2010 has been a great year for the rise of the cocktail/DJ bar and quality gastro pub, in London. London has always been famed for great nightlife but with the closure of many big London clubs, these new bars, boutique clubs and pubs have stepped to the fore to offer great drinks, late closing times and brilliant beats. So...we have sifted through 100s of potentials and come up with our Top 5 of 2010 (in no particular order):

1) Barrio Central, Soho (click to visit)

Why? Fun atmosphere with great cocktails and a great happy hour. It's always sunny at Barrio Central.

Budget? Happily Affordable with cocktails from £7.50

When? Happy Hour is all week but Barrio comes into its own on Fridays and Saturdays when the basement club is going off.

Design-o-meter? DJ Bar

Pre-Designed? Chat, drink, dance

Barrio Central, Soho

2) Callooh Callay, Shoreditch (click to visit)

Why? Innovative and intricate Narnia-style bar with inventive and genius cocktails. Stunning bar. 

Budget? Happily Affordable with cocktails from £8

When? Fantastic in the week after work as there is space to take in the beautiful surroundings. Great for a private party booking too. 

Design-o-meter? Cocktail Bar

Pre-Designed? Impressing your date


Callooh Callay, Shoreditch

3) Lost Society, Clapham (click to visit)

Why? Cool attic club with boutique bar feel and outside space.

Budget? Happily Affordable with cocktails from £6.75

When? Comes into its own on the weekends with great club nights and a trendy fun-time crowd.

Design-o-meter? DJ Bar / Nightclub

Pre-Designed? Chat, drink, dance

Lost Society Bar Area, Clapham

4) Mark's Bar, Soho (click to visit)

Why? Uber-cool basement bar under the world-renown Mark Hix restaurant, with stunning cocktails.

Budget? Happily Affordable with cocktails from £7

When? Perfect for sexy after work drinks or classy pre-dinner drinks all week long.

Design-o-meter? Cocktail Bar

Pre-Designed? Chat, drink, dance

Mark's Bar, Soho

5) The Princess of Shoreditch, Shoreditch (click to visit)

Why? Beautifully refurbed, multi-award winning Gastro Pub, with a warm ambience and cracking food.

Budget? Happily Affordable with large glasses of wine from £3.95

When? Great on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or after work drinks in the week.

Design-o-meter? Gastro Pub

Pre-Designed? The friendly local

The Princess of Shoreditch Bar Area, Shoreditch

I would love to hear your suggestions on your favourite London drinking hole in 2010 - leave comments below