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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 has a bar for every occasion, from classy cocktail bars for impressing dates to lively bars with happy hours for hanging out with mates. Below is our pick of the absolute best bars in London, where drinks, service and ambience are never less than first-class. So stock up on aspirin – you’ve got some serious drinking to do.

RECOMMENDED: The 100 best bars and pubs in London

The best bars in central London

68 & Boston

What is it... A slick spot for savvy wine drinkers and cocktail connoiseurs.

Why go... The setting works a treat for date night.

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Bar Termini

What is it... A lively joint that wouldn't feel out of place on The Continent.

Why go... Pick up a cocktail here before dinner or the theatre.

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What is it... Bright and modern Spanish vibes in the West End.

Why go... For a spot of tapas and drop of Jerez (Spanish sherry).

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Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

Critics' choice

What is it... A luxurious setting with gold embossed walls.

Why go... To relax in dusky glamour with a champagne cocktail.

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Charing Cross

Blind Pig

What is it... A Prohibition styled spot with decorative drinks.

Why go... The mirrored ceiling is a marvel.

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What is it... A seriously plush second offering from Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Cheti (of White Lyan).

Why go... Four words: view over the Thames.

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South Bank

Dukes Hotel

Critics' choice

What is it... James Bond style luxury spread throughout three rooms.

Why go... Charm your other half here with special agent swagger.

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St James'

Mark's Bar

Critics' choice

What is it... A cosy cocktail haunt in the basement of Hix Soho.

Why go... They serve food until 1am and open until 3am on Fridays.

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Milk & Honey

Critics' choice

What is it... Discreet, dark and central – all the makings of a great speakeasy.

Why go... Its booths are great for groups, just be sure to book ahead.

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Mr Fogg's

What is it... The drinking den of a lush Victorian explorer.

Why go... To feast your eyes on the array of curiosities.

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Old Tom & English

What is it... A luscious bar decked out like a mid-century, 'Mad Men' apartment.

Why go... To live out your Don Draper fantasies, obviously.

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Shochu Lounge

Critics' choice

What is it... Japanese drinking culture encapsulated in the basement below Roka.

Why go... For a taste of shochu, the vodka-like Japanese spirit it's named after.

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Critics' choice

What is it... A wine lover's haven in the West End.

Why go... For their diverse menu of natural wines and French cuisine.

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Covent Garden

The Zetter Townhouse

What is it... The place where bold drinks and bold decor meet.

Why go... For a tipple in plush surrounds that are anything but minimal.

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The best bars in north London

69 Colebrooke Row

Critics' choice

What is it... A tiny space where people come in search of serene, simple cocktails.

Why go... For a sip of something simple, yet stunning.

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Euston Cider Tap

What is it... A goldmine for fans of fizzy fermented apples.

Why go... Apart from the excellent selection, it's easily reached as it's just outside Euston station.

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Grain Store Bar

What is it... A quasi-Continental people-watching hot spot.

Why go... To perch in Granary Square with a celeriac bellini. 

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King's Cross

Ladies & Gentlemen

What is it... A former public bog that serves a flush of cocktails.

Why go... For the novelty and the retro soundtrack.

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Kentish Town

Original Sin

What is it... Stokey's classy cocktail joint.

Why go... There are comfy booths and a pool table, making it great for mates.

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Stoke Newington

The best bars in east London

Behind This Wall

What is it... A minimal basement bar for music buffs and cocktail fans alike.

Why go... To hear their hits-packed vinyl collection through a 1970s Tannoy Gold soundsystem.

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Bull in a China Shop

What is it... Asian eats meet hip whisky parlour at this Shoreditch joint.

Why go... For Japanese whiskies and rôtisserie chicken.

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Crate Brewery

What is it... The ultimate brewery bar and it's right next to the canal. Win.

Why go... Great pizza, great beer, great outdoor space.

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Hackney Wick

Discount Suit Company

What is it... A wood-decked speakeasy with low ceilings and heaps of soul.

Why go... They have a rotating list of intriguingly titled cocktails. Captain Cobbler, anyone?

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Happiness Forgets

What is it... A Shoreditch bar with great service and even greater cocktails.

Why go... For a classy East End excursion.

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High Water

What is it... A low-key place that's run by folks who are more passionate about what goes in the glasses than what’s on the walls.

Why go... The seasonal menu should satisfy any booze buff.

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Howling Hops

What is it... A beer-hall/warehouse hybrid that's great for groups of mates. 

Why go... You can sip fresh beer straight from the tank.

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Hackney Wick

Mother Kelly's

What is it... A spacious railway arch transformed into a well-stocked bottle shop and bar.

Why go... To fill your fridge (and stomach) with a few special brews.

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Bethnal Green


What is it... A low-lit subterranean hideout near the Old Street roundabout.

Why go... For the amazing live jazz that sets a roaring ’20s scene.

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Peg & Patriot

What is it... Hip cocktail bar in the boutique Town Hall Hotel.

Why go... To try the Londoncentric cocktails, such as the Bethnal Green '#wank' shot.

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Bethnal Green

Sager & Wilde Wine Bar

What is it... Former pop-up gone permanent to serve fine wines to the East End drinkers.

Why go... The varying menu comes at pocket-friendly prices.

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The best bars in south London

The Beer Shop

What is it... A bottle shop with a bar in the back so you can try before you buy.

Why go... You can sit in for a pint and take a bottle to go.

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Draft House

What is it... As the name suggests, this is a haven for beer lovers.

Why go... The endlessly rotating list of guest ales.

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Nappy Valley

First Aid Box

What is it... A café by day and experimental, medicinal themed cocktail spot by night.

Why go... For the theatrics, which includes one cocktail served in a smoking bell jar.

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Herne Hill

The Four Quarters

What is it... Nostalgia reigns here, with retro arcade games at 25p a pop.

Why go... Take part in one of the regular 'Mario Kart' tournaments with a craft beer in hand.

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Peckham Rye

London Beer Dispensary

What is it... A bar without a bar; beer comes straight from casks stacked against the walls.

Why go... The novelty is worth a visit if not the handful of well-chosen guest beers.

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The Old Brewery

Critics' choice

What is it... Meantime's flagship pub and microbrewery in a former Victorian brewhouse.

Why go... In summer, the terrace (in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College) is a delight.

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The Owl

What is it... A plushly upholstered drinking den with cosy booths.

Why go... They offer table service, so the only thing you'll be lifting a finger for is to drink (and pay).

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Powder Keg Diplomacy

What is it... A family-friendly, cocktail-laden haven.

Why go... You can take the ’rents here for dinner, drinks and live ragtime on Sundays.

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The best bars in west London


What is it... An unassuming bar with a cellar and fridges filled with a generous range of brews.

Why go... There's something to satisfy even the most ardent hophead here.

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Portobello Star

Critics' choice

What is it... The home of Portobello Road gin, amongst many other gins.

Why go... To learn more about London's favourite spirit at their 'ginstitute'. 

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Rum Kitchen

Venue says: Join us for bottomless brunch every Saturday and Sunday. £30 for brunch with unlimited rum punch, bloody marys and bellinis for two hours!

What is it... A brightly coloured restaurant/bar that pays homage to the delicious Caribbean spirit.

Why go... To indulge in their enormous rum selection and island beats.

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Trailer Happiness

Critics' choice

What is it... A trippy tiki bar that’s casual, sunny and rammed at weekends.

Why go... To emerse yourself in the ’60s with retro decor and disc selections.

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What is it... A petite bar decorated in the shades of a vineyard.

Why go... Monday night is BYOEB night – that's bring your own empty bottle so you can fill it with a wine of your choice for a 'take-home' price.

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Turnham Green