Mayfair area guide

Discover the finest restaurants, bars and pubs, peruse the shops or soak up some culture in London’s Mayfair

Love London Awards Mayfair

Mayfair is one of London’s most affluent areas - it’s the most expensive square on the Monopoly board, after all. It gets its name from the May Fair, which was that held there for almost 100 years until it was banned in 1764. Now the area plays host to some of the capital’s most exclusive restaurants, swanky bars and designer shops, catering to the city’s rich and famous. There’s plenty to do when you’re tired of exquisite food and luxury shops, like relax in one of the area’s sumptuous hotels or head to the many spas. And if fancy goods and Michelin starred dining just isn’t your scene at all, don’t despair. Mayfair also has numerous galleries and museums, including the famous Royal Academy of Arts, to keep you entertained. 

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Things to do in Mayfair

Handel & Hendrix in London

Handel & Hendrix in London

Venue says: “Separated by a wall and two hundred years are the homes of two musicians who chose London and changed music.”

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3 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
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Royal Academy of Arts

Royal Academy of Arts

Now one of London's best-known art galleries, the RA also houses some of the capital's most exciting exhibitions.

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4 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
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Dover Street Market
Shopping

Dover Street Market

Part art installation part mecca for the fashion obsessed, visit Rei Kawakubo’s ground-breaking multi-story store.

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5 out of 5 stars
Palm Court at the Ritz
Restaurants

Palm Court at the Ritz

It makes for a glitzy afternoon tea, and one that will undoubtedly impress visiting relatives and guests.

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4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants in Mayfair

Hélène Darroze at the Connaught
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Hélène Darroze at the Connaught

Genial staff take obvious pleasure in working this historic dining room, with its beautiful wood panelling and floral plasterwork ceiling. India Mahdavi’s feminine interior of velvety golds complements the original features, while Damien Hirst’s artwork keeps it grounded in the present. Waistcoats, silver jugs and Baccarat crystal denote formality, so first-timers may be surprised by the rusticity of the food on display: a leg of ham for carving, butter pats as big as cheese truckles, huge biscuit jars. Best to go with the flow. Darroze put trendy piment d’espelette on the culinary map and her menus reveal a passion for all things peppery. Yet this is not fiery cuisine; sometimes we wish it was a little less French, such as in the irritating refinement of hake with razor clams, salsa verde and minuscule girolles, which anywhere else would have been a muscular dish. No complaints, though, about perfectly proportioned foie gras crème brûlée with bright apple sorbet. Dessert was a clever globe of chocolate, which, when hot chocolate sauce was poured over, collapsed to reveal a layered tower of black-forest-themed indulgences. The sweet avalanche continued with a whole trolley of petits fours to choose from – cinnamon marshmallow and an apricot and salted-caramel macaron were particular favourites. Such is the special-occasion nature of the place that everyone is presented with a personalised souvenir menu; but rest assured, the experience is memorable in its own right.  

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Momo
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Momo

Venue says: “Exclusive hire & PDR: Enjoy delicious food in stunning surroundings for an experience to remember!”

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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3 out of 5 stars
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Kitty Fisher’s
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Kitty Fisher’s

An eighteenth-century courtesan known for her wit and extravagance, Kitty Fisher was rumoured to have eaten a 1,000-guinea banknote on a piece of bread and butter. Much like its namesake, a visit to this Mayfair neighbourhood restaurant will leave you with a big smile on your face – if, that is, you don’t mind paying for the privilege.  A signature dish is beef cut from a ten- to 12-year-old Galician milking cow, chargrilled and served with cheese-stuffed salad potatoes and blackened onion. Heart-attack news: it costs £80. Defibrillating news: it serves two. To cut your bill in half, stick to the small plates (£6-£12.50). We began with the terrific signature snack (£3): bread and all-the-rage whipped butter sprinkled with burnt onion ash. The same excellent sourdough (supplied by Balthazar) reappears several more times in grilled form, a motif they should have called ‘things on toast’: there’s chewy melted taleggio with London honey, wholegrain mustard and loads of shaved truffle (ie posh cheese on toast) and whipped cod’s roe on dainty soldiers (ie ultra-chic taramasalata on toast). There’s a beef tartare, served ‘open-[toast]-sandwich’ style. There’s no toast with the lamb cutlets, but they’re another signature: pink within, deliciously charred without, and coated with mint, parsley and anchovy. The basement dining room is intimate and hugely atmospheric; the street-level wine bar is an option for a sunny day (as are seats overlooking so-picturesque-it-should-be-in-a-Rich

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
Hawksmoor Air Street
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Hawksmoor Air Street

The original Hawksmoor restaurants – Spitalfields, City, Covent Garden – are among London’s best steakhouses. This fourth location, with its entrance on Air Street at the Piccadilly Circus tip of Mayfair, is the company’s first attempt at an upscale seafood restaurant – and it’s got it right first time. Many things will seem familiar if you’ve been to any of the other Hawksmoors. The interior is wood-panelled and leather-upholstered like a gentleman’s club, with understated art deco details. The entrance bar is a destination in itself, with an outstanding range of well-considered and well-crafted cocktails. The staff are genuinely cheerful, engaging and casually dressed with stylish insouciance. Air Street shares all these characteristics, but has a few added attractions. No booking is needed for the brilliant first-floor bar with its unusual and historically inspired cocktail list; it’s tempting to stay all night. But there’s no bar food, so move along into the first-floor dining room. Overlooking Regent Street, the room is huge and long – so long you can’t see the far end, almost curve-of-the-earth long. Yet it feels intimate, partitioned up into booths, snugs and corners. And the place seems filled with bon viveurs, because it is. A terrific wine list encourages the party mood. Good quality meat’s not cheap, and neither is good seafood. A signature dish of ‘Hawksmoor cut’ turbot is, like its finer cuts of beef, priced by weight – in this case £12 per 100g. Therefore, ou

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
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Bars in Mayfair

American Bar at the Beaumont
Bars and pubs

American Bar at the Beaumont

The lobby bar of Corbin and King's understated art deco hotel has impeccable service and top-notch tipples. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars
The Bar at the Dorchester
Bars and pubs

The Bar at the Dorchester

Swerve its menu of overpriced gin and tonics in favour of 'forgotten' classic cocktails – like the Ramos Fizz.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
The Connaught Bar
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The Connaught Bar

For luxury on a different level, get them to wheel over the martini trolley for one of London’s best drinking experiences. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars
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Dukes Bar
Bars and pubs

Dukes Bar

For a single, mind-blowingly strong, heartbreakingly delicious cocktail head for Dukes, one of London’s true classic bars.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars
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Pubs in Mayfair

The Punchbowl
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The Punchbowl

Once part-owned by Guy Ritchie, this Mayfair pub and dining room is now in new hands. The ground floor pub serves a number of real ales and single-malt Scotch whiskies. Bar snacks are also available, alongside a food menu featuring rare breed steaks, a White Park steak tartare, fish and chips and baked Cornish lobster. The first floor dining room offers a menu featuring dishes such as Hampshire quail breast and leg served with Morteau sausage, cauliflower and sauce Sauternes, and pine-smoked Yorkshire venison loin served with artichoke, candied cocoa nibs and a juniper berry jus. A set menu is available, too.  The global wine list has been put together by Master of Wine, Tim Atkin. There are 20 whites, 29 reds and 16 sparkling options, alongside four sweet and fortified wines. More than 20 from the list are available by the glass.  The Punchbowl also plays host to various events, including wine tasting sessions with Tim Atkins, butchery master classes and seasonal activities. Private dining is available, too.   

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5 out of 5 stars
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The Running Horse
Bars and pubs

The Running Horse

Situated just a few steps away from Bond Street station, The Running Horse is a venerable pub that first opened its doors in 1738, and the wood panelling, attractive fireplace and lived-in furniture certainly give it the feel of a well-established boozer. But the owners have added some chic modern touches, updating the decor with a new lick of paint and adding some snazzy lighting, all of which combines to make this pub a lovely place to empty a couple of glasses. Four pumps and a handful of taps offer a decent selection of beers, including an Adnams lager and a couple of Meantime brews. There's also a tempting food menu if you're hungry, but be warned: at £6 a pint, The Running Horse might not be your best bet if you're tight of fist and faint of heart. That said, for those traipsing along Oxford Street and struck with a sudden need for a refreshing pick-me-up, this place couldn't be any better suited, and it's ideal if you work centrally and need an after-work hangout – especially if your boss is paying.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
Iron Duke
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Iron Duke

A Fuller's gastropub in the West End.

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5 out of 5 stars
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Guinea
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Guinea

‘Established 1675’ says the sign outside and, tucked down a sought-after Mayfair mews, this venerable establishment is truly a thoroughbred in the Young’s stable. A gilt-framed portrait of the now octogenarian royal couple in a pre-nuptial portrait pose sets the tone amid the pub’s varnished wood and tartan. Prime Aberdeenshire Scotch beef is the speciality of the Guinea Grill, while the handmade pork pies (£2.75) should satisfy smaller appetites. As well as standard Young’s ales on the centrepiece bar counter, Bombardier, Courage Director’s, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell are also available on draught, plus Bitburger by the bottle – although from May, Pimm’s (£4.05; £20.60 by the jug) might be more appropriate. A somewhat limited choice of wine stretches to a Chablis St-Claire, pleasingly sold by the glass.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
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The best hotels in Mayfair

The Dorchester

The Dorchester

The landmark 1930s Dorchester is all about timeless glamour, as its many famous guests would attest. 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars
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Claridge’s

Claridge’s

Treat yourself to a stay in the famous hotel with starry clientele and an illustrious history.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
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Shopping in Mayfair

Dover Street Market
Shopping

Dover Street Market

Moving to its Haymarket home has not lessened the magnificence of Rei Kawakubo’s ground-breaking multi-story store. With a beautiful array of stuffed birds and a trio of reimagined Burberry trenches on the way in it is brilliant from the off. A mecca for the fashion obsessed it is sure to illicit oohs and ahhs every time you go in, and housing some of London’s brightest stars – Grace Wales Bonner’s wonderfully elegant menswear and Molly Goddard’s dream dresses woven out of tulle – it’s a real champion of our capital’s pioneering fashion designers. Combining the energy of London’s indoor markets with rarefied labels, there’s a neat little nod to Kawakubo’s home country, with a vending machine that dispenses DSM branded T-shirts and the indoor market style is reminiscent of a Harajuku shopping complex, too. All 14 of the Comme collections are here, alongside exclusive lines such as Valentino, Givenchy and Azzedine Alaïa. While the basement houses more affordable streetwear style, and the ground floor has a smart selection of edgy jewellery plus all of Comme fragrances. Once you’ve taken it all in, have a sit-down in the Rose Bakery on the top floor. As featured in the 100 best shops in London

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Hedonism Wines
Shopping

Hedonism Wines

Was there ever a better, or more apt, name for a high-end wine store? For Hedonism really is the ultimate in wine indulgence – two floors of the most covetable, most sought-after, and most expensive wines on the planet, all under one roof and beautifully displayed in a swanky Mayfair showroom that looks like it ought to be selling Bentleys or jewels. But don’t be put off by the shiny, opulent appearance – the staff are very helpful, and are happy to let you try some of the fabulous wines served in tiny measures from their impressive wine preservation system (for a small fee, of course). But if just the presence of stacks of jeroboams worth thousands of pounds, or of seeing bottles by the big-name producers lined up for your perusal is enough to get you excited, then maybe a visit to Hedonism should go on bucket list. Heck, they even sell a few bottles costing under £30, so you needn’t come away empty-handed.   Reviewed by Guy Dimond

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Grays Antique Market
Attractions

Grays Antique Market

Stalls in this smart covered market – housed in a terracotta building that was once a 19th-century lavatory showroom – sell everything from antiques, art and rare books to vintage fashion. The place was set up in 1977 and is now home to around 200 dealers – making it one of the world’s largest and most diverse markets of its kind. For interesting vintage clothes and accessories, head into the silk and velvet-lined walls of Vintage Modes. Overflowing with costume jewellery from the Victorian era to the ’90s, the store is one of the fashion pack's go-to spots. If vintage doesn't interest you, look to the collectors items that line the walkways of the building – dolls, teddies, perfume bottles, watches and even Louis Vuitton luggage can be found. With plenty of experts on hand (most of the stalls are part of The Association of Art and Antique Dealers and the British Antique Dealers’ Association), this is a great destination for jewellery and watch repair as well as customisation. Credit cards are now accepted at many stalls.

Pen Friend
Shopping

Pen Friend

Stationery geeks take note – Pen Friend's selection of pens spans beautiful vintage fountain pens to handcrafted contemporary rarities of the like you'll never see down the local WH Smiths. Inkwells, blotters and desk furniture are also on offer.

The perfect weekend in Mayfair

Eat: Scott’s
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Eat: Scott’s

Spot celebs and sup on oysters at this infamous — and appropriately pricey — Mayfair institution. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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5 out of 5 stars
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Drink: Mr Fogg’s
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Drink: Mr Fogg’s

Kooky interiors and adventurous cocktails are on the menu at the ‘residence’ of fictional explorer Phileas Fogg. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
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Explore: Royal Academy of Arts

Explore: Royal Academy of Arts

Visit the latest exhibition or enjoy the RA's holdings, ranging from Constable to Hockney.  

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4 out of 5 stars
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4 out of 5 stars
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Visit: Sketch
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Visit: Sketch

Don’t miss a trip to the toilets. 

Users say
4 out of 5 stars