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The 50 best cocktail bars in London

We've ranked the mixmasters making the finest cocktail concoctions in town, so scroll on discover London's best cocktail bars.

© Victor Frankowski

So many cocktails, so little time. So just stick to the best cocktail bars in London by using our ranked list below. You'll find everything from dark and dirty speakeasy joints and secret bars to bold and brash party spots meant for a night out on the tiles. What they all have in common is mixed drinks that will blow your mind – and hopefully not your budget.

London Cocktail Week offer: Get two wristbands for £10. Then enjoy £5 cocktails at a total of 31 of Time Out's 50 best cocktail bars.

London's best cocktail bars: 50-41

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Below the Smoke

What’s the vibe? Scandinavian minimalism meets science lab chic at this basement bar where drinks have been dreamed up by Talented Mr Fox.

When to visit After a slap-up meal at Rok Smokehouse, one of London’s best restaurants, descend for drinks that are just as smokin’.

What’s on the menu? Nordic-ulously good drinks, from tree-infused martinis to dill and cucumber bellinis.

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Shoreditch
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London Cocktail Club

What’s the vibe? Early-thirties middle-class hen party.

When to visit Payday, or any other time you can guarantee a crowd. You’d feel pretty daft sipping a porn star martini and listening to ‘Parklife’ on your own, after all.

What’s on the menu? Everything is big, brash and boozy, with more than a touch of novelty.

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Covent Garden
48
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Artesian

What’s the vibe? Buzzy hotel bar with jaw-dropping drinks.

When to visit When there’s something to really celebrate (like robbing a bank, perhaps?).

What’s on the menu? Mixology of the highest order – this is cocktail chemistry with way more than a cursory presentational flourish.

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Marylebone
47
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Mr Fogg's

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.

What’s on the menu? The sense of frivolity extends to the cocktail menu, but all drinks are made with real skill.

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Mayfair
46
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Ladies & Gentlemen

What's the vibe? A tiny bar in a former public convenience.

When to visit When you just need a great cocktail and you can't hold it in any more!

What's on the menu? Straightforward cocktails plus a menu of boilermakers – shot of whiskey, bottle of beer.

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Kentish Town
45
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Shochu Lounge

What's the vibe? A dark and sleek den of Japanese drinking culture.

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

What’s on the menu? Shochu finds its way into most of the cocktails, and they’re great.

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Fitzrovia
44
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The Owl

What’s the vibe? Twit twoo. Beneath the Balham branch of Foxlow you’ll find this intimate drinking den dressed to kill in black.

When to visit For a date down south – the mood is just right in the flickering candlelight.

What’s on the menu? A short list of cracking originals and a Hawksmoor classic, Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew.

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Balham
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Little Bar

What's the vibe? Tiny, goldfish-bowl bar full of young, friendly Tootingites.

When to visit When you want a slice of Shoreditch without rattling up the Northern Line.

What’s on the menu? Quality bottled beers and cocktails – mostly classic, plus half a dozen in-house creations.

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Tooting
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Callooh Callay

Venue says: Winner of the 'world's best high volume bar' at the 2016 Spirited Awards. Open seven days a week 6pm-1am. Cocktail classes also available.

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.

What’s on the menu? Some of the worst/best cocktail puns in London: ‘Sage Advice’, ‘The Fennel Countdown’.

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Shoreditch
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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'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.

What’s on the menu? Daquiris, zombies, mai-tais… Rum, rum and more rum.

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Westbourne

London's best cocktail bars: 40-31

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Ruby's

What's the vibe? Artfully disheveled basement bar filled with artfully disheveled east Londoners.

When to visit When you want to add a shot of glamour to your night out in Dalston.

What's on the menu? Creative cocktails served in style, garnished with one eye on Instagram.

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Shacklewell
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The Permit Room

What’s the vibe? Post-colonial drinking palace below Dishoom with just a touch of the speakeasy about it.

When to visit Off-peak times when you can sneak in for a gin.

What’s on the menu? Gin-based drinks with a warm and spicy twist.

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King's Cross
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High Water

What’s the vibe? Fashionable drinkers select this haunt to kickstart a sordid night out in Dalston.

When to visit Any night of the week can feel like the weekend here.

What’s on the menu? Peerless classics, original inventions without too much showing off.

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Dalston
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K Bar

What’s the vibe? A west London hotel bar that’s actually buzzing. Oak-paneled, marble-topped, velvet-lined, classy as hell.

When to visit Make it an all-nighter at K Bar. You’ll struggle to find better drinks in the vicinity.

What’s on the menu? Dessert drinks for the dreamiest of nightcaps.

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South Kensington
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NOLA London

What's the vibe? The Deep South by way of the East End.

When to visit A night out where you can pretend you're 4,000 miles away in Louisiana.

What's on the menu? Refined cocktails that are authentically bracing and short.

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Shoreditch
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Discount Suit Company

Venue says: Quirky cocktails inspired by classics. Soulful DJs on Wednesday to Saturday. Back streets of Shoreditch. Guest cocktail changing each month.

What's the vibe? Spitalfields hip meets City money, but the only sparks fly from the dreamy drinks.

When to visit For an evening of serious cocktail love, or just while waiting for a table at one of Spitalfields' finest. 

What’s on the menu? Serious, complex cocktails, with brown spirits prominent.

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Spitalfields
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Nightjar

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.

What’s on the menu? Some of the most madcap/inventive cocktails in London. Visit to find out what ‘plankton air’ is.

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Hoxton
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Worship Street Whistling Shop

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

When to visit An early weekday evening is pleasantly unhurried.

What’s on the menu? Even when the drinks sound a little wacky, they have a tendency to taste great.

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Shoreditch
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Experimental Cocktail Club

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

When to visit One of those special occasions when splurging on cocktails is just what you want to do.

What’s on the menu? Stunningly balanced cocktails, many with vintage spirits.

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Chinatown
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Mark's Bar

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.

What’s on the menu? Beautifully made concoctions inspired by British stories.

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Soho

London's best cocktail bars: 30-21

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Little Bat Bar

What’s the vibe? Callooh Callay’s sister bar is a veritable library. Get cosy in one of its corners.

When to visit For a silly night out in north London, make a beeline for the bar’s own photo booth.

What’s on the menu? All sorts of swizzles, smashes and sours. Don’t miss the Pan Am.

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Barnsbury
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Milk & Honey

What's the vibe? Discreet, dark, delightful.


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

What’s on the menu? Simple-sounding cocktails with decades of collective bartending experience behind them.

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Soho
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Happiness Forgets

What's the vibe? Big chill: laughing locals quaffing classy cocktails
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When to visit On a late East End night out that needs something a bit classy.

What’s on the menu? No-messing-about twisted classics, all done perfectly.

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Shoreditch
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Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel

What's the vibe? Seriously laid back, and lively without being overbearingly noisy.

When to visit When you want to chill with a proper West End cocktail – but without paying Belgravia prices.

What’s on the menu? Flawless classics that don’t try to improve on what’s already perfect.

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Soho
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Oriole

What’s the vibe? The follow-up to Nightjar – think of Oriole as the flashy little sister. Expect show-stopping glamour and a wall papered in a lush palm tree print.

When to visit Be sure to come after 8.30pm to soak up the atmosphere of a live jazz band.

What’s on the menu? Good luck choosing from this cornucopia of wild cocktails. Drinking here is far from stripped back but boy is it stunning.

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Farringdon
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Portobello Star

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.

What’s on the menu? Anything made with Portobello, the house gin

, is worth a second look.

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Westbourne
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Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

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!

What’s on the menu?
 Champagne cocktails. Loads of them. What more of an excuse do you need?

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Charing Cross
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Trailer Happiness

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.

What’s on the menu? Cheeky tiki drinks with a massive measure of fun.

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Westbourne
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Peg & Patriot

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.

What’s on the menu? The puntastic cocktails at Peg & Patriot are as creative as their names suggest.

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Bethnal Green
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Joyeux Bordel

What’s the vibe? Popular haunt for local in-the-know creative execs who savour the finer things.

When to visit They open until 2am; perfect for when that well-intentioned ‘just one pint after work’ gets out of hand.

What's on the menu? Strong flavours executed with Parisian panache.

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Shoreditch

London's best cocktail bars: 20-11

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The Gibson

What’s the vibe? A tiny little room with a loose Prohibition theme is low-key enough to let the focus fall on cocktail wizardry.

When to visit Later on in the week when there’s a bit more of a buzz about the place and flapper girl table service feels totally acceptable.

What’s on the menu? Mind-blowing drinks served in even madder glassware.

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Old Street
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Bar Termini

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.

What’s on the menu? Italian classics, short and strong.

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Soho
18
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Oskar's Bar

What’s the vibe? Darkling Gotham City chic.

When to visit Midweek, when it’s more glamorous than clamorous.

What's on the menu? Imaginative cocktails including beer and cider-based drinks.

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Fitzrovia
17
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Behind This Wall

What’s the vibe? A hidden basement bar on Hackney’s Mare Street where vinyl records are given as much attention as gorgeous drinks.

When to visit For a Sunday session – it stays open until 10pm.

What’s on the menu? Short pousse-café digestifs, drinks paired with oysters and a Manhattan well worth savouring.

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Hackney
16
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American Bar at The Savoy

What's the vibe? Money without snootiness: everyone’s here to cool their heels, whether in Y3’s or Louboutins.

When to visit Earlier in the evening to get a table without a long wait. Late night for people watching.

What’s on the menu? It pushes the envelope with some brave experimentation, but these eagle-eyed bartenders never miss the bullseye.

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Charing Cross
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The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell

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.

What’s on the menu? It’s a small but creative list of small but creative cocktails.

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Clerkenwell
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Frank's Cafe

What’s the vibe? Art students and vista-loving sunseekers get merry on a rooftop.

When to visit Summer, obvs, and sunsets are particularly appealing.

What’s on the menu? A solid selection of Campari- and bitter-based shorts.

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Peckham
13
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First Aid Box

What’s the vibe? Rocking apothecary with white-tiled walls and pharmaceutical gear. You’re sure to get hooked.

When to visit On a Friday or Saturday night when it’s strictly playtime. See if you can find their secret bar within a bar, Blinders.

What’s on the menu? Doctor’s orders: get yourself a Brockwell Park Bramble, which comes with a syringe of Chambord. Feeling better?

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Herne Hill
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Dukes Hotel

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.

What’s on the menu? All the classics, but it has to be a martini. Just the one.

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St James'
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Blind Pig

What’s the vibe? Prohibition chic with a tasteful infusion of twenty-first-century cool.

When to visit When you’ve got someone special to impress.

What’s on the menu? Bold drinks with a cheeky, anything-goes approach to ingredients.

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Soho

London's best cocktail bars: the top ten

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Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar

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.

What’s on the menu? We can’t see past the Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew – gin, lemon, ginger and London Pride beer.

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Spitalfields
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7 Tales

What’s the vibe? Tokyo street signage, photogenic neon and brash hip hop make for one vibrant setting where Londoners will feel well at home.

When to visit You could come for a pre-dinner drink, but we say make a night of it down here. Order incredible Japanese bar snacks from Sosharu upstairs, instead.

What’s on the menu? Perfectly balanced, Asian-inspired drinks. The Champagne Papi requires audience participation.

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London
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69 Colebrooke Row

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.

What’s on the menu? The likes of the Terroir: ‘distilled clay, flint and lichen’.

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Islington
7
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Cocktail Trading Company

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


When to visit On an east London cocktail crawl.

What’s on the menu? Cocktails are often served in unusual glassware (and ceramicware) with wacky garnishes, candy floss or noodles among them.

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Bethnal Green
6
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Dandelyan

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.

What’s on the menu? All original creations from international startender Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan.

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South Bank
5
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Satan's Whiskers

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.

What’s on the menu? Some of the best cocktails to be found in Bethnal Green’s burgeoning booze scene.

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Bethnal Green
4
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Original Sin


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

When to visit Before climbing the stairs to Burger Bear.

What’s on the menu? The cocktails, served by impeccably pleasant staff, are strong, well-balanced and classy.

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Stoke Newington
3
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White Lyan

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.

What’s on the menu? Ingredients include electric stonefruit brandy, beeswax egg, blackcurrant paint. It’s all amazing.

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Hoxton
2
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The Connaught Bar

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…

What’s on the menu? Make your first stop the martini menu. A trolley is wheeled to your table and the drink’s made right before you.

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Mayfair
1
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Punch Room at the London Edition

What’s the vibe? Cosseted, cool hotel bar bringing fashionistas together round the punch bowl.

When to visit Book a table by the fire for an impressively hot date night.

What’s on the menu? Booze! A modern take on a good, old-fashioned bowl of punch.

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Fitzrovia

Discover London's best signature drinks

The ten best signature drinks in London

Cocktail menus can be overwhelming, with all the puntastic tipple titles and fancy foams, vapours and distillations. If you really need to know what to drink in London, here's a good place to start. 

Read more
By: Euan Ferguson

Take our cocktail quiz!

Comments

25 comments
Caroline M
Caroline M

Wish you can have this in a better format as i.e in areas of London so all bars, restaurants are shown in each area such as Covent garden, borough market etc 

Jason James
Jason James

Bar Termini wins hands down. It's a bugger to get into but it's always worth the wait. Amazing old fashioneds and martinis. 

Dijana K
Dijana K

It's articles like this that contributes to gentrification. To put ridley road in dalston on the top 50 cocktail bars is absolute bull. £5 for a mohito in a plastic cup yes. And tourists will be robed and stared out of locals. Welcome! 

Michaela M
Michaela M

Cartier off Bond Street most beautiful bar with decor that's elegant - great wine and cocktails. Comfortable bar - intimate and also secret hidden room is good for a larger group / party. My favourite.

Greg S
Greg S

Where's Opium in Chinatown?

Amy
Amy

There's a new little cocktail bar on Liverpool Street called W.M Barker & Co, it's underground right beneath the pub Dirty Dicks and they do AMAZING cocktails. On Thursday, Fri and Sat they're open till 3am and it's free entry as well... great place! 

Gabriele G
Gabriele G

Went to Zetter last weekend  -  fantastic experience. Will be going back with anyone coming to visit me.

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...

RichardEhrlich
RichardEhrlich moderator

@Jeff M Thanks for your comment, Jeff. I'd just like to point out that White Lyan is on our list.

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

my name is yılmaz if you wist that name off ı gıve you my name you can fıne lots diffrent cocktail end ı can hel you for everythıng you want ın there end about anythıng you want you can ask