If those two words - London Bridge - instantly bring signal failures and staff shortages to mind, you need this guide. With sky-high restaurants offering glorious views of the city rubbing shoulders with secret speakeasies hosting live entertainment throughout the week, there's so much more to this part of town than snaking queues out of the train station, you know. Here's five great restaurants and bars to try next time you have some time to kill in London Bridge (i.e, if you're a commuter, this evening).
Hutong at The Shard
There’s no need to wrestle your way to the window-side tables at Hutong - the venue has been beautifully designed to offer panoramic views of London wherever you are sat. Promising an expanse of beautiful Chinese food, signature cocktails (starting from around £12.50) and a breathtaking vantage point like this one, if you have a bucket list of bars, add Hutong to the top. An assured way to impress if you’re planning birthday drinks or a big anniversary dinner.
From one end of the price scale to the other, and this quirky after-work retreat known for its eccentric decor and seriously impressive drink deals. Now we’re not going to say drinking on a school night is a good idea, but… if you were going to do so, Simmons would be the place to get stuck in. Not only does this cheery cocktail bar offer a funky playlist and service with a smile, you can also get bottles of beer and glasses of wine from £2.50 and sharing cocktail teapots from as little as £15.
London Bridge isn’t without its secret gin bars, either. Tucked away beneath the Antico Restaurant is 214 Bermondsey, a positively charming and intimate hideaway with a top-quality collection of 80 gins stocking the shelves. A must for any aficionado, these guys are serious about their G&Ts to the point that they created their own tonic water - BTW - to help each serve reach its maximum potential, and you can check out their regularly rotating cocktails and sharing flights at low prices if you join them for their Sunday Social sessions.
The team at Popdown aren’t really interested in wasting any time. Holding their first residency back in April 2015, these guys were busy being named as the 6th best pop-up in the world by American Express just four months later. Their latest venture has taken them to 1 Cathedral Street, where they have been serving up Asian-styled, 5-course tasting menus inspired by the very Borough Market that the space overlooks. You’ve got just two months left to sample this leading supperclub for yourself, and don’t forget to save some time to sample the craft beers, wines and bespoke cocktails on offer from their ground floor Ikigai bar.
So much more than just a neighbourhood to enjoy dinner with a view and a bespoke take on the G&T, there’s also a late-night party to be had when you’re out in SE1. The playful and nostalgic vibe of The Old School Bar is pretty damn infectious; forget your troubles and embrace the light-hearted nature of this party bar made for karaoke, drinks and dancing to feel-good tunes from the 80s and 90s.