Top Bars in London
London nightlife is the best, but like anywhere if you don't know where to go you're probably not going to have a great night out. So here is a list of the top bars in London, go to one of these and you can't go wrong!
Last updated on 21st July 2017
Catering for your every need and with a distinct devil-may-care approach to things, the Breakfast Club in Canary Wharf is always abuzz with energy and life. The bar labels itself as a retro working man's venue, and is signposted by a range of quirky antiques, brightly coloured furniture and, most obviously, a gigantic disco ball that delicately hangs over the entire venue. With a line-up of craft beers, locally sourced ales and carefully curated cocktails, it's perfect for anyone looking to unwind after a day at work.
Scout’s cocktail menu is a cut above the rest and that makes it quite special. Making drinks from seasonally changing, British ingredients means a consistently fresh and enjoyable list is on offer at all times. The interiors are relaxed yet refined, offering a great place to hang out and even munch on one of their creative bar snacks made using creative ingredients.
Part modern-day Victorian men’s club, part Masonic Lodge, The Escapologist is an unmissable themed bar based at the HQ of the secret society that ran Victorian London. Brought to town by the team behind Adventure Bar and Dub Jam, this is a beautiful basement venue with a fun yet refined cocktails, cheese-drenched pizzas and bottle service with guests having access to their own secret lockers.
The team behind the award-winning L’etranger restaurant also boast a simply stunning cocktail bar in the basement. Head downstairs to discover Meursault; a decadent and lush drinking spot that proves popular with Kensington’s fashionable clientele. Perfect for everything from an aperitif to a late night tipple or the complete gourmet experience, take a stroll down the Gloucester Road and drop in at this lush drinking den.
Brought to Angel by the award-winning team behind Callooh Callay, Little Bat is a quirky haven for banging drinks, snug vibes and attentive service. Located just away from the hubbub of Islington’s Upper Street, this Wonderland-themed, neighbourhood bar is a must-try hangout for cosy date nights and casual drinks with your mates.
This fantastic bar was last years DesignMyNight's 2012 'Best Bar' winner. Why? Because it is. This Soho bar has an exclusive, stylish feel to it and serve deliciously well crafted cocktails you won't be able to resist. Archer Street hots up at the weekends down here where the DJs starts pumping some classics, but the most notable thing about this bar is that all of the staff are not just bar tenders but singers and dancers too, be prepared to mind your wine glass as they'll be jumping on the table (and beckoning you to join them) before you've had time to say singing in the rain..
Co-owned by three key industry players in Eric Yu, Luca Cordiglieri and Martin Malley, 68 & Boston serves a specialty mixture of top wines and creative cocktails on Greek Street. Start your night with a few nibbles and a quality glass of wine on the ground floor, before graduating to the ‘Boston’ cocktail lounge upstairs, where skilled bartenders are at ease whipping up your favourite classics and playful originals alike.
This Ibiza-styled terrace is a key player on Clapham South’s social scene. Chefs create restaurant quality nosh available at pub prices so it’s well worth coming early, or you could stop by post 5pm for some after work refreshment. Relaxed and welcoming during the day, Gigalum lets its hair down at the weekends with top DJs playing killer uplifting house sets into the early hours. It’s always free to get in, and there’s a heated beer garden for alfresco antics.
Be At One is your failsafe choice for a feel-good evening out in Covent Garden. Tucked away in an intimate basement just off the piazza, head downstairs where a promise land of flamboyant cocktails, guilty pleasure dance tracks and infectiously charming bartenders await. Happy Hours run from 4.30pm every day and the venue boasts a 3am licence for all your late-night dance floor needs.
Don't let it be said that The Luggage Room is your run-of-the-mill Hotel Bar. This is a luxurious drinking destination in its own right, evoking the spirit of the roaring twenties with its unmissable heritage cocktails, stylish interiors and cosy ambience.
Looking for somewhere fun and alternative just moments away from Clapham Junction? Welcome to the party, Northcote Records, a fun-time bar where raucous house party vibes are enjoyed with a hearty side of rock ‘n’ roll attitude. There’s live music six nights of the week, a solid choice of cocktails and great value pizza, which starts at just £6 a go.
When it comes to some of the best bars in London, not many of them boast views like this. Head to the top of the Gherkin as Searcy's is a luxurious location churning out stunning drinks alongside 360 degree views of the city.
Run by Ryan Chetiyawardana, the mastermind behind the characterful White Lyan in Shoreditch, the DandeLyan is a suave hotel bar based on the ground floor of the Mondrian Hotel in Southwark. Elegantly decorated and boasting amazing riverside views of the Thames, it's the cocktail menu that's really turning head. With the same eye for creation as its sister bar, expect to find a number of classic recipes wonderfully twisted and distorted beyond recognition here.
The towering skyscrapers might steal the headlines, but those in the know will head straight for this plush cocktail haunt when they’re next in the city. It’s an absolute classic of a cocktail bar, where bartenders mix up a storm in signature drinks and guests lap up the relaxed yet refined atmosphere. Rightly considered one of the best basement bars in London.
Decadent French inspired desserts matched with perfectly mixed cocktails... Sound too good to be true? Well it's not. Champions of the dessert bar movement, Basement Sate is a seductive little Soho layer just off Wardour Street. Find the gold plaque on the wall and descend into a low-lit space of Parisian chic sweetness at this top London bar.
The renowned pop-up bar Sager & Wilde has found a permanent site in East London's Hackney. Moving into the historic British Lion pub, the team behind the brand have pulled together some of the finest bottles of wine created by the world's leading vineyards. To sweeten the deal further, the kitchen staff serve a variety of bar snacks and tasty toasties for guests to tuck into while they sip on a crisp white or an earthy red.
As one of the city's only sleek piano bar based in an old, airy Victorian Warehouse, this Farringdon joint is bursting full of life and character. Unwind with an ice-cold cocktail as their talented musicians roll back the years to a time when couples danced the night away to the latest soulful, swinging band. This is a real treat for any jazz and blues fan.
Floripa London is a fantastic Brazilian beach bar with an incredible, and renowned music scene. Named after the party island off the coast of Brazil, it lives up to the reputation. Winner of DesignMyNight's 2012 awards for 'most viewed listing' it's popular to say the least, but all for good cause. Great place to go, easily one of London's top bars.
Following the blueprint from its sister sites around London, Barrio Brixton blends a Latin American feel-good factor with the vibrant spirit of the local community. It’s an exotic and colourful place for a night out, with Peruvian anticuchos to nibble at and a cocktail menu that isn’t exactly shy when it comes to tequila, mezcal, pisco and rum. Soak in the lively tropical atmosphere and hang around for a dance; DJs drop a Latin American party playlist until 2am at the weekends.
A pingin' good time in Stratford, The Bat and Ball has customers playing rounds of table tennis until the early hours. This East London bar has a modern decor for gamers of all kinds. The twelve table hall brings smilies to all guests faces and ready to bring on the competition. Make the night a tournament and be ready to see everyones true colors. This gaming bar is a not to be missed London bar.
Few offer a more complete package in the Brick Lane area than Apples & Pears. A colourful and vibrant cocktail bar on Osborn Street, these guys offer freshly cooked Vietnamese street food, innovative cocktails and a playlist of motown, soul, funk and old school hip-hop music. It’s a cracking private hire jaunt, and there’s a heated cocktail garden for a few alfresco antics.
One of the best spots in Shoreditch, Trapeze is a great new addition to the area's already riveting nightlife scene. Split over two floors, this circus themed bar and club sets it's stool out to excite and delight it's guests from the outset. Never a disappointing night can be passed here, so head on down now.
Suburb SW11 brings a carefully curated drinks list and a variety of dining options to the fore in an industrial chic location in Clapham. Tuck into fondue, burgers or sizzling hot stone dishes if you’re dining, or just head along for drinks where you can get discounts on selected cocktails for Happy Hour and a Half. It’s all enjoyed in a chilled out ambience soundtracked by soulful tunes and chart-topping hits.
This retro joint is a fun and quirky venue in the centre of Camden, hung with antique lampshades and proud owner of Mario Kart, as well as old school VHS videos. Hit this place for an intimate drink with a hot date or take a rowdy rabble of your messiest mates for a great night out on the town.
Taking what was a former public conveniences and turning it into a basement space of art deco design and contemporary cocktail swag, The Bermondsey Arts Club gets a gold star for unique style and bespoke fittings as well as its expert skills when it comes to mixology mastery. Their cocktails are unrivaled innovation to be experienced in a slice of 1930s-esque cool.
For a prime West London location right on Fulham Road and somewhere that boasts the best happy hours south of the river, The Chelsea Pensioner slaps up a good time with all the makings of a pub atmosphere. Somewhere kitsch and contemporary pub, you'll find retro lampshades, pool tables, live bands and all manner of quiz or comedy nights at this eclectic hangout.
Earnest and humble in name and nature, the Humble Grape opens its latest balance on Fleet Street in the heart of London's financial district. With over 30 different varieties of wine and an elegant, yet beautifully simple decor, guests can unwind after a long day and sink into a tall glass of malbec at this top London bar. Completing the experience, head chef Anna Allan has produced a menu of flavoursome dishes to accompany the array of international wines.
Winner of Designmynight's 'best user rated' 2012 awards, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is an unforgettable experience. This London basement bar is hidden behind a fridge (yes a fridge) in an East End breakfast club. This is definitely one of the best nights out in Shoreditch, and even London as a whole. There is a reason this is one of the best-loved London bars, because it is sure to be the best night ever. Don't miss out!
Drinking den designed by "Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes" team, you can be certain to be boozing in an atmospheric, arty and awesome ambience. Formerly Shoreditch's original station turned quirky café bar, The Old Shoreditch Station offers an assortment of exciting sups, stretching from fair-trade coffee and organic wine to speciality beers and whiskeys. Mosey on over to the bar's pop-up product launches, live music gigs and art exhibitions or just grab a table under the upside-down plant pots and sample the eclectic menu.
Keep it under your hat, but there’s actually an extra top secret bar to be explored at LCC Oxford Circus. Meet The Studio; a truly unique concept where patrons lap away at top quality vodka cocktails and play their own DJ sets. Kitted out with seductive black booths, hanging microphone lights and a showpiece recording studio room it’s hella stylish too, and the venue offers among the best cocktail masterclasses in town.
London is brimming with great bars, but how to decide on the very best? That's easy, we recommend you try them all, especially this roaring Covent Garden cocktail bar.Not only boasting one of the best happy hours in the city, those looking for a bar with a fun-time attitude really won't be let down.
A deserved winner of DesigMyNight's 2012 'best experience' award, this is an unforgettable bar to say the least. It's a speakeasy bar and restaurant in Earls Court that serves up the best of 1920's prohibition drinking and eating experience. Find your way to the secret Entrance on Earls Court Road where you will meet the detective in the agency room before gaining entrance to this unique drinking den in London, the best of London nightlife.
Bespoke and alluring, 5CC Electricity Showrooms is one of the top bars in London thanks to its cocktail front and slick dive bar charm. A basement haunt with neons strewn and teetering bar stools, head on down for a cocktail and stay for five at this tempting and trendy Shoreditch Haunt.