Best bars in London - Cocktail bars

Sup on classic cocktails at one of London's best cocktail bars

Whether you're looking for a top Tom Collins, a magnificent martini or the quintessential cosmo – somewhere in town there's a bartender just waiting to mix it for you. Some of the best cocktails can be found in hotel bars, while there are also some pretty cool bars in London shaking things up in a more low-key fashion. For the full range, check out our guide to the best cocktail bars in London.

Think we've missed a great cocktail bar in London? Let us know in the comment box below.

London's best cocktail bars

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.

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Islington

Bar Termini

Bar Termini does two things: coffee and cocktails. Said cocktails are supervised by Tony Conigliaro, the alco-alchemist behind 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Town House, among others. We strongly recommend the marsala martini.

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Leicester Square

Booking Office

The superlatives come easy when describing the Booking Office: it is epic, soaring, dramatic, magnificent.

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Euston

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.

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Old Street

Ceviche (bar)

This Peruvian bar and restaurant is the place to pay homage to the Peruvian spirit and national drink, pisco.

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Dabbous (bar)

Dabbous astonished us with its cutting-edge cooking, and its downstairs cocktail bar sets out to do the same.

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Fitzrovia

Dandelyan

Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka bartender Mr Lyan, is a London cocktail dignitary and this, his second bar in the capital, cements that reputation.

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Waterloo

Dukes Bar

If you want to go out for a single cocktail, strong and expensive and very well made, go to Dukes. It may be in a luxury hotel, but everyone gets the warmest of welcomes. And the quality of the cocktails is unsurpassable. No string of superlatives can do justice to Dukes.

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St James's

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.

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Chinatown

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. 

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Kings Cross and St Pancras

Happiness Forgets

This tiny basement has such low light that torches ought to be provided to aid with reading the drinks list. But low light makes the room – dark walls and dark wooden floorboards – just that much more appealing.

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Old Street

Hawksmoor Spitalfields (bar)

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.

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Spitalfields

Ladies & Gentlemen

William Borrell, of the family that owns Vestal Vodka, has reopened Kentish Town's public loos as a cocktail bar and makes the most of this unusual space. 

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Kentish Town

London Cocktail Club

Inhibitions are unwelcome, as are any intentions of solitude or complex conversation. It's loud, extroverted and unashamedly cheesy.

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Leicester Square

Lost Society

Lost Society? You must be joking! They're all here, supping cocktails, gossiping in the small courtyard garden and picking at the platters.

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Clapham

Mandarin Bar

The well-established bar of Knightsbridge's Mandarin Oriental now operates partly as a holding pen for people waiting to bag a walk-in table at the hotel's high-profile restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

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Hyde Park

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.

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Soho

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.

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Soho

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.  

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Mayfair

Nightjar

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

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Old Street

Portobello Star

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

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Westbourne Grove

Original Sin

The team behind Happiness Forgets in Hoxton Square bring dark, seductive style and peerless cocktails to Stoke Newington.

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Stoke Newington

Purl

A loveable place that aims to recreate the atmosphere of a New York speakeasy, Purl has simple but endearingly eclectic decor.

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Marylebone

Satan's Whiskers

The bar’s name might sound like a Captain Haddock curse, but it refers to a classic cocktail containing gin, orange and vermouth. It’s on the daily-changing menu, along with a seductive selection of alternatives.

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Bethnal Green

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.

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Fitzrovia

Trailer Happiness

They're rum specialists at this nicely tongue-in-cheek place, but all spirits are taken seriously and the cocktail-making is expert. Open daily, and with a short food menu focusing on dim sum.

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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. 

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Shoreditch

Worship Street Whistling Shop

We've noticed a few conspicuous themes appearing in London's bars: a semi-secret location, Victoriana, faithful interpretations of classic British drinks.

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Old Street

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.

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Farringdon

Comments

16 comments
Alfred S
Alfred S

The vault soho should def be on this list

Martin S
Martin S

Gilbert and Scott do amazing cocktails.

Paul P
Paul P

Don't forget R.S. Hispaniola and the Upper Deck Bar.  The cocktail list is great and great views opposite the London Eye.

Jeff M
Jeff M

It’s interesting that none of the THREE London bars shortlisted in the top four, “best new international cocktail bars in the world” by the drinks industry biggest international award “The Spirited Awards” hosted in New Orleans last year are even mentioned on this list - Blind Pig, White Lion and NOLA are all absent... While most of the other bars on this list are great the author definitely needs to get out more...

Riccardo
Riccardo

Colony Club in Mayfair definetly one of the best bars.

Dave still
Dave still

I have to say that one of the best up and coming cocktail bars in London is 214 Bermondsey Gin and cocktail bar on Bermondsey Street. It is equidistant from London Bridge and Borough and is serving up really good quality cocktails at a good price in a really mellow environment. If you are into your Gin then I would get down there. They even make there own tonic water!

Xoni
Xoni

the best bar Bluebird bar kings road Chelsea all new signature and fresh fruit cocktail and so many type of the glassware

Brice
Brice

Central & Co, just opposite Carnaby street, has a small but great cocktail list in it's basement bar. They also take you on a journey through flavours as all the spirits are unbranded and described for you by their flavour profiles. I thought it was a great experience.

Sarah Jouan
Sarah Jouan

Apres London next to selfridges is one of the best cocktail bar you can find in london town. Not sure why it is not in your classement. The drinks & the service are great and its bouncing every nights with Dj or Live music

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Adam Weston
Adam Weston

For a unique cocktail experience, check out Tart Bar & Restaurant! Sitauated a few minutes away from Farringdon Tube station, Tart Bar features both an impressive conventional cocktail menu, as well as their own special "Tartinis" Menu. These unique cocktails provide an interesting infusion of alcohol and tasty deserts! Available for private hire, and sporting a 4am license, Tart is an exceptional night out!

Suzanne Oakley
Suzanne Oakley

For a great cocktail experience South of the River try House of Tippler cocktail bar & kitchen. Situated in the heart of lively Lordship Lane East Dulwich, H.o.T is a friendly independently run neighbourhood cocktail bar and kitchen. The drinks list has been carefully created to offer a unique twist on all the classics. Try the Tippler Martini served in a mini martini glass with the remainder of the drink in baby carafe on ice to keep it cool! The Tapas style food menu is designed to compliment the drinks list with seasonal specials and locally inspired ingredients are used to create a menu of small plates designed for sharing. Try the grilled Bavette steak, trompette mushrooms, sauce vierge - amazing! Open late at weekends with live music every Friday and DJs on Saturdays. Great space for hire for parties too! There's also a neat little back garden for al fresco dining in the Summer months and the Sunday roasts and Bloody Marys are to-die-for!

Reese Wither Smith
Reese Wither Smith

This list is incomplete without best Cocktail Bar in City of London- Anise. Famous for spice infused cocktails, small and affordable bar food and Live music on occassions. Tucked in the Devonshire square 2 minutes from London Liverpool Street, it is a must try institution for great cocktails, atmosphere and reasonable prices.www.anisebar.com and the adjacent best Indian restaurant Cinnamon Kitchen.

Danni
Danni

The new Jamies Wine Bar on St Martins Lane does excellent cocktails- and most of them are £4.50 between 5pm and 9pm!!!

barmen pirate
barmen pirate

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