Clerkenwell bars

From posh cocktail spots to wine bars a cut above the rest, find a watering hole to suit you in Clerkenwell and Farringdon
7 tales, clerkenwell and farringdon bars
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Clerkenwell is a part of London full of history and filled with creatives, so it’s hardly a surprise that you’ll find a fair few quality bars in the ’hood, too. There are some smashing wine bars, a smattering of quirky spots for creative cocktails or classic places to drink more straight-forward and strong martinis. So whether sticking around Farringdon or heading on up to Exmouth Market, add these bars to your Clerkenwell hit list immediately.   

RECOMMENDED: Find more fun in the neighbourhood in our Clerkenwell area guide

The best bars in Clerkenwell

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

7 Tales

icon-location-pin Farringdon

Pull back the slitted curtain in the basement of Jason Atherton’s Sosharu restaurant and you’ll find 7 Tales: an achingly cool cocktail bar that’s a homage to Tokyo. Cocktails are wacky as well as delicious, and bar snacks are delivered from the first-rate kitchen upstairs. Don’t miss the heated toilets for extra kicks. 

Time Out says
Bars and pubs

Ask for Janice

icon-location-pin Farringdon

With its enigmatic name, ‘secret’ basement bar, bare filament lightbulbs, white tiling, reclaimed furniture, and food served on enamel plates or in little preservation jars, Ask For Janice isn’t breaking the bar mould. Craft beer, gin and small plates confirm this, but friendly service and real attention to detail set Janice apart from the rest.

Time Out says
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Restaurants, Contemporary European

Bird of Smithfield

icon-location-pin Farringdon

At this five-floor dining venue on Smithfield Street you’ll find a dinky top-floor bar on the roof. Up here, you can delve into a delicious and extensive bar menu dedicated to London's summer favourite – the spritz.

Time Out says
Bars and pubs

Bounce Farringdon

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This is the original ping pong bar that Bounce opened and it's located, allegedly, on the exact spot that the beautiful, bouncy game was invented. Along with pizzas and cocktails, Bounce serves up a night of competitive fun in an industrial-chic space. Just watch out for the inevitable stag crowd.

Venue says Join us for our Cirque Du Soul Ping Pong Party on Sat 29th September. Tickets are just £10 and include a free drink!

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© Jonathan Perugia
Bars and pubs, Sports bars

Café Kick

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Exmouth Market’s Café Kick is home to football in its many forms – from screening Continental games and showing off scarves and shirts from obscure teams to championing the miniature version of the beautiful game – table football. It also has a hat-trick of a happy hour: find offers on bottles of beer, house wine and cocktails. Back of the net.

Time Out says
Restaurants, British

Coin Laundry

icon-location-pin Clerkenwell

If modern drinking doesn’t do it for you, come over all retro at Coin Laundry, a bar on the edge of Exmouth Market whose decor not only suits Thirsty Thursday, but Throwback Thursday as well. Grab a Formica table and get in a round. It’s a shame the actual drinks aren’t as retro as the setting. But for bar snacks, chicken kiev ought to hit the spot.

Time Out says
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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

The Gibson

icon-location-pin Old Street

If you like your drinks to look like showstoppers, pay a visit to The Gibson. Every cocktail is made to look like a masterpiece, and each one has a unique flavour to back it up with. It’s a dinky space with a loose 1920s look and with friendly table service, so you can settle in and let those drinks create all the atmosphere you’ll be needing.

Time Out says
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Hester's Hideout

icon-location-pin Clerkenwell

If you needed proof that London’s cabaret scene is alive and (positively) kicking, take a trip to Hester’s Hideout under Paesan restaurant. Drinks are just as entertaining as burlesque and cabaret acts. Bread and Salt includes a thick, butter-washed gin. How’s that for razzle-dazzle?

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Oriole

icon-location-pin Farringdon

This may just be London’s most beautiful bar, dressed in an exotic palm print that runs along one wall and filled with weird artefacts from far-off lands. The drinks are also something to behold – cocktails dressed to the nines and with a full-on flavour to boot. Live jazz seals the deal for a stylish night out just moments from Smithfield’s meat market.

Time Out says
Restaurants, Italian

Polpo Smithfield

icon-location-pin Farringdon

This Venetian-inspired mini-chain of bàcari is holding a Negroni bar in its basement that’s a bit of a secret to many. Come down for classic Italian aperitivi – from those aforementioned Negronis to Bellinis and Spritzes – as well as meat balls, arancini and other much-loved Italian morsels.

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Bars and pubs, Tapas bars

Tonica by The Distillery

icon-location-pin Clerkenwell

This bar nestling along Exmouth Market is a follow-up to Gin Tonica, Notting Hill’s Spanish-themed gin and tapas bar. The tapas can be hit and miss, but the giant goblet-sized G&Ts are as refreshing as can be and best imbibed on one of the outdoor tables on the market stretch – pretend you’re drinking just off Las Ramblas.

Time Out says
Bars and pubs, Wine bars

The Vestry

icon-location-pin Farringdon

Tucked away on Charterhouse Street, this Farringdon wine bar once acted as a vestry for the parish of St Sepulchre’s. Now it worships wine, with an enomatic machine meaning you can sample some pricier tipples by the glass instead of forking out for a whole 750ml. Beer enthusiasts aren’t forgotten, either, with a good range of local London brews.

Time Out says
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Bars and pubs, Wine bars

Vinoteca

icon-location-pin Farringdon

Farringdon has a dinky branch of Vinoteca fit for delicious grazing washed down by wine from all around the world. There aren’t many places in the capital where you can order a glass of black of Kalavryta from Greece – or you can choose something equally pleasing from the 285-strong list to take home (at shop retail prices). Enthusiastic staff are happy to make recommendations.

Time Out says
Bars and pubs

The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell Cocktail Lounge

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Zetter Townhouse’s cocktail bar remains one of London’s most singular drinking experiences, where lavish guests sip on Martinis or wilder concoctions in among antiques and knickknacks – it’s decorated like an eccentric collector’s country house and the short cocktail list is devised by Tony Conigliaro (of 69 Colebrooke Row, Bar Termini and Untitled).

Venue says Afternoon tea has landed in Clerkenwell! Try Aunt Wilhelmina’s dainty 'Traditional Tea' or Uncle Seymour’s heartier ‘Gentleman’s Tea’.

Time Out says
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