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Three Sheets
Three Sheets

The best bars in Soho

Soho and Chinatown are packed with some of London’s classiest and coolest drinking spots

Edited by
Leonie Cooper
Written by
Laura Richards
&
Sarah Cohen
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For centuries, Soho has been London's playground: packed with spots for boozing, flirting and soaking up the best of the city after dark. And even though it's largely cleaned up its once-sleazy reputation, it's still packed with fine drinking spots, from gloomy basements to high-end cocktail bars. Whether you join the crowds hopping up and down its famous network of streets or settle in for the duration, you’re guaranteed a brilliant, boozy night out in Soho and neighbouring Chinatown. Word to the wise: you might want to line your stomach at one of Soho's best restaurants. Now head to the heart of the West End to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

RECOMMENDED: These are London's very best bars.

The best bars in Soho

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

Three Sheets’ second site is warmer and fancier than the Dalston original; all soft, inviting booths and dark wood. So far, so Soho. The Three Sheets Soho team have devised a menu which takes drinks you know well to sexier, more modern places. There are clear White Russians and Mezcal Sunsets (the grown-up older sister of a tequila sunrise – only more Ibiza than Benidorm). Contemporary, cool and really quite exciting. 

Bar Termini
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

Bar Termini does coffee, cocktails, wine and a couple of teeny small plates to soak it all up. Every one of them is perfection. Its leisurely day-to-night opening hours make it a perfect place to pop in for a morning brew, an Italian aperitivo or a classy nightcap, and it's an always impressive date spot. 

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

This wonderful bar occupies the hallowed ground that began life as Dick’s Bar, when Brasserie Zédel was the Atlantic Bar & Grill and the late, great Dick Bradsell was the man shaking up cocktails. Zédel has installed a great crew, of both bartenders and front of house staff, though. And it’s kept the beautiful art deco fittings and the widely spaced tables, which are a major factor in keeping noise levels down. We love the brevity and simplicity of the cocktail list, which is stacked with tried-and-tested classics.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

This smart bar split across two floors is one of the best places to drink in London. That’s thanks to affordable, simple, stand-out aperitivi up top and deliciously dark spirit-based cocktails in a brooding basement down below. There’s something here for everyone – even Irish coffee. If you’re into cocktails, Swift has to be on your London bucket list.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Members' clubs
  • Soho

These days, the term ‘speakeasy’ is bandied about with reckless abandon by bar owners desperate to adorn their venue with an elusive, exclusive and illicit allure yet few are the genuine McCoy. Trisha's aka the New Evaristo Club is the real deal, with pictures of boxers, mafia types and Italian football teams adorning the worn walls. Its a members club, so you'll need to go as the guest of an offical member if you want in – but keep your eyes on social media, as there are regular windows to apply and be part of the coolest club in town.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

A cosy, speakeasy-esque atmosphere tucked away under Soho’s famous delicatessen, with a cocktail menu full of Italian twists. The Bloody Martini (vodka, vermouth, crystal clear coffee-filtered tomato water) is set to become their signature, but for something sweeter, the Figlet is tasty too.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106055825/image.jpg
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho

Indian-inspired mini chain Kricket's first foray into the bar world, Soma has a tasty 3am licence, which makes sense seeing as it’s named after the Hindu god of the moon. With an epic nine metre-long hand-finished stainless steel bar – perfect for either draping yourself over or getting your all important 2.55am last orders in – Soma has space for 23 people. Drinks are inspired by the Indian subcontinent and neighbouring countries, meaning a cocktail menu that’s more than basic martinis and margs. Instead there's fun twists on the classics, including a gooseberry chaat Margarita, a savoury pickled mooli Martini and a coconut and jaggery Old Fashioned. 

  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Regent Street

Your eyes are not deceiving you – one of Soho’s most-missed bars has returned as an immersive art installation. The original Colony Room Club opened in 1948 at 41 Dean Street and became a bohemian and LGBTQ+ enclave, attracting the likes of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin and Damien Hurst before closing for good in 2008. The new take on the basement bar features 100s of original and recreated artworks, including a portrait of famed Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley by Maggi Hambling, and of Francis Bacon by Michael Clarke. As with the original club, no phones are allowed, and prices will be set as they were in 2008, including a Beefeater gin and tonic for £4.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to make this Chinatown cocktail bar and dim sum parlour look shabby. The design is Eastern smoking den meets Western hipster hangout, with Chinese vases and burning incense mixed with deep funky beats and retro armchairs straight from granny’s sitting room. Be sure to visit the loo: there are motion-activated lights and the speakers will blast you with Mandarin poetry.

  • Things to do
  • Soho

Named in honour of David Bowie, The Thin White Duke isn't just a bar, but a dim sum restaurant, coffee shop and recording studio with a strong 1970s Berlin vibe going on. Drinks are inspired by dates on Bowie's 1976 & 78 Isolar Tour, meaning you can order a Berlin - May 16th (gin, Cynar and Underberg) or a Glasgow - June 19th (mezcal, scotch and Punt e Mes).

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The Mulwray
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

A sharply turned-out wine lounge on the edge of Chinatown, it’s part of The Blue Posts, a revamped pub from the The Palomar and The Barbary restaurant team, and it’s a gorgeous spot for cosseted drinking. The drinks list is seriously on trend thanks to wine director Honey Spencer and head sommelier Sarah Wright. 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

A quirky tube-themed cocktail bar that’s hot with tourists. It’s a little confused about which era it’s portraying, but you’re not really looking for historical accuracy – Cahoots sure isn’t taking itself seriously. You’re allotted two hours of drinking time, so book in advance. Our advice: ask for a seat in the carriage, the best spot in house, and save a trip for when friends visit from out of town. 

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The Vault
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

There is a rather splendid touch in the entrance to this basement bar under Milroy’s whisky specialist – you enter via a hidden door in a fake bookcase. The main cocktail list is heavy on experimentation, and the bartenders’ evident expertise might make it worthwhile dipping in there. Soho’s not short of cocktail bars, but Milroy’s has a bright spark in its underground cavern.

  • Restaurants
  • Soho

A dark basement bar and restaurant that will leave you fending off vampires, as well as any respective partners. If you love garlic, you'll love Garlic & Shots, whose MO is to leave you feeling 'garic marinated'. They also have 101 different flavours of vodka, six of which include garlic.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

Technically an upstairs adjunct to Jason Atherton’s celebrated Social Eating House, The Blind Pig is a worthy destination in its own right. It’s not immediately obvious how to find it at street level: look under the vintage ‘Optician’ sign for the blindfolded hog doorknocker and boom, you’re in. The decor is authentically retro but never schmaltzy, and creativity with the names on the cocktail menu is employed with abandon.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

Book a table here for date night and things are sure to smoulder (request a space in one of the plush pink booths for extra blushes). The basement bar has a slightly convoluted cocktail menu, but stick with classic Martinis to feel classy as hell in what is mostly a pretty glam setting.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Soho

Comb your way through the wash of chain bars scattered across Soho, you’ll find the best cocktails in London’s buzzy hub lie in more understated spots. Henson’s Bar and Social, on the ground floor of Mimi’s Hotel, is just that. With its oak-panelled lounge, fuzzy red velvet curtains and low ceilings, it has an old boys’ club vibe, but thankfully minus the stuffy men. There’s nothing OTT about Henson’s, but it still maintains a sense of grand, classic bougieness. It’s the sort of place you’d take someone if you wanted to impress them, but also show that you’re both down-to-earth and refined.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Soho

This is the saucy little sister of existing venues The Little Orange Door in Clapham, The Little Blue Door in Fulham, and The Little Yellow Door in Notting Hill. It features house party style decor, comfy sofas to sink into, and a list of cocktails inspired by hit films.

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