Hidden Gems in London
Like everyone who hangs out in our capital, we all think that we know everything about every bar out there. Well, that's not the case: there are a tonne of hidden gems in London that'll make you say: "I can't believe I didn't know about this place before!" 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 24th October 2017
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.
Moments from Old Street, a tiny cocktail bar is mixing things up with their spin on drinks. From the man behind The Talented Mr Fox, Scout is a bar that puts the onus on the ingredients of their drinks with seasonal produce and unique mixing methods creating delicious drinks.
Perfect whether you’re out in search of cocktails, beers, wine 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.
The Portobello Star is the, well, star of Notting Hill, delivering hand-made liquor and exotic cocktails, alongside premium beers and an atmosphere that attracts the most fun and coolest crowd around.
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.
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.
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.
While you may be well acquainted with Hanger in Fulham, you may not have met the sexy little cocktail spot hidden beneath the steak restaurant. Below The Cut is a low-lit, speakeasy style bar that serves up a delicious selection of cocktails and wines.
Sitting on the rooftop of quirky bar Tonight Josephine, Bar Elba is a tropical island paradise (named after the Mediterranean island of the same name) complete with sunny colours, block lettering and a summer cocktail menu with over twenty different mixed drinks.
Located in Covent Garden, Encant is a tiny tapas bar that avoids the Central London crowds with an intimate and stylish setting. The restaurant only has room for a few tables, as well as having seats right beside the open kitchen where you can watch head chef Victor Garvey whip up a Spanish feast. From fried oysters through to short and sharp Aviation cocktails, a meal at Encant is a feast for all the senses.
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.
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.
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.
Harking back to the golden years of Jazz, Kansas Smitty's is a vintage bar that couples great live music with traditional julep drinks. The entire basement bar explodes into life 5 days a week, when the Kansas Smitty's house band take to the stage. Based below street-level in Haggerston in East London, this is definitely a hidden gem in London well-worth checking out.
The Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings might look like an idyllic bar, but it's got a bit of a secret. Have a wonder around the bar, look behind a few pieces of furniture and you might stumble upon Below & Hidden, a secret basement bar based underneath the venue. Grab a cocktail and soak up everything this charming little venue has to offer.
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.
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.
Tooting Market has been around since the 1930's, and they're harbouring a secret, one of the best wine bars in London. Head on down south and join Unwined In Tooting for some of the finest bottles of wine and a revolving series of pop-up residencies, which change every 6 weeks.
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.
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.
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!
While it may look like a normal townhouse from the outside, Six Storeys in Soho is anything but. Spread over six floors, head to this vintage drinking den for weekends of naughtiness in their cocktail bar or get your morning off to a swanky start with their breakfast selection.
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.
Hidden away in Fitzrovia, The Lucky Pig is an intimate cocktail bar that has bags of atmosphere, with retro furnishings and seriously hot DJ nights come the weekend. Head there for a night of cocktails and fun, and stay to party the night away.
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.
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.
Powder Keg Diplomacy is one of the best restaurant bars that you might not have heard about yet. Serving up a menu of delicious, seasonal British food alongside beautiful cocktails, spirits, wines and beers, this colonial drinking den will really blow you away once you eat within its wonderful vintage conservatory for a fully elegant Victorian dinner.
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.
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.
Find this little gem in Flat Iron Square and you are in for a treat. At Omeara, there’s a 320 capacity live music space showcasing everyone from up-and-comers to intimate shows for world-class acts, as well as a Mexican cantina filled with tequila, cocktails and light snacks.
While The Mitre may look to be an unassuming pub in the heart of Notting Hill, it's the basement that makes it so special. Head downstairs for a cool and illicit basement bar where whisky, cocktails and the odd hot dog happen to come as standard.
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.
Having spent a summer at the top of Oval Space's terrace bar, Behind This Wall is a secret little cocktail bar that's setting up permanent shop in Hackney. Serving vibrant cocktails that showcase the finest produce of Britain's small batch distilleries, the venue's simple decor clashes nicely with the explosive taste of every drink. Head down and relax in this new hidden gem in East London.
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.
Based in London's bustling Holborn and with a menu curated by TV chef Jeremy Peng, Cha Chaan Teng is making something of a name for itself by serving Londoners delicious Hong Kongese fare and tasty cocktails. With a capacity of 170 people and using some of the most exotic Asian spices to build their dishes, the restaurant will leave you with a huge smile on your face and a belly full of delectable food.
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.
Hidden underneath the renowned pizza specialists Voodoo Rays, Ray's bar is an easy-going cocktail bar in Dalston that's taken the phrase liquid dinner to extreme lengths. To start with, guests can enjoy a prosecco cocktail, before moving onto a rum concoction for the mains and concluding one a sweet note with a sherry-infused creation. This is the perfect hidden gem in London to impress all your mates with.
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.
Replicate their Spitalfields success, Absurd Bird is basically a Soho staple at this point. The southern American restaurant features the same brand of delicious dishes such as spiced buffalo wings and Jalapeno Mac n' Cheese while the bar is hidden downstairs in the basement and serves up an incredible selection of cocktails.
Megaro is a basement bar in Kings Cross that's created a reputation for itself thanks to its stunning cocktail menu and quirky decor. The venue's expert mixologists have really let their creative side shine, curating a menu of signature creations and spirit infusion. Gulp down a few Borsh Marys or enjoy a tequila and sweet tea infused Lost Steps cocktail.
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.
Just a few steps away from both Euston and Warren Street station is Shaker & Company. Not only does the upstairs serve up a series of burgers and cocktails perfect for hanging out in, the downstairs is a funky 80s bar that you just need to see.
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.
Head to Central London to find a completely unique and one-of-a-kind bar as Revered JW Simpsons revives the former home of its namesake. Complete with original features and mementos, the bar is perfect for a date with a difference, try one of their cocktails that focuses on seasonal and foraged ingredients.
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.
Stoke Newington is one of the best places to find hidden gems in London, and Victory Mansion is the perfect proof of that. Join this romantic bar for 70s interiors, stunning small plates and a roster of cocktails that you'll more than remember.
As one of London's best kept secrets, Elk in the Woods pays homage to woodland life with their cosy bar. Beautifully decorated, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Based in the London Architectural Salvage and Supply Company, Lassco Bar and Dining is a quirky restaurant based in the heart of an old London warehouse. Chef James Knox Boothman and Bar manager Jerome Slesinski are the masterminds behind this restaurant and have curated a menu where each dish is complemented by a particular cocktail, beer or fine wine. Nestled in South London, this is definitely a hidden gem in London.