Cool and Quirky Bars in London
London is fortunate enough to host several of the most unique, weird and wonderful bars in world, ranging from secret speakeasy dens to rooftop palaces. Whether it's taxidermy or immersive experiences, fire-spitting bartenders or just the downright outrageous - you're spoiled for choice in the capital. So in no particular order, here are the best cool and quirky bars in London! Enjoy...
Last updated on 16th June 2017
Decked out in the grandeur of the Victorian era, the aptly named Victorian Bath House pulls back the velvet curtain to show you into a world of period luxury and vintage inspired food and drink. Sup on the finest cocktails, lounge in decadence and tuck into fine foods from top chefs at one of London's cool restaurant bars.
From the gang behind Hot Gin Roof comes another amazing gin pop-up; head over to the secretive Juniper Manor for an epic evening of tipples and titbits. Step into the glamorous bar with a dress code of black and white, slurp special Sipsmith cocktails and try the delicious small plates at this unique event.
Just when you thought Little Nan’s couldn’t get any more kitsch, they reel out another one. It’ll form part of their newest pop-up residency in Dalston, as these multi-award winning hosts take it back to the old school to showcase the audio and visual treasures of the 90s. Book yourself in for 2 hours of bottomless teapot cocktails, unlimited '90s pic ‘n’ mix and fairground popcorn in one of the most unusual bars in town.
Located beneath Bishopsgate, WM Baker & Co is an underground bar with a difference. The interior of the bar is intimate and pared back, with exposed walls, dark wood tables and low lighting, you will feel as though you stumbled upon a secret den. Cocktails are a work of art and a lot of craftsmanship goes into creating each drink; there's also a great toastie menu to soak up your drinks.
Sister site to the mighty Nightjar speakeasy, Oriole is a sumptuous space of global influence and exotic design in Smithfield Market. Come for luscious cocktails made up of tastes and flavours from all corners of the globe, equally tasty bites to eat and a live music schedule which spans everything from Cuban Son to West Coast African blues.
Being a cool and quirky bar in London seems to come oh so easy to a venue like The Bootlegger. Get set for a dose of cocktail razzle dazzle at this Prohibition-inspired vintage bar in the heart of East London.
Dirty Bones have taken over one of London's most beautiful bars for their third venue. Located in a Grade-II listed former pub, this outlet is all about velvet armchairs, refreshing cocktails and all the big dirty plates we know and love.
Promising live jazz and blues, delicious drinks and an authentic New Orleans theme, NOLA in Shoreditch is a completely unique London bar well worth routing out. Hidden above the popular Bedroom Bar on Rivington Street, NOLA was recently voted one of the best cocktail bars in the world.
Taking residence in Victorian listed basement, The Piano Works is the revival of the loud and vibrant live music bars, where you can dance and party to the sound of a 6 piece band playing your song requests. Taking on a vintage style speakeasy, this House of Song is one of the best hidden gems London has to offer.
From retro wares which include old-fashioned maps and an incredible plant-ridden conservatory, Powder Keg Diplomacy is a vintage watering hole in South London. The Clapham spot serves up delicious cocktails mixed with everything from Earl Grey tea to citrus fruits, there's also a hearty menu if you're peckish.
Contrary to what George Michael says, drinks at this Covent Garden bar are not free. The team behind this bar certainly haven't gone in half-hearted. The venue's full of 500 bird decorations, a lagoon pool-style dance floor, a dazzling selection of colourful flowers and a handful of cabanas spread throughout. With various beach-grill inspired dishes, over 50 cocktails on the menu and some of the city's biggest DJs on the decks, it marries the right amount of quirk with all the things we love about a themed night out in London.
Taking inspiration from Brazilian churrascarias - modern Brazilian dishes and local snacks often found on Rio street corners - Cabana serves a mixture of marinated skewers grilled fresh, such as the Spicy Malagueta Chicken, as well as dishes like the Brasilian feijoada hot pot. Wash this down with their delicious Brazilian cocktails, like blended Batidas, or try one of their own creations. Enjoy all of this while sitting in their fun, up-cycled interior that evokes a cool urban feel.
Draped with wicker masks, brass icons and even featuring giant maypoles (Maypole Dancing actively encouraged), Hand of Glory boasts an interior design to behold. Grab one of their rotating ‘deadly ciders’, sample some home-infused gin and gorge on a plate of fresh, lovingly prepared pub grub.
This quirky bar in London has speakeasy vibes located beneath an Italian restaurant called Antico. Dim lighting, exposed brick work and a wonderful array of spirits, especially Gin, make this a a great choice if you are looking for a cool spot for drinks or celebrating.
Undoubtedly a cool place to drink in London, 68 and Boston is a Soho favourite for vintage wine labels and expert mixology. With decor fitting some suave '70s leanings and colonial vibes this cocktail turn wine bar is a top destination for date night drinks, intimate gatherings and any who consider themselves a connoisseur of concoctions.
The third venue of its kind, Old Street Records brings cutting-edge live music to the masses in the heart of Shoreditch. Head along on any given night and expect to see EP launches, new bands or established acts taking the stage, with intimate jazz nights and DJ sessions usually focused in the basement. It’s not exclusively about the music though, with bespoke cocktails and authentic Italian pizzas also well worth checking out.
Testing your taste buds and forcing guests to think about drinks in new and exciting ways, Pitch Black is an immersive tasting experience like no other. Set in complete darkness in a secret location, the expert mixologist in charge will lead guests through a selection of cocktails and fine wines, pointing out each flavour and informing guests about the complex manner each drink is created.
Officially London’s most central pub, The Admiralty is a voyage of discovery based on the exploits of the HMS Victory. Stretched across three grand floors, head underground to the stunning vaulted gun deck to enjoy a signature pie and pint of real ale in a truly unique setting. There’s front row views of Trafalgar Square on offer if you’d prefer to dine on the ground floor.
Megaro is charming and characterful cocktail bar, sitting below the bustling streets of Kings Cross. The venue's expert mixologists have really let their creative side shine, curating a menu of signature creations and spirit infusion. Why not try the Borsh Mary cocktail, created using the venue's very own homemade hot sauce. If that wasn't enticing enough, the cinema-style seating and elegant portraits hanging on the walls add a bit of edge and quirk.
Radiant with intimacy and tiki flair, it almost seems a shame to lift the lid on this secretive basement bar on Portobello Road. Head inside to uncover a world of exotic drinks, kooky interiors and delightful Dim Sum bites. It’s an ideal spot for a date or a catch up with your mate, and cocktails like the Banzai ’45, Mr Yellow Belly and Dia De Los Muertos will have you back time and again.
There’s more than a hint of West London suave about this basement bolthole. It’s found beneath the Arbitrager, offering a relaxed yet refined atmosphere to the city’s after-work crowd. Cross this one off your ‘must-visit’ list and you’ll soon be enjoying a daring and innovative list of signature drinks in one of the hot-to-trot basement bars in London.
An ideal pitstop whether you’re in need of cocktails, beers, wine or food, Ruby’s is one of East London’s true treasures. Consistently rated as one of the best basement bars in town, head to this Dalston favourite if your idea of a good night features innovative drinks served in an intimate atmosphere. There’s also a lovely lounge area to explore, serving a wider choice of beers, wines and Vietnamese street food on the side of a curated programme of live music and events.
Hidden beneath Dalston’s favourite pizza restaurant is the amazing Ray’s Bar, your one stop for delectable cocktails. Not happy to be just another cocktail haven, this cool and quirky Dalston bar offers up a unique ‘three courses’ of cocktails, offering bespoke mixed drinks made from handcrafted spirits, fresh fruits and bitters. Three courses of liquid dinner? Can’t say no to that.
A hidden treasure marrying inventive cocktails with an eclectic music programme, you don’t go forgetting a trip to Apples & Pears in a hurry. The venue’s radiant atmosphere makes it perfect for date night or stopping by after work, and with a medley of live acoustic acts and animated DJ nights, we challenge you not to find yourself tapping those toes deep into the night.
Graphic bar is a quirky cocktail bar a two minute walk from Piccadilly Circus, Carnaby Street and Regent Street. Renowned for its amazing cocktails, this place is perfect for cocktail connoisseurs. Graphic is a great place to meet with friends and colleagues for lunch or after-work drink, as well as having space for private hire. To top it off, they have more than 180 varieties of gin.
Based on the HQ of the secret society that ran Victorian London, The Escapologist is part Victorian men’s club, part Masonic Lodge; a totally unique drinking den based on the shady exploits of the infamous Baron. Head this way for sharing cocktails and cheese-drenched pizzas in one of the most eye-catching basement bars in town.
Ping pong bars are all the rage in London right now, and few do it better than Bounce. A buzzing underground spot made for eating, drinking and playing ping-pong late into the night, the tables here can fit up to 20, and the table service policy means you won’t have to ditch your area when ordering in the delicious pizza or a few gin-based cocktails.
Soho's suavest secret, hidden below ground level and coated in Parisian chic, is the perfect quirky hangout for you and your trendiest of friends. Nestle into the plushest of leather armchairs and admire your sophisticated surrounds as you taste cocktails mixed by the gods and nosh on the divine of the dinners. You'll never want to leave and, with a late night license, you won't have to for a long while.
In the heart of Shoreditch at the top of the hip Hackney Road, lies Looking Glass Cocktail Club - one of London's coolest and quirkiest bars. This great cocktail bar takes mixology to a whole new dimension. Step through the giant opulent ‘looking glass’ and into a world of decedent debauchery with unique mesmerizing cocktails and eccentric entertainment in a lavish, cosy setting.
Found right around the corner from Tower Bridge, Simmons brings affordable drinks to their small but perfectly formed cocktail bar. Featuring quirky decorations (there’s an enormous dinosaur’s head, for crying out loud) and a friendly ambience, make sure you’re in between 4 and 9pm on weekdays if you want to take full advantage of their famous happy hour discounts.
A little know haven for tailored drinks, a brooding atmosphere and classic 19th century London style. The Punch Room is nestled in the London Edition hotel and quite the secret bar in London if you're searching for an intimate spot to enjoy some cocktails. Settle in to the timeless style of this unusual place to drink and try their speciality punch bowl cocktails. Take some time, you're gonna need it.
There are multi-sensory drinking experiences, and then there is Purl. A speakeasy-styled drinking den located in the heart of Marylebone, the venue’s pioneering approach to their cocktails involves utilising aroma, fogs, foams and liquid nitrogen to bring each and every drink to life. Make yourself comfy and indulge in one of these luscious libations – just remember the password for entry (Hair Of The Dog).
Barrio Shoreditch is one of London's most quirky bars. This fun time party bar is a great place in Shoreditch for letting your hair down and enjoying delicious cocktails sampling tastes and flavours from all around the globe. The decor is spectacularly weird and wacky, with their cutting-edge, eclectic music policy that gets everybody tapping those toes and shaking those hips on the dance floor.
With a sister venue in St Paul's, Patch East is a new venue that prides itself on bringing Shoreditch chic vibes to the heart of the city. With a number of different seating areas, all decorated with a particular quirky theme - including a Ski Lodge, Boudoir, Art Deco Miami Cool and neon-heavy Tokyo room - the cocktail menu complements the venue's overall charm, showcasing loads of intriguing recipes and ingredients.
The Exhibit is Balham’s all-in-one social destination. Come for a majestic cocktail or get stuck in at the dinner table, and don’t forget they love a big party come Friday Night. There’s comedy at the weekends, life drawing classes, art exhibitions and the chance to catch a film in London’s smallest independent cinema space.
Boasting a DJ booth tucked inside of a vintage piano, cocktails served out of the finest of China, and luxurious seating arrangements, the Arts Theatre Club is certainly in the upper echelon of cool and quirky bars in London. This members-only, Soho speakeasy acts as the perfect, Prohibition-era getaway amidst the modern day hustle and bustle of the city.
With one successful Islington bar already under their belts, Simon Bastable and Andrew Green have taken their Four Sisters name to the St Paul's area. With wood panelled floors, a beautiful seating area and a smattering of stylish knick knacks, the venue's cocktail menu steals the show.
Turning this open-air metropolitan ground into a buzzing scene of foodie fans and huge soundsystems, Magic Roundabout has taken over Old Street roundabout to create one of London's most unique bar locations; transforming with the season, no night here is ever the same.
Tucked away behind Angel station, the faint aroma of hops is the Brewhouse’s biggest giveaway. Come inside to find a charismatic space where the staff are friendly, the plates are freshly prepared and the beer comes courtesy of the onsite micro-brewery. Its relaxed atmosphere and high quality produce makes it decent for after work drinks, relaxed Sunday lunch and catch up with mates.
With its deep multi-coloured armchairs, bright wall art and list of original and delicious cocktails, Bourne & Hollingsworth is a seriously cool and quirky bar in Central London. The venue has space for 60 people and is perfect for everything from after-work drinks through to birthday party spots.
Step off the cobbled streets of East London and into this multiple award-winning cocktail bar permeated by a wonderfully eccentric vibe. This Alice In Wonderland themed retreat serves up their famously refreshing and punchy cocktails to an eclectic crowd who are enticed in by the weird and wacky décor. Keep your eyes peeled for the wardrobe that leads to a clandestine dining space and try an alcoholic slushie at the charismatic upstairs bar.
Giving it some serious welly in the quirky department is hidden Peckham gem, The Four Quarters. A stand out name on the bars with games scene, not only do they provide top entertainment in the shape of retro games, consoles and arcade machines, there's American bites, cocktails and a secret speakeasy bar in the basement.
A gallery, bar, cafe, late-night and private hire venue in central London; it’d probably be easier to list the things Topolski isn’t. It’s set in the railway arches near Waterloo Station, offering relaxed vibes with coffees and snacks during the day compared with cocktails and dancing when the sun goes down. It’s great for private functions and entry to the club nights are free.
The Four Thieves in Battersea has everything you need for a trip to the boozer. From more than 70 gins, a microbrewery on site and enough craft beer to keep you drinking the week's woes away, the fun doesn't stop there. Head upstairs for an incredible games room, filled with car racing, ping pong and virtual reality.
Prohibition parties. There’s plenty going round, but only a select few come out firing on all cylinders like the Candlelight Club. They’ll keep details hush-hush for as long as possible, but we’re allowed to tell you that there will be bespoke cocktails, vintage DJs and live jazz bands summoning up the spirit of the 20s long into the night. Braces, fedoras, flapper dresses and feather headdresses are a must!
Colourful, imaginative and let's face it, a little weird - Adventure Bar Clapham Junction is anything but your average bar. Based within the home of a wacky time traveller, you can expect a Victorian-cum-futuristic decor, peculiar art and plenty of conversation-starting oddities. Quirky cocktails and damn fine nosh await.
With venues spread across the capital, the London Cocktail Club has become something of legends in the city's cocktail-making circles. Their Monument bar is inspired by Britain's most prestigious tailors from the 1970s and features a number of subtle references to artists like Paul Smith and Vivien Westwood. From rotating animal mannequins, all dressed in fresh threads, to pinstripe furniture, this cool and quirky bar is perfect for your next big night out.
East London is home to the capital’s cool and quirky bars, but it is yet to have one dedicated to the creation of The Gibson. That was, until now, as expert mixologists have been experimenting with the Edwardian recipe to create a cocktail list perfect for the dark, intimate and extravagant Clerkenwell venue.
Brooksby's Walk bar in London is a perfect spot for a cocktail in Homerton. The bar and restaurant is an intimate venue which includes an upstairs area that's modelled on a Bedouin tent and a downstairs section filled with quirky pictures and old films projected onto the walls. Head there for a hearty brunch or first date cocktail.
A characterful den lined with an extensive choice of gins, kooky artworks and a snug basement space, Ask For Janice is a popular Farringdon local. Serving brekky and your morning coffee early doors, the venue lays on a choice of locally produced fare throughout the day and offers a livelier vibe later. A must try for any gin aficionado.
Cirque brings all of the fun of the circus to Old Street. A kooky little space filled with rubix cube stools, zebra taxidermy and dangling airplane models, there’s a lot of charm and character to this bustling cocktail bar. Drinks are a tad on the steep side, so it’s worth timing your visit to fit with happy hour, where cocktails are 2 for £10 between 4 and 8pm.
What other use would a disused tube carriage be destined for but to host one unique supper club in London? Transforming the underground into one of (almost) fine dining stature, The Underground Supper Club will be plating up a 4 course tasting menu of French Brasserie inspired dishes whilst you knock back a cocktail or two from London's most unusual place to drink.
The Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings is a quaint bar in North London, based just a short stroll from Angel tube station. With a sleek bar serving all the signature cocktails that have made the B&H name famous over the years, the venue's idyllic greenhouse and airy cafe offer prime spots to unwind in with mates. Soak up all the vintage and carefree vibes at this quirky bar in London.
One-hundred-and-eiiiiighty! Flight Club in Shoreditch and Bloomsbury breathes a new lease of life into the UK’s favourite pub game, welcoming you into their beautifully designed oches to play interactive and creative games. Throw in some real-time scoring (there’s not a chalk board in sight), awesome gameplay animations and a dash of competitive spirit and you’ve got hours of unadulterated fun at one of the most unique bars in London.
This Tiki-laden palace is a tropical wonderland of bamboos, buoys and traditional wooden boats suspended from the ceiling. Trader Vic's is a Polynesian inspired hideaway where you'll find the kitchen knocking out exotic goods and the bar whipping up some of London's most infamous Mai Tais.
Opium is a great London speakeasy style cocktail bar. They deliver seasonal Oriental themed cocktails, in a discrete and decadent setting. Widely considered one of London's best bars, Opium is a cool and quirky London cocktail bar hidden among the bustling streets of China Town.
We Londoners think we’ve seen everything, but then a bar like Black Rock comes around and puts an 18ft, 185-year-old oak tree trunk in the middle of the bar and we’re shocked all over again. The tree trunk acts as an interactive cocktail ageing system, that you can use on their over 250 bottles of different whiskies on display for your pleasure.
Carefully carved using pure ice from Sweden’s Torne River, Ice Bar is the UK’s only cocktail bar permanently frozen solid. There’s no half measures here, everything from the walls to the bar, tables to your own personal glass are made out of ice and maintained at a chilly -5°C. Cloak up and head for ice-cold cocktails at this bucket list London venue.
Enter into this cavern cocktail cavorting where you'll experience Oriental infused mixology. Combining the spice and flavours of traditional Chinese and Pan-Asian ingredients, Fu Manchu is a space of mystique where you can drink and dance late into the night.
Stop by Drink Shop & Do near King's Cross for a night out where you can take more than just a hangover home with you as a souvenir. Their cool daily 'DOs' could have you lego making, ukulele playing or floral headband making! You can also book for their quirky range of afternoon teas, such as their 'Mrs Sparkles' with unlimited Prosecco or their 'Man's Afternoon Tea' with ale, pork scratchings and a Yorkie. You never know what's coming next at Drink Shop & Do.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat, how I wonder what you’re at. Borrowing its name from the Mad Hatter’s poem, Little Bat is a quirky neighbourhood cocktail bar featuring plenty of Wonderland-themed influences. Expect a playful and imaginative ambience complemented by superb cocktails and attentive at Callooh Callay’s new sister site.
For a cool and quirky way to spend your summer day off, head to Brixton rooftop in South London. Alongside a handful of huge club nights and a list of huge DJ sets planned for the summer, this pop up experience is the perfect place to grab a cold drink on a hot summer day. Serving fresh cocktails and with an idyllic beach theme, summer days in the capital have never been better.
You won't find any ice, fruits or bottled brands at this quirky cocktail bar in Shoreditch. Instead, White Lyan uses bespoke spirits, creative mixology methods and experimental finesse to front some of London's best cocktails, all from their cool-as-you-like base in East London. Don't believe us? Try it out for yourself.
A gem in the crown of London's speakeasy scene, Found is one of the most humble yet unique bars in the city. Promising a menu that features only 12 distinct cocktails, Found have gone out of their way to ensure a mantra of quality over quantity.
Cool? Yes. Quirky? Oh most definitely. Expect cocktails, science lab coats and plenty of detention-worthy behaviour at The Schoolhouse. Serving up food from brunch through to dinner and inventive cocktails till late, we sure as hell hope Ofsted don't cotton onto this one.
Machine No.3 is Homerton’s neighbourhood bar serving good quality cocktails and locally sourced food. It’s housed in a former launderette, and you can still find the original washing machine covers adorning the bathrooms. Intimate and charming with plenty of raw brickwork and low lighting, you can stay until 1am for DJs, drinks and dancing.
Fairground seating, eccentric interiors and a super central location are all on the menu at Old Compton Street's Bar Soho. Safely distancing itself from some of the stuffy local competition, you'll not only get a chance to experience one of London's quirkiest bars, you'll also benefit from their generous happy hour whilst you're there. Win win!
Killer cocktails, a cracking bar team, a cool as hell Hells Angels atmosphere and a thriving Shoreditch location. Yep, LCC Shoreditch is good to go for a memorable night out in east London. Come in, get comfy on the black leather couches and work your way to the bottom of an expertly mixed drink. Not sure what you fancy? The ‘Smoking Barrel’ should get you started just right. You’re welcome.
Looking for somewhere extra quirky to host a private party? Blues Kitchen has the perfect fit with their 1950s styled Airstream Caravan. They’ll stock up the fridges with your favourite drinks as you soak in the vintage luxury, there’s room for up to 25 and you can hook up your ipod and play your own tracks. Join the main party room a little later, where Blues comes up trumps with their mix of Texas BBQ food, bourbon cocktails and live rock ‘n’ roll music.
Borrowing its name from a Balearic-style city island off mainland Brazil, Floripa is a haven for subtropical flair in the heart of Shoreditch. Bringing something completely different to the area, take in up-tempo party beats and enjoy Brazilian twists on food and drink at this unusual London bar.
Shoreditch Platform is an exciting new space in East London that charges guests by the hour, making it a perfect spot for working during the day. By night the venue transforms into a fun bar and over weekends DJs spin until early in the morning.
Spread across two floors, Bobby Fitzpatrick is a quirky '70s den of vintage wallpaper, kitsch sofas and signed photographs. There's board games and a quirky cocktail list inspired by Fitzpatrick's great loves, as well as American deep dish pizzas.
The Dead Dolls House pad in Islington hosts quite the spread of unique bars to sup, dine or dance in for a bit of contemporary cool partying. Something of a sophisticated playground, the Dead Dolls collective know how to host everything from delicious eats to hand crafted cocktails and a party that will keep going until 4am. Check out their Peckham stronghold, too.
Come over and get your fix of Latina flair at this gem of a Soho party bar. With flamboyant interiors, exotic tequila drinks and a lovely choice of Spanish bites, Barrio is a tropical oasis with a lovely atmosphere. Share a few plates with your mates, knock back a few of their corking cocktails or find your way to the dance floor; where a mix of live bands and DJs play until 1am.