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.
Purl, Central London
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.
NOLA, East London
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.
Hoxley and Porter, North London
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.
Simmons Camden, North London
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!
Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History, East London
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!
The Attic at Pan Peninsula, East London
An amazing cocktail bar on the 48th floor of the Pan Peninsula in Canary Wharf, The Attic at Pan Peninsula is an incredible venue. With 360 degree views of London, they offer a whole array of whisky, vodka, gin and champagne based cocktails, available at prices that won't break the bank.
Callooh Callay, East London
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.
Canvas Bar, East London
A newcomer to Shoreditch in 2014, Canvas Bar perfectly blends contemporary art and spectacular drinks, creating a wonderfully-creative ambience for the seasoned cocktail connoisseurs of East London. Only a few short steps from Old Street Station, come here for awesome tipples, fun-time vibes and quirky decor to boot.
The Toy Shop, South London
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.
White Lyan, East London
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.
Mezcaleria Bar @ Wahaca Charlotte Street, Central London
Pushing a potent anthology of Mezcal elixirs and Tequila tidbids, Mezcaleria is a galleria of all things lusciously Latino. With Mexican maracas full of crafty cocktail shakedowns, this wondrous Wahaca bar has a menu spilling with smoky, golden liqours primed for a slammer or three. Saddle up and slide on down to Mezcaleria for a Mexican jungle of drinks.
Goat DRINK, West 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!
Barsmith, Central London
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.
Terrace Bar @ Wahaca Canary Wharf, East London
Slamming you with a strict, no fuss serving of Mexican heritage, Terrace Bar continue the Wahaca prestige with their lustrous selection of liquid libations. Mezcal and Tequila tipples are the champions here with cocktail concoctions building these golden delights into some succulent sipping experiences far from the usual line of shots.
Oskar's Bar At Dabbous, Central London
Set in a NYC styled basement, Oskar's sits beneath the exclusive Michelin-starred Dabbous Restaurant promising exposed brickwork, delicious snacks and of course, incredible cocktails. Long live Oskar's.
Craft Cocktail Co, East London
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.
The London Cocktail Club Shoreditch, East London
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.
Azulito Bar @ Wahaca Soho, Central London
Got a taste for tequila? Azulito boasts a casual 80 bottles which you can sup straight or mix up in one of their delightful margaritas. The eclectic furniture, foosball tables, exposed brickwork and gentle buzz makes it a vibrant but not too over the top option on Wardour Street. Stop by at the weekend when DJs mix classic and contemporary tunes until late.
Strip Bar & Steak, Central London
Strip Bar & Steak is more than just a meat connoisseur, they're a slice of urban prestige serving up sleek strip cocktails as well as the usual classics. Try out their Reverse Cowboy concoction or Rocking Horse Martini and vamp up the glam for your evening. This steakhouse is a vibrant, buzzing realm of juicy meat and saucy cocktails.
Dirty Martini St Paul's, Central London
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.
Trailer Happiness, West London
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.
The Met Bar, Central London
Crafted using the innovative techniques of molecular mixology, guests will be mesmerized by the incredible display of cocktail production and presentation, and although they’re not cheap, these drinks are certainly worth a taste. One of London's best kept cocktail secrets.
Artesian, Central London
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.
The Chelsea Prayer Room, West London
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.
Lost & Found, South London
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.
The London Cocktail Club Oxford Circus, Central London
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 Lounge and Restaurant, Central London
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!
Rise 46, South London
An independent neighbourhood cocktail bar in Clapham Junction, Rise 46 is all about the 1920's glitz and glam. Expect live music and a friendly buzz accompanied by quirky tipples. Cocktails served with retro sweets? Oh why not.
Looking Glass Cocktail Club, East London
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.
Happiness Forgets, East London
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.
Opium, Central London
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 Nightjar Bar, East London
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.
Ruby's, East London
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.
Long Bar Sanderson Hotel, Central London
With a legendary status among drinks aficionados across the world, Long Bar is quite possible one of the best cocktail bars on the planet so make sure this is on your hit list in London. Located within the 5* Sanderson Hotel, experts will craft you a cocktail creation whilst you look the part sat at the gorgeous bar.
Archer Street Cocktail Lounge, Central London
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...
American Bar, Central London
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.
Macbeth Cocktail Bar, East London
Retire to this charming cocktail bar on Hoxton Street, upstairs from the legendary Macbeth pub. You’ll encounter a vintage space reminiscent of a Parisian café with its absinthe green plants and ornate street lights. The bar stocks a carefully considered range of drinks to suit the season, and New Soul and hip-hop tunes provide the soundtrack. Great for impressing a date.
Portobello Star, West London
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.
Worship Street Whistling Shop, East London
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.
The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town, East London
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.
Shaker&Company, Central London
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.