Best hotel bars in London

Whether you are staying in one of London’s fabulous hotels or are just looking for glamorous drinks in the capital, SquareMeal’s list of the best hotel bars in London should be able to help you out. There are hotels to suit everyone in the capital, and you can have all the fun of the experience, without having to pay big money for a room. Read on to see our pick of the best hotel bars in London, and click through to read the full reviews for top tips on the best serves in the place.

Updated on 30 October 2018

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.

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

The bar at Four Seasons’ latest London hotel occupies an august beaux arts-style building. It’s a striking setting, featuring a sunken lounge with marble and sculpted stucco, a magnificent glass dome and a grand piano. Ladies and gents of leisure come here for afternoon tea, flutes of fizz, or an aperitivo-hour Spritz. Alternatively, they could settle in for vintage spirits by the glass (1922 Croix de Salles Armagnac, perhaps) and bar snacks of vegetable tempura, mini lobster roll or foie gras terrine. The drama of The Rotunda’s high-backed bar, doors folded back reminiscent of a Japanese Shinto altar, is somewhat diluted by the monumental scale of the space it inhabits. Sit at the copper-topped bar for classic and modern fixes: the likes of Ivory (mezcal, Brazil nuts, bergamot oil, oolong tea and shiso leaf). The place was spookily quiet on a weekend evening, but this was soon after the launch.

Bars
Seymour

Seymour's Parlour at The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone

28-30 Seymour Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 7JB

On Seymour Street, the Zetter’s Marylebone address has given a name and a character to its cocktail lounge. Cocktail collaborator Tony Conigliaro wrestles for top billing with ‘wicked Uncle Seymour’, whose Russell Sage-designed front parlour apparently doubles as the bar. With more than a touch of the Sir John Soanes about it, it’s an opulent, low-lit and sensorially demanding spot, but the heavy furniture and silky service make it relaxing, too. Seymour continues to make changes to his ornate inner sanctum; new drinks on the menu include the Drury Lane Gimlet, with Beefeater gin, cherry cordial and cherry Campari, and the darker, more modish Le Faison D’Or, with Chivas 12, smoked barley syrup, dark malt and soda. Afternoon tea – with a Nettle Collins, if you like – is another recent addition, with Seymour’s ‘gentleman’s’ version boasting pork pies, haggis sausage rolls and black pudding Scotch eggs with spiced mayo.

£30 - £49
Bars
Bassoon

Bassoon

Corinthia Hotel London, Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2BD

Like its orchestral namesake, Bassoon strikes a smooth tone, thanks to a combination of great drinks, slick service and sophisticated surroundings – a cubist homage to the jazz era courtesy of the late David Collins. The glossy bar counter extends from an ebony baby-grand piano that plays live music most evenings, while perfectly pitched cocktails range from the delicate Bocal (Grey Goose La Poire, pomegranate, lemon and elderflower liqueur) to punchy El Estadista, a mix of whisky, sherry, curaçao and house-made grenadine. Classic Martinis and Champagne cocktails lend support, along with particularly impressive selections of whisky, Cognac and rum to go with swanky prawn tempura, Wagyu beef cubes and Grouville Bay oysters. Such style doesn’t come cheap: if you stray towards the vintage Champagnes and beluga caviar, your plastic will take a serious hit – though we doubt that's a problem for the Corinthia's well-heeled guests.

Bars
The American Bar at The Stafford

The American Bar at The Stafford

The Stafford Hotel, St. James's Place, London, SW1A 1NJ

During the 1930s, several bars opened in London’s luxe hotels catering to high-society’s thirst for US-style cocktails, but this renowned establishment is one of the few survivors. It received a sensitive refurb in 2018, leaving an enlarged, tastefully tweaked main bar alongside the heroically eccentric original lounge. In both you’ll find signed photos of celebrated guests down the decades – everyone from François Mitterrand to Dolly Parton. Similarly absorbing is the new St James’s-themed drinks list by legendary manager Benoît Provost. We enjoyed a take on the Queen Mum’s trademark gin and Dubonnet that added pear liqueur, Bénédictine and lemon to refreshing effect, and The Godolphin, a Woodford Reserve bourbon, berries-infused red-wine and cinnamon Sour. Five-star comfort food helps cure hunger pangs – juicy chorizo and pepper brochettes, say – backed up by a stellar wine cellar. On balmy evenings sip a glass in the cute cobbled mews leading to this unique institution.

Bars
Over £80
Dry Martini by Javier De Las Muelas

Dry Martini by Javier De Las Muelas

Albany Street, Regents Park, London, NW1 3UP

This hotel-based London outpost of the internationally acclaimed Dry Martini bar group is dazzlingly decked out with a rather random mix of jewel-coloured sofas, patterns and neon, offset by chequered floors and eclectic modern art. You may need a drink to deal with the decor, but you’ve come to the right place as the list comes courtesy of world-class mixologist Javier de las Muelas. The signature dry Martinis are generously served and made to order (choose from an impressive collection of 101 gins), but more original creations are also well worth a punt. Try the spicy Moonwalk (Glenlivet 12-year-old, pineapple, lemon, fig syrup and hot chilli pepper droplets) or the sage- and rosemary-infused Spanish 43 made with 43 Liquor and topped with Freixenet Cordon Negro cava. To eat, Dry Martini serves tapas (of course), and you can also come here for a Mar-Tea-Ni afternoon tea.

Bars
Hotel Bars
Bar 45

Bar 45

45 Park Lane, London, W1K 1PN

All streamlined, spice-toned leathery luxe, the mezzanine at Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse is more filet mignon than beef skirt – as are its prices. Prepare to say ‘sayonara’ to close on £20 for a forbidden kiss (think liquidised Turkish delight and gin) or peace on earth – the sort of coconut rum punch you’d normally serve at your Bequia villa. Presentation is suitably recherché and unflappable staff have that five-star knack of anticipating precisely when to materialise before discreetly melting away again. Wines include a top-dollar selection of American labels, while snacks are listed as ‘rough’ cuts – although that means film-première goodies including tuna tartare cones (£21), crab and lobster rolls, mini Wagyu sliders and suchlike. Ultimately, Bar 45 feels like a set for an ad campaign for Hermès, the sort of label that passes as everyday mufti to its gilded clientele.

Bars
Artesian at the Langham

Artesian at the Langham

The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Marylebone, London, W1B 1JA

Under Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale, Artesian was repeatedly voted The World’s Best Bar. Can successors Dino Koletsas and Gabor Fodor now reclaim the crown? They’ve certainly produced some quaffable, high-end drinks on their 17-strong ‘Artesian Moments’ menu.

The collection was realised through a survey of the general public, which asked them to submit the flavours and feelings that they associate with pivotal moments in their life. Over 500 responses later, the team have created a menu of cocktails which are all named after ‘that moment when…’

Reminisce by sipping on ‘…you went to big school’, which is made with a blend of Blanche de Normandie, almond lemonade, apple and meadowsweet, or mourn past loves with ‘…your heart was broken’, which sees Craigellachie 13YO paired with cacao, saké, racilla and verjus. Such concept-heavy cocktails and kooky presentation can veer into the kitsch, but expert mixes and a strong selection make a visit to this bar another moment which you’re unlikely to forget.   

Bars
The Distillery

The Distillery

186 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LA

The team behind Notting Hill’s Portobello Road Gin run this four-floor gin palace, which incorporates a distillery, two bars, the basement Ginstitute for cocktail masterclasses, a gin museum, a shop, a private dining room and a teeny-tiny boutique hotel with just three rooms. On the ground-floor, The Resting Room is a modern take on a classic British boozer, serving up barrel-aged spirits (including Portobello Road Navy Strength) alongside classic cocktails and a traditional menu: the signature Bloody Mary paired with a sturdy roast from the Josper oven is one of our favourite cures for a lingering Sunday hangover. One floor up, the stylish GinTonica bar has a list of 100 different gins and majors on Spanish-style G&Ts, which are served in giant balloon glasses with bespoke bitters, mixers and garnishes. Pair them with tasty tapas such as chorizo con sidra, cheese croquetas or Basque-style tortilla vasca with caramelised onion. 

Bars
Galvin at Windows (bar)

Galvin at Windows (bar)

London Hilton, London, W1K 1BE

The greige and soft-gold space-age interior of this suave sky lounge screams Swinging Sixties, the thrusting decade when hemlines and hotels went high-rise. It was here that The Beatles first encountered the Maharishi, the yogi seer who guided their Magical Mystery Tour. Spiritual enlightenment of another sort can be found in cocktail recipes that fuse eastern and western philosophies: reach Nirvana with A Thousand Buddhas (Beefeater gin, hibiscus and spiced eucalyptus), make Sunset Blues (Mortlach Rare single malt, Pedro Ximénez and poppy flower) your new mantra or bliss out with Zen Fizz – a Perrier Jouët sparkler prepared with aged rum and a sorbet of bittersweet matcha tea. Bar food includes Korean fried chicken, 'dog deluxe' and 'something for the ladies' (tenderstem broccoli in romesco sauce, perhaps). The views from the 28th floor are heavenly – and prices aren’t exactly earth-bound, either.

Bars
Berners Tavern at The London Edition

Berners Tavern at The London Edition

10 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 3NP

“I love this place!” chimes one reader – and rightly so. Jason Atherton’s 21st-century reinvention of hotel dining has made Berners Tavern one of the hottest tickets in town. Sporting “the most beautiful dining room in London” (think towering ceilings, mosaics, gilt-framed oil paintings and a soaring, yellow-lit bar), this place oozes glamour, pizzazz and grandeur, without feeling remotely “stuffy”. There are many foodie triumphs here, although the reimagining of the hotel dining-room trolley is one to really savour – watch as a giant, perfectly cooked pork pie is sliced tableside and artfully arranged with pickled carrots, fennel, piccalilli and mustards. Other classic British options include the “best prawn cocktail ever” (loaded with sweet lobster jelly, avocado and crispy shallots), but the menu’s versatility ranges from gloriously indulgent five-cheese macaroni topped with slow-cooked beef blade (“to die for”) to roast Cornish cod with crispy squid, basil fregola and soothing tomato consommé. For a final touch of theatre, go for the buttermilk Alaska, finished with flaming liquor, soft hunks of rhubarb and pistachio. Service at Berners Tavern is “second to none” – as we’ve come to expect from Mr Atherton. 

£50 - £79
Modern European
Afternoon tea
The Luggage Room

The Luggage Room

Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 6JP

Few émigré Americans checking in to what is now The London Marriott would have foreseen that the hotel's basement repository would host a totally above-board take on their moonshine-fuelled illicit speakeasies back home. The Luggage Room’s polished art-deco design even references the silk-lined monogrammed Louis Vuitton steamer trunks once deposited within. Top-dollar 'lost and forgotten' cocktails include Gin Punch à la Terrington (a 19th-century high-society sip involving lemon sherbet and green Chartreuse), as well as numerous cups, coolers, swizzles, imperials, nogs and flips. It’s also worth considering signature sips such as the Barney Barnato: named after a charismatic Victorian precious gems prospector, this well-balanced barrel-aged mix of pisco, vermouth, Curaçao and bitters makes for a diamond drink. 'Low tea' – a revived Victorian tradition – is a new afternoon treat served at this clandestine hole-up.

Bars
The Bloomsbury Club Bar

The Bloomsbury Club Bar

The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3NN

Choose from two distinct rooms at the Bloomsbury Hotel’s revamped bar: a rustic, cottagey covered terrace (complete with a twinkly grotto) or a wood-panelled art deco private library arranged around a snazzy snare drum-shaped bar. The theme here, unsurprisingly, is ‘The Bloomsbury Set’ – that coterie of flamboyant artists whose decadent ways and lurid love lives might be the prequel to Made in Chelsea, albeit featuring a more fascinating, literate cast. Author EM Forster inspires High Society (a sloe gin Martini), dandy designer Duncan Grant is the inspiration for On a Toot (a Chivas Regal and Byrrh Manhattan), while Virginia Woolf chips in with a Clover Club. There are also a dozen wines by the glass to go with well-presented snacks ranging from potted shrimps on toast, or chorizo and chicken mini-burgers, to addictive salt and pepper squid with a teriyaki dip.

Bars
Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London

Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London

252 High Holborn, Bloomsbury, London, WC1V 7EN

Named in honour of political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, whose colourful works hang on the walls, this bar has character in spades. There's a real buzz about the handsome room, with its velvet armchairs, standard lamps and shelves of antique books, while a swinging soundtrack and staff in tartan 'trews' makes it feel like a party in a Victorian parlour.

The leather-bound ‘bartenders book’ is a delightful tome, containing 16 'house creations' and a brief but impeccably curated selection of wines, Champagne, port and sherry. There are a couple of craft beers too, but the pièce de résistance is a list of spirits that reads like a who's who of distilling – the whisky selection is a notable highlight. Properly mixed cocktails meanwhile, pay homage to iconic noughties celebs including the Tequila-based Back to Black, inspired by Amy Winehouse, and the High Wasted: a whisky and tobacco sip dedicated to Simon Cowell. 

Bars
Waeska at The Mandrake

Waeska at The Mandrake

The Mandrake Hotel, 20-21 Newman Street, London, W1T 1PG

Given the mandrake root’s trippy herbal reputation, it’s fitting that the mind-bendingly exotic, sensual interior of this boho-deluxe boutique hotel is a magical mystery tour de force. At its heart is a baroque Babylonian palace-style courtyard, open to the stars, with mature palms and lush cascading fragrant flora: The Hanging Gardens of Fitzrovia as imagined by artist MC Escher and French rapper MC Solaar, perhaps. There’s a choice of three bars, although our favourite is Waeska – a decadent clubby cocktail lounge overseen by a fantastical creature that is half-gazelle, half-peacock. Come here to enjoy restorative plant-based sips such as She-Devil (Champagne, Calvados, Campari, rhubarb cordial and sea buckthorn tincture) or White Witch (a truffled Grey Goose Martini with wattleseed bitters) accompanied by snacks of cheese and tarragon croquettes, lightly battered onion rings, charcuterie and boquerones. Meanwhile, those dining at Serge et Le Phoque (the hotel’s restaurant) have a darkened art deco-style wine bar at their disposal.

Bars
The Dorchester Bar at The Dorchester Hotel

The Dorchester Bar at The Dorchester Hotel

The Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA

Like a society dame with a punk edge, the classy ‘Dorch’ should be in every serious sybarite’s little black book. Launched in 1931, this bronze-mirrored doyenne's current drinks list plunders previous golden ages of the cocktail: classics such as Turf Club, Adonis, Martinez and Vesper never go out of fashion. Ask head honcho Guiliano Morandin to mix you a Granny Smith (gold-dusted Bacardi, nettle and apple) or The Casanova (vermouth, Aperol, strawberry, peach and basil) while you play ‘spot the famous face’: down the years, everyone from Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra to Sinitta and Simon have passed this way. Decadent bouchées, including a ‘cornetto’ of Wagyu tartare, truffle mayo and oscietra caviar, are a match for designer Thierry Despont’s flamboyantly camp decor – although our dislike of the high-backed banquette punctured by ridiculous flame-red ‘kryptonite’ shards is well documented.

Bars
Manetta

Manetta's Bar at Flemings Mayfair

Flemings Mayfair, 7-12 Half Moon Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 7BH

Post-WWII, boutique townhouse hotel Flemings’ cosy, conspiratorial cocktail lounge was a favourite haunt of foreign spies and British spooks based at MI5’s then HQ on nearby Curzon Street. A lavish refurbishment in 2017 – all Tabasco and tobacco-tone plush, ebony leathery luxe and dishy bronzed art deco – has only upped the appeal of this bijou gem. Staffed by dashing men, dapper in raspberry crushed-velvet waistcoats and dickie bows, the bar’s lethal slugs are as seductively put together as any of Ian Fleming's (a distant relation?) Bond girls. Unimpeachable, if pricey, signatures worth noting are Lost Generation, a Talisker Manhattan, and They Do It With Mirrors, a Herradura Blanco Tequila, crème de pêche, lavender, camomile and Zinfandel sour named after the Agatha Christie thriller. Bar snacks include sea bass ceviche and perfectly judged mushroom arancini. Christie set her 1965 novel, At Bertram’s Hotel, in a thinly disguised Flemings. Today’s great mystery is why such a thrilling den has not been sussed by even more discerning London drinks sleuths?

Bars
The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell

The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell

49-50 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4JJ

The ‘B’ word (that’s B for ‘boutique’) looms large at the Zetter Townhouse hotel, not least in the Zetter Townhouse Cocktail Lounge with richly decadent colour schemes, assorted sofas, armchairs and “slightly sinister” artworks conjuring up the salon of some Victorian adventurer. The brainchild of cocktail whizz Tony Conigliaro and chef Ben Boeynaems, the space is suitably evocative and indulgent – just right for what follows. How about The Clipper (whisky, samphire syrup and a dash of absinthe) or Priory Sour (whiskey, this time, with beurre noisette and malted barley)? Alternatively go for a Lime Blossom fizz if you prefer something a little more effervescent (all the cordials and infusions are made in-house). The menu is short and to the point – assorted sharing boards, mugs of soup, nibbles and small plates such as potted smoked mackerel with pickled cucumber.

Bars
Claridge

Claridge's Bar

Claridge's, Brook Street, London, W1K 4HR

There’s nothing finer than a glass of fizz at Claridge’s Bar, which is surely one of the best spots in the capital for raising a toast to special occasions. Elegant and stylish, with sparkling service to boot, this deliciously buzzy Mayfair stalwart exudes class. The drinks list is a thing of joy – especially for Champagne aficionados who can browse through its who’s who of producers, from grand marques such as Veuve Clicquot to smaller names like Bruno Paillard and Jacques Selosse, not to mention a stellar line-up of older vintages at eye-watering prices. If Champagne cocktails are your thing, don’t miss The Flapper – a perennial favourite at Claridge’s Bar made with fresh strawberries and crème de cassis. For more creative cocktails retreat to The Fumoir, a darkly seductive, Lalique-panelled, jewel-box of a bar, that drips with Hollywood glamour – perfect for an intimate tête-à-tête over knock-out mixes such as the Maguey, a smoky concoction made with mezcal, Ardbeg whisky, absinthe and raspberries.

Bars
Hotel Bars
£30 - £49
The Connaught Bar at the Connaught

The Connaught Bar at the Connaught

The Connaught, 16 Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL

Few drinking dens in the capital can match the effortless glamour of The Connaught Bar. Designed by the late great David Collins and inspired by 1920s Cubism, it's a shimmering shrine to cocktails and home to a world-class team of bartenders. Their ‘expressions’ menu is a showcase for creativity, featuring on-trend ingredients and drinks inspired by natural elements. We fell for a Heart of Gold (a refreshing long mix of Amaro Lucano, lichen-aromatised Noilly Prat, Ruche, rhubarb soda and oregano blossom), but the jewel in The Connaught’s crown is its sleek Martini trolley. ‘The secret of a perfect Martini is the sound,’ smiles the mixologist as he slowly stirs Tanqueray 10 over blocks of hand-cut ice, mixed with the house vermouth and a choice of seasonal bitters to create a bespoke sip for every guest. A superb selection of whiskies and decadent canapés such as black truffle and Comté fritters with truffle mayo are further reasons to add The Connaught Bar to your ‘must-visit’ list. 

Bars
The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London

The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London

The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR

An exercise in art-deco opulence, The Rivoli Bar's elaborate jewel-box interior will make minimalists break out in hives with its gilded ceiling domes, tone-on-tone marble, camphor wood walls, swirly chandeliers, Lalique glass and leopard-print stools. A byword for luxury, the Ritz's aristocratic charms come at a correspondingly kingly cost: you’ll need to shell out handsomely for a shot of Churchill’s Courage (a Manhattan involving butter-washed bourbon, maple syrup and white port), an Iron Lady (a Champagne cocktail with Bombay Sapphire gin, quinine bark and lime) or the Modern Traveller (Plymouth Gin, spiced water, fig liqueur, Cassis and lemon juice served in a glass pipe). Oligarchs and the landed gentry can swan it with big-ticket bubbles, beluga caviar and luxe seafood platters, while the lower orders get small change from £100 for a bottle of house white Burgundy and a burger.

Bars
Dukes Bar at Dukes Hotel

Dukes Bar at Dukes Hotel

Dukes Hotel, St James's Place, London, SW1A 1NY

Is there anything better than a Martini from Dukes Bar? We think not. This classic hotel lounge inspired James Bond author Ian Fleming, who created the Vesper Martini here. A mix of Gordon’s gin, vodka and Lillet vermouth – shaken not stirred, of course – it appeared in the 1953 novel Casino Royale and the rest is history... White-jacketed head bartender Alessandro Palazzi is almost as legendary as 007 in bartending circles and his Martini trolley is a wonder to behold, though we advise slow sipping of his knockout mixes. All Martinis are made to order at your table, and with up to 200 served daily, you know you’re in safe hands. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Palazzi’s signature 89 Jermyn Street – a blend of tonka bean-infused vodka, rose, amber vermouth and chocolate bitters inspired by Bond's favoured cologne, Floris No 89. Also boasting a bijou Cognac and cigar ‘garden’ with potted palms, Dukes Bar is licensed to thrill. 

Bars
The Goring (bar)

The Goring (bar)

The Goring, Westminster, London, SW1W 0JW

It’s almost inconceivable that there should be a grand private country house within a stone’s throw of Victoria station, but The Goring has all the necessary attributes, from a warm cosy drawing room and terraces for balmier weather to a garden with ducks waddling across the lawn. The bar’s line-up of Champagne is astounding and the barmen are adept at mixing and shaking anything that takes your fancy. Ultra-traditional, but also super-friendly, this gorgeous bolthole is equally appealing for a quiet business drink or a jolly get-together with a (smart-ish) bunch of friends. The simple bar menu has something for all comers (from caviar to soup of the day), all beautifully done in an understated way – they only boast about their connection with their royal neighbours when it comes to the “fabulous” afternoon tea.

Bars
American Bar at The Beaumont

American Bar at The Beaumont

Beaumont Hotel, Brown Hart Gardens, London, W1K 6TF

The low-lit, art deco American Bar at The Beaumont feels like it’s been around for years – though it only opened in 2014. Comfortable brown leather chairs, a marble-topped bar and walnut-panelled walls lined with sepia photos of bright young things from the Roaring Twenties set the tone for old-school serves, with a focus on classic cocktails and American whiskey.

Start your night with The Beaumont, a signature sparkler made with gin, sherry, elderflower, pineapple and lemon juice topped with Champagne. Or settle in for an after-dinner session with a bourbon-laced Old Fashioned or Scofflaw (a Prohibition-era recipe of bourbon, vermouth, lemon juice, grenadine and orange bitters). The American Bar at The Beaumont is attached to the hotel’s Colony Grill Room, so you can also expect above-average bar food including steaks, loaded club sandwiches and decadent sundaes.

Bars
Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse

1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA

The fervour that surrounded André Balazs’ Marylebone hotspot has died down and you no longer need to be famous to secure a table, but Chiltern Firehouse still delivers in spades. Readers praise the outdoor-themed interiors as well as the high-decibel “party vibe”, and we’ve also been impressed by the all-inclusive attitude of the staff, who happily laugh and chat with diners. Meanwhile, in the open kitchen, chef Nuno Mendes and his team send out plenty of likeable big-time successes. Snacks such as bacon cornbread and the famous coral-dusted crab doughnut kick things off nicely, but there are other highlights too: char-grilled Ibérico pork comes with the unexpected additions of grilled peaches and red pepper kimchi, while a side of mac ‘n’ cheese is given a fiery kick with jalapeño peppers. Early risers pack in for breakfast (potted eggs with caramelised onions and curried potatoes), freelancers take advantage of the indulgent lunchtime offers (crab and lobster omelette, say), and we’d also recommend Chiltern Firehouse for a pre/post-meal trip to the botanically themed bar for cheekily named cocktails. Be warned – the bill (with impressive wines included) may have you reaching for the fire alarm.

£50 - £79
International
The American Bar at The Savoy

The American Bar at The Savoy

The Savoy, Strand, London, WC2R 0ET

The American Bar opened in 1893, when glamorous 'American-style' mixed cocktails were all the rage, and has played host to a procession of legendary bartenders – not least Harry Craddock, author of the iconic Savoy Cocktail Book back in 1930. Today you'll find Erik Lorincz behind the stick, heading up a team that's won pretty much every bar award going. The theme for their 2017 cocktail menu (it changes every year) is a regional tour around Britain, featuring creative mixes such as Arthur's Seat with Royal Brackla 16 Year Old whisky and the herbaceous Heathland History, with Gin Mare and mushroom-infused vermouth. Attention to detail is what really sets this bar apart, from its vintage decor and bespoke glassware to bartenders who remember your name and favourite drink. Shut your eyes; soak up the delicious buzz, tinkling piano and clinking of ice in cocktail shakers – and be transported back to the golden age of cocktails.  

Bars
Hoi Polloi (bar) at Ace Hotel

Hoi Polloi (bar) at Ace Hotel

100 Shoreditch High Street, London, London, E1 6JQ

Hoi Polloi, the latest cool magnet from Messrs Flack and Waddington, owners of Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s, has a cocktail bar in one corner for those not booking in to the Ace Hotel’s all-day brasserie. Well-executed Festival of Britain-esque decor suggests a dining room at a 1950s' holiday camp, while the cocktail menu references another strand of camp also prevalent during that decade – Polari, a rich, coded patois that appropriated many Yiddish terms to disguise homosexuality: ‘omi-polone’ (meaning an effeminate man) is a Buffalo Trace bourbon and port sour, while ‘riah shusher’ (a hairdresser) comes out as a rhubarb and vanilla Tapatio Blanco Tequila mule. Beers include two from Hackney microbrewers Beavertown, wines start at £4 a glass, and bar snacks range from chickpea fritters or pickled onion rings with salt cod paste to cheekily named ‘puffy scratchings’.

Under £30
Bars
Library Bar at The Lanesborough

Library Bar at The Lanesborough

The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7TA

There’s only one bar at the preposterously plush Lanesborough, so it has to be all things to all guests – unless you're a puffer, in which case a word in the right ear will transport you to the astonishing cigar lounge. Elderly couples, businessmen, wealthy tourists and drop-ins alike feel right at home here. The drinks list is jaw-dropping – a simple selection of wines and plenty of Champagnes give way to a blinding list of whiskies and Cognacs reaching back to pre-French Revolution stock. It’s also worth seeking out the canapé cocktails – mini versions of very grown-up libations, which allow customers to have more than one before they’re over the limit. The food is (inevitably) posh, but diners can eschew the caviar and oysters for cauliflower and Cheddar cheese soup, steak and chips or slow-cooked chicken wings with crispy onions.

£50 - £79
Bars
Ziggy

Ziggy's

Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street , London, W1B 4DY

The Café Royal’s new cocktail bar is inspired by ‘The Last Supper’ – the notorious party thrown here by David Bowie, the same night he stunned fans by killing off his alter ego Ziggy Stardust. Fascinating portraits of Bowie aside, the bland room (a soupy tomato and pumpkin retro-chic lounge) needs decorative ch-ch-Changes if it hopes to replicate his swagger.

Undoubtedly, the real Heroes here are the Starman barman’s Rebel Rebel rinses: especially Femme Fatale (a generous vodka and Byrrh Saketini topped with edible silver pearls on a crimson petal), and a smooth Johnnie Walker Black whisky, Punt e Mes and Frangelico Manhattan. Service is Hunky Dory, snacks not universally so. We rate the yam, cucumber and avocado maki rolls, and the fresh, flaky Cornish crab on toast – but our barbecue Wagyu beef short rib in bao buns needed spikier seasoning and less unyielding dough to make it a Modern Love.

Bars
The Blue Bar at The Berkeley Hotel

The Blue Bar at The Berkeley Hotel

The Berkeley Hotel, Wilton Place, London, SW1X 7RL

A new conservatory has doubled the footprint at the luxuriously inviting Blue Bar, seamlessly marrying Richard Rogers’ glass pavilion (shades of a VIP airport lounge) to the David Collins-designed snug (a flatteringly lit, seductive salon complete with periwinkle-blue panels by Edwin Lutyens). Bar manager Rashid Ghuloom (ex-Berners Tavern) has produced a lavish drinks list that is colour-coded according to style and strength. Light, refreshing and low in alcohol, La Limonata adds sparkling lemongrass mineral water to kaffir lime, limoncello and blue agave nectar, while punchier hits include the deeply rewarding Smoke & Mirrors (a Manhattan involving Michter’s barrel-strength rye whiskey, Bénédictine, toasted cinnamon, rosehip, sherry and Madeira, produced in a puff of smoke from a crystal decanter). With its bold new space, tastefully tweaked design, five-star service, classy snacks, vintage Champagnes and top-notch whiskies, The Blue Bar is back with a bang.

Bars
Over £80
The Lobby Bar at One Aldwych

The Lobby Bar at One Aldwych

1 Aldwych, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BZ

“THE LOBBY BAR IS CLOSED DURING THE REFURBISHMENT OF ONE ALDWYCH HOTEL. IT WILL REOPEN ON 9 APRIL 2019. ”

This luxury lounge boasts all the trappings of a smart hotel bar, so expect silky service, a stylish ambience and classy cocktails with a high price tag. Expensively put together with dramatic floral displays and objets d'art, the airy room has sleek polished stone floors and large double-height windows to create a sense of occasion, while dramatic drinks live up to the decor. Two can share the show-stopping Bewitched Passion: Babicka vodka mixed with homemade fennel syrup, pomegranate shrub and peppermint bitters, topped with Champagne and served in an absinthe fountain. If that's too OTT, go for a demure Peach Bellini or classic Sidecar. An approachable international wine list is safer still, while bar snacks are pitched firmly at the hotel's well-heeled international clientele – think club sandwiches, mini burgers with truffle mayo and platters of smoked salmon, crab and prawns.

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The Gilbert Scott (bar) at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

The Gilbert Scott (bar) at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London, London, NW1 2AR

The Gilbert Scott's bar is a genuine destination (not simply the amuse-bouche before dinner at Marcus Wareing's adjoining restaurant) and the crowning glory of this magnificently preserved gothic icon fronting St Pancras station (three cheers for its saviour Sir John Betjeman). Sit in the life-affirming, chapel-like space and marvel at the fabulous details (ornately painted ceilings, gilded bell chandeliers and more besides), while amusing yourself with top-drawer drinks: rhubarb and ginger sour, a summer cup made with Sipsmith gin and Grey Goose pear vodka, or a fruity Champagne cocktail involving apricot and quince, perhaps. Pukka bouchées and small plates are suitably Pullman standard – think smoked trout rillettes in sliders, savoury spreads served in Kilner jars, Cumbrian burgers with chorizo jam, frisky salads, La Fromagerie cheeses, and gooey banana caramel with peanut brittle. Just be prepared for painful first-class prices.

Bars
Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

The Savoy, Strand, London, London, WC2R 0ET

If the Savoy’s American Bar is Frank Sinatra doing it his way, the Beaufort Bar is Billie Holiday singing the blues: seductive and smooth, with an edge of darkness. There aren't many bars in London that match the sheer glamour of the Beaufort, with its sleek black and gold decor, complemented by silky service. Its latest menu pays tribute to the long history of the Savoy, with drinks including the Garden of Memories, a fresh mix of Tequila, Suze, passion fruit, St Germain and lime, inspired by one of the hotel’s most lavish parties, when its courtyard was flooded and dinner was served on gondolas. A few of the Savoy’s famous guests have inspired cocktails too: The Grass is Always Greener is a homage to crooner Tom Jones; while Under the Stars is a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned twist for Fred Astaire, who once danced on the roof of the hotel. A jaw-dropping range of rare and vintage spirits is also on offer for those with deep pockets. 

£30 - £49
Bars
Ham Yard Bar at Ham Yard Hotel

Ham Yard Bar at Ham Yard Hotel

One Ham Yard, Piccadilly Circus, London, W1D 7DT

Whether you're warming up before a trip to the theatre or simply chilling on the terrace with something suitably intoxicating, the bar at this boutique Soho hotel is a "buzzy fun place with good service". As a chic, urbane oasis, it combines spicy tones and jazzy 1950s graphics with a thoroughly upbeat drinks list – think modern wines by the glass or carafe, fizz from small producers and plenty of zingy cocktails. We like the sound of Rosemary Vesper, and Black Mamba (Portobello Road gin, homemade spiced blackberry coulis, lemon and honey), as well as the Smoke 'n' Bubbles (mezcal, agave, lime and Champagne). If you fancy a nibble, pick from various melts, sliders and small plates (beer-battered oysters, for example) – plus 'profitabombes' such as pistachio custard, white chocolate and orange brittle for those of a sweet disposition.

Bars
Punch Room at The London Edition

Punch Room at The London Edition

10 Berners Street, London, London, W1T 3NP

Tucked away discreetly at the rear of this glossy hotel (also home to Berners Tavern), The Punch Room is an inviting, low-key hideaway with a blazing open fire. With the Venetian blinds drawn, fumed oak walls, low lights and tobacco leather, the vibe is a cross between a private yacht and a modern Soho members’ club, with slick service from laid-back, professional staff. As the name implies, the room's freestanding dispense bar is big on heritage punches. The hardback cocktail book is a painstakingly prepared, drinkable history of punch, peppered with strange ingredients and intriguing flourishes; fancy a serve which was sipped on board the Titanic? Then order the Punch a la Romaine, a blend of lemon foam, gin, dry curaçao, green tea and Champagne, originally used as a mid-meal palate cleanser. The menu is split into six flavour sections, which should cover most tastes. The bar’s on a self-proclaimed quest to challenge drinkers’ perceptions of punch but, with the option to order bowls in a variety of sizes, those looking for volume should be just as pleased as cocktail connoisseurs.

Under £30
Bars
The Devil

The Devil's Darling at The Napoleon

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

With just one bedroom, The Napoleon is London’s smallest boutique hotel. Three of its four floors are given over to distinctly different bars: ace whisky lounge Black Rock, Spanish bodega Sack, and this one. The Devil’s Darling was a nickname for Napoléon, a mural of whose coronation dominates the 1930s-inspired bar. The Gallic theme continues with frou-frou swagged drapes, white napery on tables-à-deux in serried ranks, and clichéd Belle Epoque posters. Incongruously, discs by The Police and Spandau Ballet spin on a 1970s record player. Nevertheless, the cocktails are a triumph. Changed daily, the menu lists just three perfectly mixed drinks: Josephine Baker, an inspired brandy, apricot and port-based 1930s revival; Ideal Cocktail (a Tanqueray 10 gin, grapefruit and maraschino Martini) and a gratifying Roe & Co Irish whiskey Highball. This bar might become our darling if its owners, Worship Street Whistling Shop, grasp that the devil is in the detail.

Bars