Best London Bars 2016
Looking for the latest and best bars in London for 2016? We’ve singled out a few of the hottest new openings - as well as some older, more established favourites - for you to try when you’re heading out on the town this year. Featuring the new Nightjar, an award-winning Victorian gin palace and Chinatown’s most elusive opium den among its ranks, our guide to the best London bars of 2016 features a little something for everybody.
For a closer look at the latest bar openings in London for 2016, head over to our New Bar Spy homepage!
Last updated on 2nd June 2016
Worship Street Whistling Shop - or WSWS as pretty much no-one calls it - celebrates its fifth anniversary of serving delicious cocktails in a Victorian ambience this year. A low-lit watering hole known for its vintage charm, ask for the 1691 if you’re intrigued by the prospect of goats cheese distilled Ketel One vodka shaken up with spiced raspberry shrubs.
If conventional cocktails just won’t cut it, you’ll need Mayfair’s subterranean speakeasy. Consistently rated as one of London’s best bars, mixologists at Purl utilise aromas, fogs, airs, foams and foods to satisfy on a multi-sensory level. Come on Wednesday if you’re a jazz fan - there’s live music to get you over the hump - as you retire to one of Purl’s chic alcoves to discover some of the prohibition era’s forgotten favourites.
Our reviewer quickly fell in love with Soho’s newest wine bar, labelling 68 & Boston a "sophisticated soul with a well honed 1920s spirit that’s understated and refined." The concept is unfussy; ‘68’ is the ground floor wine bar serving quality wines all priced at £20 and ‘Boston’ is the late night lounge upstairs, where visitors choose between classic and signature serves priced at a reasonable £10. Oozing a sleek and sophisticated vibe, 68 & Boston is the ideal fit for a date in Soho.
Champions of cocktail craft, a fun-time atmosphere and cutesy little quirks, Simmons Fitzrovia is one of our picks for date night in London town. Eclectic interiors include everything from glittering skull mirrorballs and kooky wallpapers, as retro lamps create soft lighting and cocktails come to the counter in vintage teacups. Make the most of five sweet hours of happy hour deals and return at the weekend, when the pad comes alive with DJs, dancing and a joyous party crowd.
There’s really only one place to start. Brought to Smithfield Market courtesy of the team behind the internationally acclaimed Nightjar, Oriole is a bespoke new joint of global influence and exotic design. Fronting a cocktail menu that tantalises all of the senses, Oriole’s drink list is piled high with unique infusions sure to capture the imagination. Order some Tamarind Glaze Pork and take in some soothing jazz and swing sounds at at one of the coolest new bars in London.
We'll wrap up our guide to London's best bars by returning to Clapham. A frontrunner when it comes to all-in-one venues, Fu Manchu plates up authentic dim sum on the side of sublime cocktails, before clearing the table and putting on a huge club night to close. Dance to commercial funk, soul and rare groove beats until 3am then head right on back to ease the hangover at all you can eat dim sum Sundays.
Taking its name from the 1980s bag and shoe wholesalers who once occupied the building (their signage is still on show), Dream Bags is the jewel in the Jaguar Shoes crown. The bar offers a blank canvas for east London creatives to flourish; you can expect everything from club nights to workshops, fashion shows to art fairs to be taking place on any given visit. Fresh and stone baked pizzas are on call if you’re coming for some food, and there’s a candlelit cocktail bar to explore in the basement.
Still perched at the forefront of the capital’s mixology scene, LCC is another of our must try London bars in 2016. Taking up the style of a tattoo rum parlour, head away from the swarming crowds of Shaftesbury Ave and into a basement den known for its navy pin-ups and bespoke tattoo artworks. The London Cocktail Club is a place for letting off some steam, singing along to old-school classics and knocking back a bacon and egg martini or two.
With stylish new bars like Mommi, Fu Manchu and The Walrus Room sprucing up the scene last year, Clapham shows no sign of letting up in 2016. Dirty Martini is another of the best venues for drinking and dancing in Clapham; a sleek and contemporary joint known for its daily happy hours and beautiful array of martinis. A great pitstop on the way home for work if you’re looking for classy cocktails and tasty bar snacks.
Only in London could you enjoy some of the finest street food eats, cocktails from the almighty White Lyan and raucous DJ set vibes from the middle of a roundabout. Burger Bear is the brains behind the Magic Roundabout, where revelers enjoy cocktails and craft beers in between mouthfuls of sticky ribs and crispy waffles. Make sure a trip to Old Street is at the top of your bucket list bars in London for 2016.
Nestled away among the bright lights, sounds and colours of Chinatown lies Opium; a dim sum parlour and cocktail den popular with those keen on tracking down the best secret bars in London. With plenty of quirky nooks to make yourself at home in, share a couple of baskets of dim sum and wonderfully presented Oriental cocktails before making for the secret bar within a secret bar if you're keen to linger into the evening.
Darts; it’s not rocket science. Well actually, in the case of the Flight Club, it is. Taking the classic British pub game and introducing an innovative new twist, the Flight Club is London’s home of social darts. Groups gather in beautifully furnished 'oches' and play interactive games supported by a digital scoring system designed by an actual rocket scientist. One-hundred and eiiiiighty!