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.
VIDEO: You can play Mousetrap with whisky at this London cocktail bar
London's best cocktail bars: 50-41
What’s the vibe? Bijou hangout on Hackney’s Morning Lane with friendly staff and a jokey menu.
When to visit On weekends, when ‘strong drinks, low lights and good times’ are exactly what’s in order.
What’s on the menu? Alongside those strong drinks are low ABV numbers at lower price points. All delicious and often served with pithy one-liners from staff.
What’s the vibe? Early-thirties middle-class hen party.
When to visit Payday, or any other time you can guarantee a crowd. You’d feel pretty daft sipping a porn star martini and listening to ‘Parklife’ on your own, after all.
What’s on the menu? Everything is big, brash and boozy, with more than a touch of novelty.
Venue says: “Daily £6 cocktails, Live at 95 every Wednesday from 9pm; Easy Street every Thursday from 9pm.”
What’s the vibe? It looks like ‘Miami Vice’ in this bar below Voodoo Ray’s pizza parlour in Dalston.
When to visit Before you hit the area’s clubs for drinks just as drenched in disco beats.
What’s on the menu? Cheeky twists on the classics. Don’t miss the Scotch Mist, a whisky and orange sherbet number.
What’s the vibe? Unstuffy hotel bar with an English-gents-club-meets-library look, the cabinets filled with booze rather than books.
When to visit Early evening when a jazz duo twangs away by the door – pull up a stool at the bar for drinks with a view.
What’s on the menu? Sip on a Virginia Woolf. The bar names its cocktails after literary greats from the Bloomsbury Set.
Venue says: “Winner of the 'world's best high volume bar' at the 2016 Spirited Awards. Open seven days a week 6pm-1am. Cocktail classes also available.”
What's the vibe? A quirky but classy hideout serving some of the best cocktails in east London.
When to visit: If you want to avoid the masses when out on a big one in the 'Ditch.
What’s on the menu? Flavours from around the world. Or soft rock-inspired drinking in the Palace of Humbug up above (seriously).
What’s the vibe? A hidden basement bar on Hackney’s Mare Street where vinyl records are given as much attention as gorgeous drinks.
When to visit For a Sunday session – it stays open until 10pm.
What’s on the menu? Short pousse-café digestifs, drinks paired with oysters and a Manhattan well worth savouring.
London's best cocktail bars: 40-31
What’s the vibe? Rocking apothecary with white-tiled walls and pharmaceutical gear. You’re sure to get hooked.
When to visit On a Friday or Saturday night when it’s strictly playtime. See if you can find their secret bar within a bar, Blinder.
What’s on the menu? Doctor’s orders: get yourself a Brockwell Park Bramble, which comes with a syringe of Chambord. Feeling better?
What’s the vibe? A west London hotel bar that’s actually buzzing. Oak-paneled, marble-topped, velvet-lined, classy as hell.
When to visit Make it an all-nighter at K Bar. You’ll struggle to find better drinks in the vicinity.
What’s on the menu? Dessert drinks for the dreamiest of nightcaps.
What’s the vibe? Hong Kong-styled Soho speakeasy saturated in green neon light.
When to visit Late at night – the bar stays open until 3am at weekends.
What’s on the menu? Drinks made from baijiu, China’s national drink that’s often referred to as ‘Chinese vodka’ and is great for washing down dumplings.
What's the vibe? Spitalfields hip meets City money, but the only sparks fly from the dreamy drinks.
When to visit For an evening of serious cocktail love, or just while waiting for a table at one of Spitalfields' finest.
What’s on the menu? Serious, complex cocktails, with brown spirits prominent.
What's the vibe? Seriously laid back, and lively without being overbearingly noisy.
When to visit When you want to chill with a proper West End cocktail – but without paying Belgravia prices.
What’s on the menu? Flawless classics that don’t try to improve on what’s already perfect.
What’s the vibe? A tiny little room with a loose Prohibition theme is low-key enough to let the focus fall on cocktail wizardry.
When to visit Later on in the week when there’s a bit more of a buzz about the place and flapper girl table service feels totally acceptable.
What’s on the menu? Mind-blowing drinks served in even madder glassware.
What's the vibe? A subterranean hideout metres from the Old Street roundabout.
When to visit If you don’t want live music (and a cover charge), early evening’s best.
What’s on the menu? Some of the most madcap/inventive cocktails in London. Visit to find out what ‘plankton air’ is.
London's best cocktail bars: 30-21
What’s the vibe? World class cocktails below a steak restaurant in Fulham.
When to visit Skip dessert at Hanger SW6 and hit up Below the Cut for afters instead.
What’s on the menu? Bacon-infused bourbon in the Hanger Old Fashioned. Have the Lemon Cheesecake for afters (in cocktail form, of course).
What’s the vibe? A hip basement on the Hackney Road with a loose American sports bar theme.
When to visit After dining on tacos in the upstairs restaurant. Or for Bad Sports’ annual Super Bowl party.
What’s on the menu? Fun in a glass: from negronis made from Buckfast, to frozen banana daiquiris and spiced margaritas.
What’s the vibe? The follow-up to Nightjar – think of Oriole as the flashy little sister. Expect show-stopping glamour and a wall papered in a lush palm tree print.
When to visit Be sure to come after 8.30pm to soak up the atmosphere of a live jazz band.
What’s on the menu? Good luck choosing from this cornucopia of wild cocktails. Drinking here is far from stripped back but boy is it stunning.
What’s the vibe? Upscale bar within Corrigan’s restaurant filled with wild safari prints.
When to visit When you find yourself thirsty in Mayfair and don’t fancy the typical hotel lobby.
What’s on the menu? Knockout originals with ingredients sourced from Richard Corrigan’s Irish farm.
What’s the vibe? Popular haunt for local in-the-know creative execs who savour the finer things.
When to visit They open until 2am; perfect for when that well-intentioned ‘just one pint after work’ gets out of hand.
What's on the menu? Strong flavours executed with Parisian panache.
What's the vibe? As imaginative a bar as you’ll see in London, with cocktails to match.
When to visit When you’re maxed-out with the minimalist style of other bars.
What’s on the menu? It’s a small but creative list of small but creative cocktails.
What's the vibe? Money without snootiness: everyone’s here to cool their heels, whether in Y3’s or Louboutins.
When to visit Earlier in the evening to get a table without a long wait. Late night for people watching.
What’s on the menu? It pushes the envelope with some brave experimentation, but these eagle-eyed bartenders never miss the bullseye.
London's best cocktail bars: 20-11
What’s the vibe? Minimal, Scandi-chic, pine-clad setting filled with terrariums, and with hip hop blasting on the airwaves.
When to visit When you fancy waking up guilt-free – Scout’s sustainable ethos will have you feeling good all over.
What’s on the menu? Beetroot, carrot, hay, sea buckthorn, asaparagus… all ingredients are sourced from the British Isles and made into odd concoctions.
What’s the vibe? Tokyo street signage, photogenic neon and brash hip hop make for one vibrant setting where Londoners will feel well at home.
When to visit You could come for a pre-dinner drink, but we say make a night of it down here. Order incredible Japanese bar snacks from Sosharu upstairs, instead.
What’s on the menu? Perfectly balanced, Asian-inspired drinks. The Champagne Papi requires audience participation.
What’s the vibe? Stark and stylish Dalston bar bathed in concrete and taking its cue from Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory. Sounds douchey, totally works.
When to visit When you want to impress your pals with a scene as singular as the drinks.
What’s on the menu? Stand-out drinks served in vagina-shaped vessels or with penis-shaped decorations. It’s okay – it’s art.
What’s the vibe? Edgy Bethnal Green setting with chic French influence and a gold-coin-covered bar.
When to visit Boozy brunch time visits are pretty iconic for croque monsieurs paired with cocktails.
What’s on the menu? The Champagne Piña Colada is the stuff of local legend. But drinks made with calvados (French apple brandy) are worth seeking out, too.
What's the vibe? Beautiful cocktails in a beautiful Spitalfields setting.
When to visit The list of post-dinner drinks is a corker – make a night of it after steak upstairs.
What’s on the menu? We can’t see past the Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew – gin, lemon, ginger and London Pride beer.
London's best cocktail bars: the top ten
What’s the vibe? Diminutive Dalston bar and café run by two brothers and filled with friends.
When to visit When you fancy cocktails on a laidback, neighbourhood level and lit by candlelight.
What’s on the menu? Seasonal drinks with cute little tweaks, like a perfect, pre-batched French 75 poured from a champagne bottle at your table.
What's the vibe? A young crowd who know a good drink – and a good time – when they taste one.
When to visit On an east London cocktail crawl.
What’s on the menu? Cocktails are often served in unusual glassware (and ceramicware) with wacky garnishes, candy floss or noodles among them.
What’s the vibe? London favourite White Lyan is reborn as a dark, laidback bar in the basement (upstairs is a restaurant now, don’t ya know).
When to visit For some of the best drinks in town in one of the most relaxed settings.
What’s on the menu? Classic cocktails given a Mr Lyan twist – the Dog’s Nose Clover Club with Chambord, Guinness and sherbert is a Super Lyan superstar.
What’s the vibe? Cosseted, cool hotel bar bringing fashionistas together round the punch bowl.
When to visit Book a table by the fire for an impressively hot date night.
What’s on the menu? Booze! A modern take on a good, old-fashioned bowl of punch.
What’s the vibe? Upstairs is a light-filled aperitif bar, downstairs is a brooding basement with a whisky library. Both are brought to you by a world-class drinks team.
When to visit It’s great for a first date. If it’s going well, you can take it downstairs. Wink wink.
What’s on the menu? The Sgroppino is a prosecco cocktail filled with lemon sorbet. Unmissable.
What's the vibe? People-watching with the 1 percent.
When to visit Late night – at least you can pretend you’ve got a room upstairs…
What’s on the menu? Make your first stop the martini menu. A trolley is wheeled to your table and the drink’s made right before you.
Venue says: “Come and try Dandelyan's new menu, exploring the science and art at play in the human adaptation of plant and animal life!”
What's the vibe? International hotel glamour; world-beating drinks.
When to visit A few cocktails here looking out over the Thames makes for a properly classy London night out.
What’s on the menu? All original creations from international startender Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan.
Explore them all during London Cocktail Week
Gird your livers, people – from October 2, London Cocktail Week is back. This seven-day celebration (October 2-8 2017, various London venues) is your chance to sample the finest boozy concoctions and classy cocktails in London. Simply buy yourself a wristband (they’re half-price with Time Out) and get into the spirit at bars and restaurants across the city. Below we've plucked out a few of our favourite London bars participating in this year's activities. Cheers!