Your quest for a boozy libation doesn’t have to end with Soho and Shoreditch, you know. Delve beyond the standard tourist spots and you might find some real hidden gems right on your doorstep. From north to south and east to west, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best neighbourhood bars in London so you can quench your thirst without having to whip out the oyster card.
Bermondsey: Nine Lives
From cosy nooks touting velvet booths and wooden decor to open spaces lined with lush greenery and fur-covered chairs, Nine Lives is a real south London gem. The drinks list has been designed by co-owner Tom Soden and the team at Sweet&Chilli, so you know you’re in good hands. That means El Tigres combining tequila with pineapple, banana and coconut alongside a watermelon and cucumber take on the quintessential spritz.
Hampstead: Heads + Tails
Flipping the switch to bring you two sides of a coin, Heads + Tails is quite the multifaceted space. Choose between modern interiors and aperitif-style cocktails at Heads upstairs or dive below where dark corners, stirred-down drinks and cold beers await in Tails. You can even tuck into brunch dishes from as little as a fiver, perfectly paired with Sekforde spritzes in the gorgeous garden.
Brixton: Shrub and Shutter
Helmed by drinks consultants Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza, Shrub and Shutter is something of a cocktail institution. The menu changes regularly, utilising seasonal British ingredients and French methods. Food is just as impressive; with sharing plates, bar snacks and set menus that include the likes of cured trout, Jersey royals and lime cheesecake.
Notting Hill: Trailer Happiness
One of the most popular bars on Portobello Road, Trailer Happiness brings a taste of the tropics to west London. Head past pin-up Bianca Kebonita and make your way downstairs for party vibes and world-class drinks. There’s all sorts of rum, bartenders are kitted out in Hawaiian shirts and the cocktails are a boozy bunch… it’s all very tiki AF.
Hackney: Three Sheets
Marble table tops, bare brick walls and pre-batched concoctions are the name of the game at Three Sheets. Spearheaded by brothers Noel and Max Venning, this Kingsland Road hotspot is famed for its elevated take on the French 75; switching out Champagne for Moscato, verjus and orange flower water. But that’s not all, as their Stone Fence and Scottish Coffee are just as quaffable.
Peckham: Near & Far
Imagine Palm Springs by way of Peckham as Near & Far brings quirky cocktails and live music to SE15’s liveliest car park. Housed on the sixth floor of Peckham Levels, it’s a Millennial’s dream with pink tones, palm prints and tonnes of plants offset by industrial accents and bright blue stools. Not only will you find a cracking drinks list, but also film screenings, DJ-led events and even yoga.
Crouch End: Little Mercies
A joint venture between the Venning Brothers of Three Sheets and Alan Sherwood of Scout and Peg + Patriot, Little Mercies boasts lip-smacking food and innovative drinks in equal measure. Whether you came for the beef crumpet slathered in blue cheese rarebit or ox cheek pastrami paired with burnt onion mustard and pickles, make sure you wash it all down with their “Pornstar” – a refined riff on the classic.
Kentish Town: Ladies and Gentlemen
Located just minutes from Kentish Town station, Ladies and Gentlemen is the subterranean joint situated in what used to be a public toilet. Switching out questionable urinals and creaky cubicles for classic cocktails, this Camden boozer is the perfect place for a date night. Make your way downstairs for Palomas and Boulevardiers alongside CBD hemp rum and popcorn.
Bethnal Green: Coupette
Swerving Shoreditch for a more laid-back location down the road, Coupette provides award-winning libations to thirsty east Londoners. Get down to Bethnal Green Road where you’ll find a French-influenced menu of calvados, cider and cocktails all set to a backdrop of copper and golden tones; from the hanging lights to the luxe stool and bar top inset with coins.
Tooting: Tequila Mockingbird
Promising 2-for-1 cocktails every day till 9pm, Tequila Mockingbird is a top choice for tasty cocktails in Tooting. Their signature tiki punch comes served flaming, daiquiris can be made frozen and margaritas infuse mango and chilli for a spicy kick. With sister sites in Putney and Clapham, this is south London boozin’ at its finest. Come early for cut-price tipples and stay late for live music and an unmissable party bar atmosphere.
If 10 watering holes just ain't enough for you, check out our extensive guide to bars in London.