So we may have just enjoyed a bank holiday Monday, but making it to humpday is still a cause for celebration in our eyes. If you’re looking to defeat the midweek slump, we’ve got you covered with our rundown of the best happy hours in the capital, from Brixton to Bloomsbury, Notting Hill to Shoreditch, and everywhere in-between.
Words: Eamonn Crowe
There’s a shanty town-chic vibe in this crazy hodgepodge of a space. Plastic vines are strewn along the ceiling, while wooden booths and neon signs are amped up with bright carnival colours. Cocktails – in jam jars – fuel the fun, with staff knocking out the likes of the Ol’ Dirty Bastard (a house blend of bourbon and rum with a hint of orange) – book Barrio Shoreditch now
Wednesday happy hour: 4-8pm, selected cocktails £5.50
Joe's Southern Table & Bar, Covent Garden
This restaurant and cocktail bar gives old-school Americana an updated urban edge, with earthy brick walls and steel-topped tables sitting alongside scarlet banquettes and vintage Coca-Cola signs. The downstairs bar is the place to go for an after-work unwind, and discounted cocktails include a Watermelon Martini. The Tequila selection is pretty good, too, from what we can remember… – book Joe’s Southern Table & Bar now
Wednesday happy hour: 4-6pm, selected cocktails £5
The Jones Family Project, Shoreditch
This multifunctional bar and restaurant fuels the creatives types of Shoreditch from breakfast right through to bedtime. The ground-floor bar acts as a café/workspace during office hours, but at night things take a turn; the cases holding teas and coffees behind the bar swing round to reveal spirits, and with that the night begins. Pretty slick, eh? – book The Jones Family Project now
Wednesday happy hour: 5-7pm, selected cocktails £6
London Cocktail Club, Various locations
This series of fun, outlandishly themed bars is each defined by a signature spirit – ‘tattoo rum parlour’, ‘punk gin palace’, ‘gangsters Tequila paradise’, and so on. Cocktails range from white-hot classics such as Aviation and Bramble to more imaginative tipples including the Oyster Bomb – an oyster shell filled with Jägermeister and spiced Red Bull jelly – book London Cocktail Club now
Wednesday happy hour: 4.30-7pm, two of the same cocktail for £12
Lotus Bar at Darbaar, City
If you don’t want to go too hard (saving yourself for the weekend), then Abdul Yaseen’s debut is a good shout. The interior reflects a contemporary Indian palace, with midnight blue and copper tones, gold chandeliers, and silver elephant heads adorning the walls. The wine list is impressively international and there are plenty of cocktails on offer too, including the Darbaar Royal made with Champagne, blue curaçao and citrus – book Darbaar now
Wednesday happy hour: 5-7pm, selected cocktails two-for-one
The Rum Kitchen, Brixton, Carnaby Street and Notting Hill
Escape to the Caribbean without the expensive flight, via this rum-shack group. The place is an explosion of colour and is largely promoted through social media and word of mouth – there’s no sign outside the door. Although the discounted drinks last only until 8pm, there’s a DJ from 11pm and the party continues into the night at the dedicated rum bar – book The Rum Kitchen now
Wednesday happy hour: 6-8pm, selected cocktails £5
Salvador & Amanda, Bloomsbury and Covent Garden
For OTT Almodóvar-esque styling, head to the Covent Garden original; but for something more toned-down, make your way to the Bloomsbury offshoot. Open until 2.30am at the weekend, when DJs play, this duplex feels as if it belongs in a three-star hotel in Palma. The 12-strong cocktail line-up sticks to the Spanish formula, with plenty of Iberian notes – Y viva España!
Wednesday happy hour: 5-7pm, house wine £11, selected cocktails two for £10
Need even more inspiration? Check out these four great new bars that have recently opened in London.
This article was updated 30 August 2017