It's true - the term 'legend' is banded around way too much, but not in the case of Nightjar. Perfecting an irresistible set-up of innovative and beautiful cocktails tied in with a dazzling programme of live music, this wonderful cocktail bar in Shoreditch and Soho continues to win awards on the world stage. A must feature on any discerning drinker's bucket list.
Best Bars In London 2022
Think of this list as something of a love letter to some of the very best bars, watering holes and hidden cocktail haunts in the city. With amazing new drinking dens opening across London on a weekly basis, we’ve drawn up this shortlist of only the biggest and best places in town, from the weird and wonderful to the world renowned. Read on for DesignMyNight’s complete guide to the best bars in London and get to know the city on an epic, liquid level.
When it comes to the colliding worlds of experience and bar in London, few do it quite like Alcotraz. A locked-up, libation-led immersive night where wardens and smuggled booze are both as important as the other, these guys have excelled at creating an unforgettable night of drinks in the city.
It's cool, it's cute and it serves damn delicious cocktails; Bourne and Hollingsworth in Fitzrovia is one of our favourite basement bars in London. Head to the central venue to flop in an armchair, soak up chilled-out vibes and work your way through an inventive cocktail list.
What if we told you that for one week you could enjoy £7 signature sips from over 300 of the best bars in the city? Well, join in London Cocktail Week 2022 this October by nabbing a wristband, to enjoy these budget-friendly bevvies, alongside some surprise treats too.
There's quite simply nothing else like Aeronaut in London. Backed up by a consistent stream of 5* reviews (seriously, there's loads of 'em), as well as the DMN public's 'Best All In One Venue' of 2015, this Acton venue turns your standard pub experience upside down. Go for wholesome pub grub and beers brewed on site, with scintillating circus shows that break out into DJ and dancing sessions at the weekend.
The Cocktail Club venues are powerhouses of quirky drinks and rowdy nights across London. One of the best bars if you're looking for unadulterated, cocktail-fuelled mayhem, check out this dive bar for off-kilter concoctions and a playlist of nothin' but feel-good, sing-along classics. More suited to lively all-nighters than cosy date nights, don't be surprised to find yourself up on the bartop dancing the night away.
A bar for celebrities, stars, politicians: and now you. Disrepute has a cheeky history, but it delivers on everything you want right now, from their fabulous cocktails, sophisticated interior and perfect atmosphere. Head down for classy drinks, deluxe velvet interiors and a vibe like no other.
With views over St Paul's Cathedral, a sun-trap terrace and an extensive Champagne list, Madison is a hot rooftop to spend a summer's evening on. Head to the swanky spot for a casual drink and stay for dinner as they offer up fresh seafood and a delicious mix of cocktails.
One for all you rum aficionados, Laki Kane is the Upper Street spot transporting you to warmer climes. Along with a stunning interior and energetic bartenders, you can expect pan-Asian bites, a buzzing atmosphere and all things rum.
Can't decide where to head to this evening? NYX Eat, Drink & Play is always a winner in our books. Hungry? They've got delicious sharing platters and small plates. Thirsty? Quench it with over 20 different mezcals to choose from. Plus, their interiors alone make it an unmissable bar.
Oriole is an oasis of mystery and magic that transports you to a disconnected outside world. Sister site to the multi-award winning Nightjar, this is a truly vibrant bar of exotic influence and global design. Settle in and explore a cocktail menu comprised of exotic ingredients, take in some live jazz tunes and pick at a food menu offering spices and seasonings gathered from far and near.
A real north London gem, Homeboy is the Upper Street bar bringing a slice of Ireland to the city. Whether you're a lover of all things whiskey, can't resist a decent pink of Guinness or fancy trying out some traditional bites, this is the place for it.
This literally hidden gem is a chic cocktail bar and dim sum parlour in the heart of Chinatown. If you're lucky enough to find the inconspicuous green door and get in then you'll be able to experience three floors of delicious Asian cocktails and food. With a cool, trendy following this bar is sure to impress and make for a big night out with their late night opening hours.
Hoxley and Porter's quirky train-carriage theme is interspersed with retro-chic finishes to the colours of turquoise and teak. The extravagant decor provides a stylish place to sit and sample some of the tasty British menu classics and creative cocktails. Conjuring a modern Oriental edge to its interior, this bar is exotic from drinks to food to feel.
For the best bars in London with beautiful views, look no further than the iconic Sky Garden. Fronting sky pods, gardens and terraces all catering to large groups, this is the perfect place to head to with a lot of mates or for a work night out.
Found in the heart of Hackney, The Last Tuesday Society is a cocktail bar for lovers of all things weird and wonderful. Quirky interiors are dotted with Instagrammable decor (think plush seating and taxidermy) while absinthe and curious concoctions keep you watered.
This late night cocktail bar in King's Cross whips up unbeatable cocktails served in mismatched teacups. How quaint! With old-styled decor mixed with a glittery skull head disco ball this place has fun-house vibes aplenty and is the perfect venue for a feel-good fun night out. Expect dessert cocktails, great music, a fun crowd and retro sweets. There is no place like Simmons.
If you're looking for something a little different from your London bar, Prohibition-style speakeasy Evans & Peel Detective Agency has your back. Head behind the hidden door to find this secret spot, where you'll be rewarded with American bar snacks and plenty of cocktails that were first whipped up from bootlegged liquor.
Seek out this hidden gem in the East End and you'll immediately reap your rewards. Apples & Pears serves up fantastic and innovative cocktails in an energetic setting, evoking an infectious atmosphere that rivals some of London's top Prohibition plots. The eclectic music programme ensures there's always something to keep your toes tapping.
So bear with us a little here; darts is actually really, really fun. Flight Club have breathed a completely fresh lease of life into this age-old classic of a pub game, welcoming you to their super-stylish oches to play interactive games with live-scoring and lots of impressive technology. You game? Good, bring your squad along to Shoreditch or Bloomsbury for lots of competitive socialising, pizzas and drinks!
If you're all for award-winning drinks, Coupette are serving them. A humble and romantic spot in Bethnal Green, this is a cocktail bar not only made for date nights, but made for those looking to try cocktails with real flair in the city.
The Piano Works is a warehouse space of jazz inspired jubilance where the piano takes centre stage and the entertainment comes from requests made by yours truly. Set in a Victorian listed building, this place is a fusion of industrial underground and classic music. Sit down, stand up, sing, dance and drink at this place.
Not only does Adam Handling cook up a mean dish, but he's got the drinks to match. Nestled below his eponymous Covent Garden restaurant, Eve is the subterranean spot serving up impressive drinks and mouthwatering small plates in the most intimate of settings.
The second Bounce site in London brings more of the same playful ping-pong antics to a buzzing location close to Old Street. With 17 tables (including one used for the World Championships Final in Tokyo), there's no better place to get down to some serious competitive socialising with your mates, with cocktails and delicious Italian food to keep you on top form.
Fronting New York-style loft interiors and an Andy Warhol-themed vault, The Little Scarlet Door is a totally unique offering in Soho. Think unique cocktails and plenty of DJs, all enjoyed in this cool space.
Arguably one of the best kept secrets in Shoreditch, The Gibson has a lot to say for itself when it comes to cocktails in the city. From creative mixes in tankards you've never seen before, to speakeasy interiors perfect for a late night date, it's a must-see.
What to do with the former home of Reverend JW Simpson of the Parish of Fitzrovia? Turn it into a bar of course! The spot which was occupied into 1986 is a flash back to the past and still features many quirky bits and bobs; on top of all this, their cocktail list is full of seasonal tipples.
Nestled in the heart of Shoreditch, Callooh Callay is a quirky, cocktail favourite, where talented bartenders mix up some of the most imaginative cocktails in London. Filled with plush furnitures, decadent colourways and moody lighting this bar packs a punchy atmosphere with plenty of bar areas to mooch around and even some secrets to discover....shh.
After live music, food and cocktails in Shoreditch? Old Street Records throws its hat into the ring with a cutting-edge approach to live music across its two floors. Take in EP launches, new bands and established acts alike in a record-store setting, or make for the intimate basement below where jazz nights and DJ sessions are usually held.
Black Rock is one of the best bars in London by combining a love of whisky with a cool, minimalist and contemporary drinking space. They offer over 250 bottles of whisky, making it an ideal place for any connoisseurs out there, and their centrepiece of an 18ft, 185-year-old oak tree trunk used as an interactive cocktail ageing system is a something to behold.
It's all things leisure and pleasure at this Central London favourite (found in the iconic Bloomsbury Hotel). When you're not taking in the sparkling lights, the plush velvet armchairs and the premium date night vibes, you'll be head first in a menu of global spirits and premium cocktails that deserve your attention.
Mini-motor racing, on-site brewing, immersive team gaming... The Four Thieves really does have it all. Start with a drink or two in their year-round gin garden before checking in at their enormous games room; packed out with vintage arcade games, ping-pong tables, pool and a Scalextric-style game in the corner.
Aviary is yet another hit from the ETM group, only this time they've gone sky high. Expect all the deliciousness of their previous venues, with sumptuous cocktails and British seasonal plates, only this time they come with a healthy dose of City views and chilled-out-terrace vibes.
London has no shortage of cool cocktail venues and eccentric mixologists, but perhaps none more so than those at Purl who take experimental cocktails to a whole new level. This quirky, underground hotspot, complete with cosy alcoves and even a piano, transports you back to a time gone by, into a world filled with different tastes and fragrances, to give you a cocktail experience like no other.