The first thing you need to know about choosing a champagne bar is that the words ‘champagne bar’ may be the worst thing to look for. Some places with that name are just trying to put overpriced lipstick on a particularly plain pig. Do you really want to drink the world’s most expensive sparkling wine while watching people shop for shoes in a department store? We’d be more inclined to go for places that are really good bars and just do champagne well, even if it’s not their sole or principal offering. And hey! Some of them even include the C-word in their names. These things happen.
Champagne bars in London
Venue says: “Soak up sunshine vibes with our beautifully seasonal spring menu. Three courses and a glass of bubbly for £28.00.”
This is one case in which the name champagne bar is a cause for cheers instead of caution. The place just looks so incredibly gorgeous, deftly done in dark wood and affording magnificent views of the whole Eurostar hall. There are a dozen wines by the glass, starting at an un-greedy £9.50, and from Sunday through Thursday you can order the house champagne for £35 a bottle. Try and bag a banquette to get maximum fun out of your fizz.
Why would you pay £18.50 for a glass of champagne here when you could pay £13 elsewhere? Well, for starters it’s Louis Roederer champagne, one of the best non-vintage wines around – and in a 150ml measure rather than the standard 125. And then there are the bar snacks: nuts, crisps and whatnot, which come at no extra charge. And then there’s the knowledge that you’re sitting in one of the most famous bars in the world. And finally… well, it’s the Savoy, ffs. ‘Nuff said.
Most people think of this lovely Art Deco room as a cocktail bar – and so do we! Why else would we have ranked it so high in our list of London’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars? But the room is lovely, and comfy, and never too noisy. And that makes it a very civilised place to sip Bollinger, that AbFab necessity, for £13.70 a glass. Proceed to the restaurant afterwards, or go out into the night seeking Soho thrills.
Parsons Green has been getting no end of amusement from this unorthodox restaurant/wine bar since 2006. Champagne is the star attraction, not just because the selection is good but because it’s priced compassionately: glasses (a total of eight) from £7.50, bottles from £37. In appearance it’s more a local pub than a fizz-parlour. At these prices, a bottle of champagne between three people (the perfect number) cuts the spend even more.
This perennial favourite isn’t a place you would necessarily think of as a bar (despite the name), but it’s just as easy to pop in for a drink at the long, gleaming-wood bar as it is for a meal. Champagnes start at £13.75 a pop, and shhhh! don’t tell anyone, but their non-champagne fizz is cheaper still. Oh, and you should resign yourself to ordering oysters. Order by the piece, if you don’t want to overindulge.
Now find cracking cocktail bars
So many cocktails, so little time. So just stick to the best cocktail bars in London by using our ranked list below. You'll find everything from dark and dirty speakeasy joints and secret bars to bold and brash party spots meant for a night out on the tiles. What they all have in common is mixed drinks that will blow your mind – and hopefully not your budget.
This Camden spot follows on from the original London BYOC, over in Covent Garden. The acronym stands for 'bring your own cocktail', which means that for a set entrance fee (£25) guests can bring their own bottle of booze for the BYOC bartenders to use as a base for some creative concoctions. They've got a fair few tools in their kitbag, too. They'll jazz up your chosen spirit with handmade syrups, bitters, mixers, herbs, cordials, juices, salts, fruits and whatnot, tailored to the kinds of tipple to which you're partial. Visits are limited to two hours, and must be booked in advance.
Venue says: “In a beautiful, dimly lit basement bar created in the style of a clandestine, following the same format as its Covent Garden sibling,”