basement of the popular Jamon Jamon restaurant and decorated like a cosy Madrid nook, it serves delicious, freshly made dishes and intriguing cocktails. Dive straight in to this Spanish experience and try the spicy Chorizo in a wine sauce, washed down with one of their irresistible gingerbread daiquiris.
Having perfected the making of the Mai Tai in 1944, Trader Vic's is a stalwart on the cocktail scene in London. Renowned for their tropical inspired tipples, taste one of this City's most original Mai Tai blends and be transported straight to an island of Polynesian party vibes. Their Tiki game is strong here - beware.
Favouring the intense and the opulent; The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History are all about celebrating the strange. In terms of cocktails, this means heady flavours like bitters, chocolate and orange peel. The basement bar is a fabulously shadowy hang out in which to enjoy some hedonistic treasures. Upstairs, a palace of intrigue awaits!
Adorned with baby blues, pink hues and retro memorabilia hanging from the walls, Love Die Late feels like a throwback to those 50s inspired diners where swing skirts and Elvis Presley music reign supreme. Coffee and cocktails mix in the air of this place with a den of barista blending upstairs and a lair of liquor based mixology underneath. Morning to evening, Love Die Late will see you through.
Buddha Bar is a subterranean den of creative mixology, Pan-Asian cuisines and avant-garde interiors. Doused in Oriental mystique, this Kensington lair oozes luxuriant style where artisan is the name of the game, East meets West and DJs bring the party vibes late into the night. Sup on tailored tipples and dine in elegance here.
Earth didn't start with Adam and Eve, it started with dessert and cocktails. Heralded for their sweet treats, not only is Basement Sate the front runner for desserts in the city, their cocktails are a sweet smasher too. From their bespoke, speakeasy inspired setting to their hand-made cocktails, this is a neat treat not to be missed.
Frequently popping up in lists of the best cocktail bars around, including Best Cocktail Menu 2014 at The DesignMyNight Awards, Callooh Callay is easily one of the best spots for cocktails in London. With an eclectic, comic book style list of extraordinary cocktails, and an ever changing menu of wonderfully original names, Kilner Me Softly being a personal favourite, Callooh Callay is a must for any wannabe cocktail aficionado.
A refined level of supping awaits as one of the best cocktail bars in Mayfair plays host to a truly unique selection of drinks. A hidden endeavour known for its high-end beverages, expect cocktail theatrics, molecular treats and the best service that cocktails can buy in a truly charming West London setting.
Purveyors of delicious tipples, party tunes and some of London's best loved cocktails, it has to be Dirty Martini. Bringing their party philosophy Southbound to Clapham, you can expect Martini mayhem, revelry and lots of DJs and dancing to be done at this hot spot. Lounge or sup to you hearts content in this swanky spot.
A sassy South American plot with antics and tequila-heavy menu, this cocktail bar in Putney is a homage to all things colourful and cocktails. While you can dabble in burritos and plough your way through nachos, their cocktail menu is a must-try of treats the likes of The Scorpion and Escobar’s Secret.
The Ten Bells is a pillar of Spitalfields boozing, but have you discovered their secret cocktail bar upstairs yet? Under the trusted guidance of renowned head bartender Jerome Slesinski, a talented bar team whip up signature shorty cocktails made with home-infused spirits and a flourish of class. Vintage Chesterfields, mis-matched tables and iconic artworks contribute to the chic ambience.
With interiors carved from the pristine waterways of the Torne River in Sweden, Ice Bar is the UK’s only permanently frozen cocktail bar. Kit up in thermal capes and gloves and get ready for something spectacular; chilled drinks are served in these unique surroundings in 40-minute time slots. Bring that body temp back to normal with a meal of modern British fare in the stylish restaurant afterwards.
They may be one of the best locations for dinner in Shoreditch, but did you know that Jones Family Project were also coming trumps for cocktails too? Infusions of lavendar, bitters, global spirits and fruit reign supreme as JFP's master mixologists whip up a frenzy of tailored cocktails, hand-made concoctions and blissful treats.
Drink from the fountain of youth and indulge in some nostalgia infused cocktails that The Toy Shop has on offer - look forward to 'gee-haw whammy diddle fizz' or 'play-doh milk punch'. A great London cocktail bar that offers something a little different, be sure to reserve a spot for you and your friends as this one can get really busy.
There’s no ice, no fruit and no bottled brands at White Lyan. Nope, they’re interested only in hand-crafting each and every drink using their own Mr Lyan spirits and fresh ingredients. Picking a favourite is no easy task, but their ‘Moby Dick Sazerac’ or ‘Beeswax Old Fashioned’ would be a good place to start.
Barrio is a Soho party bar that comes bursting with Latina energy. Shaking up exotic cocktails that go hard on the rum and tequila front, this is a neighbourhood joint blending its Latin flair with fresh cooking and great music. Come for their renowned Amigo Hours, when cocktails are £5, bottled beers are £3 and there’s a fiver off your bottle of wine.
Bang slap in the middle of London's party capital, Shoreditch, this livewire venue is a haze of polished woods, bright fluorescents and comfy booths for those intimate occasions. With the most innovative of cocktails, blended with only the freshest ingredients, this place is a great shout for those boozy beverages.
Tucked away amidst the stately grandeur of the London Edition Hotel is The Punch Room, an exclusive, reservations only drinking den. Come in and get cosy, the oak panelling and majestic sofas evoke a nineteenth century private club feel. A playlist of vintage soul and blues fills the room, while guests enjoy gin-infused punches laced with jasmine tea and oak moss.
A plush cocktail bar in Mayfair, The Met Bar is a noted destination for those looking for more upmarket supping in the city. Heralded for their sophisticated interiors, unique selection of bespoke cocktails and upmarket charm, The Met Bar is a special space for those after truly unique drinks in London.
Goat DRINK is a blend of Kensington class and New York charm bringing you a selection of tried and tested experimental cocktail creations reviving forgotten classics with modern, signature twists added. Their death in the afternoon is a cocktail recipe delivering just what it says on the tin with a cheeky splash of absinthe to warm your cockles!
A Farringdon location popular for its house-infused spirits and bespoke cocktails, Barsmith offers among the best value for money around. Cocktails start at £7.95, but come before 10pm and you can pick up 2-4-1. Happy Hour lasts all day on Saturdays. There’s an ever-evolving list of craft beers, and delicious Neapolitan thin crust pizzas if you fancy a bite to eat.
This upstart company loves a good cocktail so much that they decided to start brewing them in the batch load. For cocktail connoisseurs who like their drinks individually mixed to perfection this may seem like sacrilege, but cocktails on tap has been a slowly growing movement for some time. Introducing, Craft Cocktail Co.
Discretely hidden in the heart of China Town, Opium deliver seasonal Oriental themed cocktails, using ingredients sourced locally in Chinatown. Widely considered one of London's best bars (and arguably London's best Oriental cocktail bar), Opium is the perfect place for unique and stunning cocktails in a beautiful setting.
The fifth instalment of the London Cocktail Club family is up there with our favourites. Come in, soak up the biker-themed ambience and prepare to make some big decisions at the bar. Cocktails like the ‘Confessions of a Cucumber Salesman’, ‘Brixton Riot’ and ‘Smoking Barrel’ are every shade of delicious, each mixed with the style and substance that makes LCC such a fan favourite.
Smart, sophisticated and stylish at one stroke, Dirty Martini St Paul's is a top cocktail bar in the heart of the city. Offering a polished décor and lively atmosphere, the Dirty Martini brand is renowned for attracting a vivacious party crowd who come for post-work drinks then stay to get those hands in the air later. There's more cocktail-fuelled frolicking to be enjoyed in Bishopsgate and Monument, too.
Boasting two wildly experimental yet undoubtedly delicious cocktail lists, The Four Sisters in Islington is easily one of the best cocktail bars in London. Serving up their own tasty interpretation on classic blends, alongside a selection of unique homemade infusions, the cocktails at The Four Sisters are nothing short of perfection, mixed with high quality spirits, fresh ingredients and under the expert hand of their in-house mixologists.
This intimate drinking den claim that the “creation and execution of exceptional drinks is our passion”, and who are we to argue? Pop a couple of Hell in the Pacific’s down the hatch and it’ll be hard to counter this claim, and they’re pretty darn serious about the quality of their Dim Sum plates too. A must for all rum aficionados, there’s also soothing DJ sets to enjoy at the end of the week.
Located above the Fulham's Goat DRINK, The Chelsea Prayer Room is a secret speakeasy style bar that serves cocktails in London using only unbranded spirits - how mysterious! Gain entry to this secret bar with an advance booking through DesignMyNight, although you had better book quick as this London cocktail bar can only host thirty guests at a time.
Found yourself chilling in Balham with some spare time to kill? Well thank goodness for that, as one of South London’s leading cocktail bars is waiting for you to discover it. Pop in to Lost & Found where a rich spread of mixed drinks awaits, with live music and a bustling fun-time atmosphere in support. Come between 5 and 8pm for happy hour, and bag yourself a free sharing cocktail if you book a table for over 8 guests.
At the forefront of creative mixology in London, the London Cocktail Club have five awesome venues in the city, including Shaftesbury Avenue, Goodge Street, as well as a new hangout in Shoreditch. Expect graffiti, a relaxed vibe and some incredibly impressive drinks.
Mint Leaf is a sophisticated lounge and cocktail bar in Bank. Right next to the iconic Bank of England, the bar serves up delicious Indian cuisine and a drinks menu that can't be beat. With over 500 spirits behind the bar you are truly spoilt for choice. The expert mixologists are known for their exotic cocktails and will delight you with unique drinks you won't find anywhere else. Book a table or area online!
Looking Glass Cocktail Club has to be one of the best cocktail bars in East London...and all of London, in fact. Incredibly unique cocktails, mesmerising decor and a magical atmosphere making Looking Glass Cocktail Club a real treat for cocktail lovers in the capital.
It would be impossible to cite the best cocktail bars in London without mentioning the infamously elusive Nightjar Bar in Shoreditch. Candle-lit tables, experimental (and extremely creative) cocktails and a genuine speakeasy feel come as standard here.
A wonderful cocktail bar in London with speakeasy vibes located beneath an Italian restaurant called Antico. Dim lighting, exposed brick work and a wonderful array of spirits, especially Gin, make this a a great choice for cocktails in London.
Barrio East is one of London's Best and most fun-filled cocktail bars. This fun time party bar is a great place in Shoreditch for letting your hair down and enjoying delicious cocktails. Barrio East is a cool and quirky cocktail bar that raises the bar of South American themed cocktail bars in London. Book your place online with us.
One of the more elusive cocktail bars in London, Ruby's is a speakeasy-themed homely haunt located on the bustling Kingsland Road. Found at the bottom of an unassuming staircase, you can expect quirky decor, experimental drinks and plenty of lampshades.
If ever there were a bar with a split personality; Archer Street is bound to be the one. A seemingly fancy hotel-like bar on the surface, you can expect perfectly crafted cocktails from a super stylish setting. But just don't be surprised if the bar staff break into a collective song every now and again...
Combining the charm of Victorian squalor, with the elegance of grand Gin palaces, The Worship Street Whistling Shop redefines cocktails within the capital. Worship Street Whistling Shop offers up a fantastic Dram Shop for bookings of up to 8 people, where you get your own little shop to drink in and a cupboard packed full of bottles of cocktails for you to sample.
Graphic bar is a spectacular cocktail bar with only a 2 minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus, Carnaby Street and Regent Street. Renowned for it's amazing cocktails, this place is perfect for cocktail connoisseurs. Graphic is a great place to meet with friends and colleagues for lunch or after work and our eclectic, lively atmosphere provides a unique location within the London bar scene ideal for private hire or large group booking. It also has a huge selection of gins to choose from, with over 180 varieties. So if you like gin, this is most definitely one for you!
Even running their own cocktail masterclass and school, Shaker&Company know what they're doing with their drinks. The bar is New Orleans inspired, so expect oak barrels, blues and jazz, soul food and a cracking atmosphere.
Nestled on the corner of East London's Victoria Park, you'll stumble upon this warehouse-style, characterful cocktail bar with its speakeasy feel. Rugged and New York-inspired, the East London Liquor Company concocts a marathon of mouth-watering mixes and as it specialises in a range of heady, home-made spirits, you'll know your cocktail was made completely on-site. Original in design, the saloon's interior glass window allows view into its own distillery, so you can see your cocktail's life from liquid base to fruity artistic creation.
Exposed red brick complemented by moody, sombre lighting, Kilburn Ironworks exudes that industrial feel and with a sharp, elegant twist this bar bursts with character, making for a very hip haunt to sup up several snifters. Pull up a stool with pals and peruse through the creative and crafty cocktail menu as these utterly unique and edgy liquid concoctions complete with mad and inventive names have you hooked. We loved their signature "Sour Monkey" with Monkey Shoulder Whisky, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur lemon and egg white.
Dirty Martini is a well-established name in the cocktail world. With a smattering of venues all over London, their mixologists have mastered a number of classic recipes and really let their creativity take control, producing an array of intriguing concoctions for adventurous revellers to enjoy. Opening on Upper Street in North London, this new venue is sure to live up to the companies high standards.
The Reading Room is a Parisian speakeasy for those in the know. Tucked away on the first floor of The Library in Islington, this charming drinking den serves luscious cocktails and a dedicated absinthe selection until late. Staff are embracing, the crowd are cool and there’s live music to savour from around 9-ish on Saturdays.
Recently voted the 'World's Best Bar', Artesian is an ultra-glamorous hotel bar located within the opulent Langham Hotel. Sophisticated oriental-themed decor, an exclusive ambience and some of the best cocktails in London sound okay? Yep, we thought as much.
Hidden at the bottom of an unassuming stairwell on Hoxton Square, sits Happiness Forgets. Hide from the buzz of the square in this candlelit, intimate cocktail haven. The ethos behind this speakeasy is original, but innovative drinks, all amongst a uniquely cool atmosphere.
Rumoured to have actually invented cocktail mixology, the American Bar at The Savoy is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious hotel bars in the world. You'll find a list of vintage classics as well as more contemporary tipples on the menu, which you can enjoy whilst the bar's session pianist plays his twinkling jazz seven nights a week.
The oldest bar on this list, the iconic Portobello Star has been open since a stonking 1740. And by god have they progressed with the times; delicious cocktails paired with homemade fare are the order of the day here. Gin lovers, this one is definitely for you.
Super secret and only accessible through a fridge door (no, really) if you want to visit the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town's basement cocktail bar, you're going to have to ask nicely. Head to The Breakfast Club in Shoreditch for a bite to eat beforehand - and if he lets you in - enjoy the Mayor's varied range of quirky and classic cocktails.