If you're looking for some good old-fashioned glamour with your drinking, a London pub's not going to cut it. You need to pull up a shiny stool at one of London's best hotel bars where the service is seamless, the clientele is classy as hell and every last drink is a showstopper. Sure, you'll pay for the luxury, but you deserve a treat every once in a while, babes. So here’s a list of London hotel bars where it's well worth maxing out your overdraft.
RECOMMENDED: Read our guide to the best cocktails in London
The best hotel bars in London
There’s an old-school glamour to this relatively new bar at Mayfair’s Beaumont hotel. It borrows its slick style of service from the States and combines it with drinks that carry a bit of a kick. The Hollywood greats watch on from portraits covering the walls, so reward yourself with a stiff martini after an Oxford Street shopping trip and you’ll be in very good company.
One of London’s original American-style bars and one of the very first places to introduce US cocktail tradition to British soil, this art deco haven needs to be seen to be believed. Smart staff dress in dapper white suits and serve drinks that are among the capital’s finest. Just consider this for those really special occasions – you’ll be dropping 18 quid per bevvy.
You’ll find over-the-top drinks in an over-the-top room at The Langham’s Artesian, but this level of artistry is still widely considered to make for the best bar experience you’ll find anywhere in the world. Complimentary canapés are pretty epic, but it’s all about those show-stopping drinks presented in all manner of glassware on a section of the menu simply titled ‘surrealism’.
Another one from the pros at the Savoy, a trip to the Beaufort is an equally pricey affair but it’s one that’s worth its weight in gold. That’s because this beauty of a bar is decked in the stuff (and a bit of black). Jazz pianists perform on the regular and champagne cocktails are the specialty, so head here to feel like you’ve been transported to an F Scott Fitzgerald novel.
This Knightsbridge haven is chic, sophisticated and proof that blue is the warmest colour. It’s got blue walls, blue chairs and even blue menus, all part of a look created by late design guru David Collins. Come for a nightcap, when the bar seems more like a moody indigo. Or make it dessert by ordering their divine lemon meringue cocktail.
This is the pinnacle in hotel drinking. Not only is the Connaught Bar draped in plush, silvery furnishings and fitted with a fleet of effortlessly efficient – not to mention dapper – staff, but the place has a dedicated martini trolley. A martini trolley, people. Grab a chair and let the trolley do the rest of the work. You’ve earned it.
Come here for the classics. The Connaught Hotel’s Coburg Bar does them so well in country-house-like surroundings. Furnishings are much softer than in the Connaught Bar nearby, so settle in here for a cosier session with fellow hotel dwellers. Better still, order up a cognac or a glass of fizz – these take pride of place on a menu fit for London’s big spenders.
Who said hotel bars had to be old and fusty? Ryan Chetiyarwadana, London’s foremost cocktail creative, brings his fresh take on cocktail shaking to the South Bank’s Mondrian hotel. Despite the slicker surroundings than found at sister bar White Lyan, the drinks are just as wildly imaginative. Ingredients across the menu include pistachio-shell orgeat, plant haemoglobin and, err, cavolo nero.
This hotel bar offers one of the ultimate drinking experiences in London. Come for one of their renowned martinis and you won’t be disappointed once your waiter arrives with a trolley stacked with deluxe ingredients and paraphernalia at your table. The other drinks are equally astonishing – be prepared to spend a little for this bucket-list bar.
One for the fashion set and the cocktail connoisseur in equal measure, the London Edition’s bar is a cosy, cosseted backroom with a roaring fire and a party-sized punch bowl. Sounds like a house party at great aunt Mildred’s, but trust us, it’s way cooler than that. Bar staff look like supermodels and have some serious knowledge about the menu to boot. Try something adventurous on the seasonal menu.
Find one of the capital's finest martinis
It’s the greatest cocktail. For some people, it’s the only cocktail. So perfect in its simplicity – gin or vodka, vermouth, garnish – that it should be easy to make. But bars that achieve perfection still aren’t as easy to find in London. So here are our top ‘tini hotspots.
The Gin Palace
It's not all about gin at this Strand Palace Hotel cocktail bar, but with a name like that – and with more than 30 different types on offer – they clearly rate the stuff. There are 20 whiskies on offer too, as well as gin afternoon tea, bar bites and a solid cocktail selection. G&Ts do brisk business, with your choice of gin from the likes of Sipsmith, Tanqueray No. 10, Hoxton Gin, Hendrick's, Brockmans Premium and Whitley Neil, plus a few sourced from around the world – including Citadelle Gin from Cognac, and Aviation from Portland. Cocktails include margaritas, long island ice teas, martinis and mojitos. The bar menu features options such as teriyaki salmon and chicken satay, plus there's afternoon tea, too.
"Have you discovered our amazing gin afternoon tea? A classic afternoon tea menu with a gin cocktail twist."