Let’s face it, London is big. Really big.
So when it comes to choosing the best bars in London you might be feeling overwhelmed.
That’s where The Cocktail Society steps in.
We’ve put together our definitive list of the London’s best bars for every mood and occasion. Whether you’re looking to splash the cash, have a chilled one, catch some rays with an incredible view or have some fun at a themed bar, this list will cover it all.
There are hundreds of great bars in London and we do not profess to know them all, but we have done our best to give a guide of some of our top picks. This list will be broken down into two sections of 25 bars we think are great but in no particular order, followed by 10 must-visit spots.
Why don’t you try them all and decide for yourself?
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Best 25 Rooftop Bars
Kicking off this list is none other than the biggest rooftop cocktail bar in London. Skylight is situated on Tobacco Dock in an old multi-story car park giving it a huge amount of space, not to mention three floors dedicated to the fun.
This place not only serves some great cocktails but also lets you play croquet and boule on the roof overlooking the London skyline.
It’s a great place to meet up with those mates and watch some live sport on their multiple screens.
The best way to describe Skylight is to call it a classic English garden party, but it’s on a roof. It’s definitely one of the top cocktail bars in London.
Bussey Rooftop Bar
A stone’s throw from the Peckham tube station you will find the iconic Bussey Building. Perched on its roof is one of the best cocktail bars in London.
It’s the tallest building in Peckham meaning undisturbed views across south London which you sip on your favourite cocktail.
And it’s not just cocktails, The Bussey Rooftop Bar serves some incredible pizzas as well to help line the stomach so you can stay and enjoy the breath-taking 360-degree views as the sunsets.
Hold back your preconceptions of a London rooftop bar. They aren’t all towering views of the London skyline.
NT’s Loft is far more understated and intimate. With both inside and outside areas, think warehouse chic combined with Hackney vibes.
The down to earth values continues with the drinks. Nothing over the top, you won’t find sparklers or dry ice here. That isn’t to say they are boring, far from it. Each classic cocktail has a great NT twist to keep your taste buds dancing, just like you will be in the great, London cocktail bar.
Since the London 2012 Olympics, Stratford has had a huge injection of investment into the area. The Allegra is a fantastic example of this.
A stunning penthouse bar and restaurant with incredible views of the Olympic Park and London skyline also has a stylish rooftop terrace to enjoy your food and signature cocktails out in the covid free sun.
Though some might say the Stratford is just too far to travel for a cocktail, we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Make an afternoon of it and spend some time in the beautiful park just a moment’s walk away.
The Nest Rooftop Bar
Much more central and easily accessible is the aptly named Nest Rooftop Bar, located at the top of the Treehouse Hotel a short walk from Oxford Circus Tube Station.
Walking out onto the terrace you could be forgiven for thinking you had literally walked into the canopy of a forest. It really does make you feel like you’re looking at London from the top of a great tree. Even more so after a few of their cocktails.
Wonderful wooden sofas and benches are dotted around this gorgeous rooftop to sit with friends and have that long-awaited first sip of a cocktail, smiles on faces, the sun on your shoulders.
The Nest Rooftop Bar is open to the public until 8pm when it becomes exclusive for hotel guests, but it is definitely worth it to catch the last few rays at one of the best cocktail bars in London.
The Rooftop St James
Have you ever wanted to know what Lord Nelson can see from the top of his column? Well, lucky you because you can. And what’s more, you can do it with a cocktail in your hand and friends by your side.
The Rooftop St James is situated on the edge of Trafalgar Square you can look down from the rooftop cocktail bar at all the tourists returning to the fountains below.
Disclaimer, it’s a pricy one. But, if you’re one of those frugal people who hasn’t been spending all their money on clothes during the pandemic, then why not treat yourself with some of those great savings.
The cocktails are delicious and perfectly match the sophistication of the location. You will be blown away by this amazing London cocktail bar.
After his defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled to the Mediterranean island of Elba with 600 of his closest mates. Now you can’t take 600 friends with you to this rooftop bar, but you can take 6 and, believe me, you will have a great time.
Open all year round (covid dependent), this rooftop terrace has great views of the London Eye, the Shard and the city all in its panoramic scope. The winter covers will keep the rain off in those wetter months and you can even go ice skating on the mezzanine.
In the summer it’s all open-air and just a couple of minutes walk from South Bank. It’s one of the best known and most loved rooftop bars in London.
There aren’t many places in London that are trendier at the moment than Shoreditch. And perched on top of a high-rise, offering staggering views of the city, Boundary Rooftop.
The Boundary Hotel is positioned right in the centre of the East End and offered great food and drink from its restaurants and bars. However, it is the rooftop terrace that draws the most visitors.
It’s not just the terrace up there, the heated glass Orangery is open all year round offering cosy, warm views of the city even when it’s tipping it down with rain.
Madison Terrace Bar and Lounge
One of the capital’s most iconic landmarks, St Paul’s Cathedral, consumes the skyline from the rooftop of this London cocktail bar.
Yes, great views, yes great cocktails, but Madison Terrace is much more. A city renowned for its incredible atmosphere, it hosts bands and DJs to ramp up the evening to the next level.
New York inspired, it offers classic takes on American cocktails to accompany a great big, juicy steak if you want to turn it into a wine and dine kind of evening.
Though this terrace doesn’t have an inside viewing area, the year-round umbrellas and heaters make this a very reasonable spot for even the winter months.
Back to the high rises and open spaces of Stratford now with a London rooftop bar that offers more eye-watering views of the Olympic Park and City of London.
It’s not just drinking with a view though. Roof East offers a whole summer’s day out. You can play mini-golf, bowls, and even take a trip to the USA with a batting cage as seen in the movies.
When the sun goes down you can even stay to take part in the rooftop film club, showing all the classics and some modern blockbusters to enjoy with a drink in hand.
Vintry & Mercer
In the heart of the city, atop the Mercer Hotel is perched a stunning terrace rooftop bar. If you stand and glance from left to right your gaze will cover pretty much every landmark on offer from the capital.
Westminster to your right, St Pauls right in front of you and the Shard just on the other side of the river.
This rooftop cocktail bar is another which isn’t exclusively outside, with a nice table seating area inside and glass surrounded room that opens up onto the terrace.
Whatever the weather it really is one of the best rooftop bars in London for views.
Skylark Roof Garden
Just a few steps from Paddington Station the views don’t encompass quite as many classic landmarks as others but don’t take anything away from that west London skyline.
Sure, there’s no London Eye or Shard, but the green spaces and terraced houses, dispersed amongst the skyscrapers, make a striking comparison to the classic alternative.
The Skylark Roof Garden really is exactly what it says on the tin, a garden on a roof. The ambience is that of a quaint London garden with wicker chairs and garden tables dotted around a selection of plant pots and trees.
With the sun beating down on you, you would be forgiven for thinking you weren’t on the roof of a Paddington Highrise.
Flight Club Victoria
Talking about the Flight Club as a rooftop bar might actually be unfair. There are no striking views here or much of an opportunity to sun in on the roof of a London high-rise.
But, oh boy, are you in for an experience. The Flight Club revolutionised social darts at the start of the 21st century but there is so much more to it now.
Think of a floating fairground, with a bandstand, carousel horses, and a general feeling that you have walked backstage in a circus.
The stunning ‘Magic Gardens’ will take your breath away and we particularly recommend you visit after sundown to get the full effect of the low hanging streetlights their orange glow.
Probably the most famous rooftop bar in London is a bit of a cheat on this list. It’s definitely the highest point in the Fenchurch street Walkie Talkie, but not actually on the roof.
We, however, feel it cannot be overlooked in this category because when you’re up there you will 100% feel like you’re out in the open air.
A mix between the Eden Project and a high-end hotel bar, this is truly one of the best spots in the capital to grab a drink.
It’s expensive. That’s the caveat here. But like we said earlier, you haven’t been out properly in over a year. Treat yourself.
Surrounded by nothing but glass, this rooftop bar is right on the river giving you panoramic views of all of the best spots in London. As you watch the sunset, watch the city lights come to life and sparkle as you sip away at your cocktail.
This is first and foremost a great restaurant. It serves Japanese and Lebanese food, strange mix we know but it’s still great.
But don’t let that put you off. If you’re looking for a similar vibe as The Sky Garden, with similar views, but for less money, Mezemiso is a great shout.
Positioned right on the river in SE1, this restaurant-bar boasts floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city. Unlike the Sky Garden, however, Marzemiso has a great terrace that you can take your drink out on and enjoy the evening air.
It’s not your average bar but it is definitely one that cannot be held from the list of the best rooftop bars in London.
Market Hall Victoria
Market Hall is cool. That’s pretty much it. There is so much cool stuff in this building. Food and drink pop-ups are everywhere with some of the coolest start-up companies and delicious snacks and meals everywhere you look.
Take the stairs to the roof terrace and you will be greeted by a selection of amazing wine and cocktail bars, equally as cool as the shops downstairs.
What’s so great about Market Hall is that every time you go, you are likely to find a new bar you haven’t tried yet, with fun new drinks you never knew existed.
Head along there in the summer and you can catch events such as cocktail making classes, or wine seminars. There is so much on offer.
Read more: the UK’s best craft beer taprooms
601 Queen’s Road
Ask a wide selection of students and young professionals what they miss most about life before lockdown and a lot will say bottomless brunch.
601 Queen’s road has got one of the best in London and for the very reasonable price of £29pp.
The roof terrace boasts that it’s the place to be during the summer months with garden vibes and ‘the soundtrack to your summer. It’s a big claim but it definitely lives up to it.
There is just something about Wimbledon in the sun. Maybe it’s the connections to tennis or the proximity to so many green parks but it just feels like the place to be when the sun is out.
And what better way to kick back in the heat than by chilling on one of the best rooftop bars in London?
Upper 5th Shoreditch
The Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch is very nice. That might seem like an oversimplification but there is nothing simple about how stunning the rooftop cocktail bar is.
Capable of seating 150 people it’s one of the larger, seated, cocktail bars and offers great table service.
If you make a large group booking you can make the most of the incredible BBQ buffet or selection of premium canapes to accompany your drinks.
Oh, and yes, this rooftop bar does have some more of those breath-taking views you’re looking for, placed perfectly in the heart of Shoreditch.
Jin Bo Law
East London really does seem like the go-to place for a rooftop bar, and Ji Bo Law is another fantastic example.
With views of Tower Bridge, The Walkie Talkie and the majority of the east end skyline, this roof terrace sits slightly lower than some of the others. But we reckon that’s a good thing.
The lower height makes you feel like you’re surrounded by this jungle of London modern architecture, towering all around you. You feel like a part of the skyline itself, rather than towering above it.
They’re not just a sky bar either. They are determined to offer the very best in the way of entertainment.
Offering everything from live music to fire eaters, make sure you check what the entertainment for the night is before attending or you could be in with a shock.
Lost in Brixton
The idea is that you’re wandering around the streets of Brixton and take a ‘wrong turn to the right place’.
It’s very much like that. Hidden away above Brixton Market, you would be totally forgiven for not knowing this rooftop cocktail bar existed.
However, for the lucky few that do find their way there, you won’t be disappointed. Wooden beams covered in vines and flowers give the whole terrace a forbidden forest feeling that matches the ethos of the bar perfectly.
Also matching the lost land theme are the south American inspired cocktails you can pick up here. Although you’re unlikely to be coming away with any Aztek treasure.
12th Knot Southwark
12th Knot is located on the roof of a loosely nautical-themed hotel, Sea Containers, located on the Thames in Southwark.
The whole concept has a vague, yet classy, feel of a 1920s cruise liner, but one that isn’t likely to hit any icebergs.
12th Knot, itself, follows suit with glorious views of the river and St Pauls on the other side of the river.
The wrap-around terrace provides a breath of fresh air to take in the afternoon sun or late night air.
Unlike a lot of the rooftop cocktail bars on this list, 12th Knot resembles a classy lounge rather than a bar, with comfy sofas and armchairs in the place of garden tables and chairs.
Radio Rooftop Covent Garden
Some of you might be wondering where Covent Garden has been so far on this list. Surely an area of London synonymous with cool bars, pubs and restaurants must have a rooftop or two worth talking about.
Yup. It does. Radio Rooftop ticks every box on this account. One of the most talked-about and celebrated bars in London it offers a great spot to hang out with your friends or bring a business client in order to impress them.
It’s not just drinks. Locally sourced ingredients are used by the chef to craft a great menu of full courses or their flagship tapas. A great pairing with the fantastic cocktails on offer and those all-important London views.
If you like a cocktail, like seafood and like London views, Seabird rooftop bar and restaurant has been made for you.
Boasting London’s longest Oyster list, this Southwark spot combines amazing seafood, straight from the ocean, and cocktails that will put a huge smile on your face.
With gorgeous wicker chairs and comfy sofas, you can really get a sense of the sunny seaside without the worry of any seagulls stealing your chips.
When you think of the trendy East End you often think of Brick Lane. The Culpeper Pub sits right in the heart of this iconic street.
It’s not your average pub though. If you walk through the pub up just enough stairs to get the heart rate going, you will emerge onto a stunning rooftop, covered of greenery.
If it wasn’t for the towering skyscrapers surrounding you, you could be forgiven for thinking you had settled down in an area of Kew Gardens.
Despite it being, first and foremost, a pub, they have an enormous cocktail menu for you to enjoy while your more ‘laddie’ friends have a pint.
Coq D’Argent Bank
Oui, Oui! A great French restaurant offering fantastic wine and cocktails is never going to miss out on the list of the best cocktail bars in London. Particularly when it has a rooftop terrace as unique and awesome as this one.
With a restaurant and French grill on the floors below, it’s the rooftop terrace that really makes this place stand out.
One look at a picture and you can understand why. The gorgeous hedgerows and open grass area will trick out onto thinking you’re in a park, not perched on top of a skyscraper.
Wander around the greenery or have a sit down on the lawn and sip away and one of their delicious cocktails, my goodness, what a way to spend a sunny afternoon in London.
Ever wondered what it feels like to be a bird? Whatever your answer to that strange question you can get a bit of a sense from the Aviary.
High above Finsbury Park, you can come to roost and enjoy a classic cocktail, perched on top of this high-rise.
Their famous igloo pods will keep you warm as the night draws in and, in these strange times, provide a useful method of social distancing from other groups.
Each pod has comfy sofas and wooden tables that give off study vibes as you tuck into some intellectual conversation and some of the best cocktails in London.
Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden
Reopening in the summer, you will need to wait a little longer for this roof garden to make an appearance on your list of go-to places. But when it does it will be worth the wait.
Right next to the London Eye and positioned in the heart of the famous South Bank, it’s a wonderful place to drop in for some sunny cocktails with your mates.
It’s genuinely a park in the sky. No bells and whistles here. Just park benches and grassy areas to kick back and have a classic cocktail. It won’t break your bank either.
Probably the best London rooftop bar to just drop in and have a drink on a sunny day.
Best 25 Luxury Bars
The American Bar at The Savoy
If you’re looking for a bar that’s steeped in history then you can’t do better than Britain’s oldest surviving cocktail bar.
Located in the Savoy Hotel in London, one of the world’s most esteemed hotels, this American style bar was founded in 1893 to serve wealthy guests on their visits to the Capital.
Fast forward to the modern-day and things haven’t changed much. It doesn’t get much more luxury than The Savoy and The American Bar has only grown in its world reputation.
In 2017 and 2018 it was voted the world’s best bar and it’s easy to see and taste why. No expense is spared in making sure each cocktail is as perfect as possible.
The Bloomsbury Club
You’ve spent a busy day in the packed streets of London and now all you can think about is a quiet, secluded spot to grab a drink and relax.
The Punch Room is designed just for that. Tucked away from the bubbling life of Soho, this Luxury Cocktail Bar ticks all the boxes.
Buried in the heart of Fitzrovia, is a cocktail bar so luxurious you would be forgiven for believing you had accidentally fallen back in time into a 19th-century private club.
Boasting 30 speciality punches and a soundtrack so smooth you forget what day it is, your evening won’t get much better than spending it here.
The Connaught Hotel
The Connaught Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in London, and its bar has just been crowned the best cocktail bar in the world.
It’s relaxing, yet luxurious atmosphere makes it accessible to everyone, as long as your wallet is big enough.
Friendly, waiters and expert mixologists make this one of the most sought after spots in London, with drinks both classic and totally new.
Oh, and we forgot to mention, this is literally the best bar in the world, having won the accolade last year after being judged by 500 industry experts from all over the globe.
When walking through the streets of Mayfair, you can almost smell the affluence and luxury. Just off Hyde Park, the average house price is a cool £4.9 million.
These people all want the best and Dukes Bar offers exactly that. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a local resident to pop in for a Martini or two.
Why did we mention Martini? Well, because the Dukes Bar Martinis are legitimately world-famous, being named the best of their kind in the world by The New York Times.
After your drinks why not pop on back to the drawing-room, or a quick stroll outside to the cigar garden. If that doesn’t scream luxury, then I don’t know what does.
Purl is an incredibly luxurious London cocktail bar, but that is not where it stops. There is a lot more going on here than just a sophisticated atmosphere and great service.
The aim of Purl is to reproduce the tastes and experience of drinking some of the country’s most classic cocktails.
This is accomplished through the use of aroma, fogs, airs, foams, bespoke service ware and liquid nitrogen.
This Heston Blumenthal, but instead of incredible whacky food, it’s incredible whacky cocktails.
The May Fair Bar
Unsurprisingly, the May Fair is located in the heart of Mayfair and is a go-to bar for wealthy travelling businessmen and women.
The hotel itself does not hold back on luxury, with every amenity at the guest’s fingertips. From indoor swimming pools, spas, penthouse suites and even its own theatre and screening room.
The bars are no different. With both a rooftop terrace and a more intimate indoor area, the May Fair brings luxury and cocktails together for both guests and the public.
Green Bar at Hotel Café Royal
Café Royale has been welcoming guests since 1865, making it one of the oldest bars in the country. Not that you would know.
The bar has undergone a lot of changes over the decades but one thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of the cocktails.
The menu divides the drinks into four eras of cocktail luxury, spanning over 100 years and encompassing some of the world’s favourites, and some you may have never heard.
Their aim is to explore the ages of cocktails and discover the history of some of the most famous drinks around.
It’s a great way to spend your evening in the laps of luxury at this incredible London cocktail bar.
Oh, we appear to be back at the Savoy. That figures, given just how prestigious this hotel is on the global stage.
The last time we were here we popped into the American Bar for some classic New York cocktails, but now we are swinging by the dramatic Beaufort Bar.
Decked in black and gold, this bar will throw you right back to an age of Hollywood superstars and celebrities, all dressed up to the max to enjoy The Savoy’s cabaret stage.
And that is where you will find the bar, perched up on high, in full view of the room to give the guests the full mixology show.
Don’t fancy one of their amazing cocktails? The Beaufort Bar also hosts one of the largest Champagne lists you can find anywhere. Luxury personified.
Taking its name from the original house band at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in Covent Garden, Good Godfrey’s bar brings luxury to your cocktail drinking experience.
The dark oak panelled walls and 20s soundtrack will whisk you away to a time of parties and fun. Something the world is very much in need of at the moment.
They serve all the classics along with a selection of carefully curated signature cocktails for you to try and pick your favourite.
The Covent Garden drinks scene is competitive, but you won’t find a more luxury cocktail bar than Good Godfrey’s in the area.
Another winner of ‘The World’s Best Bar’, not just once but four consecutive years, Artesian is one of the best bars in London and the world.
The gorgeous carved wooden bar is abundant premium spirits that form the centrepiece for this establishment. The drinks are next level too.
Unlike a lot of these luxury cocktail bars, Artesian is determined to not loses its fun, bubbly atmosphere to the detriment of its luxury.
It really balances the tone well, combining the high-end drinks world of London with the classic, buzz of a cocktail bar.
The K Bar
It seems like a pretty sure bet that if you go to a really nice London hotel, you will also find an epic hotel bar.
The K Bar is the crown jewel of The Kensington Hotel, but not nearly as ostentatious as some of its hotel bar counterparts.
It’s simple, classy décor and immaculate staff aren’t fussy or flamboyant. These guys know they ooze luxury and class and there is something quite effortless about it.
This is before we come onto the extensive cocktail list, hosting all of your favourites from the classics to the heroes of the modern drink’s scene.
The Library Bar
Incredibly popular with the Knightsbridge and Belgravia locals, this luxury London cocktail bar is one of the cities most celebrated.
Like many of its counterparts, it offers a cosy, private club-like ambience with its panelled walls and leather armchairs.
It boasts a ‘liquid museum’ with cognacs as old as 1770 and other spirits from bygone eras, all brought together to enjoy in your glass.
The leather-bound books lining the shelves just add to the sense of British luxury as you sip away at your delicious cocktail.
Gong at the Shard
Remember the rooftop bars we were discussing earlier? Remember the awesome views they gave you? Well, they’re all small fish in comparison to Gong.
Gong is the highest cocktail bar, not just in London, but in the whole of Europe. Sitting at the dizzy heights of floor 52 of the Shard, you can just imagine the views from up there.
Believe me, people flock to Gong for the views, but they very much stay for the incredible cocktails and luxury service delivered by the highly trained, immaculate staff.
Being one of London’s most recent skyscrapers, Gong brings a different take on luxury cocktail bars, with modern sophistication and a general Chinese theme, running through the décor.
It’s a great luxury cocktail bar and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
This luxury bar, hidden gem is tucked away in a Soho basement. But don’t let that fool you. Basement bars have a reputation for being seedy. This is pure luxury.
The late 50s vibes and high vaulted ceilings will leave you stary eyed, not to mention the killer soundtrack of the same era.
There is a catch. It’s a member’s bar. But don’t let that knock your excitement. They accept applications from almost anyone, so long as you share in their love of luxury cocktails and sophisticated conversation.
Applications are quick and easy and it is definitely worth it. We reckon it’s one of the best luxury cocktail bars in London.
We have covered The Savoy, The Waldorf and The Connaught. Now let’s take our journey to Claridge’s, another of London’s most prestigious hotels.
The Fumoir is a London bar tucked away deep in the corridors of this historic building and has served the elite since 1929.
But it will also serve you! Not that you aren’t elite. This bar isn’t just for guests, you can simply wander in off the street, as long as you’re dressed appropriately, and grab one of their incredible cocktails.
It’s a hidden gem that not many people know about, but if you’re in the know, you are in for a treat.
Cocktail Trading Company
If you’re looking for award-winning drinks, you won’t have to look much further than the Cocktail Trading Company.
A quick browse of their website will leave you scrolling through the vast list of awards and accomplishments this London cocktail bar has achieved.
These guys are much more than just a bar, offering fantastic takeaways, masterclasses and drinks consultancy for events businesses as well. But the bar is the focal point of all that is great about CTC.
The beautiful décor and super professional, friendly staff will make you feel like you’re a local. They know how to treat you, so treat yourself and book a table for your next night out.
Charles Fitzroy Doll is the flamboyant architect of The Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel and the Fitz bar serves its guests with the same degree of luxury as the rest of their stay.
It also serves anyone who happens to stumble off the street with the same degree of sophistication and class.
The décor is extraordinary, with original stained-glass windows and art deco furniture. It even features art from a contemporary Milan artist.
Cocktails aim to celebrate the flamboyance of the rest of the Hotel and Bloomsbury area it finds itself, with colours and flavours that tickle your senses.
A wonderful luxury London cocktail bar and a fantastic place to visit to drink fine cocktails.
68 and Boston
Located right on Soho Square, this is the ideal luxury cocktail bar for a pre-drink before a West End show.
68 is the Wine Bar, located on the ground floor, host to some of the world’s best wines and bubbly.
Boston is just above with its cocktail lounge, well equipped to make some of the best cocktails in London town.
The walls are covered in the original 1920s wood panelling, well maintained and in perfect keeping with the vibe of the bar.
The cocktails themselves are a mix of signature serves and classics. All of their signature drinks are built on classic cocktails, twisted and perfected to give the drinker the best possible experience.
68 and Boston is fast becoming one of Soho’s worst kept secrets. So get in there quickly while this luxury cocktail bar still has its intimate atmosphere.
English luxury personified. The ground floor of a 24 bedroom Georgian period townhouse, decorated to the max to resemble the living room of one of your ancestors.
That is if your great grandad was a hyper-wealthy London aristocrat living the life of luxury.
The candlelit cocktail bar serves some fantastic, quintessentially English, bites and snacks to accompany the hefty list of classic cocktails.
The drinks aren’t all from the Georgian times though. There are some modern heroes on there to enjoy in this unique yet luxurious setting.
If you know much about mixology, you may have heard of Mr Lyan, aka ‘The World’s Most Awarded Bartender’.
His new luxury Southbank cocktail bar, Lyaness is another game-changing cocktail bar from the maestro. You won’t find wood-panelled walls, leather armchairs and desks made of rich mahogony.
Here, instead, you will find some of the best bartenders in the world and some of the finest cocktails to be found in any London bar.
Modern luxury at its finest.
Swift has Cocktail bars in both Shoreditch and Soho both of which are fabulous bars, but when it comes to luxury, Soho has the edge.
Tucked away from the busy street, the ground floor has a lovely laid back atmosphere with bubbly smiling bartenders and a vibrant Soho buzz.
The basement, however, is a very different story. Comprising of a far more intimate space, with low lighting and iconic panelled walls.
It’s like walking into a totally different bar from the one you are greeted with upstairs, a secret bar is hidden below the streets of London, designed to give you the perfect luxury cocktail bar experience. One of the best choices for a night in a cocktail bar in London.
One of Londons best bars, Kwant is taken from the word quaint and you can see why. Named at number 6 of the best bars in the world, you will find this luxury cocktail bar below the Moroccan Restaurant Momo in Mayfair.
The Moroccan vibe continues here, as you could easily be forgiven for thinking you had walked into Casablanca’s own Rick’s Bar, with the same level of sophistication and fun that the classic film embodies.
Cocktails are served to you by white-coated waiters with big smiles and the piano is always playing. It truly is an experience beyond your average cocktail bar.
We wandered into Claridges earlier and stumbled across one of London’s best-kept secrets, The Fumoir. Now let’s revisit this iconic hotel but in a much more classic way.
Claridge’s hotel bar is the main bar of the hotel and serves guests and visitors alike. With some of the worlds best wines, champagnes and spirits, it’s a fantastic place to kick back in the lapse of luxury.
All the alcohol is available straight or simply ask one of the expert mixologists to mix up your favourite classic cocktail.
Once equipped with your drink, why not take it out onto the sun terrace and enjoy the summer? Alternatively, put your feet up in one of their bespoke armchairs.
London’s Best Bars: 10 Must-Visit Spots
God’s Own Junkyard
The Cocktail Service caught up with Matthew Bracey, Director at God’s Own Junkyard, to get some insider information on this neon space.
“We hire and make neon signs for television and movie productions,” Matthew explained. “Many have been in recent productions, such as The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Captain America, Fast and the Furious, and Bridget Jones.
“We’ve had a lot of celebrities pass through in recent years, including Johnny Vegas, John Bishop, Jamie Oliver, Dynamo and many more.”
“Some weekends we have a glass bender or glass creation live shows for people watch while drinking a cocktail”, Matthew continued.
Pop in and enjoy a mocktail, cocktail or afternoon tea in the quirky, rustic beer garden, and browse the funky neon signs while bobbing to 80s music. Or, if you’re really loving the feel of this bar, book it for your next private function.
Matthew rounded off his virtual tour of God’s Own Junkyard, finishing with his favourite feature: “We have a bog in the Tardis that was given to us by the BBC. It was used in Doctor Who back in the day. Nothing compares to taking a dump in the original Tardis.”
It’s no surprise that God’s Own Junkyard is a popular destination for photo shoots and private events, but please be aware that this means the bar is only open to the public Friday and Saturday 11 am to 9 pm and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm.
BYOC Camden brings together the excitement of speakeasies during the 1920s US prohibition age and world-class mixologists who can whip up exciting beverages based on your preferences.
BYOC literally stands for Bring Your Own Cocktail (except you only have to bring the spirit), so grab your favourite ‘liquor’ and book a table.
You’ll be served by your very own mixologist who will learn your flavour preferences when serving you over the course of two hours, using the very bottle you bring with you!
Whether you’re a history buff or simply enjoy a cocktail (or both!) BYOC Camden is definitely up there with one of the coolest bars in London.
Apples and Pears
This fun and lively, independently-owned cocktail bar is based in the heart of Shoreditch’s Brick Lane.
The husband and wife team behind Apples and Pears have dressed the space to impress, added a colourful cocktail menu made from locally-sourced ingredients and finished their bar off with an eclectic music programme. Expect great old school hip hop, 80s/90s party classics and live acoustic sessions and great beverages.
Dabbers Social Bingo is hosted in an impressive venue that’s neatly tucked down a side street in the heart of Shoreditch.
Modernising the traditional British pastime by replacing tea with cocktails and bingo-callers with comedians, this bingo bar has become a popular destination for the competitive ones among us.
Whether you fancy some Saturday night entertainment, or you’re feeling a bout of brunch-time luck, Dabbers Social Bingo will be sure to cater for your needs.
Inspired by America’s most infamous prison and top tourist attraction, Alcotraz offers a fully-immersive, theatrical experience where guests are required to smuggle alcohol into a ‘prison’.
Working inmates (mixologists) meet customers inside and mix up the most delicious cocktails based on the spirit you smuggle past the wardens.
As soon as you pop your orange jumpsuit on, be prepared to enter a world of mischief and excitement.
Use our handy guide to the top 50 British spirits to work out which spirit would you smuggle into Alcotraz.
Little Nan’s Bar, Deptford
Roll up Pat Butcher fans, because you’re not going to want to miss this Pat-inspired bar. Little Nan’s Bar is a multi-award-winning bar located under three grade two listed railway arches, just next to Deptford High Street station.
This cosy corner isn’t only a hotspot with locals, but the eclectic range of drinks, including teapot cocktails and frozen slushies, and karaoke and pub quiz nights, attract people from all corners of the capital.
There was no way we can write a piece on the capitals coolest bars without mentioning Waeska.
Dubbed London’s trippiest bar, Waeska is simultaneously confusing and intriguing. The mirror-topped tables clash with the industrial ceiling and floral-print chairs while the world’s only gazellecock (hybrid peacock and gazelle) can be found positioned just above the bar.
Every cocktail on the menu has been created using ethnobotany, which looks at the medicinal properties in plants, and it’s thought that the labradorite bar has healing properties, including raising consciousness and grounding spiritual energies. So, drinking here is almost good for you!
Should nothing on the short menu take your fancy, the Waeska mixologists are trained to make any cocktail, so tell them your poison and soak up the atmosphere.
If you love rum and hate refined sugar, we couldn’t have a better bar suggestion for you! Laki Kane is the world’s first rum bar to say ‘no’ to refined sugar.
Go on a rum-tasting experience, a rum-making workshop, or simply relax with your favourite rum-based drink. Laki Kane’s modern-take on a tiki bar will be sure to get you in the holiday groove, and you don’t even have to leave London!
With a no waste policy, everything lovingly sourced and an ethos of salvation, Nine Lives’ cocktail menu has a great focus on sustainability and a dedication to their low carbon footprint.
Not only are Nine Lives practising sustainability in a traditional sense, but they’re also reinvesting their profit shares into their staff on the grounds that they provide great customer service. This human sustainability scheme aims to retain long-standing staff and cut costs in recruitment fees.
Nine Lives ticks more than the sustainability box, expect warm welcomes, great soundtracks and otherworldly cocktails.
Don’t miss our top places to drink and eat for London cocktail week!
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