Drink Guides

Best Cocktail Bars in London

Discover the best cocktail bars in London. The city is overflowing with cocktail bars, so we’ve rounded up our favourite bars to drink a cocktail or three. London’s cocktail scene is a vibrant and ever-evolving landscape, offering an array of top-notch establishments to tantalize your taste buds. Whether you’re a connoisseur seeking innovative concoctions or simply in search of a stylish spot to enjoy classic cocktails, these top London cocktail bars have something special to offer. From trendy mixology bars crafting unique creations to iconic venues with a rich history, these cocktail destinations promise an unforgettable experience for every discerning palate. So, join us as we raise a glass to the trendiest and most acclaimed cocktail bars in the heart of London’s bustling nightlife.

If you wanna splash the cash (like serious big bucks), you can’t beat The Connaught Bar. It’s all about the glitz and glamour, and the place is dripping in money – they even have a martini trolley! But if you’re feeling a bit less 007 there are plenty of reimagined classics on the menu too. It’s swish and you’ll probably only be able to afford one drink, but it’s so worth it.

The Sun Tavern is as much as pub as a cocktail bar, but boy does it shake up some good drinks. We love it here, mainly because of that Polynesian Punch with Somerset Pomona, Cherry Heering, Ginger Wine, Maraschino Liquor, Pink Grapefruit, Pineapple Juice and Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer. But they also do a good selection of classic cocktails if you’re not up for sharing.

Once Dalston’s best kept secret and now a bit of a legend, Ruby’s is the perfect place to grab a few cocktails. And if you wanna get your dancing shoes on, they open up their lounge at the weekend to spin the disco tunes. It’s retro vibes all round and a great place to let your hair down. One of our favourite cocktail bars in London hands down.

Some say Callooh Callay kickstarted the cocktail bar trend in Shoreditch, others just get lost through that wardrobe. Made up of three bars, including the back lounge where you have to walk through a Narnia-style wardrobe and rock & roll Palace of Humbug bar, it all sounds pretty exclusive. But at the end of the day, this place is just damn eccentric and even has a sticker book for a cocktail menu.

THREE SHEETS

510b Kingsland Road, London E8 4AE

Small and unshowy, Three Sheets is the kind of place you could easily walk past without a second thought. If you’re in the know though, it’s one of the best little cocktail bars in all of London. Founded by Max and Noel Venning, it’s all about classic cocktails given a modern twist, like the Shiso Miso (a take on an Old Fashioned) and the Almond Flower Sour. Simple but oh so effective.

UNTITLED

538 Kingsland Road, London E8 4AH

It comes as no surprise that you can drink in a tin-foil covered room in Dalston, but what’s actually shocking is that it’s a pretty swish cocktail bar not a crack den. Untitled takes inspo from Andy Warhol’s factory and the drinks are like works of art – you can even drink one out of what looks like a vagina! For a night like no other (quite literally), Untitled is the one.

KOL MEZCALERIA

If you’re into tequila and mezcal, you need to get yourself down to KOL Mezcaleria, the bar underneath Santiago Lastra’s KOL. It’s a sexy basement place and really feels like you’re in Mexico City and not Marylebone. It’s all about agave spirits and the drinks from Maxim Schulte’s (former Head Bartender at The American Bar at The Savoy) cocktail list, like the Sloe & Grape Mezcal Negroni and the Sea Buckthorn & Corn French 75, are amazing. You can also snack on antojitos like mushroom adobados tacos, Kentish Oaxacan cheese quesadilla with fresh truffles, and octopus tostada with kombucha & pistachio whilst you drink – perfect if you haven’t managed to get a ressie for upstairs.

SEED LIBRARY

Mr Lyan, aka cocktail maestro Ryan Chetiyawardana, is back in East London (he opened his first bar White Lyan in the neighbourhood back in 2013) with Seed Library. The bar is in the basement of One Hundred Shoreditch and is decked out in warm orange and red upholstery and wood panelling. There’s lo-fi, analogue approach to drinks, taking inspo from classic cocktails and alternative flavours and ingredients, which means drinks like the Curry Leaf Stonefence (using curry leaf to bring out the greener side of white rum), the Perilla Gin & Tonic (using perilla seed to add green and nutty notes to the bitter sweet cocktail) and the Sancho Leaf Martini (adding the floral spice of szechuan leaf to contrast with the cold gin or vodka).

THE SUN TAVERN

441 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AN

This brick-lined pub, which dates back to the 1850s, may be on the small side but they’ve packed in an enormous selection of Irish whiskeys and poitin behind the bar as well as a contemporary cocktail menu, punch sharing bowls and local brews on tap. Dark and atmospheric, it’s everything you want a pub to be.

AMERICAN BAR AT THE SAVOY

The Savoy’s American Bar is the longest surviving cocktail bar in London and one of the most iconic bars on the planet, regularly winning World’s Best Bar awards. For more than 130 years the American Bar’s bartenders have been translating important moments into cocktails, recording them in liquid form and and this process is at the heart of The Savoy: American Bar Journal menu, created by Head Bartender Chelsie Bailey and her team. There are modern versions of classic serves alongside cocktails created to mark historical moments, including the likes of The New York Cherub, based on the classic ‘Angel Wings’ cocktail, made with Rabbit Hole Rye Whiskey, Bowmore 15-Year-Old Whisky, Raspberry, Discarded Vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur & Spiced Violette Bitters; The Coffee Black Velvet made with Guinness Coffee Whey, Crème De Cassis & Roasted Barley; and Homecoming, created to honour the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 win, made with Lion’s Botanical, Dry Vermouth, St. Germain Elderflower & Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé.

COMMON DECENCY

This sexy basement drinking den lives below The Nomad London with plush sofas, rich fabrics, soft lighting and intimate private rooms for hire. The cocktails are worthy of a World’s 50 Best award with disco-coloured light up glassware, stamped ice and interesting flavour combos like the Szechuan Gibson and Butternut Milk Punch. Don’t worry if you get carried away, there’s killer bar snacks to soak up the booze, like caviar rosti and the signature Nomad burger and fries, which gives it big New York hotel bar vibes. A great safe space from the mass of Covent Garden tourists, this one is definitely for grown-ups!

SWEETIES

Located on the tenth floor of The Standard, cocktail bar Sweeties is serving up retro opulence and intriguing drinks, with a side order of killer views over London. As well as plenty to look out of the windows, the interiors are pretty stunning too, with ochre velvet sofas, mirrored tables and ruched leather banquettes complementing the Seventies brutalist vibe of the rest of the hotel. The cocktail list has been created by mixologists Jack Sotti and Todd Austin, and thanks to the presence of mood-boosting and feel-good ingredients including adaptogens and nootropics, it’s definitely one of the more interesting menus in town. There’s the light and fruity Frothy Boi (with lacto-rhubarb, gin, bay leaf, pink salt & fermented fluffy oats), the hot & cold No Whey José (with tequila, strawberry, red rice, rose & salted hot coconut foam), and the standout Pick Me Up (with vodka, rum, coffee, a blend of 8 adaptogenic mushrooms, caramel & burnt butter), which is like an espresso martini only much more complex and even more drinkable.

69 COLEBROOKE ROW

69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA

69 Colebrooke Row is a tiny speakeasy hidden away in Islington. Expect experimental cocktails with some odd ingredients – think Pagan incense and clay – but it’s not all weird and less adventurous cocktail drinkers will be happy too. Inside it’s all about the jazz-age, so expect live music and first class service.

THE CONNAUGHT BAR

The Connaught, Carlos Place, London W1K 2AL

If you wanna splash the cash (like serious big bucks), you can’t beat The Connaught Bar. It’s all about the glitz and glamour, and the place is dripping in money – they even have a martini trolley! But if you’re feeling a bit less 007 there are plenty of reimagined classics on the menu too. It’s swish and you’ll probably only be able to afford one drink, but it’s so worth it.

LADIES & GENTLEMEN

2 Highgate Rd, London NW5 1NR

Drinking in a public toilet might not be your idea of a good night, but you might change your mind with a visit to Ladies & Gentlemen. Housed in a former underground toilet, the tiny cocktail bar shakes up some bangin’ signature drinks and classic cocktails, and even has its own micro-distillery on site. It may not be a loo any more but its a great way to spend a penny.

HOMEBOY

Essex Road, London, Greater London N1 8LX

Islington bar Homeboy is known for bringing the best of the Irish hospitality scene to London – whiskey included! Reminiscent of a cosy Irish pub, the bar on Essex Road is the perfect spot for innovative, fun cocktails or pints of Guinness and can get raucous, especially on a weekend. Cocktail wise we’d recommend the Champagne Paloma or the Zombie, which packs a punch. They also have an ex-Chiltern Firehouse chef in the kitchen knocking out some naughty Irish bar snacks like chips and curry sauce and homemade buffalo nugs, which can come in handy when you’ve had a few!

RUBY'S

72-76 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 7XB

Once Dalston’s best kept secrets and now a bit of a legend, Ruby’s is the perfect place to grab a few cocktails. And if you wanna get your dancing shoes on, they open up their lounge at the weekend to spin the disco tunes. It’s retro vibes all round and a great place to let your hair down.

LYANESS

20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD

If you’re out to impress, Lyaness (formerly Dandelyan) ticks all the boxes. Housed in the Sea Containers hotel, the bar is pretty swish and the cocktails push the boundaries. Expect drinks to include everything from oyster honey and blood curaçao to green sauce liqueur and fruit furikake. Everything is a bit of show-off here, but who doesn’t like a bit of posh now and then?!

THE COCKTAIL TRADING CO

68 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6GQ

If you’re after variety The Cocktail Trading Co will shake up more than enough drinks to have you stumbling home. They even do ‘A Bag O’Chips cocktail’ with ‘Roast Potato’ seasoning syrup, and if you’re not down with the weird and wonderful concoctions, there’s plenty of classics on the menu too.

BAR TERMINI

7 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 5JE

Bar Termini in Soho is the perfect spot for date night cocktails. It’s Italian vibes all round at the small cocktail bar with table service and some of the best Negronis in town – and they come in take-home bottles too. If Negronis ain’t your thing they’ll pretty much shake up anything your heart desires.

NIGHTJAR

129 City Road, London EC1V 1JB

If you’re after jazz and cocktails, Nightjar is the one. The subterranean speakeasy bar is one of the best in town with table service and inventive cocktails, alongside all the classics. It’s proper old school, but super popular so don’t forget to book a table.

HAPPINESS FORGETS

8-9 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU

Happiness Forgets is an oldie but a goodie. The speakeasy is in a tiny candle-lit basement in Hoxton and serves up some damn fine cocktails. As you’d imagine, it’s a popular one so book a table or get down there early as they won’t let the rabble stand in the corner here!

SATAN'S WHISKERS

343 Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 9RA

Taxidermy, hip-hop and cocktails? It’s all going down at Satan’s Whiskers. The place might look like a bit of a dive bar from the outside, but inside it’s a pretty fancy cocktail bar with a regularly changing menu. No two visits will be the same here and it’s sure to impress.

LITTLE NAN'S

Arches 13-14, Deptford Market Yard, London SE8 4BX

A night at Little Nan’s will be like no other. The cocktail bar is not only filled with random furniture, knik-knacks and family heirlooms, but the menus are completely bonkers too and you can drink everything from Lady Butcher and Lord Beppe Di Marco to Barbie Girl. With a solid soundtrack and super friendly staff, it’s one worth ticking off your list.

CALLOOH CALLAY

65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY

Some say Callooh Callay kickstarted the cocktail bar trend in Shoreditch, others just get lost through that wardrobe. Made up of three bars, including the back lounge where you have to walk through a Narnia-style wardrobe and rock & roll Palace of Humbug bar, it all sounds pretty exclusive. But at the end of the day, this place is just damn eccentric and even has a sticker book for a cocktail menu.

TT LIQUOR

17 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA

Spread across three floors, TT Liquor has a 1000-bottle strong liquor store, space for drinks masterclasses, and a basement bar. And what a bar! It’s huge and has more character than you’ll find in most other East London spots, with lots of alcoves and cubby holes in what used to be jail cells during the 19th century when the building was a police station. With loads of different cocktails, beer and wine, you’re bound to find something you fancy drinking here.

TAYER + ELEMENTARY

152 Old St, London EC1V 9BW

Tayer + Elementary is a partnership between Monica Berg and Alex Kratena who have both had previous bars listed in The World’s 50 Best, one of which (Artesian) had the number one spot four years in a row. This dual concept space – Elementary, the brighter and sleek space at the front, and Tayer the naughtier, darker and more sophisticated space at the back – is divided by a concrete partition and it’s outrageously good. The drinks are serious so if you aren’t careful and don’t show them respect, they will slap you bang in the face. Believe.

HEADS + TAILS

As the name suggests, cocktail bar Heads + Tails covers two floors and has two very contrasting concepts. The West Hampstead bar is founded by drinks experts Chris Dennis and Will Partridge, who have joined forces and combined their masses of experience and knowledge. Heads on the ground floor is a bright airy bar with a pastel colour scheme, long marble bar and is soaked in natural light. The cocktail menu at Heads is reflective of the interior, with a selection of light refreshing cocktails, low ABV serves and twists on classics. Downstairs is Tails, a juxtaposition to the level above. Its dark atmosphere is created by the low ceiling and lighting. Similar to Heads, the Tails menu is mirrored by its interior. Cocktail-wise there’s a heavy focus on dark spirits including rum, whisky and cognac, and they are mainly short and stirred.

DISCOUNT SUIT COMPANY

This former suit tailor’s storeroom is now one of London’s best cocktail bars. Hidden in Spitalfields, spot the small black door at street level and head on down into the cosy bar for classically inspired cocktails. You can expect the likes of a Cockney Touch with whisky, sherry, bitter grapefruit syrup and soda, and a High Five of Bombay Sapphire gin, pampelle, chamberyzette, citrus and absinthe.

HIGH WATER

This Dalston cocktail bar is a low-key drinking hole with decently priced cocktails. It’s known as the ‘bartender’s bar’ and churns out some superb concoctions with very few ingredients. On the menu you’ll find signature cocktails as well as seasonal specials and bartender’s choice. It’s one of our fave places for a sophisticated boozing sesh.

CAFE KOKO

74 Crowndale Road, London

Cafe by day, bar and restaurant by night, Cafe KOKO is the food and drink counterpart to Camden’s legendary and recently renovated music venue KOKO. The design-forward bohemian space is lined with original works by artists including David Shrigley and Joachim Lambrechts alongside photographs of the likes of Grace Jones and Anderson .Paak – from KOKO’s private collection – which nod to the theatre’s rich music history. Music is, of course, key to KOKO, and it’s no different in the cafe which welcomes a variety of live performers in the evenings. It’s an ideal spot for anyone after a chill hangout with friends (particularly if you’re in Camden and you’re not feeling a pub vibe), complete with a list of classic cocktails like Espresso Martinis and Bloody Marys – it may not be molecular mixology but the drinks are decent.

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