Struggling to find somewhere for a great drink? We’re here to help. Head to St James’s Market, a secret space in central London that’s surrounded by Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street St James’s, with a welcoming atmosphere. This fine spot is packed with bars and restaurants, meaning there are all sorts of suitable drinking options in the area, whatever you’re searching for, whether it’s after work drinks or the perfect weekend venue. Here’s our guide to tipples in St James’s Market.
Best for brunch: Duck & Waffle Local
Duck & Waffle Local is the much more casual sister of the original Duck & Waffle. It’s a fantastic place in St James’s Market for brunch, alongside cocktails that flavour-match your food. Our favourite option for breakfast is the delicious ‘duck and stormy’ with rum, lime, coconut and ginger, but there are tons of other choices on the menu as well. Plus, it’s happy hour from 4pm to 7pm on weekdays, which means £5 cocktails after work, if you’re in the neighbourhood. You’re welcome.
Best for foodies: Ikoyi
Ikoyi serves inspired West African food, but even if you’re out for cocktails rather than cuisine, make sure you head inside for drinks and snacks from the bar menu. Drinks here have all been meticulously designed to match the food, and we particularly like the sound of the Palm Punch with Havana 3, tiger nuts and palm wine – because wine and spirit combination cocktails are actually a bit of a secret success, if you haven’t tried them before. Indulge in a buttermilk plantain and smoked scotch bonnet snack to match.
Best for casual drinks: Urban Tea Rooms
This quaint café is a tea room with a brunch menu by day, and a laidback bar with cheese boards and more by night. It’s perfect for a casual drink after work, especially if you’re looking for a calm, friendly venue where you can still hear your companion talk. There’s a lot of wine to choose from, but the specialty here is cocktails: the breakfast martini, with earl-grey vodka and orange marmalade, is definitely worth a try – and also warrants a visit earlier in the day.
Best for outdoor drinking: Aquavit
This award-winning Nordic dining spot is named after an alcoholic spirit made from grain and potatoes – but don’t worry, there’s a lot more to their cocktails than just those two ingredients. Sit at the bar of this stylish joint and order from a cocktail menu that includes the Snowflake Sour (made with gin and saffron), and the Aquavit Express, with chocolate brownie tea, coffee liqueur and a shot of espresso. There’s delightful outdoor seating in summer and a £15 aquavit masterclass on Mondays if you’re a drinks buff and keen to learn more.
Best for a date: Tonkotsu at Anzu
This Japanese restaurant comes to you from the team behind Tonkotsu ramen (you know, that delicious noodle place Londoners love). Things are swish and sophisticated where zingy yuzu cocktails and Japanese wine are on offer (both are delightful when paired with small plates of food). The interiors make for a cosy, atmospheric setting, and all the food is great, so take someone here for a drink, when you want to make a good impression on them. If you’re just after a treat, skip the set-menu and order the fries (they’re sprinkled with smoked flakes of tuna).