Mayfair has long been a favourite haunt of the rich and privileged, but that doesn't mean the bars are stuffy. There are kitsch rum joints, world-beating cocktail spots and gorgeously decorated hotel bars. Go for a special occasion or a big night out – you’re worth it.
RECOMMENDED: Find more local fun in our Mayfair area guide.
The best bars in Mayfair
The lobby bar of Corbin and King's understated art deco hotel has impeccable service and top-notch tipples in a low-lit and discreet setting, where only the tables are bathed in pools of light.
Straight out of ‘Mad Men’, The Bar is darkly lit, comfortable and heavy on jungle foliage along a signature wall. Cocktails include compelling house creations, like the Downtown Manhattan, which is served in a bag of smoke.
For suave service, a luxurious atmosphere and a dark, moody setting, The Bar at The Dorchester scores big. Swerve its menu of overpriced gin and tonics in favour of 'forgotten' classic cocktails – like the Ramos Fizz.
A pulsating basement bar beneath Dabiz Muñoz’s StreetXO restaurant. The cocktail menu is described as ‘liquid cuisine’ and drinks being rustled up behind the bar look pretty freaky too and drinking vessels include fish bowls and Chinese takeaway cartons. A trip here guarantees an experience a million miles from the one you get in the surrounding Martini bars of Mayfair.
Claridge’s remains one of London’s best hotels. The downside: everyone knows it, and its beautiful bar (designed by David Collins) can be a little oversubscribed. But hey, you can’t beat it if it’s a glass of bubbles you’re after.
The Connaught has always had the most country house-like feeling of London’s great hotels, and the effect reaches perfection in the effortlessly beautiful Coburg. Sip flawless classic cocktails in style.
A Mayfair wine bar with all the posh tipples and small plates you’d expect, but with a light, bright soundtrack of pop hits. Comptoir is brought to you by Master sommelier Xavier Rousset – formerly of Michelin-starred Texture and now proud parent of Blandford Comptoir and other wine-heavy restaurants – so the wine list is expertly curated.
The flagship bar at The Connaught is luxury on a different level. The cocktails served up are world-class wonders, light bounces around the room in pure elegance and service is nothing short of exemplary. Get them to wheel over the martini trolley for one of London’s best drinking experiences.
The bar within upscale Mayfair restaurant Corrigan’s crafts cocktails using ingredients ferried across daily from Irish chef Richard Corrigan’s County Cavan farm. Cocktails are divine and the setting is swanky, but the atmosphere can be a little flat after the pre-dinner rush.
Drinks at the Brown's Hotel bar are served in gimmicky glassware – no Mayfair snootiness here, then. The setting is also playful, paying homage to the swinging sixties. It’s a pricey spot, but a good shout in hotel land when out of the ordinary is what you’re after.
For a single, mind-blowingly strong, heartbreakingly delicious cocktail head for Dukes, one of London’s true classic bars, and justly famous for the theatrical presentation of martinis created on a tray brought out specially for you.
Hawksmoor is best renowned for steaks the size of your face, but its drinking game is just as strong. The Air Street branch has a separate bar and the tall, art deco space is ideal as soon as cocktail hour strikes. Sampling the marmalade cocktail is essential.
Down a Gaudí-esque spiral staircase and in the basement beneath Ollie Dabbous’ new restaurant, this bar has the feel of a modern, minimal Nordic cabin, with barely-there lighting and dense wooden surfaces. But supreme cocktails served in dainty glassware cut through the intensity of it all. These are among the best mixed drinks you’ll find in the neighbourhood, every tipple a masterful original you won’t want to end.
Venue says Try our new seasonal cocktail menu in Hide Below by award winning mixologist and Hide Bar Manager, Oskar Kinberg.
Moroccan hideaway Kwãnt (pronounced ‘quaint’) gets full marks for authenticity – you'll feel truly transported to a secret gambling den of yesteryear, like you've stepped straight through the screen and out into a scene in ‘Casablanca’. All that's missing is Humphrey Bogart, but the fun cocktails make up for it.
Don’t try to take this mock-Polynesian palace seriously. You can’t. It’s silly, it’s tacky, it attracts monied airheads – and it’s bags of fun if you’re big into rum.
This hotel bar is a long thin room with subdued lighting, chestnut panelling and a convex mirror at both ends, with dark leather and velvet furniture sprinkled with the occasional hotel guest. Most cocktails are extremely fruity and start at £16 a piece.
Mr Fogg’s theme is a little much but you have to admire the execution, with this bar looking every bit the part as the residence of fictional explorer Phileas Fogg. The cocktails continue on that adventurous note, with smoke, flames, sprays and novelty glassware galore. The bar’s take on afternoon tea, Tipsy Tea, proves popular.
Over-the-top decor in the Rivoli bar harks back to the golden era of cocktails and suits the glitzy location within the Ritz Hotel. Prices only appear sensible if money is of no consequence, but if it’s a celebration you’re after, you’re in the right place for putting on the ritz.
A long bar within celebrity restaurant Sexy Fish, find flashy types out on the credit card. Drinks will set you back big time, but the drinks list has plenty of Asian-inspired numbers to tie in with the food menu, and the puns come thick and fast, so at least the bar never takes itself too seriously.
Hugh Heffner may have left this world for the great mansion in the sky, but a part of his legacy lives on in Mayfair at the Playboy Club. If confusing sexual politics isn’t your thing, give this bar a miss. But bunny girls serve original cocktails on trays and they’re pretty good – the drinks, we mean. Eyes front!
This warren of Samoan-themed, carved-wood campery in the bowels of the Hilton has been here since 1963. There’s even a cocktail in honour of its arrival: the London Sour. If ever there was a Tiki bar in London worth visiting, this is it – the original Trader Vic’s in San Fran kicked off the whole trend, after all.
A swanky Mayfair cocktail joint with a nod to the nags, drink mint juleps (as served at the Kentuckey Derby) in among riding crops and rosettes. It’s certainly a singular setting.