Purl in Mayfair is a secretive gem of a cocktail bar, shaking up some of the best cocktails in Central London. The venue is small and unassuming, and booking ahead is essential, but once inside you're transported back into a world of great drinks, top bartenders and a fabulous, welcoming atmosphere.
Bars in Central London
Positively brimming with atmosphere every day of the week, visitors from across the globe continue to flock for a night out in central London in their droves. And who can blame them? Piled high with cool cocktail bars, elusive speakeasies, bars with views and late night dancing joints, there's never a shortage of things to do here. Our list of the best bars in central London is as follows...
Looking for a bar in Central London that can promise, dinner, drinks and dancing to match? Primed for those that are partial to pop classics and commercial corkers, head on down for an affordable meal before knocking a few shapes out on their disco inspired dance floor.
Located round the corner from St Paul's is Core; a fun-loving, fresh hangout where you can eat, drink and dance your way through to the early hours. Sup on one of their truly unique cocktails, enjoy an expertly made coffee or craft beer and survey a strong menu filled with lighter snacks and wholesome feasts alike. Available to hire at the weekends, Core is perfect for celebrating that special occasion.
Dip below the arches of Charing Cross to stumble across this snug wine bar with bags of charm. Filled out with all sorts of antiques and quirky knick-knacks, Champagne Charlie's also features a choice of intimate dining rooms ready for up to 45 diners. British classics are on the menu, and there's a rich range of wines to cater for all tastes.
Sway sits just a stone's throw from Covent Garden and Holborn, made of three bars, a nightclub and a restaurant in one place. They ooze New York cool, with the food being all pizzas and tapas plates, and the drinks are cool cocktails perfect for sipping before raiding the dancefloor.
Located between King's Cross, Euston and Russell Square, this unique Central London cocktail bar offers a gorgeous array of tropical tipples. From the classic mojito to a chilli mango martini, it's got a cocktail for every taste, alongside slick, neon-lit interiors and a party-ready soundtrack.
Hit this hot spot in Soho for a bit of late night decadence. Gobble down a delicious dessert plate and taste some of the best cocktail concoctions around in a speakeasy bar with the plushest of leather armchairs, polished wooden surfaces and a Parisian lick to the interior that will have you chilled out and indulged.
Based on the HQ of the secret society that ran Victorian London, The Escapologist is simply a fascinating place to grab a drink in Covent Garden. It takes the form of a 'modern-day Victorian men's club / Masonic Lodge', and is based on the exploits of the infamous Baron. Beautifully designed, serving fun yet refined cocktails and cheese-drenched pizzas, The Escapologist is a cracking themed bar perfect for after-work drinks and late-night parties alike.
Discover this hidden den beneath a restaurant on Drury Lane and have your pints, your tasty tipples and your masters of comic performance all in one place. Big names including Jason Manford and Jack Whitehall have tickled funny bones in this very bar so expect top notch jokes and the greatest of gags in Covent Garden's hidden jewel.
A hidden gem amongst the often crazed and crowded bars of Central London, Soho's Arts Theatre Club serves as a romantic relaxation destination with a little extra vintage flair. With luscious seats, sips, and sounds, this member-only speakeasy will knock the socks off of any date in true Prohibition-era grandeur.
Located in buzzy Covent Garden, Circus puts on all the glitz and glamour of a stellar show as they serve incredible entertainment alongside cocktails and Pan-Asian cuisine. The stylish venue has a lounge bar for sipping cocktails, or sit down in one of their themed rooms for the full dinner experience.
If you're on the hunt for a bar in Central London, Brewdog Soho is set over two floors and includes 20 taps of craft beer goodness on each level. Hungry after a few pints? The venue also has a full menu with your favourite comfort eats, like their messy wings or stacked burgers.
Holborn's The Fable is a central London bar brimming with character. With an inventive, innovative and enchanting decor running through the venue, the creative menu and cocktail list is equally as quirky. There's a selection of tasty grub and really delectable cocktails and wines to sample, and with a whole host of functions like regular cookery classes, mixology masterclasses and late night supper clubs, there's every reason to swing by no what what time of day you are in town.
Doused in creative mixology from some world class bartenders who know their bourbon from their whisky, Cartizze Bar is a luxuriant hideaway just off Bond Street. Crystal glassware hangs behind the bar, there's wooden panelling and chrome finishes to the bar with leather furnishings offering the perfect place to perch for some cocktail supping.
Be At One ticks all the boxes for a feel-good party venue. Cracking on with daily happy hours from 4.30pm, the atmosphere builds early as the crowd polish off a couple of Aperol Spritz and Bangkok Garden Party cocktails. Bartenders are impossibly friendly, the atmosphere is intimate and the dance floor soon gathers momentum, with guilty pleasure party tunes playing until 3am.
A gangster's tequila paradise, the London Cocktail Club in Oxford Circus is a fantastic venue that's a great repose from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. Inspired by downtown LA, the venue is covered in graffiti, depicting gun-toting clown figures and cityscapres, whilst the staff wear bandanas and lumberjack shirts buttoned to the top.
Just a stone's throw from Temple Underground Station, Salsa promises cocktail masterclasses, authentic Latin party vibes and also salsa dance classes for all levels. This place is primed for birthdays, work dos, hens, stags and plenty more.
Based just seconds from the water's edge, Mulberry Bush is a trusty gastropub popular with locals and visitors alike. Comfortably kitted out with inviting sofas and a selection of bookable private spaces, you can expect a lineup of stellar beers alongside a rotating guest ales list from this popular Young's pub.
From the team that brought you The Piano Works, The House of Song presents Studio 88. Two piano vocalists and accompanying musicians take to the stage to play songs that are requested by you, the audience. Enjoy usherette served California Cones that offer a fresh take on social dining along with a creative selection of cocktails including their very own Autograph collection.
All Bar One is a classic London spot, and perfect for a stop after shopping. Head to the classic venue to try European plates such as salt and pepper calamari, and patatas bravas, along with delicious cocktails and wine.
Not only does Quaglino's put on a incredible array of European inspired cuisines mixed with Middle Eastern flavours, but it's host to one of the City's most opulent bars. Stocked with all manner of potent liquors, the talented bartenders will see you through your spirit cravings with their list of crafty concoctions so all you need to do is perch at the art-deco styled bar and take in the decadent surroundings.
Canoodle down to Covent Garden for a bar in Central London that's brimming with fun-time attitudes and a gnarly happy hour. Not only boasting an extensive cocktail menu alongside fantastic 2-4-1 drinks deals, Be At One in Covent Garden's Lyceum is a treasure of DJing and rampant bar staff.
Opium is a great Central London speakeasy style bar. Discretely hidden in Chinatown, they deliver seasonal Oriental themed cocktails - using ingredients sourced locally. This cool and quirky Central London cocktail bar is perfect for unique and interesting cocktails, in a beautifully decadent setting.
From after-work drinks through to a cute date night, Bourne and Hollingsworth are the perfect pit stop for something a little different. Find them in Fitzrovia in a discreet basement bar as they pour tipples such as a Fitzgerald - rose petal vodka, fresh lime, pomegranate and topped with bubbles.
For a bar in Central London with a unique twist, head to Nordic Bar which celebrates all food, drink and party vibes hailing from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Just a stone's throw from Oxford Street, this party bar boasts ping pong tables, shot wheels and fun DJs spinning the freshest tunes until the early hours of the morning.
Go for a stroll along the South Bank? Then make sure you stop off at the charming Benugo Bar and Kitchen in the BFI building; with bookcases crammed with books and cosy armchairs, the venue has a Gentleman's Lounge feel. Grab an Old Fashioned and settle into a seat for an afternoon well spent.
Swift is a new cocktail bar in North London that's forever changed the way we think of a 'quick drink'. With years of flairing under their belts, and an eye for infusing different flavours together, the master mixologists offer a stunning range of crafted cocktails. And better still, the venue's mantra of casual cocktails drinks means that each beverage is served with the usual long wait.
Close to Piccadilly Tube, and a stone throw away from the bustling streets of Oxford Circus, the Be At One Soho is fantastically placed for Central London clubs and bars. Start off your night here and pick whether to stay with the wild crowd on at this party bar all night, or head to Leicester Square for the cool London nightclubs and bars there.
If you're looking for a beautiful bar for craft beer sipping in Central London, German Kraft Brewery in Mayfair is a firm choice. Housed within a grand old church, this quirky bar is a haven for speciality brews and international dishes with a sun-soaked roof terrace for summer.
Escape to the slice of Latin-inspired heaven sitting right in the heart of London, Vinoteca Farringdon. This Central London bar and restaurant serves up a selection of 300 fine wines and a menu full of fresh breads, cheeses, meats perfectly reminiscent of the sunny coasts of the Spanish Mediterranean.
Looking for a bar in Soho where the drinks are delicious and the energy is on high? Then it looks as though Lucky Voice could be your guide. One of the best karaoke bars in the city thanks to their unrivalled private booths, waitress service and gleaming playlist, grab the mic and belt one out at this unique London bar.
Whetting Londoners' whistles like no other, Soho Residence is a beaut three-floor haunt on the corner of Wardour Street. Head over to relax in the gin parlour, knock back tasty tipples in their botanical cocktail bar or party like there's no tomorrow on their festival-style floor.
Just moments from Waterloo station is a 600-capacity rooftop island paradise. Based on the tropical island that Napoleon spent 300 days with his mates, expect bright colours, block lettering and a summer cocktail list that's 20-strong with a handful of frozen mixes.
From the futuristic blue bar through to the golden tones throughout, May Fair Bar is a smart cocktail spot moments from Green Park. The stylish space is part of the May Fair Hotel and puts twists on classic options, including the likes of a Mayfair Mojito, which comes with a smooth hint of vanilla.
Reverend JW Simpsons is a cosy little cocktail bar in Fitzrovia with its roots cemented firmly in the area's history. The venue is named after a Fitzrovia-based priest who lived within the same walls of the bar. With mementoes and subtle references to the old priests scattered throughout, the cocktail bar features a line-up of inventive concoctions, all created by the team of expert mixologists behind the bar.
Hidden away in the heart of Soho is a speakeasy filled with old school charm. Spend the night on their velvet decked sofas or dance the night away to amazing live bands and DJs. Meanwhile, you can enjoy delicious small plates and a wonderful selection of cocktails for you to enjoy.
If there was a contest for "most central pub in the whole of London", it wouldn't even be close. The Admiralty lies 50 metres from the plaque that marks the city's centre point, within easy strolling distance of Big Ben, Downing Street and just a stone's throw from Nelson's Column. Head here after a long day exploring central London; The Admiralty specialises in beautifully made, melt-in-the-mouth pies and a crisp pint of Fuller's ale.
Taking inspiration from the 1920s Havana heydays, Burlock is a cavernous rum bar with a mighty selection of over 200 bottles of the spirit to its name. Dabble in a couple of cocktails complemented by something from the authentic menus of Cuban and Caribbean food - a continuous happy hour offers great deals from open 'til close and there's even a Havana-styled barber shop that doubles as a secretive drinking den to discover.
Central London is lively, stunning and quite frankly - thirsty work. Just a stone's throw from Oxford Circus, Be At One Wimpole Street offers a fun retreat from the busiest street in London, serving up spectacular cocktails with buckets of enthusiasm. Good for a cheeky tipple after work and an ideal spot for welcoming in the good times over the weekend, Be At One Wimpole Street is one of the best bars in Central London.
Maintaining the same quality as its sister venues Dirty Martini Covent Garden and Bitter Sweet, Dirty Martini in Oxford Circus. An elegant interior, it's ideal for much needed after-work drinks, stylish late night drinks or pre-drinking before a big night out. A generous and popular happy hour, you definitely need to swing by.
Overflowing with beautiful cocktails and majestic French wines, Baranis brings a dash of Provencal opulence to Chancery Lane. A hideaway of intimate booths and seductive vibes, head round for dinner and drinks and have a few games of indoor boules at the UK's only indoor Petanque court.
An effortlessly cool space offering a unique concept near Oxford Circus, The Studio is a must see. Guests slot in to cosy black booths and sip away at Vetel One vodka cocktails, before heading over to explore the inbuilt recording studio. Once inside you'll find DJ decks and karaoke facilities, and you're free to work your magic to the adoring crowd in attendance. DJ sounding a bit… flat? No worries, just take off your Skullcandy headphones and have a chat with your pals instead.