Weird and Wonderful Bars in London
Taxidermy dining, ice cube cocktails, live circus performances and underground caverns, quirky bars in London aren't hard to come by, at least not when you have us around. From the eye-popping and the down right awkward, to the dizzy yet dazzling, check out our guide to the most weird and wonderful bars in London for a dash of drinking in the city to remember. Creeps, freaks and regular peeps welcome.
Last updated on 21st September 2016
What's cooler than being cool? Throw on a huge quilted jacket and a pair of thermal gloves (both provided) and head down into the UK's only cocktail bar to be permanently frozen solid. No corners have been cut here, everything down to the glasses have been sculpted from ice that originates from the glistening waterways of the Torne River in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden.
A throwback to the 1920s Havana heydays, Burlock is one of the UK’s most impressive rum houses. There’s more than 200 different types of the spirit to wrap your lips around, and a selection of authentic Cuban and Caribbean food to complement the tastes on show. Keen to try something new? The Grasshopper Challenge involves polishing off a grasshopper, a shot of rum and a Barbadian 10 Saints beer in quick succession, while the unique happy hour continues from open until close!
You may think that The Four Quarters is a humble bar, but then you may need to think again. One of the most unique places to drink in London, head on down to Peckham not only for cocktails, but some of the best gaming in the business with retro arcade sets, and plenty more.
Keep this one under your hat, but there's actually a charming Chinese dim sum parlour and cocktail bar behind that innocuous green door in Chinatown. Track it down and immediately reap your rewards, with three floors of cocktails, food, nooks and crannies awaiting.
Browse the comic book menu of cocktails before partying the night away to the sounds of classic feel-good tunes at this fun-time bar. It'd be a real waste if you didn't track down the secret Jub Jub room hidden behind a wardrobe while you're there, too...
Boasting a taxidermy and Wiccan theme throughout, the Hand of Glory is one of London's most weird and wonderful pubs. More than just it's decor, this pub is renowned for serving a fantastic selection of the best ciders available in the UK. And beyond that, they're also known to rustle up a cracking cheeseburger and exhibit some awesome local artwork.
Patrons of all things weird and wonderful, no-one does kooky in London quite like Little Nan does. Join her on the ultimate kitsch adventure as you hunker down in these zany interiors for teapot cocktails, a roster of pic'n'mix, vintage nitbits and plenty more.
Weird bars in London don't come much weirder than the proudly quirky Little Yellow Door. A fictional house-share promising messy pop-up dinner parties, house punch and a flat-share-styled space, the trick to this bar in Notting Hill is actually finding it! Can you guess what colour door it's hidden behind?
A bar with noticeable retro vibes, Simmons is a quirky little number that resembles a tea room with a variety of knick-knacks for company. Patrons come by for their killer happy hours, where they can sup away at delicious drinks served from tea cups sporting the Queen's face on the front.
A dazzling drinking den that evokes the charm and elegance of a Victorian gin palace, Worship Street Whistling Shop charms with its candlelit atmosphere and beautifully crafted cocktails. Be sure to check out their very own Dram Shop while you're there, and look for the library of vintage gins; some of which are over 100 years old.
Tapping into the soaring popularity of Dim Sum eateries, Fu Manchu offers exquisite steamed dumpling treats with exciting Asian cocktails for company. Mixes like the Manchu’s Mind Control and Yuzu-Yu are infused using Asian spices and Chinese teas, and there’s vibrant DJ sets until late (3am at weekends) to finish.
You can meet only by appointment at this London basement bar, and even then you are unlikely to find it's entrance. Your escort will greet you, before you're eventually invited through the American style Smeg fridge and admitted to a captivating underground drinking space whipping up delicious cocktails and beers with the outside world oblivious to your presence.
Renowned throughout the city as one of the best speakeasies in London, Cecil’s comes bearing liquor, live music and late nights in the back streets of London Bridge. Offering an unmistakable sense of decadence and more than the odd hint of the orient, Cecil’s brings a flavour of bygone glamour to the city by putting the focus on cocktails, swing, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll.
A basement hangout hidden away from the hustle-bustle of Portobello Road, Trailer Happiness is a cool bar in London with some serious character. Taking inspiration from the chilled Californian mid-60s, you can expect quirky decor, tiki influences and innovative cocktail concoctions.
Inspired by the decadence of the Victorian era, this period place to drink and dine in London boasts an exclusive door policy by booking only. Venture behind the velvet curtains and discover a luxurious wonderland of vintage throws, rich fabrics and old world style furnishings. The Victorian Bath House was made to be an indulgence.
Changing the way you believe cocktails to be made, White Lyan have a cool and scientific strategy for their drinks. Instead of your usual mixing, expect drinks brought straight from the fridge (handmade concoctions of course) and without ice, in a unique turn of cocktail events.
Boasting signature illustrations and a lush neutral palate with flecks of colour, entering into The Doll House almost feels like stepping into one of the works of Roald Dahl. Whilst here, tantalise your taste buds - the marvellous menu here boasts dishes like '45-day aged Dexter Sirloin or the droolworthy duck fat chips'. Mmmmmm. Oh, and the cocktails they whip up are equally as delectable!
Based on the HQ of the secret society that ran Victorian London, The Escapologist is part modern-day Victorian men’s club, part Masonic Lodge. It’s a beautifully designed venue that pays homage to the illicit activity of the infamous Baron, where guests can enjoy a fun yet refined cocktail list, cheese-drenched pizzas and bottle service with their own secret lockers. Perfect for after work drinks or late-night parties in Covent Garden’s always-lively Earlham Street.
Aromas, fogs, airs, foams and food. These are just some of the things that Purl will manipulate as they seek to create the ultimate multi-sensory beverage from their Mayfair HQ. Retreat to one of their cosy alcoves and find out how they're getting on.
Where else can you gather your pals for some cavorting in a 1950s airstream caravan than Blues Kitchen Shoreditch? Revel in the vintage luxury of this truly unique destination, with room for up to 25 guests and a chilled drink never more than an arms stretch away.
Step into this Polynesian hideaway and take a trip into paradise. Here, you'll find an exotic decor with Polynesian patterns and tiki-carvings decorating the venue throughout. Serving up (arguably) the best Mai Tais in London and some phenomenal French-Polynesian cuisine, Trader Vic's isn't one you should miss out on.
When it comes to a unique night out in London, we highly doubt you've tried anything quite like Flight Club. Not only the perfect place to catch up on pizza, cocktails and brunch should the weekend take you, book an oche and get down to some seriously darts action alongside drinks.
Hidden in the depths of Canary Wharf is a fine example of cocktail skill and cool interiors, but just how to find it? Head on down to The Breakfast Club as this hidden gem provides a roaring night of unique drinks, vintage inspired interiors and hidden charm.
Sister bar to Nightjar and some of the most infamous cocktails in the world, Oriole stands up in creative drinks stead. A menagerie of vintage inspired spaces, live swing bands and cocktail artistry, Oriole is one of the most unique bars in London with good reason.
Tucked away in Battersea, the Schoolhouse does exactly as it says on the tin, complete with lab coats, science areas and plenty of naughty behaviour. Come here for one of London's best boozy brunches, quirky cocktails galore, and a weird-cum-wonderful vibe in South London.
A bar, restaurant and nightclub set upon a boat permamently moored on the Thames, you say? Bar & Co offers all this and more, with guests taking interludes from their drinks to marvel at the front row views of the London Eye, Oxo Tower and Houses of Parliament.
One of the best vintage bars in London, The Bootlegger is an amazing step back through time. Harking back to the Prohibition days and giving guests a true dose of retro, The Bootlegger is perfect for off the wall cocktails and a night out like no other.
By day, step out into Aeronaut's circus-style beer garden and snuggle up into one of the many themed booths with a hoppy pint in hand (all brewed onsite!). By night, Aeronaut becomes something else entirely. Step inside where the disco ball descends, the spotlights beam down and the stage comes out for the ariel acrobats and glamorous gymnasts.
If you were to look up the meaning of the word quirky in the dictionary, Drink Shop & Do's picture would surely feature. Head to their workshop to enjoy anything from their 'Play With Clay 80s Style' to 'Learn To Twerk Dance Classes', with late night dancing to follow in the former porn shop downstairs.
Hidden away behind a striking mirror is the Looking Glass Room, a clandestine drinking hole where abstract photos line the walls and everything is not as it seems. Get up close and personal with the cocktail card, each libation is made with only the finest ingredients and prepared with a passionte flair.
The antithesis of a flashy West End club, Nightjar is one Shoreditch speakeasy well worth seeking out. Head downstairs and away from the bustle of City Road to encounter a archetypal 1920s scene, with guests enjoying tin cup cocktails at candlelit tables, as jazz and swing bands fill the room with their soothing tunes.
Ziggy’s is an all-encompassing space perched on the side of Hoxton Square. Known for its kitsch vibes - you’d do well to find a more eclectic and quirky interior design than at the Underbelly - this is a hub for Shoreditch socialising that’s equally at ease hosting you for cocktails, some homely comfort food or some late-night dancing.
Something of a powerhouse when it comes to playing out in Shoreditch, not only is Old Street Records the place to head for those all important cocktails and delicious pizza bites, there's a roster of live music events and DJ nights that fit perfectly with the cool, neon-lit backdrop.