The 100 best bars and pubs in London: the best bars in London by area

Read our definitive list of London's best bars, which we've divided up by area for your drinking ease

© Kris Piotrowski

London's bar scene is up there with the best in the world, with cocktail bars to blow your mind and hotel bars to blow your budget. But why not? You can deal with the hangover tomorrow. For now, let's say cheers to London's very best bars divided up by area in our list below.

RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London

The best bars in central London

28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen

The type of place you wouldn’t be surprised to find in Paris

What's the vibe? Serious City wine, but user-friendly at every level.

When to visit: For a quick bite and a sip of something special, daytime or evening.

Drink this: Madiran 2012, Château Barréjat.

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Chancery Lane

American Bar at the Beaumont

Cocktails here are strong and liberating: just the sort of thing Prohibitionists would have hated

What's the vibe? Greta Garbo, and Monroe; Dietrich and DiMaggio; Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean; on the cover of a magazine…

When to visit: A relaxing post-shopping reviver here is just the thing to get you back on track.

Drink this? Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth, club soda)

See also... The best hotel bars in London

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Mayfair

Bar Pepito

It’s all about quiet communion with sherry and tapas

What's the vibe? Tiny King’s Cross hangout with a lot of Spanish spoken.

When to visit: Early evening aperitivo, or a quiet nightcap.

Drink this: Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana (aperitivo) or Noe, González Byass (nightcap)
.

See also... The best wine bars in London

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Central London

Barrica

A little taste of laidback Spain in the non-stop West End

What's the vibe? A bright, modern bar with drinks and tapas straight out of Andalusia.

When to visit: When the Med is calling.

Drink this: A glass of fino, to prove that sherry isn't just for your nan.

See also... The best wine bars in London

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Fitzrovia

Bar Termini

Everything is of extraordinarily high quality, and the minute setting offers the rare luxury of peace and quiet in central Soho

What's the vibe? Lively and always busy, but quiet because of its size.

When to visit: Early evenings are perfect for a cocktail before dinner in Soho.

Drink this: Marsala martini (gin, sweet marsala, dry vermouth and almond bitters)
.

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Leicester Square

Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

A hideaway of supreme style and opulence

What's the vibe? Eye-opening dusky glamour any time of the day.

When to visit: To remind yourself that such places exist in your city. Make the most of them!

Drink this:
 A champagne cocktail. What more of an excuse do you need?

See also... The best hotel bars in London

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Strand

Blue Bar

Every bit as luxe as you’d expect for a bar in a Knightsbridge hotel

What's the vibe? The kind of exclusive glamour that attracts international playboys and playgirls.

When to visit: Come for a dusky nightcap, when lights are set so low that the Blue Bar becomes an irresistible indigo.

Drink this: The Berkeley (cognac, angostura bitters, Grand Marnier, champagne).

See more... The best hotel bars in London

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Hyde Park

Cocktail Trading Company

Cocktails are often served in unusual glassware (and ceramicware) with wacky garnishes, candy floss or noodles among them

What's the vibe? A young crowd who know a good drink - and a good time - when they taste one.


When to visit: On a Soho cocktail crawl.

Drink this: Manilla Hotel Mint Julep (rum, bourbon, spiced pineapple and cherry syrup).

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Soho

The Connaught Bar

Even if you can only stretch to a single drink, it’s worth it: count out every last penny and treat yourself

What's the vibe? People-watching with the 1 percent.

When to visit: Late night – at least you can pretend you’ve got a room upstairs…

Drink this: A tableside martini.

See also... The best hotel bars in London

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Mayfair

Dandelyan

The bar might be glamorous, luxurious and even a bit formal, but the drinks show invention and attention to detail


What's the vibe? International hotel glamour; world-beating drinks.

When to visit: A few cocktails here looking out over the Thames makes for a properly classy London night out.

Drink this:

 The minerally Concrete Sazerac, with Martell VSOP cognac, fermented Peychaud, absinthe and… concrete.

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Waterloo

Dukes Hotel

Dukes is one of London’s true classic bars, and justly famous for the theatrical presentation of martinis

What's the vibe? Ultimate self-indulgent luxury in three tiny, cosseting rooms.

When to visit: A great place for a hot but quiet date.

Drink this: On your first visit, the renowned martini. Just the one.

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St James's

Experimental Cocktail Club

Cocktails are consistently outstanding, making choosing what to order an almost impossible task

What's the vibe? A hidden speakeasy with as much substance as style.

When to visit: When you’ve got a date to impress and a plain-old cosmopolitan won’t do.

Drink this: The Saint Germain des Prés is an Experimental Cocktail Club classic: Hendrick’s Gin, St Germain liqueur, lime, elderflower cordial, egg white, spiced tincture and cucumber juice
.

See also... London's best speakeasies

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Chinatown

Mark's Bar

One of Soho’s most popular cocktail haunts

What's the vibe? Low-key when quiet, boisterous when busy.

When to visit: Early evening is when you’re most likely to bag a table.

Drink this: Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (rum, orange curacao, falernum and lime juice)
.

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Soho

Milk & Honey

One of central London’s best places for drinking proper cocktails in clubby but unstuffy surroundings

What's the vibe? Discreet, dark, good for larger groups.


When to visit: Whenever you can book: it’s easier early in the week.

Drink this: London Calling (gin, sherry, lemon, sugar, bitters).


See also... London's best speakeasies

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Soho

Mr Fogg's

Seriously knowledgeable bar staff make sure cocktails are punchy, exciting and altogether sensational

What's the vibe? Victorian explorer’s curiosity-filled abode, with spiffing cocktails.

When to visit: For a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

Drink this: The Illusionist is a smoky spectacle you’ll never forget – it contains Balvenie whisky, bourbon, Cocchi Barolo Chinato, lapsang souchong and cinnamon syrup, and is smoked with cinnamon and cloves.

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Mayfair

Shochu Lounge

Shochu, the traditional Japanese spirit, takes centre stage in this unique basement bar

What's the vibe? A dark, comfortable hotbed of Japanese drinking culture.

When to visit: Early for a quiet drink, 9pm onwards for the buzz.

Drink this: The clue’s in the name – it has to be Japan’s favourite spirit, the unique and intriguing shochu.

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Fitzrovia

Terroirs

Natural wines keep this rustic-French-looking place jumping

What's the vibe? Jolly, friendly, serious about food and wine but not snobbish.

When to visit: Lunch for a glass and a bite, evening if you want to get stuck into the wine list…

Drink this: Bodega Bernabe Navarro Moscatel de Alejandria 2010.

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Trafalgar Square

Zetter Townhouse

One of the most beautiful and unusual bars in London

What's the vibe? As imaginative a bar as you’ll see in London, with cocktails to match.

When to visit: When you’re maxed-out with the minimalist style of other bars.

Drink this: Köln Martini (gin, vermouth, own-made citrus aromatics).

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Farringdon

The best bars in north London

69 Colebrooke Row

There’s a serene simplicity in all the cocktails here

What's the vibe? A tiny space where people come in search of cocktail heaven.

When to visit: For cocktails that don’t need to show off about how good they are.

Drink this:

 Fig leaf collins (fig leaf syrup, lemon, soda).

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Islington

Euston Cider Tap

This warm and welcoming former gatehouse offers more than 15 still and sparkling ciders on draught and straight from the keg

What's the vibe? A central London goldmine for fans of fizzy fermented apples.

When to visit: When you’re fed up of the single-tap cider choice in other pubs.

Drink this: Anything from a keg – taste a few and pick your favourite
.

See also... London's best cider bars and pubs

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Euston

Grain Store Bar

Try a bellini made not with peach purée but with celeriac purée; or a ‘Greco-Roman wine’, infused with the likes of smoked paprika cordial

What's the vibe? Quasi-Continental outdoor-living people-watching.

When to visit: Aim for a sunny summer evening – Granary Square is quite lovely when the sun is setting.

Drink this:

 Lemon Sherbet Martini (tequila, triple sec, lemon sherbet, soda water).

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Kings Cross and St Pancras

Knowhere Special

The house drinks all come with a bespoke food accompaniment, a classy touch, and their prices reflect that.

What's the vibe? Tiny, laid-back basement bar with great music and fabulous drinks


When to visit: Any time you crave intense relaxation.

Drink this: Friar’s Luck (home-spiced rum, benedictine, yellow chartreuse, burnt orange and frankincense).



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Kentish Town

Ladies & Gentlemen

The cocktail list is not extensive but there’s something for every taste, and the drinks are made to a very high standard

What's the vibe? Kentish Town cocktail magnet in a disused public loo.

When to visit: When you want to flush away the cares of the day.

Drink this: Rhubarb and Custard (gin, Birds custard, rhubarb syrup, lemon).

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Kentish Town

Original Sin

The cocktails, served by impeccably pleasant staff, are strong, well-balanced and classy


What's the vibe? Stokey cool, and a free game of pool
.

When to visit: Before climbing the stairs to Burger Bear.

Drink this: Red Hook (rye, maraschino and Punt e Mes).


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Stoke Newington

The best bars in east London

Callooh Callay

Neither trashy nor pretentious, the vibe here is fun but still stylish

What's the vibe? A quirky but classy hideout serving some of the best cocktails in east London.

When to visit: If you want to avoid the masses when out on a big one in the 'Ditch

Drink this: A signature cocktail – the menu changes seasonally so check their Twitter for details (@callooh_callay).

See also... London's best speakeasies

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Old Street

Crate Brewery

The beer, being visibly brewed on site, is varied and tasty, with a good selection of international craft ales on hand to boot

What's the vibe? Great pizza, great beer, great outdoor space.

When to visit: On a sunny evening, the lure of Crate is hard to resist.

Drink this: The irresistibly malty and light Crate Best is a treat any day of the week.

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Olympic Park

Happiness Forgets

Incredible cocktails, and, in our experience, dazzlingly wonderful service

What's the vibe? Big chill: laughing locals quaffing classy cocktails
.

When to visit: On a late East End night out that needs something a bit classy.

Drink this: Tokyo Collins (gin, yuzu saké, lemon, grapefruit, sugar, soda)

.

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Old Street

Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar

Bartenders know everything there is to know about balance of flavours here

What's the vibe? Beautiful cocktails in a beautiful Spitalfields setting.


When to visit: The list of post-dinner drinks is a corker
 – make a night of it after steak upstairs.

Drink this: Marmalade cocktail (Campari, lemon, orange bitters, English marmalade)

.

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Spitalfields

Mission

Mission’s aim is to promote interesting and unusual California wines

What's the vibe? The wine bar as it really should be – informal, democratic and fun.

When to visit: When you crave a glass of California class
.

Drink this: Anything from the Sunshine State, sold by the glass for maximum sampling opportunities.



See also... The best wine bars in London

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Bethnal Green

Mother Kelly's

The selection of beer bottles here is just staggering

What's the vibe? Spacious railway arch transformed into a well-stocked bottle shop and bar.

When to visit: When you want to fill your fridge (or your stomach) – with a few special brews.

Drink this: The ever-changing menu always includes a few beers you probably won’t recognise – take the chance to try a couple.

See also... London's best craft beer bars and pubs

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Bethnal Green

Nightjar

A gorgeous, low-lit room with comfortable seating, smooth table service and a long, playful cocktail list

What's the vibe? A subterranean hideout metres from the Old Street roundabout.

When to visit: If you don’t want live music (and a cover charge), early evening’s best.


Drink this: Airmail (rum, mint, lime, bee pollen syrup, champagne)

.

See also... London's best speakeasies

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Old Street

Peg & Patriot

The puntastic cocktails at Peg + Patriot are as creative as their names suggest

What's the vibe? Hip cocktail bar with a tongue-in-cheek creative streak.

When to visit: When you want a cocktail with a twist that isn’t just lemon peel.

Drink this: All the drinks here are outstanding, but here’s a tip: try the Creo’le’ Dirty Bastard (rum, corn, peach, chipotle triple sec, mint)
.

See also... The best cocktail bars in London

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Bethnal Green

Sager & Wilde

Sager & Wilde's main selling point – its wines – are served at a reasonable price by the bottle or glass

What's the vibe? A bar for professional people who may lack a professional appreciation of wine.

When to visit: In the winter months. Small and dark, this is the perfect place to hunker down on a cold and wild evening.

Drink this: Though beers are available, it really has to be wine. You won’t regret any choice.

See also... The best wine bars in London

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Haggerston

Satan's Whiskers

Some of the best cocktails to be found in Bethnal Green’s burgeoning booze scene

What's the vibe? Upmarket mixed drinks in a down to earth and devilishly cool location.

When to visit: Thursday night; the weekend starts early here.

Drink this: Satan’s Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth, grapefruit soda).

See also... The best cocktail bars in London

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Bethnal Green

White Lyan

Comparing White Lyan to your local boozer is like comparing Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck to a greasy spoon

What's the vibe? Cocktails you’ve never seen the like of.

When to visit: It’s entertaining as well as being trailblazing – a great place for a party or just a few mindblowing cocktails with friends.

Drink this:
 The Bulletproof Martini is typically atypical: tequila, distilled coffee, coffee oil, vanilla.

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Shoreditch

Worship Street Whistling Shop

Even when the drinks sound a little wacky, they have a tendency to taste great

What's the vibe? Dark and moody, good for groups but great for couples.

When to visit: An early weekday evening is pleasantly unhurried.

Drink this:

 The Changeling (lapsang tea, Chase marmalade vodka, Aperol, bitters, lemonade).

See also... London's best speakeasies

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Old Street

The best bars in south London

Baltic

There are more than 50 cocktails on the lengthy list, but the speciality is vodka

What's the vibe? Chilled-out cocktail bar with all the vodka you’ll ever vant.

When to visit: For post-Old Vic drinks.

Drink this: Southwark Punch (Hendrick's Gin, sugar, lemon juice, rosé champagne, St Germain elderflower liqueur).

See also... The best cocktail bars in London

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Waterloo

Draft House

The endlessly rotating list of guest ales means you’re unlikely to find a beer lover who can’t find something new to relish each week

What's the vibe? Inviting, undemanding: like being inside a beer fridge (without the chills).

When to visit: If most craft beer bars seem a bit intimidating, visit any of the Draft Houses.

Drink this: 
Beer. Of course.

See also... London's best craft beer bars and pubs

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Chelsea

Lost Angel

The real draw is Happy Hour: from Tuesday to Saturday, 5-8pm, and all day on Sunday, cocktails costs around £6

What's the vibe? Non-stop cocktails amidst a poppy Brit interior.

When to visit: Happy Hour!

Drink this:
 When was the last time you had a piña colada? They’re much better these days…

See also... The best cocktail bars in London

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Battersea

LP Bar

It’s fun, it’s nice, it’s got personality: LP is a proper destination

What's the vibe? Heathrow Terminal 3, circa 1990.

When to visit: When you're in the mood for adventure (and in New Cross).

Drink this: Red Baron (mezcal, Aperol, lime juice and chilli). Boom!

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South East London

Powder Keg Diplomacy

A haven for anyone who likes cocktails with subtle layers of flavour

What's the vibe? Modern-day old-world charm: bring dad, sis and the dog.

When to visit: Sunday night for live ragtime and blues.

Drink this:
 Friggin’ in the Riggin’ (cachaça, King’s ginger liqueur, honey syrup, lime juice, a splash of Fernet Branca and a slice of dried fig).

See also... Bars for a date in London

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South West London

The Rookery

Slightly tucked away from the hullabaloo that is Clapham at the weekend, this is a place to get merry with your well-behaved friends

What's the vibe? A low-lit, exposed-brick boozer for grown-ups.

When to visit: To remind yourself that there are still good bars in Clapham – you just have to know where to look.

Drink this:
 Something from the pleasingly priced wine list.

See also... The best wine bars in London

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Clapham

The best bars in west London

Cask

The cellar and fridges are filled with an almost absurdly generous range of the finest brews from London, Britain and beyond

What's the vibe?
 A gathering of beer lovers celebrating all that’s brilliant about beer.

When to visit: For a night of halves – it’s the only way to make the most of the menu.


Drink this: There are often exclusives pouring – ask what’s hot right now.

See also... London's best craft beer bars and pubs

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Pimlico

Portobello Star

One of west London’s true star bars

What's the vibe? Cool customers crowding in for cocktails and conversation
.

When to visit: To get a deeper connection to the spirit that almost caused London’s ruin – gin.


Drink this: Duh - anything made with Portobello, the house gin

.

See also... The best bars for drinking gin in London

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Westbourne Grove

Rum Kitchen

Venue says: Join us for one of our jerk chicken burgers and wash it down with a £5 cocktail from our happy hour menu every day from 6-8pm! Rum n' Ting!

The rum selection is enormous, and you could spend weeks here without getting through it all

What's the vibe? Hungry, thirsty locals and island beats. Yo ho ho!

When to visit: Happy times are all the time here, but the actual happy hour is practically ecstatic.

Drink this: One of the many riffs on the daiquiri
.

See also... Cool bars in London

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Westbourne Park

Trailer Happiness

Underneath the thick layer of kitsch is a very good cocktail bar


What's the vibe? Casual, sunny and funny – and rammed at weekends.

When to visit: Weekdays are chill-days, but this is Notting Hill and a party is never far away

Drink this: Dia de los muertos (mezcal, blood orange cordial, pineapple and citrus).

See also... The best cocktail bars in London

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Ladbroke Grove

Vinoteca

Glasses start from a few quid a pop, with bottles from just under £20 – and there are plenty in the blow-out category

What's the vibe? A world of wine with highly respectable food to boot.

When to visit: Monday nights, when all bottles of wine are sold at take-home prices.

Drink this: Keep it local with a glass of London Cru SW6 from – really – down the road in Earl’s Court.

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Chiswick

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