London Bar Bucket List
London's influx of hot to trot bars makes it one of the places 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 8th August 2016
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.
Nola showcases everything great about the city of New Orleans from its Shoreditch hub. Hiding away inside the Bedroom Bar, 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 a secret cigar terrace to stumble upon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Completely changing our understanding of the role of a cocktail bar, the White Lyan in Shoreditch has revolutionised the area with their innovative, handcrafted drinks and refreshments. There's no ice, fruits or spices at this trendy nook. Instead the bar solely serves their delectable range of Mr Lyan spirits, mixers and cocktails; perfect for those exhausting, Summer afternoons.
Let that inner-child run free at the magical and mystical Looking Glass Cocktail Club. Stride through the looking glass (quite literally) to discover a parallel universe where mesmerising cocktails and eccentric entertainment hold the high cards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s nothing that quite matches the kitsch glamour of a Little Nan’s cocktail party. Little Grandson (Tristan) is a wonderful host, welcoming you in to discover an eccentric drinking den and even creating bespoke drinks in your honour if it’s your birthday. Tuck into sweet and savoury treats your nan herself would be proud to bake, washed down with cocktails served in your own teacup.
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.
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.
Fashioned around the concept of a quirky flatshare, there’s all sorts of peculiarities to discover behind Notting Hill’s Little Yellow Door. Styled on the humble front room, let yourself in with your own key, drink from your very own mug and savour a unique house party atmosphere; there’s dinner dates on Friday, house parties on Saturday and an elusive private Tree House Room for parties of 12 or less.