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london's most tropical bars, oriole

London’s most tropical bars

At these London bars, you can jet off to somewhere seriously exotic without setting foot outside the capital

By Laura Richards

Didn’t bag yourself a return ticket to the tropics this summer? Never mind – here’s a handful of exotic-looking bars right here in London to get you feeling that summer heat (and to save your poor old bank balance).

The most totally tropical bars in London

Ridley Road Market Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Dalston

It’s like you just stepped off the beach at this Dalston shanty-shack of a bar. The DIY décor is met with fresh fruit on the bar, palms springing up from the floor and vines hanging down from the ceiling. Drink a piña colada to seal the tropical deal. On disco nights expect queues longer than those for flight EZY8601 to Malaga.

Nine Lives

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars London Bridge

Imagine a covert hangout in Central America, filled with wicker furniture and overflowing plant life, lit cunningly low and set to a smooth, groovy soundtrack. That’s what you get at this Bermondsey basement bar. It’s like a secluded bar from a Bond movie, but don’t feel that you have to pack a tuxedo. Or Speedos, for that matter.


Trailer Happiness

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Portobello Road

Welcome to tiki paradise, population: you, your barman and a whole lotta rum. Notting Hill’s long-standing Polynesian hideaway looks like a bachelor pad, but Tretchikoff prints of exotic women pep up the walls, beaded curtains separate the bathroom from the bar and tropical fruit dresses the bar top. Aloha, good times.


Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Smithfield

A palm print runs the length of the room, ancient masks sit on display and wax prints upholster the furniture. Is it South America? Is it Africa? Nope, it’s Oriole, a basement bar in Smithfield Market. And it’s a transcendental drinking haven where live jazz and creative cocktails will have you dancing like nobody knows you in no time.


The Pink Chihuahua

Bars and pubs Mezcalerias Soho

Every day is Day of the Dead at this secretive basement bar in Soho. Painted skulls line the shelves – as do bottles of tequila – bright murals cover the walls and floral oilcloths lay across tables. You’ll be convinced you’ve just stepped off the plane at Oaxaca. And you’ll be salsa dancing as soon as that tequila kicks in.

Permit Room

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars King’s Cross

The scent of incense lays thick in the air, ceiling fans spin languidly above and the sound of ‘energetic sitar’ (their words) drifts through the room – you’ve somehow reached Bombay via King’s Cross. This basement bar below Dishoom is a buzzing place for a spiked (i.e. boozy) chai, spiced-up classic cocktail or refreshing, sober tipple. No risk of Delhi belly, either.

Carry on the tropical vibes

The best rum bars in London

Bars and pubs

If you’re looking for a strong drink, you’ve come to the right place. Find below the ultimate list of London bars where rum is king. Whether you want to sip the night away on rare and wonderful rums from around the world or you’d prefer to party with a cocktail in hand in a tropical tiki den, you’ll find it all below. From mai tais to moijtos, daiquiris to dark ‘n’ stormies, London has it all.


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