Best cocktail bars London: 32 spots to drink super stylish sips

London is once of the finest places to drink cocktails in the world - and these guys are here to prove it.

Updated on • Written By Ellie Donnell

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Best cocktail bars London: 32 spots to drink super stylish sips

Had a bad day? Craving a fun night out? Whatever the problem, we’d argue that cocktails are the answer (although we would also recommend taking advice from actual medical professionals in some cases, let's be sensible here). London is a thriving hub of cocktail bars, with the capital’s drinking dens stretching from cool Shoreditch hangouts to swish hotel haunts. With so many to choose from, we understand what a gargantuan task it is having to narrow it down to just one place to settle on. Our definitive list of the best London cocktail bars is here to help, with options to suit every style, location and budget.


In our opinion there’s a whole world of difference between a good cocktail bar and a great one, and our pick of the best London cocktail bars features standout drinking destinations that offer something a little bit different from the rest. What does that mean, exactly? Allow us to break it down for you. One entry in this list is located on a floating pavilion, another serves glitter cocktails, while one esteemed Mayfair spot offers walls decorated in platinum silver leaf. Get the picture?  

Particularly rife in London town are cocktail bars with a view, so we’ve made sure to include a decent selection of rooftop cocktail bars that deliver smashing sips alongside stunning scenery.  

As important as they are, it’s not just about the drinks! We have also taken the atmosphere and service into consideration, as well as the all-important bar snacks menu. We really do, hand on heart, believe we’ve got a cocktail bar for you on this list. From dimly-lit speakeasies to a bright and beautiful bar located 40 floors above ground level, have a little scroll until one catches your eye. Then, go ahead and treat yourself to a spontaneous visit.


Best rooftop cocktail bars in London

We think London is pretty stunning from ground level, so imagine what it looks like when you're perched high up on a rooftop? We've compiled some of the best sky-high bars in London so you don't have to imagine.

Savage Garden, Tower Hill

What: Located 12 storeys above the City and boasting not one, but two 360-degree terraces, Savage Garden offers incredible views of London's major landmarks both day and night. The cocktails sounds pretty sinister - think Blood Mile, Devil's Advocate and Wild Poison - but don't worry, they taste far sweeter than their names suggest. An addictive bar snacks menu featuring prawn toast with bacon jam and goat's cheese, pea and tarragon croquettes are worth your time, too. 
Where: 7 Pepys Street, EC3N 4AF
Book now: Savage Garden

Duck & Waffle, Liverpool Street

What: 40 floors high, Duck & Waffle’s bar is one of few 24/7 drinking destinations in London. That fact, coupled with jaw-dropping views and inventive riffs on classic cocktails, mean its popularity comes as no surprise. Why not try its signature ‘Waffle on the Rocks’, for the comfort and nostalgia of a fluffy, maple-drizzled waffle, served with a side of vodka.
Where: 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Book now: Duck & Waffle

Social 24 at City Social, Liverpool Street

What: Part of Jason Atherton’s City Social, this sky-high bar is beloved by Square Milers. Expect a buzzy atmosphere and a pun-tastic menu of chic cocktails – think Berry Long and Honey Moon - alongside a surprisingly comprehensive food menu of small plates, mains and desserts. You can also order from a lengthy menu of classic cocktails with a twist, as well as carefully constructed spirit and mixers, like vodka with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic water and cucumber.
Where: 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ
Book now: Social 24 at City Social

Best hotel cocktail bars in London

Guys, if you're after some of the finest cocktail bars in the capital then you need to be looking in hotels! We hate to have favourites, but if you were to ask us for some of the best bars in the business, then we'd probably skip straight to this section. 

The Coral Room at The Bloomsbury Hotel, Bloomsbury

What: The clue's in the name with The Coral Room, a beautifully peachy, art-deco bar located inside the Bloomsbury Hotel. Take a seat beneath its glistening chandeliers to indulge in a cocktail or two from its 'Great Irish Tour' menu. The menu is inspired by Ireland's many talented poets and offers drinks imbued with the flavours of 14 counties. Finnegan, for example, marries whisky and spiced Guinness with cadelo and liquorice to capture the smoky, malt scent of Dublin. 
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
Book now: The Coral Room

Silverleaf at Pan Pacific, Liverpool Street

What: This dark and sultry bar is nestled inside Pan Pacific hotel on Liverpool Street where it serves one of the most boundary-pushing menus in the capital. The cocktail list is called Building Blocks and aims to merge the boundaries between cocktails, art, science and design. If you're not quite sure what that means, then imagine some of the most visually exciting, flavour-packed drinks you can think up. There's a section dedicated to Highballs alone, and another where each drink uses fermented ingredients in some way. For a flavour of what to expect, one called Raspberry|Vetiver features Suntory Toki whisky, raspberry, ruby cacao and Vetiver.
Where: 80 Houndsditch, EC3A 7AB
Book now: Silverleaf

Donovan Bar at Brown's Hotel, Mayfair

What: The impressive menu at luxurious Donovan Bar comes courtesy of cocktail maestro Salvatore Calabrese, one of the world's leading bartenders. A concise but carefully thought out list includes things like a Breakfast Martini, lifted with the addition of lemon juice and orange marmalade, while one entitled The Winston is created in honour of Winston Churchill (who also loved the bar at Brown's), and contains whisky, mandarin liqueur, orange bitters, eucalyptus and smoke aroma. 
Where: 33 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP
Book now: Donovan Bar

Waeska at The Mandrake, Fitzrovia

What: The gazelle-peacock hybrid that hangs over the bar at Waeska sets the tone for a bar full of magic and mystique. Exotic cocktails are the name of the game, where ingredients such as tomato ponzu, yuzu sake and sherbet play starring roles. The bar snacks menu takes its cues from South American cuisine, with the likes of courgette, basil and chilli quesadillas, and fries with chipotle aioli.  
Where: 20-21 Newman Street, W1T 1PG 
Book now: Waeska at The Mandrake

The Cocktail Bar at The Marylebone, Marylebone

What: Aptly named The Cocktail Bar, this plush venue takes inspiration from the four seasons with each room offering its own distinctive characteristics. From the light-filled summer terrace to a cosy winter lounge, it's the perfect palce to sip on a cocktail all year round. From its signature list, you might opt for the Red Velvet featuring vodka, raspberry, liquorice, citrus, egg white and blossom for something sweet, or the Dai-Kiwi which combines rum, madtiha, kiwi and citrus.
Where: 47 Welbeck Street, W1G 8DN
Book now: The Cocktail Bar

The Churchill Bar & Terrace at Hyatt Regency London, Marylebone

What: While the stunning blue and gold interiors at this art-deco inspired bar are gorgeously luxe, the real talking point is its year-round heated terrace which offers a secluded hideaway just off Portman Square. Sustainable cocktails are whipped up by a team of expert mixologists, with its UNITY cocktail menu designed to celebrate the bar team's respective cultures. Featuring 12 signature creations inspired by the Americas, Asia and Europe, examples include the Mama Maria, which draws on the Mediterranean’s fruit farming heritage, to the Ikigai cocktail which reflects a Japanese concept meaning 'life purpose'.
Where: 30 Portman Square, W1H 7BH 
Book now: The Churchill Bar & Terrace

The American Bar at The Savoy, Covent Garden

What: Harking back to a golden age of cocktails, the American Bar pairs flawless service with sophisticated tipples that don’t grow stale (the drinks list changes each year). It’s widely considered one of the finest cocktail bars in the world, and has hosted the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill over the years. We’re also fans of the tinkling background piano. 
Where: Strand, WC2R 0EZ 
Book now: The American Bar at The Savoy

Artesian at The Langham, Marylebone


What: The much-lauded Artesian at the Langham has long been one of the best cocktail bars in the world. Artesian embraces the concept of duality, and nowhere is this more evident than the bar itself - a highly progressive cocktail bar, set in the refined, elegant Langham hotel. The cocktail menu also has a selection of Artesian's timeless classics, and a smart food menu devised by Humble Chicken chef Angelo Sato. 
Where: 1c Portland Place, W1B 1JA 
Book now: Artesian at The Langham

Seed Library, Shoreditch

What: The brainchild of none other than Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Chetiyawardana, you can find this cocktail bar hidden in the basement of One Hundred Shoreditch. Chetiyawardana, often referred to as the ‘best bartender in the world’, lays claim to previous successful projects including Dandelyan and Lyaness, and has over 15 awards to his name. Needless to say, you can expect big things from his latest venture. Expect a menu of inspired twists-on-a-classic, from a Chive Daiquiri (Bacardi Carta Blanca, chive, coconut milk, lime) to a Coriander Seed Gimlet (Beefeater London Dry Gin, coriander seed cordial). You’ll also find an ever-rotating food menu inspired by various monthly collaborations.  
Where: 100 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JQ 
Book now: Seed Library

Lyaness at Sea Containers, Southbank

What: Clearly the man of the (cocktail) hour, Ryan Chetiyawardana is also the head honcho behind Lyaness at Sea Containers, his flagship bar. It serves an epic ingredient-led cocktail menu made up of weird and whacky ingredients you won't have heard of, but that taste rather good. It also offers a lethal, but delicious, boozy afternoon tea. 
Where: 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD 
Book now: Lyaness at Sea Containers

Fitz's at Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel, Bloomsbury

What: With the kind of interiors that Jay Gatsby would fanboy over, this glam bar at the Kimpton Fitzroy hotel is a seductive spot for date night cocktails, which might include Modern Manhattans and complex Martinis. A Jazz Age mirrorball and 18th-century stained-glass windows are just a couple of the features you can marvel at while you drink. 
Where: Kimpton Fitzroy London, WC1B 5BE 
Book now: Fitz's

Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, Covent Garden

What: Understated is not the word for Beaufort – black and gold interiors, bar snacks that make use of luxe ingredients, and a menu paying homage to famous former guests tells you everything you need to know.    
Where: Strand, WC2R 0EZ 
Book now: Beaufort Bar

Le Magritte at The Beaumont, Mayfair

the bar at le magritte

What: The ever-sophisticated Beaumont is home to this chic, 1920's New York-inspired cocktail bar. Backlit alabaster columns and rich, dark cherrywood panelling gives Le Magritte a sultry vibe that is glamorous without trying too hard, and you can say the same of the menu, which offers specialist bourbons and whiskies as well as a nice spread of well-made cocktails.
Where: 8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, W1K 6TF
Book now: Le Magritte

The Connaught Bar at The Connaught, Mayfair

What: The award-winning bar at the five-star Connaught hotel in Mayfair is the sort of place that makes the real world fall away for the evening. Theatrical touches such as Martinis made from a trolley add to the grandness, as do the impossibly chic interiors. Walls decorated with platinum silver leaf and a cool grey bar set the tone firmly to stylish. 
Where: 16 Carlos Place, W1K 2AL 
Book now: The Connaught Bar

Best fancy cocktail bars in London

Boasting beautiful interiors and a cocktail list that will make you swoon, these fancy places will whisk you away for the evening to somewhere far more fabulous than the real world. And we could all do with a little bit of escapsim right now.

The Lowback Bar, Canary Wharf

What: For fans of the popular steakhouse Hawksmoor, you’ve got to try this drinks-focused concept from the same brand. It’s located on a floating pavilion in Canary Wharf where it serves an exclusive cocktail list that you won't find at any of its restaurants. Drinks range from refreshing beverages to popular big-hitters, along with plenty of Martinis, Champagne cocktails and indulgent ‘Sundowners'. Don’t worry, you can still get your favourite Hawksmoor steak fix, too, as well as burgers, sandwiches and small plates. 
Where: 1 Water Street, E14 5GX 
Book now: The Lowback Bar

Nipperkin, Mayfair

cacao sake cocktail at nipperkin

What: Tucked away underneath NIJU, Nipperkin’s cossetting luxury is everything we want from a Mayfair bar, and the drinks program is right up there with the best in London, courtesy of award-winning head bartender Angelos Bafas. If you’re just visiting to try one drink, give the ‘Fig & Butter’ a go (Michter’s Bourbon whiskey, burnt butter, preserved fig nectar, fig leaf, fig leaf bitters).
Where: 20 Berkeley Street, W1J 8EE
Book now: NIJU

Los Mochis Agaveria, Notting Hill

What: Japanese-Mexican restaurant Los Mochis houses a delightful bar upstairs – Agaveria - which boasts one of the largest collections of fine tequilas and mezcals in Europe. Rejoice! Elsewhere, a signature cocktail list features an extensive range of Margaritas and Mezcalitos, including a Japanese Margarita made with gin, muyu vetiver, muyu jasmine, cold pressed lime juice, organic agave and rosemary salt.  
Where: 2 Farmer Street, W8 7SN 
Book now: Los Mochis Agaveria 

Hide Below, Mayfair

What: Found at the bottom of a glorious Gaudí-esque corkscrew staircase, Below is Hide restaurant’s cripplingly cool basement bar. Expect seasonal cocktails and an enviable spirit selection from Hedonism Wines, which guests can use to personalise their favourite classic cocktails. Lots of the options on the menu can be made non-boozy too, if you're into that sort of thing. 
Where: 85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB 
Book now: Hide Below

Coolest cocktail bars in London

What makes a cocktail bar cool? Well, lot's of things. From vibrant neon interiors and speakeasy-inspired spots to bars that serve draught cocktails on tap, these places each offer something really distinctive.

Kwant, Mayfair

eric lorincz at kwant

What: Kwant head honcho Eric Lorincz is objectively one of the best mixologists in the world, and the hefty cocktail list here includes a dizzying array of classics, vintage classics and Lorincz signatures, showcasing cutting-edge cocktail techniques and unusual ingredients (lacto-fermented purple carrot, anyone?). The room mixes hotel bar luxury with some more exotic tiki bar touches, making it surprisingly accessible and versatile.
Where: 25 Heddon Street, W1B 4BH
Book now: Kwant

Three Sheets, Dalston and Soho

cocktails at three sheets

What: Three Sheets founding brothers Max and Noel Venning are fast becoming cocktail royalty in London thanks to a pair of bars that just deliver on all fronts. Outstanding cocktails have real flair but still show finesse around delicate flavours, and they all hover around the £13-£14 mark, considerably cheaper than most other bars of a similar standard. Grab a stool at the counter if you can - this is where the sparks really fly, and staff at both locations are brilliant. 
Where: 510b Kingsland Road, E8 4AE; 13 Manette Street, W1D 4AP
Book now: Three Sheets DalstonThree Sheets Soho

Prelude by Oriole, Covent Garden

interiors and cocktails at prelude by oriole

What: We loved Oriole in its old Smithfields digs, but this beloved bar is on the move, temporarily setting up shop in Covent Garden before shifting to a new permanent home. Prelude is a proving ground of sorts as Oriole tests new cocktails each week on a changing menu, alongside an inventive new food menu that blends Latin American and Asian sensibilities (very successfully, we should say). If you're visiting for one drink we love the signature Acadia (bourbon, Roots Kanela, maple syrup, peanut butter, grapefruit juice). And there's live jazz too - what more could you ask for?
Where: 23 Slingsby Place, WC2E 9AB
Book now: Prelude by Oriole

Discount Suit Company, Spitalfields

What: Great for pre-dinner drinks, we’re happy to report the cocktails at Discount Suit Company measure up nicely, serving the classics and sharing cocktails. Prices are pocket-friendly too, which is always a plus in London town. Grab some mates to help you out with the Spanish Harlem, a four-person pitcher made with pisco, pampelle grapefruit aperitif, lustau rosé and rosé wine.  
Where: 29A Wentworth Street, E1 7TB 
Book now: Discount Suit Company

The Cocktail Trading Company, Shoreditch 

What: The team at Cocktail Trading Co put an inordinate amount of work into their sips, which means that pretty much every cocktail is presented with a flourish and has a story to tell. Every cocktail is £11, whether it’s on or off the menu (the team will whip-up any of the classics, too). Draught cocktails are served year-round and includes a rather tasty house spritz, as are mega slushies and a £4.50 spritz. 
Where: 68 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GQ 
Book now: The Cocktail Trading Company

Happiness Forgets, Shoreditch

What: Ignore the cringe-worthy name. This small but mighty basement bar in Hoxton has won heaps of awards and plenty of critical praise. The reason why? Well, that would be the ever-evolving list of delicious cocktails and the superb service.  
Where: 8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU 
Book now: Happiness Forgets

Swift, Soho

What: This two-floor Soho bar (opposite La Bodega Negra) serves complex and unconventional cocktails, without any gimmicks or fuss. There are different menus served on each floor, but the moody basement is the hot ticket. Here, you can find its 'Legends' menu dedicated to creative thinkers and drinkers, including Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming and Snoop Dogg. It also has over 300 whiskies from around the world stashed away in its cupboards. 
Where: 12 Old Compton Street, W1D 4TQ 
Book now: Swift

Nightjar, Old Street

What: A speakeasy hidden moments from Old Street roundabout, Nightjar has been wowing the Shoreditch crowds for a few years now with its off kilter creations. Live music inspired by the Jazz Age seals the deal.  
Where: 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB 
Book now: Nightjar

Tayer & Elementary, Old Street

What: Tayer + Elementary may have quickly gained cult status thanks to its much talked about food menuu but the drinks are still the main focus here. It's split across two levels: bright and airy Tayer upstairs, and the more sultry Elementary bar downstairs. Expect pioneering cocktails which make use of contemporary ingredients. 
Where: 152 Old Street, EC1V 9BW 
Book now: Tayer & Elementary

The Blind Pig, Soho

What: Located above Social Eating House, Jason Atherton’s Blind Pig is a prohibition-inspired joint with a playful, seasonally changing menu which draws on a wide range of inspiration. Right now, the menu features drinks inspired by children’s literature and fairytales and has been designed to read as a storybook. Expect creations such as Grandma’s Surprised inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, or the Gingerbread Crush inspired by by Hansel and Gretel.
Where: 58 Poland Street, W1F 7NR 
Book now: The Blind Pig

Coupette, Bethnal Green

What: Dripping with urban edge, Bethnal Green’s Coupette features bare brick walls and a hip hop soundtrack. Its cocktail menu majors in gentle updates on the classics, including a Champagne Pina Colada and a Rhubarb Bellini. 
Where: 423 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN 
Book now: Coupette

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