Best bars in London

From classic cocktails to fine wines, Time Out recommends 50 great bars in London

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© Jonathan Perugia

Our critics have rounded up their 50 favourite bars in London and split them into convenient categories to help you find the perfect drink. Discover the best cocktail bars, cool hangouts, hotel bars and wine bars in the capital. Have we missed your favourite? Let us know in the comment box below.

The 50 best bars in London

28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen

This exciting collaboration between sommelier Xavier Rousset and executive chef Agnar Sverrisson (their second, following haute cuisine restaurant Texture) is focused on wine, but has much more attention on food than the average wine bar.
Read 28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen review

  1. 140 Fetter Lane, EC4A 1BT
  2. Good for wine
Book online

69 Colebrooke Row

This tiny bar opened in Islington in mid-2009, and is overseen by Tony Conigliaro, who is widely considered to be one of London’s top bartenders and cocktail experts. With just a handful of seats, the understated, intimate space proves a fine environment in which to enjoy the pristine cocktails (peach and figleaf bellini, martinis made with ‘woodland bitters’, rhubarb gimlet), mixed with quiet ceremony.
Read 69 Colebrooke Row review

  1. 69 Colebrooke Row, N1 8AA
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

Artesian

The Langham Hotel is one of those high-ceilinged, marble-pillared palaces that many well-padded visitors, yet few resident Londoners, seem to visit. But it’s worth getting your best togs on just to admire David Collins’s design of this handsome room.
Read Artesian review

  1. Langham Hotel, 1C Portland Place, W1B 1JA
  2. Hotel bar
More info

Baltic

Baltic reopened in July 2012 following a fire, but little has changed. With a small square of front terrace, a modern bar and a grand, sunken restaurant, this little piece of Poland has been a worthwhile stop on Waterloo bar crawls for many a year.
Read Baltic review

  1. 74 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8HA
  2. Cool-factor
Book online

Bar Pepito

Tucked away in a courtyard accessible via an alley at the foot of Pentonville Road, this rustic, Andalucían-themed bar is dedicated to sherry. With room for only four or five tables, all shaped from sherry casks, it’s a tiny place – so small, in fact, that the toilet is across the road at Camino (run by the same folks) – but no less appealing for its lack of size.
Read Bar Pepito review

  1. Varnishers Yard, (Regents Quarter), N1 9FD
  2. Good for wine
More info

Barrica

Vinos, finos and manzanillas are the order of the day at this slavishly conceived Noho version of a Spanish sherry bar. Boss Tim Luther previously worked in the wine trade, and is clearly an oenophile who knows his onions.
Read Barrica review

  1. 62 Goodge Street, W1T 4NE
  2. Good for wine
Book online

Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

Following the £220m revamp, The Savoy’s devotion to debonaire drinking now stretches beyond the iconic American Bar. The Beaufort might be the second bar, but second-division it is not. It’s a considerably more salubrious space to sip than the American Bar, and combines a wow-factor interior with good service and top-quality (if pricey) drinks.
Read Beaufort Bar at The Savoy review and read American Bar at The Savoy review

  1. The Savoy, (100 Strand), WC2R 0EW
  2. Hotel bar
More info

Blue Bar

The name isn’t just a caprice: this David Collins-designed bar really is as blue as a Billie Holiday album. The sky-blue armchairs, the deep-blue ornate plasterwork and the navy-blue leather-bound menus combine with discreet lighting to striking effect. It’s a see-and-be-seen place, but staff treat all-comers like royalty, and the cocktails are a masterclass in sophistication.
Read Blue Bar review

  1. The Berkeley, (Wilton Place), SW1X 7RL
  2. Hotel bar
More info

Book Club

This busy but commendable bar-club comprises one expansive room – divided by a wall with an oval hole in the middle, giving the illusion that half of Hoxton is here – and a small pool room downstairs.
Read Book Club review

  1. 100-106 Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH
  2. Cool-factor
More info

Boisdale

The drinks menu at this part-sophisticated, part-kitsch Scottish-themed enterprise – tartan everywhere – is less of a list and more of an encyclopaedia. The histories of various whisky regions are outlined within its pages, which also contain individual tasting notes worthy of the most pedantic oenophile.
Read Boisdale review

  1. 13-15 Eccleston Street, SW1W 9LX
  2. Cool-factor
Book online

Brumus Bar

Everything screams for attention at the Haymarket Hotel’s bright, almost brash bar, though the kaleidoscope of pink and red, patterned with geometrics on the bar stools and florals on the sofas, may not be to everyone’s taste.
Read Brumus Bar review

  1. Haymarket Hotel, 1 Suffolk Place, SW1Y 4BP
  2. Hotel bar
More info

Callooh Callay

This landmark of the Shoreditch bar scene takes its inspiration from a line in ‘Jabberwocky’, a Lewis Carroll poem, and tends to divide visitors. Many simply adore it; others find it pretentious.
Read Callooh Callay review

  1. 65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

Cellar Gascon

Something seems awry at the clubby wine-bar adjunct of the usually reliable Gascon operation. Its banquette cushions are sagging, and the veneer is wearing thin on its tables.
Read Cellar Gascon review

  1. 59 West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS
  2. Good for wine
Book online

Cinnamon Club

This classy two-floor operation, an imposing space that easily reveals its past as a public library, is divided between a top-notch Indian restaurant, a trendy evenings-only DJ basement and a study-like cocktail bar by the lobby.
Read Cinnamon Club review

  1. Old Westminster Library, (30-32 Great Smith Street), SW1P 3BU
  2. Cool-factor
More info

The Connaught Bar

There's no velvet rope barring your way to the Coburg Bar: you can just walk straight on in. And once you've done so, the service will be faultless.The hotel's other bar, Connaught Bar, is both cosy and elegant, with a conspiratorial duskiness. Read Connaught Bar review and read Coburg Bar review

  1. The Connaught, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
  2. Hotel bar
Book online

Crazy Bear

Perfectly groomed hostesses greet arrivals to this basement den. The atmosphere is lively and, better still, the cocktails are superb: try a Lychee Mojito, which fuses Havana Club Añejo Blanco, lime juice, lychees and mint, or a martini made with Hendrick’s gin and cucumber garnish.
Read Crazy Bear review

  1. 26-28 Whitfield Street, W1T 2RG
  2. Cool-factor
More info

Dukes Hotel

Dukes Hotel has changed hands a few times in recent years, but one thing remains unchanged: this is the hotel bar to visit for a martini.
Read Dukes Hotel review

  1. 35 St James's Place, SW1A 1NY
  2. Hotel bar
More info

Euston Cider Tap

Let’s imagine the future is as golden as a pint of smooth, heady Swallowfields Medium – its nectar-like flavour rounded off with a bittersweet finish.
Read Euston Cider Tap review

  1. East Lodge, (188 Euston Rd), NW1 2EF
  2. Good for cider
More info

Experimental Cocktail Club

'Speakeasies' are a trend at the moment, but as bar owners balance covertness with the economic reality of bringing in punters, some of the illicit thrill is inevitably lost.
Read Experimental Cocktail Club review

  1. 13A Gerrard Street, W1D 5PS
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

Grain Store Bar

This, the bar of Brounet Loubet's terrific 'non-meat focussed' King's Cross restaurant, is equally imaginative, with the likes of truffle martinis and 'butter and hay champagne' on offer. 

  1. Granary Square, 1 Stable Street, N1C 4AB
More info

Hakkasan

Once the hottest ticket in town, the Hanway Place branch of Hakkasan is in danger of being eclipsed by its shiny new Mayfair sibling, where staff are notably friendlier.
Read Hakkasan review

  1. 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD
  2. Cool-factor
Book online

Happiness Forgets

This cosy cocktail cavern, surreptitiously situated beneath a Thai restaurant on the west side of Hoxton Square, is small, subterranean and clearly slung together on a shoestring.
Read Happiness Forgets review

  1. 8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU
More info

Hawksmoor Spitalfields (bar)

Time Out’s Food & Drink reviewers can often be heard singing the praises of Hawksmoor’s three-strong chain of steakhouses with bars (the other two are in Covent Garden and Guildhall). Over many visits over the years, using different reviewers, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks, we’ve struggled to find faults in any of them.
Read Hawksmoor Spitalfields review

  1. 157 Commercial Street, E1 6BJ
  2. Good for cocktails
Book online

Kensington Wine Rooms

KWR is thoroughly modern in using dispensers to keep wine fresh for longer, so allowing single glasses to be served and thus facilitating experimentation.
Read Kensington Wine Rooms review

  1. 127-129 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LP
  2. Good for wine
More info

Lobby Bar

It’s hard not to be wowed by the soaring space, with its triffid-sized flower arrangements, elegant pillars and ceiling-height windows; but the majesty of the room is lent intimacy by high-backed armchairs, comfortable sofas and shimmering candles.
Read Lobby Bar review

  1. One Aldwych, WC2B 4RH
  2. Hotel bar
More info

The Lonsdale

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Since its unveiling in 2002, The Lonsdale – hip cocktail bar, restaurant and lounge in upscale Notting Hill – has become local favourite and destination venue all in one.
Read Lonsdale review

  1. 48 Lonsdale Road Notting Hill, W11 2DE
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

Lost Angel

You don’t expect to find a bar like Lost Angel along this sorry-looking stretch of the Battersea Park Road, but there is a precedent: this building was once home to Dusk, which brought a little glamour to the street.
Read Lost Angel review

  1. 339 Battersea Park Road, SW11 4LS
  2. Cool-factor
More info

Lost Society

Run by the same crew as The Lost Angel in Battersea and Citizen Smith bar in Putney, this is one of south London’s longest-established bars, which in the 1980s was known as the Tearoom des Artistes.
Read Lost Society review

  1. 697 Wandsworth Road, SW8 3JF
More info

Mandarin Bar

Step out of the Knightsbridge chaos into the Mandarin Oriental's cool marble surrounds and you might initially expect to be greeted with a proper British colonial drinking experience. 
Read Mandarin Bar review

  1. Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
  2. Hotel Bar
More info

Mark's Bar

Opened in 2009, together with the Mark Hix-operated restaurant on the ground floor, this is a destination in its own right. It’s a subterranean speakeasy with plenty of style – low zinc bar, tin ceiling panels, comfortable Chesterfields, bar billiards table – but with precious little attitude.
Read Mark's Bar review

  1. Hix, (66-70 Brewer Street), W1F 9UP
  2. Good for cocktails
Book online

Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

For a so-called ‘secret’ speakeasy, there’s been an awful lot of publicity about this new basement bar beneath the new Breakfast Club in Spitalfields.
Read Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town review

  1. 12-16 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS
  2. Cool-factor
More info

Milk & Honey

You could walk past the door of this Soho speakeasy every day and never know it was there, and that's just how the owners like it. 
Read Milk & Honey review

  1. 61 Poland Street, W1F 7NU
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

Mr Fogg's

From the crew behind Maggie's and Bunga Bunga comes another 'themed bar done well', this time taking inspiration from eccentric Victorian explorer Phileas Fogg. The cocktails are excellent too.

  1. 15 Bruton Lane, W1J 6JD
More info

Nightjar

On City Road, about 25 metres from the roundabout beneath which the Old Street tube labyrinth winds, you’ll discover a door.
Read Nightjar review

  1. 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

Portobello Star

Gentrification has sunk its claws into this once-scruffy boozer, for years one of the holdouts along the Portobello Road.
Read Portobello Star review

  1. 171 Portobello Road, W11 2DY
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

Powder Keg Diplomacy

Powder Keg Diplomacy is a bar and restaurant with a colonial theme so loyal that Cecil Rhodes would feel at home. But don’t worry: the owners didn’t occupy this Battersea site by force; the staff do get paid; and you won’t catch malaria if you stay too long.
Read Powder Keg Diplomacy

  1. 147 St John's Hill, SW11 1TQ
  2. Good for beer
Book online

Purl

The first bar from the people who went on to create the Worship Street Whistling Shop, VOC and Dach & Sons, Purl was a clear taste of things to come.
Read Purl review

  1. 50 Blandford Street, W1U 7HX
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

The Rookery

  • Price band: 2/4

The place has got what it takes as a bar. The beers on tap include local real ale Sambrook’s Junction, there’s also a fridge full of fine bottled ales, a well-stocked back bar of spirits and half a dozen or so wines by the glass.

Read The Rookery review

  1. 69 Clapham Common Southside, SW4 9DA
Book online

Rum Kitchen

What’s cooking? If ever a bar represented the changing demographics of W11 from the 1950s to present day, here it is. Rum Kitchen takes the spirit of the Caribbean and repackages it for the new residents of Notting Hill.

Read Rum Kitchen review

  1. 6-8 All Saints Road, W11 1HH
More info

Sager & Wilde

With its good looks and pooch-friendly policies, this Hoxton wine bar (a Shoreditch pop-up gone permanent) has plenty going for it. Not to mention a flat-rate £20 mark-up per bottle.

  1. 193 Hackney Road, E2 8JL
More info

Sebright Arms

The slow decline of too many East End pubs is inevitable and depressing. The punters drift away, the paint peels, the pints turn sour in the lines; the clack of pool balls fades to silence and the Big D nuts go stale on their ‘babe boards’.
Read Sebright Arms review

  1. 31-35 Coate St, E2 9AG
  2. Good for beer
More info

Shochu Lounge

Beneath landmark Japanese restaurant Roka, the buzzing, chic Shochu Lounge deals chiefly in drinks built around the vodka-like distilled spirit from which it takes its name.
Read Shochu Lounge review

  1. Basement, Roka, (37 Charlotte Street), W1T 1RR
  2. Good for spirits and cocktails
More info

Social

Neil Thomson’s photographs of the Social’s tenth birthday celebrations sum up this most successful of music bars.
Read Social review

  1. 5 Little Portland Street, W1W 7JD
  2. Cool-factor
More info

Terroirs

Terroirs positions itself as an evangelist for natural wines, but is equally valued for the quality of its informal French cooking and its buzzy atmosphere.
Read Terroirs review

  1. 5 William IV Street, WC2N 4DW
  2. Good for wine
Book online

Trailer Happiness

Remaining laudably tongue-in-cheek while the rest of Ladbroke Grove drowns in chichi spots, Trailer Happiness is not a cocktail bar as such – with its deliberately tacky decor (Tretchikoff paintings galore) and DJ hatch, it’s far too informal for that.
Read Trailer Happiness review

  1. 177 Portobello Road, W11 2DY
  2. Cool-factor
More info

Vinoteca

We’re big fans of this small wine bar and shop, and we’re not alone. The no-bookings policy in the evening means it’s first come, first served, and such is Vinoteca’s reputation for interesting wine and food at very acceptable prices, there’s always a queue.
Read Vinoteca review

  1. 7 St John Street, EC1M 4AA
  2. Good for wine
More info

White Lyan

It's ground-breaking stuff at Hackney's one-time White Horse, where mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana has ditched all the ice (and all the perishables) to create a compact list of exceptional (but still cold) house cocktails. 

  1. 153 Hoxton Street, N1 6PJ
More info

Wonder Bar

When the Wonder Bar opened in 2007, occupying a red and blond wood space on a mezzanine above Selfridges' wine department, the concept seemed very attractive.
Read Wonder Bar review

  1. Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
  2. Good for wine
More info

Worship Street Whistling Shop

This is the epitome of bar trends circa 2011 – a semi-secret location, Victoriana, reinterpretations of classic British drinks. We've noticed a few conspicuous themes appearing in London's bars: a semi-secret location, Victoriana, faithful interpretations of classic British drinks.
Read Worship Street Whistling Shop review

  1. 63 Worship Street, EC2A 2DU
  2. Good for spirits and cocktails
More info

Zetter Townhouse

Imagine an eccentric antique shop where the owner is reluctant to actually sell anything, and instead sees an empty shelf, table or bit of wall as an invitation to show off a seemingly discordant but holistically pleasing collection of curios.
Read Zetter Townhouse review

  1. 49-50 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ
  2. Good for cocktails
More info

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