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 19th May 2017
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.
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.
Turn up the volume on quirky cocktails and '70s chic as Bobby Fitzpatrick brings North London a whole heap of fun. The cocktail bar specialises in all things retro with vintage wallpaper, signed photographs and a cocktail list that's inspired by lost loves. Add board games and deep dish pizza and you're on to a winner.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Sister bar to Nightjar and home to some of the most infamous cocktails in the world, Oriole's purpose is to supply creative drinks. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 serious darts action alongside drinks. The fun-time party has two venues; choose between Bloomsbury or Shoreditch.
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.
Hidden in the depths of Canary Wharf is a fine example of cocktail skill and cool interiors, but just how to find it? Just pay a visit to The Breakfast Club as this hidden gem is tucked away in the venue, and provides a roaring night of unique drinks, vintage inspired interiors and hidden charm.
With a focus on fantastic, bespoke cocktails and interesting design, 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.
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.
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.
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 as each libation is made with only the finest ingredients and prepared with a passionate flair.
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 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.
Expert mixologists have been experimenting with an Edwardian cocktail recipe and have decided to lay their inventions out for you to taste… at the Gibson bar! Hoping to re-popularise the now mostly forgotten drink, they are using the highest-quality spirits mixed with their masterful knowledge to compose a list perfect for their weird and wonderful Clerkenwell bar.
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!
Forget the classics, Bourne and Hollingsworth in Fitzrovia are mixing things up with their own unique quirky brand. Perfect for a date night, the venue is a multi-coloured lair of squidgy armchairs, bright wallpaper and juicy cocktails.
Fu Manchu offers exquisite 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.
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.
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.
Standing out in the crowd thanks to its iconic black exterior and with a reputation for serving some of London's most refreshing cocktails, the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings is a quirky bar based just a short stroll from Angel station. The team of chefs have been working hard, offering a menu of fresh flavours and vintage recipes. Sit back in the beautiful greenhouse and enjoy some delicious food at this weird and wonderful restaurant in London.
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.
Though the idea of drinking wine in a former toilet might not sound that appealing, you might make the exception for the wonderfully weird WC Wine & Charcuterie Bar. Based underneath Clapham Common tube station, the 24 different varieties of red and white wine work with the menu of sharing platters and cheese boards to offer an experience full of rich flavours and tastes.
One of the most unique places to drink in London, head on down to Four Quarters in Peckham not only for cocktails, but some of the best gaming in the business with retro arcade sets of Pacman, Time Crisis and more! Ease the night along with their impressive selection of craft beers and, once you've done beating your best mates at video games just like the old days, head downstairs for the speakeasy bar the Confession Box.
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.
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.
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.