Best cocktail bars in London
London is traditionally known for its pubs and swanky hotel bars but there has been somewhat of a cocktail bar revolution in London over the past few years. These bars will still make a mean G&T, an English favorite, but their enticing menus may sway you into trying something a bit more adventurous.
1. Dukes Bar
Dukes Hotel, 35 St James’s Pl, London SW1A 1NY
The martini and cocktail bar at the Dukes Hotel in Mayfair is legendary for being a favourite haunt of Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond series, and is credited with inspiring the “shaken, not stirred” style of martini which Bond is known for. The upscale yet traditional English atmosphere is perfect for a special occasion. If you aren’t a martini fan, the cocktails are made-to-order using only the freshest of ingredients. Sink into one of the comfy leather armchairs and take in the beautiful setting.
2. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
13-15 West St, London WC2H 9NE
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is a well known London restaurant with two Michelin stars. What is lesser known is that above the restaurant there is a beautiful bar with a lovely outdoor terrace. The imaginative bar transformed itself into a train car from the Trans-Siberian Railway during recent London Cocktail Week and served classic Russian cocktails in an opulent setting. If you are looking for something more classic fear not, the staff is well versed in traditional favourites along with their more innovative concoctions.
3. Radio Rooftop Bar
336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA
The Radio Rooftop Bar is a welcome addition to the rooftop drinking scene in London. It is located on the 10th floor of the recently opened ME Hotel on the Strand. Sit on one of the swanky white sofas (under one of the radiators in cooler months) and enjoy sweeping views across London. The hip music spun by a house DJ provides a trendy, upscale atmosphere where you can both drink and dance until the morning. You may not be able to buy cool but the ME Hotel does a great job of selling it to you – be sure to bring your wallet as the bar can be quite pricey.
5th Floor, 30 Argyll Street, London W1F 7EB
Just beside Oxford Street is an upscale cocktail bar with two large outdoor terraces overlooking the West End and Regent Street. This Asian-inspired bar can be quite busy in the summer months but if you can’t get a spot on the terrace don’t worry, the inside bar has sleek decor, dim lighting and cool beats to create a sexy vibe. Of course, such a sultry lounge would be known for it’s Porn Star Martini, one of the best in the city.
129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB
You may not think of London’s up and coming East End neighborhood, Shoreditch, when you think of glamorous cocktail bars. That being said, Nightjar has truly created a cocktail bar for the ages. The inspired menu is broken down into historical periods dating back to the pre-prohibition era, there is live jazz music on at night and the decor is colorful and captivating. You must book if you want a table in this intimate establishment as there is a no-standing policy.
15-16 Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JE
The 1930s were Shanghai’s heyday and is when the city officially gained it’s name “The Paris of the East” due to the glamorous lifestyles of the foreigners living in the city. Stepping into Opium is like stepping into a luxurious old-world Chinese drinking den. The cocktails are inspired by Chinese medicines and there is delectable dim sum on hand for light bites. The interesting menu, charming staff and alluring decor makes this a hidden gem of Soho. This is not a bar that tourists would stumble upon without first knowing its location which makes it that much more special.
7. The Chelsea Prayer Room
333 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9QL
We’ve all committed a few sins after a tipple or two so why not gain absolution beforehand? The Chelsea Prayer Room is located above the Goat gastropub which is a converted pub from the 1700s which offers New York style Italian food. The spot is not a well known attraction (for now) and you’ll have to coax a staff member into even allowing you to access the secretive attic bar. After gaining access you can chose your drink from the hymn book and select a comfortable sofa to enjoy your well-made cocktail by candlelight. A visit to the Prayer Room is sure to inspire envy in your friends at home and a sense of accomplishment amongst your party as this venue is as underground and exclusive as you can get. You will feel torn upon leaving this establishment – on one hand you’ll want to keep this bar a secret and hope that it remains unspoilt for when you next return to London while on the other hand the experience will be too good not to share with others. Although Chelsea Prayer Room is technically a members-only establishment, non-members are able to phone up in advance and book a table for up to 2 hours, allowing you to share an intimate and incredible experience with friends or a special date.
Medieval Banquet (Beefeater by the Tower)
Do you think that that time for noble knights, lords and maidens has passed in London? Think again! Located a two minute walk from the Tower of London and in the beautiful enclave that is St Katherine’s Docks is London’s very own Medieval...Find out more