Fancy yourself a Negroni? A Cosmopolitan? Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a Bloody Mary? No matter your tipple of choice, London’s dynamic cocktail bar scene is sure to have something to quench your thirst. Here’s our list of the British capital’s 10 best cocktail bars – but don’t just take our word for it of course, try them all yourself! This list is bound to keep you busy (and happy!) for the next few weekends.
Slip on your best vintage outfit and let the Nightjar transport you back in time. Located on City Road, Nightjar is a speakeasy-style hideout bar with a soundtrack of live swing, jazz and blues. Prohibition-style speakeasies may be on the rise in London, but this one definitely speaks for itself. On entry you will emerge into a world of early 20th century, it’s clear why it was voted 3rd best bar in the world in 2014.
Nightjar exudes prohibition chic with an infusion of twenty-first-century cool, serving killer cocktails with creative garnishes (sea plankton and worms anyone?) and brave experimentation. Head on down if you’re up for table service, front row seats to live music and an array of exotic cocktails.
Address: 129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB
2. Nola, Shoreditch
Photo: Facebook/NOLA Bar
NOLA has been given the Seal of the Sazerac by the New Orleans Culinary Cultural Preservation Society 2013 and has been nominated in the Top 4 Best New International Cocktail Bars in 2014.
To secure a table at this New Orleans themed drinking palace you will need to book in advance. A very trendy space, with a wide range of prohibition style cocktails including familiar classics and new inventions, a terrace for smoking the many cigars on offer and live jazz music all night – a recipe for a great night out!
Address: 68 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3AY
3. 69 Colebrooke Row
Seek and you shall find. Previously known as ‘The Bar with No Name’, 69 Colebrooke Row is an award winning bar tucked away in a side street in Islington. A charming and intimate venue, perfect for small groups looking for well-made Old Fashioned to take the edge off after a long week at work.
The master mixologist behind the bar, Tony Conigliaro, has created an exciting list of cocktails which you can learn for yourself through his cocktail master classes on offer.
With its talented bartenders, fabulous pianist and a lively atmosphere (without being overbearingly noisy) 69 Colebrooke Row has established itself a North London favourite. It can get overcrowded inside so to avoid disappointment, reservations are recommended.
Address: 69 Colebrooke Row London N1 8AA
4. American Bar at the Savoy, Convent Garden
The iconic American Bar at the Savoy Hotel was one of the earliest bars to introduce American-style cocktails to Europe, delivering elegant and classic cocktails in a swanky surrounding. The highly curated and historic menu of cocktails, left in the hands of award winning bartenders are second to none, making the above average prices all worth the while.
Aristocrats and Highfliers mingle over a perfectly frosted French Martini, brought over by the bar staff wearing their signature white coats, American bar is a place to see and be seen.
Soak up the ambience and sit back, sip a drink and let the pianist’s magical fingers take you away. Visit the American Bar for a slice of British drinking history.
Address: The Savoy Hotel, 100 Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
5. Bar at Sushisamba, Bishops Gate
If you are looking to impress a first date, take them to the bar at Sushi Samba where one of the most spectacular views of London will certainly do the job. Bustling with the cool and beautiful, this opulent bar has spot on service standards and very knowledgeable bartenders, they will whip up a Japanese Slipper before you can say Arigato!
The cocktails come with a certain flamboyance, perfect for post dinner drinks. The food menu is equally as impressive but if you’re in the mood for just a light snack while sipping an Espresso Martini, the sushi bar is open for deliciously fresh sushi and sashimi.
Address: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
6. Experimental Cocktail Club, China Town
Speakeasies are known for being difficult to find and ECC is no exception. A modern speakeasy bar reached through an unmarked black door in the heart of China Town. A reservation is very much in order in this seriously laid back hideout, ECC has a distinctively upmarket and exclusive vibe but without the stuffiness.
The bar spans over two floors, though it is not overly spacious, it is elegantly designed and the service is attentive and personal, coat check at the door included.
You can rack up quite the bill here but the range and consistent quality of cocktails are impressive and well worth a few extra pounds. ECC is a great way to start or end an evening.
Address: 13a Gerrard St, Chinatown, London W1D 5PS
7. Bar Termini, Convent Garden
Created by the master of cocktails, Tony Congiliaro (his other ventures include the infamous 69 Colebrooke Row) Bar Termini celebrates all things Italian. Named after Rome’s main train station, it brings together classic European with a touch of modern infusion, café by day and cocktail bar at night. The hole in the wall venue is reminiscent of a quaint little bar on the streets of Venice, Bar Termini successfully nails the Italian theme.
The cosy corners are filled with wooden stools and tables from which you can observe the perfectly executed cocktails being prepared at the bar. If you fancy a selection of aged Negroni’s with a delightful board of Italian cheeses, your palate will be satisfied here.
Ideal for smaller groups, the charming Bar Termini is the ultimate drinking pit stop for a dose of Italy circa 1950’s.
Address: 7 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JE
8. The Luggage Room, Mayfair
The luggage room in the upscale area of Mayfair certainly does not disappoint. As suggested in the name, the venue is an old luggage room in The Marriott Hotel. With a knock on the old black door you will be led into a world of decadence and a taste of charming 1920’s glamour.
There is a selection of specialty cocktails available and if you’re still not swayed, wash a cocktail down the hatch with the company of a choice of delicious charcuterie boards or sharing plates.
It could be Mayfair’s best kept secret, with everything you need for a night of sophistication and first class service.
Address: On the Corner, Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6JP
9. Rivoli Bar at the Ritz, Piccadilly
Dress to the nines and prepare to be enchanted by this opulent and luxurious bar which once found, you won’t want to leave. For cocktail connoisseurs, you will find timeless classics on the menu and also modern experimentations, the Ritz 100 is highly recommended by the staff.
Everything about this establishment is incredibly elegant, making it a high society destination. The lavish décor, sublime service standards and highly trained bartenders combined, make it no surprise Rivoli Bar gets it right. A must visit for a truly one of a kind experience.
Address: The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR
10. The Four Sisters, Islington
Photo: Facebook/The Four Sisters, Islington
A great little down to earth bar in Islington offering contemporary mixology and an extended happy hour from 4-7pm which is sure to turn frowns upside down! Framed mirrors and wood-panelling cover the walls and the low candle lighting adds to the romantic and quirky atmosphere of this pub style bar.
The signature cocktail menu has quite a few standouts such as the Four Sisters Breakfast Martini, mixed with Chase Marmalade Vodka, Orange Marmalade, Pink Grapefruit and fresh lemon, yum! There is a fair amount of cocktail acrobatics behind the bar to keep you entertained while waiting for a drink too.
Filled with lads and ladies in their late 20’s/early 30’s, it appears to be a favourite for the locals. Join in and you will leave The Four Sisters in a very merry mood, I assure you.
Address: 25 Canonbury Ln, London N1 2AS