Bucket List Bars in London
London's influx of hot to trot bars makes it the place to be seen drinking for revellers across the globe. With swanky haunts that have won more awards than we've had hot dinners, to unassuming basement joints that you'd love to pick up and put in your pocket, we've got it all. We've constructed a squad of venues that you absolutely must visit before you die, guaranteed to give you more of a thrill than climbing a mountain or throwing yourself out of an aeroplane.
Last updated on 19th February 2018
One of the most exclusive bars in London, there's an air of grandeur at Victorian Bath House that's not to be missed. From its luxe interiors down to food from Alan Lucas and Caroline Gardiner, this is a bar in the city that will stay with your forever.
While drinking atop a roundabout could get you in trouble on any other occasion, it's going to make your year this time around. Join the Magic Roundabout as they sit pretty atop Old Street for roaring nights of DJs, pop-up street food, cocktails and plenty more. One to tick off the bucket list? You betcha.
There are so many cocktail bars in London, but none are quite like Dandelyan. Brought to you by the infamous Mr Lyan and boasting a roster of global awards, the interiors and drinks are a world away from your average 2-4-1 deals.
The trophy cabinet at Callooh Callay is pretty crowded these days. With a long list of acclaim firmly under their belt, this beautifully eccentric cocktail bar refuses to rest on its laurels, and it’s still the place to be if you love cutting-edge cocktails, tasty food and amazing events.
A cosy haven from the streets of Chinatown, those who aren’t in the know will stride on past Opium without a second glance. Don’t follow their path, locate that non-descript green door and step inside to discover a charming dim sum den and cocktail bar with top quality across the board.
One of the most unusual bars in London, this is where kitsch lives, and pretty much thrives. From posters of Pat Butcher and nods to the Queen to teapot cocktails and crazy sharers, this treasure trove is not one to miss out on on a visit to our fair city.
Looking to try something wholly unique in London? Then it's right about time you tried one of the only ball-pit bars in the world. From themed cocktails down to their giant ball-pit, you're sure to make memories in a place like this.
Meander your way through the streets of Shoreditch and land just shy of Liverpool Street for one of the most unique bars in East London. Not only brimming with teasing DJ floors, photobooths and urban interiors, Queen Of Hoxton boast a roof garden that would be just silly to miss out on.
One of the most elusive bars in London, this is a place where you can bring your own drink. Quite literally. Bring your own spirit, and watch as the talented mixologists at BYOC whip you up some of the best cocktails in the basement in a secret, basement spot.
Your London bar bucket list wouldn't be complete without somewhere to unleash your inner gaming demon now would it? We didn't think so either. One of the most unique bars in Peckham, not only will The Four Quarters cater to all of your cocktail needs, there's pop-up dining and some of the best arcade machines in the business.
There are plenty of interesting bars in London that you shouldn't miss, but there's not many that have all this rolled into one. From arcade games and bowling to burgers and ice skating, Queens is a gem in London that's you'd be barmy to miss out on.
There are bars, and then there's The Gibson. Harking back to the good old days, not only is there vintage glamour to be found here, this secret and hidden spot boasts some of the most fabulous drinks that London's cocktail scene has ever seen.
Celeb mugshots, pink glittery walls and flashing neon signs, Tonight Josephine is all kinds of kitsch. The Waterloo basement bar is inspired by Napoleon's spurned wife, head down and celebrate being bad ass with cocktails and plenty of fun.
Any bar bucket list worth its salt will have at least one hidden, prohibition-styled number. And that's where The Bootlegger comes in. Doused with 1920s glamour, this underground den in the heart of the City not only promises live jazz and Americana eats, but also a deliciously-boozy cocktail list, comprising of classic drinks and bespoke concoctions.
If you're looking for a must-visit bar in London that gives whisky the respect it deserves, you're looking to head on down to Black Rock. Sophisticated and smart, this is a seriously cool bar for those looking to get familiar with some of the best in the business.
Brought to you by Adam Handling of The Frog and Group Bar Manager Tim Laferla, Eve isn't just toting some of the biggest names in the business, this themed basement bar in London is a hidden gem for some of the finest cocktails in the city.
Fusing the charm of Victorian squalor with the grace of a magnificent gin palace, Worship Street offers a refined drinking experience indeed. The cornerstone for any gin-lover’s bucket list, this candlelit Shoreditch bar even features its own Dram Shop, home to a library of 100 year old, wax sealed bottles of the spirit.
Preparefor some of the most stunning views in the city. That's right, you can book a table at the indulgent and unique Searcy's atop the Gherkin. Known for its sweeping 360 degree views of the city, if you don't tick this off of your bar bucket list then you're simply not doing London right.
Nightjar has been hailed as one of the best bars in the world more than once, so what if their reputation found its way to another London venue? Introducing, Oriole. A stunning and vintage supping space, head on down for some of the most unique cocktails in the business set alongside an enviable roster of live music.
One of the most talked about bars of the year, there's no stopping the deliciousness of Canova Hall. From the stunning industrial interiors down to the pizza and the al dente pasta, Canova Hall is beautiful and a must-try in more ways than one.
All good “need to try” lists will naturally feature Drink Shop & Do, where wonderfully quirky events are the norm. Past events have included Lego Robot Making, Play With Clay Lionel Richie Style and even a Learn To Twerk Dance Class. All you need is a carefree approach and an aptitude for trying new stuff.
If there's a bar that you'd be silly to miss in London, it would be Aqua Shard. Perfect for special occasions and celebratory nights alike, this is a destination that offers some of the best views in the city, and some of the best drinks to boot.
Nola showcases everything great about the city of New Orleans from its Bethnal Green hub. Hiding away inside a former Thai restaurant, head right this way if you’re after classic Stateside cocktails and a fair few signature mixes to boot, with a Jazz and Blues soundtrack to serenade you and some tasty Cajun and Creole treats.
Next stop is this pioneering speakeasy bar in Marylebone. Utilising aroma, fog, foam and liquid nitrogen, the guys at Purl succeed in breathing a fresh lease of life into forgotten cocktails from the Prohibition era. Sit back, take in the broody ambience, and prepare to embark on a treat for all the senses.
There are plenty of places to play darts in London, but none are quite like Flight Club. From their state of the art dartboards and games down to their pizza and quirky interiors, get an eye full and stick around for that all imporant bullseye.
One of the most unique bars in London, Aeronaut is not an experience to be missed out on. From their eclectic interiors down to their regular roster of circus nights, you'll never have the same night twice on a visit to this Acton favourite.
If there's one thing you must make time for on your London Bar Bucket List, it has got to be trying to find Found. The intimate cocktail bar is hidden away in Shoreditch and once discovered will reward you with some seriously delicious tipples.
If you ever wanted to find a truly London bar, The Perception Bar is it. Their interiors are stunning (and the lighting is simply perfect for Instagram), while their food – supplied by a resident chef – is a must. The cocktails complete the deal, with a creative menu full of tasty mixed drinks that compliments the calibre of music played by their DJs.
Those of you looking for a special bar in London shouldn't miss out on the likes of Aviary. Not only toting some of the best views in the city, this sweeping rooftop bar is sure to dazzle with their food offering and luxurious cocktails.
Winner of our prestigious Best Bar of 2016 award, the Nightjar is London's ultimate speakeasy. As you climb down their rustic staircase, the venue opens up to reveal an enchanting 1920s hideout, complete will candlelit tables, tin cup cocktails and the smooth, quavering sounds of London's finest jazz musicians.
Refusing to play by the rules, Bourne & Hollingsworth is more than just a cocktail bar in London, it's a playground to boot. Messing with flavours and colour, you're sure to get cocktails here like you've never had, and may never have again.
As London's only permanently frozen venue, the Ice Bar in the West End is a phenomenon that must be witnessed. Cool in all meanings of the word, the bar is constantly kept at a refreshing -5°C. Serving delectable alcoholic concoctions and ice-cold beers, you'll feel as if you're in the heart of Sweden at his wonderfully weird haunt.