The best bars in Victoria
A reliably old-school, no-nonsense wine bar, Balls Brothers has been going since the mid-nineteenth, century, but the Victoria branch is one from the chain with a more modern feel about it. Still, have no doubt that Old World wine still rules this roost.
Pretend you’re in ‘Downton Abbey’ with a visit to the bar of superlative London hotel The Goring. A regal fireplace, deep red walls and wingback chairs set the scene for some very fine imbibing. The bar food menu is larger than your average – glazed lobster omelette, Lady Mary?
Transport yourself to bonnie Scotland without leaving the Smoke. There’s tartan everywhere, and although many come to Boisdale for a slap-up Scotch supper, the whisky bar is William Wallace levels of heroic. Sample blends from the Highlands, the Lowlands and the bits in between.
Sup on movie-themed cocktails in a subterranean setting, served with a side of popcorn, naturally. CCC is serving up the likes of an Air Plane, a Kill Bill and a Titanic (which hopefully won’t give you that sinking feeling). It’s a very cool setting with tunes by the likes of the Shins on the stereo. Kid yourself that you’re in Shoreditch.
Venue says Join us for Aperitivo Time! Get £5 spritz cocktails and complimentary nibbles, every Monday to Friday, 4-7pm.
Three words: spritzes on tap. The bar up above Jason Atherton Italian Hai Cenato is a bold and brash place for aperitivo time, where orange drinks abound. The vermouth and tonic menu is delightful, and bar snacks including pizzas are whipped up in the kitchen below. Capish?
You know what’s missing from the local pub? An in-house hair salon. Not the case at Greenwood, a multi-purpose tipple house, where cocktails come with a side of coiffuring. It also doubles as a sports bar (we kid you not): there’s a plush place to watch the game with craft beer in hand sitting up on the first floor.
Victoria or Bavaria? It’s a question you’ll find yourself asking at oddly named Munich Cricket Club, a beer hall modelled on those straight out of Germany. Order two-pint steins at £10 a pop to wash down schnitzel or a sausage platter. If oompah’s your thing (and it is, of course) head here on Thursdays.
Brixton’s much-loved wine bar Naughty Piglets has made a dramatic leap into theatreland, as the bar at Lloyd Webber’s Other Palace theatre. Natural wine dominates the list, with a vast range of options by the bottle if you’re after more than a pre-show tipple. The food menu is just as enticing.
Vagabond’s nifty machines that dispense wine by smartcard have spread their way across town, with a total of six bars now in the capital. This Victoria branch is the biggest and offers the same reliable quaffing, with wines grouped by depth of flavour rather than by region. Grape stuff.
Inside Victoria’s Bank Restaurant, Zander Bar deserves a shout-out for its claim to have London’s longest bar. Hopefully that means you won’t struggle to find a seat when cocktail hour hits. Order from a list of classics or stick to a spritz with a twist.