This post was most recently updated on June 27th, 2018
Are you looking for the coolest London bars? You have come to the right place.
The drinking scene in London is one of the best in the world, with idiosyncratic cocktail bars that take mixology to the next level, along with a generous splash of traditional pubs if you want to settle down for a drink the old fashioned way.
Top Ten London Bars
1. Happiness Forgets
This low lit basement speakeasy bar has become a favorite haunt of London liquor lovers. Free of any pretensions, it is an everyman’s bar where all the thought provocation and complexity is reserved for the cocktails mixed by professional mixologists.
2. Dukes Bar
This is legendary old school haunt in St. James has played host to hundreds of high-calibre hangovers. You would be hard pressed to find a mobile signal inside the place. Instead you will have to rely on other people for company. The cocktail list on their menu is split in to classics and signature drinks inspired by Ian Fleming, who used to be a regular here.
3. White Lyan
This cocktail bar is famous for not using ice. Instead they chill their drinks the old fashioned way, but that is not even the most exciting feature of this cocktail bar.
They also don’t use sugar, citrus, fruit and other perishables. The spirits are made to order and are refined using distillations and filtered water.
If you are planning to hop on down there, make sure you try the Moby Dick Sazerac and the Monkey Ball.
4. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
The ultimate London speakeasy bar is a moodily lit cocktail bar with great music, exposed brickwork, an exclusive air and a wide range of cocktails, from the Linchberg-Leith Lemonade to the Rosie and Gin.
5. The Bar With No Name
Created by experimental cocktail scientist Tony Conigliaro, this diminutive corner bar is known for its innovative cocktails and décor, which is inspired by the Italian maestro Federico Fellini. Film connoisseurs who visit this place will inexorably find their evening winding its way to a Fellini-esque reverie.
6. Satan’s Whiskers
The less adventurous Londoner might be put off by the view of the bar. On the inside, it breaks every single stereotype, with a modish setting, vintage posters on the wall, hip hop on the stereo and some of the best cocktails you will find anywhere in the city. They change their drink list on a daily basis, which attracts booze enthusiasts and Tinder dates in equal measure.
The brain child of Ryan Chetiyawardana, the bar was opened with the view of adapting transatlantic botany into an imbibable and modern form. The ingenious drinks served in this hotel bar with a boutique feel are divided into four sections – vegetal, cereal, floral and mineral. All their cocktails come with a recommended drinking time. From the Chablis and Dandelyan Sour to the Elderfir and Evil Manhattan, you can spend the entire day sampling their cocktails.
8. Original Sin
The cocktails in this bar are well-balanced, strong and classy. Their short list does not include vodka or gin, but has plenty of complex and unusual spirits like Kamm and Sons, white rye and mezcal. They also have a generous sampling of aperitifs, from Suze and Byrrh to Aperol and Vermouth. Although their drinks sound simple, you would be hard pressed to find another bar that gets the balance this right.
9. The Connaught Bar
This elegant, historic and grand bar in the Connaught Hotel has an impressive cocktail list, featuring the best drinks of the last two centuries. Although the prices are steep, it is more than worth it. The staff are unstuffy and their service is flawless. You might need to dress the part, but otherwise, you can just let your hair down and enjoy the plush surroundings.
10. Punch Room, the London Edition
Despite its old school oak panels and an atmosphere that makes the place look like something that out of Mad Men, this is a high-fashion, contemporary hangout where the bar staff look like supermodels and retro soul music runs in the background to match the drinks they serve.
They serve a complimentary sherry punch on arrival, swinging-60s-house-party style. Apart from all the classics, you also have a generous sampling of seasonal favorites. They have a reservations-only policy. So make sure you book your table beforehand.
There is no such thing as the perfect bar for all occasions. What works one evening might not work the next. You need to make a choice depending on how you are looking to spend your evening. In the final analysis, the bars we love are the ones where we feel most welcome. Make sure you pay a visit to the bars listed above if you want to check out some of the most exciting bars in London’s burgeoning drinking scene.