Best bars in the City

Looking for somewhere brilliant to drink in the City of London area? Take a look at our pick of the best City bars, so you can be sure that you’ll be sipping with the capital’s most clued-up suits. If you need a bar in Bank or a libation in Leadenhall, you’ll find our curated list of the best places to drink in the City of London below. Scroll on for London’s best City bars, all in one manageable list.

Updated on 02 July 2018

Every one of the bars and pubs in London with al fresco drinking featured in SquareMeal’s list of London’s best bars and pubs for alfresco drinking have been tried and tested by critics and our own customers. For more drinking inspiration, see our recommendations for the best bars in London. Each SquareMeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from those who have visited, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.

Singer Tavern

Singer Tavern

1 City Road, Old Street, London, EC1Y 1AG

£30 - £49
Pubs
Bars
Found

Found

5a Ravey Street, London, EC2A 4QW

Bars
Tayer + Elementary

Tayer + Elementary

152 Old Street, London, London, EC1V 9BW

Sitting on a bar stool at a long glass window overlooking the chaos of Old Street doesn’t exactly set your expectations high, but what Tayer + Elementary does so cleverly is knock every preconception you had of a high-end bar right out of you. The duo behind it all, Alex Kratena and Monica Berg, are drinks royalty. Kratena turned Artesian at The Langham hotel into the World’s Best Bar while Berg is behind the equally renowned Himkok in Oslo. Here they change their menu seasonally while also creating new serves from day to day. 

 

£30 - £49
Modern European
Bars
Demon, Wise & Partners

Demon, Wise & Partners

27A Throgmorton Street, London, EC2N 2AN

Bars
The Nickel Bar at the Ned

The Nickel Bar at the Ned

27 Poultry, City of London, London, EC2R 8AJ

£30 - £49
Bars
Nightjar

Nightjar

129 City Road, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 1JB

Book in advance for Edmund Weil and Rosie Stimpson's highly rated and regularly rammed jazz-age hootenanny, which is home to nightly blues, swing and ragtime jams. Golden eras of the cocktail are revisited in a considered list of well-built drinks whose recipes often involve abstruse ingredients: named after 1930s jelly-legs jiggler, Josephine Baker, Nightjar's signature crusta adds Afro mbongo spice, tonka bean liqueur and passion fruit curd to its Ysabel Regina brandy base. And you’d be forgiven for wanting to purloin its chic tiki-tastic drinking vessels: porcelain wishing wells, conch shells, glass bongs, Pygmy hunting horns and ancient copper bells. Nightjar's insistence on over-elaborate presentation can sometimes leave you struggling not to tip the sip down your front.

£30 - £49
Bars
Social 24 at City Social

Social 24 at City Social

24th Floor, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, Liverpool Street, London, EC2N 1HQ

Drinks at City Social are not about to be upstaged by its grand views of The Gherkin and London lights twinkling far below. All bullish swagger, Jason Atherton's City gig reflects the Square Mile's high-water mark before that referendum put the cat among the pin-striped pigeons. However, Brexiteers and Bremainers can call a temporary truce over cocktails that are far more sophisticated than their excruciating puns might suggest: Gold Plum-Sachs, A Damson in a Stress, Oh My Gourd (a pumpkin-infused Tapatio blanco, lychee, lime and agave concoction). OMG, indeed! Meanwhile, The Duck-Anter, a strawberry sling for four to share, incorporates Aylesbury Duck vodka (please note that no birds are harmed in the production of this Canadian spirit). Classy small and large plates from the Michelin-starred kitchen are mercifully free of such puns – think smoked pork empanadas, avocado tempura with aubergine purée, game cottage pie, steaks or battered fish with duck-fat chips (Fridays only).

Under £30
Bars
Discount Suit Company

Discount Suit Company

29A Wentworth Street, London, E1 7TB

Squeezed into a former schmutter merchant's low-beamed storeroom, this is just the place if you want to wet your whistle in style off Petticoat Lane. As sharp as a mohair and silk suit worn by Marvin Gaye, Little Stevie Wonder or any similarly snappy 1960s dude who features on the retro cellar's Megawatt Northern Soul playlist, DSC’s cocktails measure up nicely: bespoke mezcal and poitín Old Fashioneds, elegant Daiquiris and rye Manhattans all represent off-the-peg perfection. Meanwhile, Two Smoking Barrels (Lapsang Souchong-infused brandy, whisky, Chartreuse elixir and bitters) for two to share is the sort of lethal slug that sartorial perfectionists Ronnie and Reggie Kray might have knocked back had this place existed in their heyday. Note that prices are more Cockney barrow boy than Bond Street boutique.

Bars
Bottles

Bottles

67 Brushfield Street, London, E1 6AA

Wine Bars
Duck & Waffle (bar)

Duck & Waffle (bar)

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street, London, EC2N 4AY

Its awkward seating arrangements may not be London's most accommodating, but bum deals are rare when it comes to head honcho Richard Woods’ singularly experimental creations at Duck & Waffle. Obscure ingredients boldly go where no mixologist has gone before: charred dandelion-root 'expresso', burnt toast, 'damp gin,' asparagus ends and cut grass are not for the timid. But if you duck the venue’s over-zealous waffle ('urban foraging vs urban decay'), you'll be amply rewarded. The likes of Pine Needle Lemonade, Avocado Aperitivo (Patrón Reposado, chocolate, toasted walnut, avocado skin infusion) and Hay! (Jack Daniel's, maple, salted caramel and hay infusion) just about justify their vertiginous cost at this hotspot’s perch atop Heron Tower. To eat, nibble on BBQ spiced pig’s ears, bacon-wrapped dates or crispy polenta with Parmesan and truffle. Just add some truly astounding City views and you’ll gather this is no lame duck.

Bars
The Devil

The Devil's Darling at The Napoleon

The Napoleon Hotel, 9 Christopher Street, London, EC2A 2BS

Bars
Anise

Anise

9 Devonshire Square, City of London, London, EC2M 4YL

Indian culinary star Vivek Singh's standalone cocktail lounge next door to Cinnamon Kitchen is a City hotspot, popular for office celebrations, first dates and after-work bashes. Its vision of spice-toned comfort is more modern-day Mumbai than Bollywood bling, but its tailor-made for indulging in Instagram-pretty east-meets-west cocktails with names like Emerald Elephant and Mystical Journey. If Rose Pink Sari and Lady Yang (a lychee and lavender-foamed vodka Martini available by the glass or pitcher) sound a touch too camp, the bartender will happily knock out a bourbon-based White Bullet or a hair-raising Chilli Black Mango (whisky, fireball, mango juice and spicy vanilla sugar topped with dried mango and a hint of black pepper). Reasonable prices extend to the roster of affordable 'bazaar street food' – think hot-and-sweet shrimp skewers, KFC (Kerala fried chicken) or grilled aubergine with sesame and peanut crumble

£50 - £79
Bars
Indian
Rotunda at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

Rotunda at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, 10 Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ

Bars
Black Rock

Black Rock

9 Christopher Street, London, EC2A 2BS

Bars
Coya Angel Court Pisco Bar

Coya Angel Court Pisco Bar

31-33 Throgmorton Street, City of London, London, EC2N 2AT

£30 - £49
Bars

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