COCKTAIL BARS

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…

Cocktail Bars London Highlights

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.

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KOL MEZCALERIA

9 Seymour St, London W1H 7BA, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM

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.

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SWEETIES

10th Floor, 10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 6:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Friday: 6:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Saturday: 6:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Sunday: Closed

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.

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69 COLEBROOKE ROW

69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA, United Kingdom

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.

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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.

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LADIES & GENTLEMEN

2 Highgate Rd, London NW5 1NR, United Kingdom

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.

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HOMEBOY

Essex Road, London, Greater London N1 8LX, UK

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!

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RUBY'S

72-76 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 7XB, United Kingdom

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.

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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.

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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?!

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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.

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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.

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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 straight from the bottle! If Negronis ain’t your thing they’ll pretty much shake up anything your heart desires for about a tenner too.

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SEED LIBRARY

100 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JQ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Friday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Saturday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Sunday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM

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).

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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THREE SHEETS

510b Kingsland Road, London E8 4AE, UK

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.

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TT LIQUOR

17 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA, UK

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.

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THE SUN TAVERN

441 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AN, UK

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.

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TAYER + ELEMENTARY

152 Old St, London EC1V 9BW, UK

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.

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HEADS + TAILS

££
175 W End Ln, London NW6 2LH, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Friday: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Saturday: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Sunday: 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM

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.

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DISCOUNT SUIT COMPANY

££
29A Wentworth St, London E1 7TB, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Friday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Saturday: 2:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Sunday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM

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.

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HIGH WATER

££
23 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 8BJ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Thursday: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Friday: 4:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Saturday: 4:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Sunday: 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM

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.

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ABAJO

47B Great Marlborough St, London W1F 7JP, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Thursday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Friday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Saturday: 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Sunday: Closed

Hidden beneath the suave Sucre is basement cocktail bar Abajo. Translating to ‘below’, Abajo takes inspiration from Buenos Aires’ 80s underground scene. Although the bar has stripped back interiors, the room is lit up by their cocktail offering, which includes a rainbow of fluorescent drinks created by famous bartender Tato Giovaonni. Abajo also has a roster of DJs, guest bartenders and live music to enjoy whilst set the tone whilst sipping on your bright cocktails. Abajo may be the most LIT cocktail bar in London…   

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