Hidden Gems in London
As far as hidden gems in London go, we've put together a list of some of the best undercover, secret spaces that are right on your doorstep. "I can't believe I didn't know about this place before!", we hear you say. Our great city is full of hidden secrets, and luckily we are on hand to keep you in the loop. Check out this list of hidden bars in London and get to know some of the most elusive watering holes in the city.
Last updated on 14th October 2016
Cocktail bars in London aren't hard to come by, but we doubt you've seen anything as sultry as this. Sister bar to Clapham's Breakfast Club, head on down to King of Ladies Man for luxe and retro interiors set alongside some of the most creative and delicious cocktails in the business.
Let your hair down at one of the most unique, hidden gems in London as Dr Kluger's entices guests with a roster of quirky cocktails and cool drinks in a casual and retro setting. Perfect for those looking for something a little different, the vintage theme and secret charm are sure to impress.
When a lot of venues claim to offer the best cocktails around, they are of course bending the truth slightly. But when Callooh Callay say it, they really mean it; and they've got a long list of awards to back up this claim. Hidden on a cobbled East London side street in Shoreditch, this is a hidden gem you'll want to find, sharpish!
Next on our list of Hidden Gems in London is The SouthSider Cocktail Club, taking us South of the River to Clapham. Decked out with cool exposed brick and with a trendy New York vibe, this is one of the best secret bars in South London for relaxation during the week and raucous fun time parties over the weekend. Book your space now as this one can get busy.
Nestled between southeast Soho and Covent Garden, this sleek-chic cocktail bar screams sass, but in fact is surprisingly well hidden. On unveiling this urban gem, we say grab the gang and mosey on over to Newport Place for a cocktail-fuelled night of fun and antics as you boogie down to a bunch of disco whoppers.
A sensual indulgence like no other, Looking Glass Cocktail Club is a secret bar in London that creates a world of drinking, debauchery, decadence and sheer eccentricity. Expect artfully crafted bespoke cocktails and live entertainment that is all sorts of weird and wonderful. Looking Glass Cocktail Club is one of our favourite hidden bars in London that should not be missed, so book now.
Boasting award winning cuisine with a hand crafted menu of innovative Indian delicacies, Cinnamon Kitchen is a wonderland of fragrant foods and sumptuous style waiting to be explored. Each dish adorning their menu is a sensation of spices and British produce fusing traditional cooking with modern techniques.
This secret London bar is little known to those who haven't ventured deep into the London Edition hotel. Somewhere in the back you'll discover a brooding bar inspired by 19th Century London with oak paneled walls, dark surfaces and rich textured furnishings echoing the style of a gentleman's library. Specialising in punch bowl cocktails, time will come to a relaxing stand-still here.
Hidden in a denim workshop in Walthamstow, Denim N' Dine is a unique pop-up featuring Michelin Star styled dining by chef Pedro Passinhas, who's worked at Le Gavroche and Fat Duck. He will create a seven-course tasting menu featuring fresh flavours and beautifully presented. Go with a group of friends or a date for this unique and delicious evening.
Take a trip State-side this month and visit the lively, ever-adapting Fat Bear in London's historic Blackfriars. With a team made up of both Americans and Britons, the bar brilliantly combines all the best culinary traditions of both proud nations. From bourbon infused cocktails to peanut butter and bacon chilli jam burgers, you'll leave with 'star spangled banner' stuck in your head and a slight spring in your intoxicated step.
Tucked away in the heart of Soho, and hailed as one of the London's hidden gems, The Piano Bar is a private members club with swing and sass. A broody jazz bar with live music in its bones, sign up and enjoy one of the most romantic bars in London.
Retaining some of its secretive edge, WM Barker & Co is a hidden gem in London underneath Bishopsgate. Known for knocking out a seasonal foray of creative cocktails, WM Barker & Co has a team of specially skilled mixologists at the helm crafting unusual ingredients to make some of the coolest and most original drinks in the city.
This little cracker, perched on the corner of Grosvenor Square, evokes the spirit of the roaring twenties with it's chilled speakeasy vibes. To label The Luggage Room as a 'hotel bar' simply doesn't do it justice; the venue is comfortably good enough to stand alone as one of the West End's top cocktail bars. Fresh juices and fine spirits come together in authentic period glassware.
When it comes to cool, hidden bars in London, this Peckham numbers is a quirky name above the rest. Not only can you join The Four Quarters for sizzling Americana inspired bites and cocktails, there's a whole heap of retro games consoles, machines and secret speakeasy bar in the basement.
Walk down the street level staircase and descend into a magical world of cakes, ornaments and antiques - a real mischievous mix of fun. Owner Cath tells patrons to expect the unexpected - "if it's crazy, we do it". Ninetyeight Bar and Lounge really is a great little place in Shoreditch, and one of our favourite hidden gems in London, offering an expert mix of the brilliant and the bizarre.
Just a few minutes away from London Bridge station lies 214 Bermondsey, an underground speakeasy that specialises in the sweet wonder that is Gin. This is one of the best secret bars to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, and how better to forget to goings on of the real world than with a perfectly mixed gin cocktail, G&T or a gin martini in tow? We would recommend booking in advance, as this great little place in London is incredibly popular amongst those in the know.
Located behind a fairly non-descript door in the heart of Leicester Square, Opium is a hidden gem in every sense of the phrase. Once you're finished punching the air at having found it, you'll immediately reap your rewards by discovering three floors of amazing Asian cocktails and equally compelling food with a contemporary twist.
When you waltz out of Old Street station, the last thing you'd expect is a heaving disco diner to be in full swing right above you. Well, enter Burger Bear and his latest patty powered vision atop of Old Street Roundabout. Don't miss the entrance, you'll ascend the stairs and discover an alfresco land of shipping container kitchens, bars and seating areas.
Only a gold plaque on the wall reveals this bar. Descend into a lair of dark luxury and French inspired interiors where Parisian chic mixes with desserts and cocktails - a match made in heaven. One of our favourite hidden bars in London, this is a well kept secret of ultimate indulgence and melt-in-the-mouth moments.
Never considered going for a drink in Whitechapel? You should, especially when that drink happens to be at Leman Street Tavern. Head on down for a stunning selection of whisky and gastro plates at this contemporary boozer.
When it comes to a hidden gem in North London, none come quite as close as the wonderland that is Somers Town Coffee House. Not only boasting a hidden garden, there's themed rooms, a speakeasy bar, craft beer, lunch and plenty more.
Perfecting a snug and intimate set-up with leather sofas, warm lighting and eccentric artwork on the walls, we only wish we had discovered The Den sooner. You’ll find it inside the St. Martin’s Lane hotel, welcoming those lucky enough to find it inside for a divine Afternoon Tea experience or just a few drinks from the bespoke G&T menu.
Harking back to the glory days of London’s Bright Young Things, you can expect masterful mixology and some of the best views of the city’s skyline from this plush and elegant rooftop bar. Still something of an undiscovered gem on the 12th floor of the Mondrian, follow the sounds of the 1920s jazz age playlist and enjoy those cocktails with views of St. Paul’s and the city providing the backdrop. It’s pretty special all round, really.
The Hollywood Arms is a cool gastropub just steps away from South Kensington tube; in amongst the swift happenings of Kensington lies this great little place, one of the best hidden bars in London. Decorated with quirky decor, including flamingo wallpaper and bird cages, this hidden gem in London plays host to micro-brewers, wine makers and fortnightly jazz. Book now to avoid disappointment.
The Four Sisters isn't your typical cocktail shmoozing bar, no no, this Islington joint is all about charming elegance and a down to earth atmosphere staged by the skilled bartenders knocking up crafty libations in abundance. Sink into Chesterfield sofas, lap up their signature liquid concoctions and discover a bar that lacks the pretension and attitude that other London hangouts do.
Perfect whether you’re out in search of cocktails, beers, wines or food, Ruby’s is one east London’s true hidden gems. The reputation of this elusive gem speaks for itself, with visitors heading to the bar to enjoy seasonal drinks with table service and a charming atmosphere. The Lounge is a separate space with a wider choice of beer, wine and Vietnamese street food, with an innovative events programme and bookable booths for larger parties.
As one of London's best kept secrets, Elk in the Woods pays homage to woodland life with their cosy bar. Beautifully decorate, it's clear that the team behind this venture had the stretching trees of the Rocky Mountains in mind when building up this venue; the beautiful, wooden bar is definitely something worth seeing, and the wood-panelled walls give the entire venue a rustic feel. With delicious cocktails and even better grub, this hidden gem is well worth a visit.
Found hidden away beneath one of the best American foodie haunts in London, Jailbird is a quirky basement bar in Joe's Southern Kitchen. Not only primed with booths and quirky cocktails aplenty, Jailbird was once a British police station for unique measure.
The Beast of Brixton might not be the most well-known hangout in town, but it’s certainly up there with one of our favourite secret hideaways. Stumble upon this unassuming haunt somewhere on Acre Lane and make your way inside for cocktails, regularly rotating street food and great local brews. Return on Sunday if you fancy delving into one of their banging roast lunches.
Don’t you dare be fooled by that ‘Apothecary Off Licence’ shop front at 108 Essex Road. Be bold and investigate; for one of North London’s coolest speakeasy bars lies waiting to be discovered. Packed with the trademark LCC quirks and oddities, this cocktail pharmacy space is perfect for masterclasses, raucous private parties and swigging your way through some of the most creative drinks in town.
Sitting underneath the famous Phonox club in Brixton, Phonox Below is a quaint cocktail bar that offers its visitors an easy going, laid back spot to unwind in. With a number of fantastic resident DJs, the warm red neon lights and exposed brick walls combine with the mellow tunes on offer to create an atmosphere that's perfect for sipping sumptuous and forgetting all your troubles. Sit back, unwind and relax with a quirky, spirit laden concoction, created by one of their expert mixologists.
Tucked away behind the busy metropolis of London Bridge, the Hide Bar is one hidden gem in London that exudes cool character. As patrons to the history of the cocktail, Hide Bar base their mixology on developing new, unique tastes to create their collection of cocktails so you can experience something expertly created.
Located a little further away from the frenetic bustle of central London, The Coborn is a boozer you’ll stumble upon amongst the Victorian terraces of a quiet residential street in Bow. It’s celebrated as an east London jewel in the Young’s crown, with award-winning cask ales and vintage wines from around the world enjoyed on the side of freshly prepared pub classic grub.
Tucked away from the main bustle of Islington is The Narrow Boat; the only pub directly located on the Regent’s Canal in the neighbourhood. Take a relaxed stroll along the water and pause to check out this complete gem, with its exciting range of boozy options, seasonal and fresh British food and a balcony space that overlooks the canal.
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.
Chelsea Prayer Room is a private and personal haunt siuated above GOAT Dine. With room for just 30 discerning drinkers, guests climb into welcoming Chesterfields and sip on carefully compiled cocktails poured from unmarked booze bottles.
Found may only offer a selection of 12 cocktails, but their mantra of quality over quantity is something that really rings true. Join this hidden basement bar in London for a drinking experience that promises speakeasy vibes and killer drinks combined.
This quirky vintage bar, round the corner from Clapham Junction station, is a decadent den of intimate antique furniture, bare stone walls and old trinkets. Get your luscious libations with some unusual twists; adding anything from mustard to Marmite into your cocktails, trust mixologists that like an adventure. Your taste buds will never look back.
One of the best hidden bars in London and perfect for those that like their drinks with a dose of quirk, head on down to Call Me Mr Lucky for something a little off-the-wall. From cool cocktails to the kitsch interiors, this hidden gem isn't one to be missed.