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oxo tower bar, south bank bars

South Bank bars

Get away from the crowds and enjoy a drink in one of the the South Bank’s best bars

By Laura Richards
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The South Bank – with its views across the Thames and its cultural institutes – is understandably one of London’s busiest stretches. So you need to be a bit strategical when you do your drinking here. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best bars along the South Bank. Coincidentally, they all have great views, many from up high. So whether you’re looking for posh cocktails or a chilled glass of wine, you can do so while still enjoying the South Bank’s best bits.

RECOMMENDED: Find more fun in the neighbourhood in our South Bank area guide

The best bars along the South Bank

OXO Tower Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars South Bank

At the bar (and restaurant) on the eighth floor of the iconic OXO Tower, visitors can choose to sit inside or out on the terrace watching over the movement down below on the busy South Bank (and why wouldn’t you want to do a lovely thing like that). Cocktails are mostly the classics (and are fairly pricey) with the odd twist and turn. 

Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Café

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants South Bank

This rooftop space is open from May to September and is packed at lunchtimes in summer months, but choose it for afternoon drinks, too. It's perfect for a sundowner as the world passes by down below, with drinks and snacks available from a central bar. A voluntary therapy group tend to the garden, making it a real feel-good place and a rare bit of calm along this often-frenetic stretch of the capital.

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Rumpus Room

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

Just like Dandelyan, this cocktail bar lives at the South Bank’s shiny Mondrian Hotel, although Rumpus Room literally has one over on Dandelyan, being 12 floors up above it. It has a compact balcony from which you can drink fancy cocktails while you gaze across at St Paul’s. But indoors is just as appealing, with a slick style of its own and DJs playing out to the beautiful people who inevitably flock here throughout the year.

Skylon Bar

5 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Cocktail bars South Bank

Head on up at the Royal Festival Hall to find Skylon, a smart restaurant and bar and yet another South Bank spot with windows to peer out from. Watch the action along by the Thames with a cocktail in hand from a bar that takes centre stage in the tall-ceilinged space. The bar’s wine list is an epic read, but splash-out cocktails with sparkling wine in the mix feel the most fitting.

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