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 14th February 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.
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 of a Victorian listed building, The Piano Works is the revival of the bygone era of jazz and classic music where you could sup and shoulder shimmy to the sounds of a piano tinkering away in a hidden speakeasy. Taking on more of a warehouse style in Farringdon, requests come in thick and fast at this house of music.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This funky little den in Camden is a hot spot for those fun post-work drinks and weekend benders. This vintage interior is a feast for the eyes, with antique lampshades hanging from the ceiling, Mario Kart and even VHS videos scattered around. There's a great Happy Hour too so roll up and enjoy a whole new world of weird for less.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
On the lookout for London’s coolest riverside pubs? The Duke’s Head in Putney is a Thames-side treasure, offering great views of the water and a calming atmosphere to boot. Found inside a Grade II listed, Victorian building, the venue is based right at the start of the Oxford - Cambridge boat race and hosts live music, comedy shows, movie nights and speed-dating events on a weekly basis.
Modelled on the activity of a 1920s speakeasy, head to this illicit underground haven for a taste of unrivalled vintage glamour. A venue showcasing beautiful performers in full burlesque, come for dinner and a show, with an extensive list of wines and classic cocktails served at the bar of this dazzling burlesque experience in the city.
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.
Richmond’s iconic riverside pub has been sitting pretty on the banks of the Thames since way back in 1780. It’s been serving Young’s fine ales since 1869, and boasts one of the most unique vantage points of the river - especially when the tide is in. Look out for the cosy fireplace below a window - one of only a tiny number still used in the country - while you feast on the best in seasonal pub grub and a drinks list featuring lip-smacking ales and wines.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bull & Gate is, quite simply, a beautiful and majestic pub well worth checking out in Kentish Town. A boozer steeped in history - the Boulogne Bar offers a nod to the decadence of Henry VIII - head upstairs for vintage-inspired cocktails to the sound of live musicians playing on the baby grand piano or settle in for a romantic date night evening in the relaxed pub space on the ground floor.
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.
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.
Located at the end of the jetty at Greenwich Peninsula, this unique London bar promises a look to the future; where sustainable culture is king. Think a cafe, bar and a private hire space all in one, alongside talks and botanical touches aplenty. This wondrous south London bar has to be seen to be believed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enter into this cavern of Dumpling delights and cocktail cavorting where you'll experience Dim Sum at its finest and Oriental infused mixology. Combining the spice and flavours of traditional Chinese and Pan-Asian cuisines, Fu Manchu is a space of mystique where you can dine and drink late into the night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
One-hundred-and-eiiiiighty! Flight Club 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.
Found on the famous Brick Lane, All Star Lanes is all about letting your American alter ego run free. A chilled out space where the portions are hearty and the cocktails are strong, pop by for a few games on their six lanes or skip the bowling and make straight for the karaoke booth. All these activities will likely work up your appetite - check out their trademark wagyu burger or spice things up with some chilli cheese fries; there’s some pretty out-there cocktails to try while you’re at it.
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.
It's not everyday that you come across a venue with an interior thought up by a Hollywood set designer, but then again Steam & Rye is far from your ordinary hangout. The interior fuses 1940s glam with romantic influences from the Wild West to great effect; creating a cool, striking vibe that will have you coming back time and again. We haven't even mentioned the Michelin-standard food and award-winning cocktails...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scream the Dirty Bones name amongst the foodie masses and you're sure to get roaring support. Not only heralded for their heaving patties, brunches and cool interiors, they're well known in the mixology department for throwing out some seriously unique and delicious concoctions.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Fondue Lodge is cool in two ways: not only do you get delicious cheese and chocolate fondue – alongside a starter of your choice – but the whole place is decked out to recreate an alpine lodge, giving you that skiing experience right here in London. Add in complimentary Schnapps and live music, and you’re guaranteed an authentic alpine experience.
Skateboards on the ceiling? Check. Pop-art on the wall? Check. Over 4000 comic books to read? CHECK CHECK CHECK. Think 90s American teen angst meets today's Shoreditch at Far Rockaway. We're talking bespoke cocktails, hearty fare and oodles of character.
A Farringdon favourite for street-food inspired chow and drinks, Lazybones is markedly different from its many city counterparts thanks to its bustling, industrial interiors and American inspired food. From bulging burgers and hot-dogs, to craft beer and their steel laced innards, Lazybones is something a little different to try in Farringdon.