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...
Last updated on 22nd November 2017
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.
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 moments from Waterloo station is a 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.
A cross between a gastro pub and a boutique events space, The Driver is a Kings Cross favourite for relaxed drinks, after work socialising and pub-style dinners. There's plenty of hire options available should you wish to host a private party, celebration of corporate event here as The Driver can cater to whatever fits your needs.
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.
Classy cocktails, a cool setting and a suggestive atmosphere, Salvatore at Playboy is quite the experience. Ran by Salvatore Calabrese, one of the finest mixologists in the world, it still maintains the classic Playboy Club charm of waitresses in traditional uniforms and fluffy tails, but in a new and modern setting.
Simmons always promises a memorable night out in Central London. Head down to this eccentric spot and you'll be greeted by a charming space, decked out with an assortment of quirky ornamentation - it probably looks a bit like your nana's house. But unlike her gaff, Simmons boasts an awesome late night atmosphere with tasty tipples and great music.
The Compton Cross is the perfect place to stop for cocktails and pizza, as their mixed drinks are made using the finest handmade liquor and house-infused spirits. Perfect for when you’re watching their free cabaret shows, that attract some legendary performers.
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.
Moments from Holborn, Tropicana Beach Club is the hottest new bar in Central. With more than 50 types of cocktails, a huge selection of rums and plenty of fun and games, the bar and nightclub is perfect for a quick dinner or a night of dancing away. Hire a private cabana, get down on the lagoon-style dancefloor or try your hand at surfboard limbo.
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.
A three floor spread of glittering chandeliers, low-lights and luxuriant partying perfectly describes Jewel Piccadilly. It's a mega central London bar and restaurant where you can socialising, tuck into great nosh and enjoy some late night partying on the dance floor without a hefty price tag.
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.
Found just moments from Tower Bridge, Simmons is a small but perfectly formed hangout filled with quirky interiors, cheap drinks and a friendly spirit. If you’re looking out for those pennies, come between 4 and 9pm on weekdays, when you can get heavily discounted drinks as part of their happy hour. The venue opens until 1am and offers a lively party atmosphere if you’re coming at the weekends.
Smack right in the centre of London, Bar Soho has been a favourite for many in the area for years. A fun and quirky cocktail bar, it's relaxed during the day but picks up a gear at night, going from chilled to party vibes just like that. DJ nights every night of the week, you're sure to have a great time no matter the night.
You know about Joe’s Southern Kitchen, but did you know about its elusive cocktail bar in the basement? Offering up a chic space that’s perfect for discerning date nights and cosy catch-ups, Cocktail Baby serves a range of signature cocktails, wines, beers and tasty bar snacks. A catchy mix of disco, soulful and deep house tracks fill the room, and a good time is had by all.
Looking for something a little different in Central London? Look no further than Aviary Bar. Featuring imaginative decor and a great selection of drinks, this is a Central London bar with just the right amount of quirk. With a great atmosphere, a late license and even a fish tank, if you're in the Oxford Circus area then this one is definitely worth a look.
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.
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.
Head to Embankment and discover the clubbing oasis that is Opal where you can enjoy their happy hour from 5pm until 8pm with some drinks in their bar room that overlooks the Thames. If you're looking for some late party vibes from this central London bar then head down to their basement room, noir where big beats and more are promised.
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.
Tiny tapas bar Encant in Covent Garden is also an incredible spot for cocktails. Victor Garvey has created a brass-covered and intimate venue, that serves Spanish inspired cocktails; there's a completely refreshing gin and tonic, and an Aviation that will knock your sock off.
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.
This prim and proper little palace is the sweetest of retreats for your sipping slurping noshing needs. Taking on the form of sophisticated cafe, with quaint floral decor, subtle hues and vases of flowers sprinkled throughout, this bar is an adorable escape in the centre of the buzzing Covent Garden. With cutesie cocktails such as Lavender Love, containing lavender syrup, peach puree and Absolut citron, indulge in a luscious libation in the cutest of cubby holes.
Discover one of Central London’s most stylish and exciting venues at The Met Bar in Mayfair. This lavish cocktail bar is famed for its plush interior and imaginative array of cocktails which are crafted using the finest molecular mixology techniques. During the week, this is the perfect place for after work drinks and chilling with your friends, while weekends come alive thanks to a resident DJ.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Swanning about in the heart of the city this evening and looking for a bar in Central London that's swanky, sophisticated and positively brimming with delicious cocktails? Then head on down to Mayfair as Fifty9 provide London's socialites with a hearty dose of drinking and dancing in the city.
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 unrivaled private booths, waitress service and gleaming playlist, grab the mic and belt one out at this unique Central London bar.
Eaton Square is a plush little pad in Belgravia toting masterful cocktail craft and cooking up Mediterranean style cuisines. Delve into this luxuriant lair of contemporary finishes and stylish décor for a slice of fine drinking and dining in London. Sup on killer cocktails and even hire out this opulent venue for a private shindig - whether that be birthday, corporate, wedding or just a general get together.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dirty Harry's is the latest cocktail bar to open in Soho. With Harry Honeys - the venue's resident dance troupe - turning heads on the stage, revellers can dance the night away thanks to the many cover bands and DJs that perform here. Perfect for anyone looking for a night out in London full of vibrant charm and energy, this Soho spot doesn't know how to disappoint.
The Warwick is a wonderfully rich, warm and welcoming venue in Soho that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Offering a pub-styled setup, it’s an accessible little spot that offers a breather from Piccadilly Circus’ maddening crowds. Feast on delicious seasonal drinks, sample the pioneering signature cocktail list or just settle for a bespoke G&T.
Head down to Cha Chaan Teng for some wonderful Hong Kong treats. Modelled on the notoriously inauthentic Hong Kong diners of the same name, they serve up a range of wonderful drinks, from specially-created Chinese tea-themed cocktails to a beer bearing their name. Meanwhile, their kitchen serves up a range of delicious Chinese treats.
The Bloomsbury Club Bar is an utterly charming bar that sits pretty in the city. Step inside and you'll be greeted by a breathtakingly lavish interior - the perfect blend between classic sophistication and contemporary style. To round off the enviable location and stunning decor, The Bloomsbury Club Baroffers up a truly exceptional selection of wines alongside a mouth-watering menu of classic British dishes.
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.
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.
Join “Covent Garden’s sassy sister” for a few chilled ones at quitting time and chat the night away in vibrant and warm surroundings. This is a real West End favourite, welcoming an eclectic bunch through the door with a charismatic and familiar approach. There’s fresh food, plenty of beers and an eye-catching selection of cocktails to work your way through.
Just steps away from the National Gallery, Chinatown, and Piccadilly Circus is All Bar One Leicester Square. If you’re looking for a fun bar in Central London, serving up British pub food classics, cocktails and wine, you’ve found the right place.
Either head to the Wild Heart Restaurant and Bar or the Roof Terrace for some great drinks in a relaxed but sophisticated environment. Perfect for everything from a private party to a late night tipple in Soho.
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 in the heart of the West End The Roxy is perfect for all your night out needs, from classy cocktail lounge in the early evening to party-pad and nightclub come later on. Taking inspiration from New York, the bar has exposed brick work, plush leather booths and bare bulbs hanging down for a truly metropolitan feel.
Cultivating an artistic and creative menu of Vietnamese cuisine, House of Ho adds a little understated luxury to your Asian drinking and dining experience. This central London bar restaurant adds both a stylish and stunning edge to traditional Asian cuisines so you can enjoy its intimate atmosphere for your evening out.
68 & Boston is the latest drinking destination to arrive on Soho’s thriving Greek Street. Run by three richly experienced wine and cocktail bar experts, the venue serves £20 bottles of wine sourced from right across the globe. Bring your closest mates and enjoy a glass or two of something different, or head upstairs to the ‘Boston’ lounge if it’s late-night cocktails you’re after.
Foundation is Covent Garden’s underground playground, where like-minded revelers get together to party in an eclectic space. Offering up a touch of Shoreditch cool with its artistic vibes, happy hour offers 50% off drinks and platters between 5 and 7.30pm and your cocktails come served up in everything from vintage storage jars to coloured tins and milk bottles to teapots.
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.
Set in the incredible cultural and foodie wing of Somerset House sits Pennethorne's - a new drinking and dining destination of Modernist cool and laid-back charm. Settle in to this delightful cafe-turn-bar-turn-restaurant space and tuck into a menu of European inspired foods as well as some delicious drinks.
Drinks in Central London aren't hard to come by, but it's all about picking the right spot for you. If you're heading to Holborn this evening and chasing down a top selection of affordable drinks, then why not try Balls Brothers Shoe Lane on for size? Classic and contemporary with an affordable stance, this charming haunt is just the place to grab a bevvie in the evening.
With walls adorned with bespoke art pieces and a cocktail list screaming for you to indulge, Eve is a luxurious hideaway off the streets of Covent Garden. Come for the theatrical cocktails, stay for the live music and atmosphere.
Just on the cusp of Soho is the Perception bar, designed to reflect the multiple faces of London and made to entertain. This stunning bar is perfect for great interiors, amazing cocktails, delicious food and a music programme perfect for the socialites of London.
Wahaca may be one of the biggest eating out names in London thanks to their roaring Mexican plates, but did you know that their bars are something pretty special too? Brimming with Mezcal, Tequila and a whole host of cocktails, this contemporary haunt promises a little something for everyone in Central London.
In terms of value for money, few are in the same league as Zebrano. Stop in during their daily happy hours for some discounted drinks, or there’s a menu of international treats if you’re peckish, and a thriving party atmosphere a little later on.
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.
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.
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.
No matter what you want from your Central London night out, The Albany can provide it. The corner spot in Fitzrovia is split between an upstairs, traditional pub which serves seasonal dishes, while downstairs a basement bar puts on DJ nights and live music.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Serene and opulent in every way, the bar staff here have taken a leaf out of the White Lyan book, twisting classic recipes in wonderful ways and serving a selection of intriguing concoctions. With rich marble and boasting amazing views of the River Thames, a night at this Central London spot will only leave you wanting more.
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.
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.
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.