Best Of The Best London - 2011 Awards

By Matthew Yorke.

The best London bars, pubs and clubs 2011

2011 has been an inredible year for London nightlife. Forget the recession and economic doom and gloom as it seemed that people still wanted to go out and party in London. This year also saw the rise of incredible London cocktail bars, party pubs and boutique clubs. 2011 was all about themes and attention to detail; whether it be 1920s prohibition, the glitz and glamour of vintage Hollywood or Dickensian dram shops. As expected, Shoreditch led the charge of incredible new venues but for once, West End bars and clubs decided to leave the "standard" behind and take lead from their East London neighbours to produce interesting and quirky venues too. The West has had a bit of a stagnant year although it must be noted that it still houses some of the best cocktail bars, gastro pubs and boutique clubs in London. 

The designmynight team have looked at all these different variants: Ambience, drinks, food, decor, service, friendliness, experience, value for money and popularity of the venue on designmynight and compiled our Best of The Best designmynight Awards 2011. Here are the winners:

Best London Bar 2011 - The London Cocktail Club

The London Cocktail Club is a slice of bar heaven in the heart of Noho. This New York esque basement bar serves up stunning and creative drinks with a smile in a brilliantly inticately designed space with a fun-time non pretentious atmosphere and a wonderfully mourish nibbles/food menu (with the helping hand of none other than Raymond Blanc). It is the shining beacon of a place to kick back with friends while sampling some of the best mixology this side of the Atlantic. And guess what? They have another London Cocktail Club opening at the end of January!

The wonderful Gin Palace inspired London Cocktail Club

A close second:

Callooh Callay, Shoreditch

Purl, Marylebone

The Nightjar, Shoreditch

Worship Street Whistling Stop, Shoreditch

Montgomery Place, Notting Hill

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, Liverpool Street

Powderkeg Diplomacy, Clapham

Zenna, Soho

Foundation, Covent Garden

Best London Pub 2011 - The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a modern day narnia tucked away in Battersea. They are not pertaining to be a modern day swanky gastro pub that have covered all London areas over the last few years but instead they have stuck to the traditional pub roots with a twist. Firstly be amazed by the huge decorative beer garden, one of the best in London, then head inside for regular art installations and live music sessions. On the weekends DJs transform the space into a lively affair with their own mix of Ska and reggae and of course you must indulge in the delicious sunday roast. Everything you could ever want from a pub? Yes...and more! 

A close second:

The Princess of Shoreditch, Shoreditch

Lost Angel, Battersea

Bread and Roses, Clapham

The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

The Eagle, Hoxton

The Clarendon, Notting Hill

Glasshouse Stores, Soho

The Windmill, Mayfair

Best London Club 2011 - Basing House

No words can describe how happy we were to sample Basing House this year. Finally a new proper club has landed in London. It is small so keeps an intimate feel and with on trend DJs, a banging sound system, rooftop terrace and reasonable entry and drinks prices make this the standout club in 2011. If you have never been to iconic Ibizan club, DC10 then this is as close as you will get to it outside of the party island. If you are looking for a true, late night clubbing experience but fed up of waiting for sporadic warehouse parties then Basing House should be your go-to venue every weekend! 

The outside terrace at Basing House

A close second:


Ministry of Sound, Elephant & Castle

McQueen, Shoreditch

Zigfrid Von Underbelly, Shoreditch

Electric Social, Brixton

Lost Society, Clapham

BlagClub, Notting Hill

Cargo, Shoreditch

Proud, Camden

Best London Happy Hour 2011 - The Shoreditch

As the recession has bit badly this year, happy hours have become fundamental in pulling in punters. Many happy hours will end very early doors and not on Fridays or Saturdays; these are all well and good but we want happy hours when we normally go! The Shoreditch is a new DJ bar/club to hit Shoreditch with lots of quirky glitz and a kitshe decor; they have free entry all night, well priced nibbles and their happy hour runs Mon-Friday until 7pm with 2 cocktails for £10 and 4 beers for £10 and this extends on Firday until 10pm with 2-4-1 on glasses of wine and bottled beer. The ideal start to a guaranteed fun-time night out.

The quirky interior at The Shoreditch


A close second:


Barrio Central, Soho

Gem, Soho

Apres, West End

Bar Kick, Shoreditch

Dirty Martini, Mayfair

Margarita Loca, Clapham

Best All In One Venue 2011 - McQueen

McQueen has burst onto the scene in 2011, combining the effortlessly cool decor inspired by Steve McQueen, superb service and killer drinks. Why the best all in one? Well McQueen has a wonderful american grill restaurant (with separate entrance), a buzzy and lively cocktail lounge and banging boutique basement club open until 3am. You really can come here and have a whole night out in one and most importantly they haven't skimped on quality on any of their arms - they are all simply excellent. 

The cool cocktail bar at McQueen, Shoreditch

A close second:

Zigfrid Von Underbelly, Hoxton

Foundation, Covent Garden

Cargo, Shoreditch

Electric Social, Brixton

Barrio Central, Soho

Other Awards:

Best Basement Bar 2011 - The NightJar Bar 

Best Cocktail Tasted 2011 - Garden Martini at Zenna Bar

Best Gay Club Night 2011 - Room Service at Miabella 

Best Pub Food 2011 - The Princess of Shoreditch

Best Chain 2011 - Be At One Bars

Best Mocktail 2011 - East End Mule at Loungelover