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.
Top Bars in London
Sure, we might be bias, but we get the feeling that London has some of the best nightlife in the world, so how do you navigate that? Putting in the work for you, we've come up with a list of some of London's top bars, from hidden speakeasies down back alleys to sky-high spots for sweeping views of the city.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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..
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.
Like two sides of a coin, Heads + Tails is the West Hampstead cocktail bar with two very different faces. Upstairs, is a swish space with floor-to-ceiling windows, a marble bar top and fizz-laced cocktails, while down below you'll find a sultry den of leather chairs and darker spirits like rum and whisky.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Listing Bar is a top London venue with an all-day menu of tasty bites that are waiting to be accompanied by their cocktail list. Think Biscoff French toast brunches, poke bowls, burgers, small plates and pub classics across the offerings.
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 Little Scarlet Door is perfect for those who fancy something a little different, as it's fronting a lineup of New York vibes thanks to loft-inspired interiors and an Andy Warhol-themed vault. Topping it off? DJs keeping you dancing 'til you drop.
From Battersea over to Islington, Humble Grape is making sure Londoners are watered at all times. Dedicated to all things wine, the bars are both laidback and stylish - perfect for everything from date nights through to a catch up - along with serving some seriously tasty British bites.
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.
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 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.