Where to Impress Your Friends in London
If there's one thing we Londoners are good at, it's bragging about the city to other people. Despite being a grey monolith at times, we have Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, as many free museums as the rest of the country combined and a whole river covered in fun places to visit. But if you're not a tourist, you need to know where to impress your friends in London to make sure they get the truly authentic experience. So take a look through our list of quirky restaurants, outlandish events and impressive London bars that'll leave your friends with their jaw on the floor.
While a lot of bars do give you a cool 1920s experience, none give you the speakeasy vibes of The Candlelight Club. You’ll receive the top secret location two days before the event, where you’ll be whisked away to a prohibition-era restaurant bar dressed to the nines in flapper dresses and fedoras. Dine on one of their beautiful candlelit tables before dancing the night away to a live jazz band.
What happens when you combine a love of nostalgic arcade machine and some of the friendliest staff in London? Four Quarters East is what. Who said that London is full of rude people? This will be your new favourite hangout, sipping on craft beers or cocktails, having a laugh and defeating your friends at Time Crisis. Classic.
Nightjar is proof that the best drinks in London are also the best drinks in the world. Sitting by Old Street, the bar oozes 1920s charm, with candlelit tables, live jazz music and a cocktail menu filled with adventurous and tasty cocktails. One mixed drink from their master mixologists and you’ve got a London convert for life.
The future is here and it’s Inamo. Their pan-Asian tapas dishes of sushi, dim sum and more, as well as their Oriental-themed cocktails, might be enough to draw you to the restaurant in the first place. But the interactive table tops – where you can watch the chefs cook, play with fish, upload your images and even order your food – are definitely something that will impress your mates in London. See their other sites in Soho and Covent Garden.
If there’s one thing that London has going for it more than other cities in the country is that it’s steeped in history, and no bar really encapsulates it like Victorian Bath House. Located in a Grade II-listed building, you’ll have to descend down a discreet entrance before being greeted by an illustrious hideaway. But it’s not just aesthetics that make it one of London’s most impressive bars: the Victorian-inspired cocktails are the height of luxury too.
Sure, London has the reputation of being rainy and cold, but when it’s hot, it’s hot. And there’s no better way of cooling yourself down than a trip to the Ice Bar. The whole place is carved out of pure ice and kept at -5C, making it one of the most impressive bars in London, and you’ll be kitted out in thermal caps in gloves to keep you nice and warm. After sipping your ice cold drinks, you can head down to the basement where they host a modern British restaurant.
Standing 1.8km tall is the iconic Gherkin, stuff of The Apprentice and sweeping shots of the city skyline. But did you know you could take your friends to drink at the top? Thanks to your buddies at DesignMyNight dot com, your solution to where to impress your friends in London is Searcy’s Bar that occupies the top three floors. Expect delicious food, 360 views of the skyline, and Champagne aplenty.
Bourne & Hollingsworth is your little oasis away in the concrete jungle. The all-day brasserie manages to deliver on top-quality member’s club service and delicious British food while maintaining a more relaxed environment. And you’ll be surrounded by beautiful greenery while doing so, making it a unique dining experience.
London is known for its spectacular shows and it's continuing to grow a reputation as a culinary goliath too, so when you combine the two, you know it’s going down. Circus delivers you a delicious pan-Asian menu designed for sharing, and as the night progresses the dazzling performers will descend onto the stage to dazzle you.
If you want to impress your friends in London, then make sure you give them some seriously out-there drinks. Purl is a 1920s underground speakeasy who serve up theatre and cocktails combined. Their master mixologists will whack you up some crazy concoctions thanks to their unorthodox efforts and a healthy mixture of dry ice.
If you’re looking for London’s most impressive things to do, staring at its skyline is probably up there. But make sure you have the right environment while doing so. Head up ten floors to the Aviary’s 6000sq ft rooftop for a spectacular view, excellently crafted cocktails and a kitchen delivering on delicious British food.
When looking for where to impress your friend in London, you need to take into consideration the rich history and culture of the city. London Cabaret Club is pretty much a celebration of the capital’s culture, offering several different shows ranging from a James Bond-esque romp about what makes the city special to a musical extravaganza about British pop music. Meanwhile, they’ll serve you up a delicious array of British tapas dishes throughout.
While it may not be the most visually stunning offering on this list, The Four Thieves has a wonderfully unique London experience for you: a microbrewery hosting its own arcade and VR experience. With 70+ gins to keep you satisfied while you destroy your out-of-town mates on Street Fighter, a VR machine sending you into a new world entirely and even the immersive experience Lady Chastity’s Reserve, there’s so much packed into one venue that you won’t want to leave.
Old Street Station is a gateway to hell/the Northern Line normally, but find a set of discreet stairs and you could find your way to one of the best bars in London. Combining street food with beautiful cocktails, craft beers and excellent music – as well as some of the coolest and quirkiest décor – it creates a unique venue that’ll leave your friends wanting to move down to London altogether.