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best bars in kensington, k bar

Kensington bars

You may be surprised by the best bars in Kensington and South Kensington, which range from stylish hangouts to basement dive bars

By Laura Richards

So you’re probably expecting fancy hotel bars serving posh cocktails in this part of town – and sure, there are some great ones. But in Kensington and South Kensington, you’ll also find dive bars, café bars and secret speakeasy bars. You’ll find young, new spots as well as watering holes that echo with London’s history. Drinking in Kensington is full of surprises – here’s where to start your bar crawl.

RECOMMENDED: Find more fun in the neighbourhood in our Kensington area guide.

Chelsea Prayer Room

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Chelsea

Chelsea still has some secrets in store. Like this hidden bar within restaurant Goat. It has a speakeasy theme but don’t let that intimidate you. You could be best buddies with this bar once you discover that every 10th cocktail on the house. Shh... don’t tell all your friends.

Dirty Bones Kensington

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants American Kensington

Styled as a basement ‘dive and dog bar’ – hot dogs, that is – this Dirty Bones branch is pretty cool for Kensington. The lighting is flatteringly set to drinking-den low, and the music is at ‘party loud’. Match pimped fast food with cocktails with cute doggy puns for names – try the Mutt's Nuts.

Food and Drink_EvansANDPeel_02.jpg
©Rob Grieg

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Earl’s Court

Getting into this supernaturally dark bar in Earls Court is, for many, the best part of the experience. Present ‘your case’ to a private detective before they pull back the bookcase and let you step inside for a drink. Cocktails are memorable, with intriguing flavours – from fresh to smokey.

Hyde Kensington

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Pan-Asian Kensington

At the beginning of High Street Kensington, this little underground vault delivers cocktails with an emphasis on flavour rather than power, served in varying receptacles and adorned with all manner of flora. Pan-Asian bar snacks are also happy offerings. Enjoy them in the glow of neon artwork.


Janet's Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars South Kensington

A popular bar in South Kensington, located downstairs in a townhouse on Old Brompton Road, Janet’s was recently named the best place to drink in the area in the Time Out Love City awards. It’s got the local seal of approval, and that’s probably got something to do with its down-to-earth vibe.  

K Bar

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Hotel bars South Kensington

Top-notch drinks and table service is as good as you’d expect from a quality hotel, with oak-panelled walls and a marble-topped bar adding to the air of opulence. Cocktails are competitively priced and expertly mixed, and for the nightcap crowd, there’s even a menu of dessert drinks.



Music Earl’s Court

Steeped in musical history, this multi-faceted venue has played host to some of the world’s greatest artists, from Sammy Davis Jnr and Jimi Hendrix to Led Zeppelin jam sessions. The ground-floor café is a charming space with stained glass and wood panelling, where you can indulge in a glass of wine and imagine London’s headier days.


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