The City of London, usually just called the City or the Square Mile, is the centre of trade and finance in Europe, rivalling New York City as the finance capital of the world. The traders, bankers and other wage-earners in the area work hard, so it’s no surprise they like to play hard, too. Flashy bars outnumber quiet pubs in the City, and most bars and pubs are designed to impress. Likewise, the restaurants are grand and often expensive – great for hashing out the details of a deal or letting someone know how important you are. The City also roughly follows the boundaries of the ancient Roman capital of Britannia, Londinium, so there are plenty of museums to check out. And if you fancy slowing down the pace and soaking up some culture, the Barbican Centre is one of the capital’s most important cultural cornerstones.
Recommended: London by area
Things to do in the City of London
Bars in the City of London
This City cocktail bar and restaurant on Bishopsgate comes from Drake & Morgan – a group with bars and restaurants across London. Weeknights see its cavernous innards kept busy by the Square Mile after-work crowd. That means it's mostly about the drinks. Cocktails range from mojitos, bloody marys and martinis to sierra madres (mezcal with triple sec, peach, star anise and lime) and a papaya and chia daiquiri, featuring bitters made from chia seeds. Beers by the bottle include Battersea IPA, Fat Yak Pale Ale and Einstök White Ale, from Iceland. Wines are evenly spread between the old and new world. Bar food includes polenta crisps, sweet potato fries and burgers, but if you're staying for lunch or dinner then the offer extends to steaks, Thai chicken curry, linguine with clams, white wine and chilli, and a pea and lemon risotto with mascarpone. Keep an eye out for special offers too, including bottomless brunch.
Restaurants in the City of London
Pubs in the City of London
The perfect weekend in the City of London
Hotels in the City of London
Threadneedles boldly slots some contemporary style into a fusty old dame of a building in the heart of the City; it was formerly the grand Victorian HQ of the Midland Bank, bang next to the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange. The etched glass-domed rotunda of the lobby soars on columns over an artful array of designer furniture and shelving that looks like the dreamchild of some powerful graphics software – it’s a calm space, but a stunning one. The bedrooms are individual, coherent and soothing examples of City-boy chic, in muted beige and textured tones, with limestone bathrooms and odd views of local landmarks: St Paul’s, Tower 42 and the Lloyd’s building. Drinks are served under the stained-glass central dome, and the pillared restaurant (run by Marco Pierre White) is also an impressive space. It’s all smoothly run.
Club Quarters Hotel, Gracechurch
This exclusive 4-star hotel is in the City, London's historic financial centre. It has free WiFi and air-conditioned rooms in 4 different sizes. Both Monument and Bank London underground stations are 400 metres away.Club Quarters, Gracechurch is next to Leadenhall Market, in one of the oldest parts of London. It is 500 metres from the River Thames and London Bridge. The City's banks, businesses and shops are a short walk away.Guests have free use of the Club Lounge, a social/business lounge area with computers, wireless printing, complimentary coffee/tea and newspapers, as well as a fitness centre, and free chilled, purified bottled water.Each stylish room has bedside charging points, multi-purpose work spaces with task lighting.Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
Molé Taco Bar
On the backstreets of Marylebone you tend to find chain restaurants, age-old institutions and little else. So this modern indie taco station on a side road round that way is as welcome as a lake in the Mexican desert. And holy molé, the staff are nice, sharing recommendations from the menu of Mexican standards. Unsurprisingly, this mostly comprised tacos. They’re good, though – if not, at £8 for two, the cheapest – with soft shells made from scratch on site, heartily loaded with toppings. The most successful of the variations we tried was the cochinita pibil, with tender pulled pork and pink pickled onions. Baja fish tacos featured nicely battered pollock and an enjoyably sharp slaw that cut through it all. The soft- shell crab option was a little ill-conceived, with prickly battered legs jutting rudely out from the tortilla wrapping. Nevertheless, all were neatly presented, with zigzags of salsa and coriander leaves prettily scattered. The interior is a bit wild, with modern graffiti murals – but grab a seat on the curb in the summer and pretend you’re in Mexico City.
Venue says: “Fancy a Mexican burger? Come and visit us to try our new amazing promotion: burger, homemade tortilla chips and guacamole for £12!”