Restaurants might get all of the attention when it comes to celebrations but London has an unrivalled collection of bars to pop open the cork when you’re feeling good about your life. From five-star hotel bars that have been cossetting guests for generations to cutting-edge cocktail destinations, here are some of London’s best bars for toasting a celebration.
American Bar at The Savoy, Strand
What’s to celebrate: The American Bar opened in 1893 and has played host to a procession of legendary bartenders. Today you’ll find Erik Lorincz behind the bar, heading up a team that’s won pretty much every award going. 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.
Why we love it: 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.
Where: The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0ET
Bar Termini, Soho
What’s to celebrate: Proof of the adage that good things come in small packages, Bar Termini may be tiny, but it’s an undoubted star of the Soho bar scene. It only does two things – coffee and cocktails – but does both extremely well. Of course, we’d expect nothing less of cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro, who took inspiration from classic Italian train-station buffets of the 1950s for this cute café-bar.
Why we love it: Reservations are pretty much essential at Bar Termini, which means you know you’ll get a seat: the holy grail of a Saturday night in Soho.
Where: 7 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JE
Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone
What’s to celebrate: With a hotel portfolio including such legendary addresses as Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont and The Mercer in Manhattan, you know you’re in safe hands at André Balazs’s first property outside the US. Marble, mirrors and super-flattering lighting make everyone feel like a celebrity. Sit at the bar for peerless people-watching or, if you manage to squeeze in, the dinky booth is marvellously romantic.
Why we love it: Crab doughnuts and cornbread fingers are among the best bar snacks in London.
Where: 1 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PA
Dukes Bar, St James’s
What’s to celebrate: It might be most famous as the place that inspired James Bond author Ian Fleming to create the Vesper, but there’s much else to enjoy at this supremely comfortable hotel lounge apart from the famous Martinis. White-jacketed head bartender Alessandro Palazzi is almost as legendary as 007 in drinks circles and is a dab hand at personalising cocktails to each customer’s taste.
Why we love it: With its bijou Cognac and cigar ‘garden’ with potted palms, Dukes Bar is licensed to thrill.
Where: Dukes Hotel, St James’s Place, SW1A 1NY
The Fumoir, Mayfair
What’s to celebrate: We adore the poised, polished perfection of Claridge’s main bar, but The Fumoir feels even more special, an art-deco, Lalique-mirrored gem. Class marques appear on the Champagne list, there are killer cocktails, plus bar snacks every bit as luxe as the surroundings: think caviar, oysters, lobster tempura or asparagus risotto.
Why we love it: Stealth wealth par excellence, having The Fumoir in you address book shows you have the inside track on luxury London.
Where: Claridge’s, Brook Street, W1K 4HR
What’s to celebrate: The fact that Novikov offers a catering service for private jets tells you everything that you need to know about this high-rolling pleasure palace just off Berkeley Square, where you can eat in Asian and Italian dining rooms, or settle in to the Lounge bar. Champagne, unsurprisingly, is the drink of choice in such plutocratic surrounds, with Champagne Armand de Brignac Brut Gold among the big names on the wine list.
Why we love it: An ever-changing roster of top DJs gives the buzz of a nightclub in the comfort of a lounge bar.
Where: 50 Berkeley Street, W1J 8HA
Restaurant Ours, Chelsea
What’s to celebrate: It might have come in for some stick when it opened two years ago but one thing that everyone could agree on was that the best thing to eat here was the snacks menu. And what better way to enjoy the likes of foie gras and chips than over cocktails at the horseshoe bar, soaking up the Made in Chelsea atmosphere of it all? Ask for a French 75 and pimp it up with your Champagne of choice.
Why we love it: The snaking catwalk entrance gives an evening here a dramatic sense of arrival before you’ve even sat down.
Where: 264 Brompton Road, SW3 2AS
What’s to celebrate: From the moment the glass-box express lift whisks you 38 floors up the face of the Heron Tower, this cocky Japanese/Latino fusion is a slick vision of selfie-stick perfection. The later the hour, the louder the DJs and the livelier the scene. An alfresco bar sheltering under the canopy of a giant gold tree offers a soothing sanctuary from the mayhem inside.
Why we love it: Fire pits and snuggly blankets on the breezy sky terrace make drinking outside a year-round attraction.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
For more of London’s best bars for celebrations, read the first part of this feature.
About our sponsor
Champagne Armand de Brignac is a collection of prestige cuvées, crafted by 13th generation wine growers, the Cattier family, and is available in limited quantities around the world. It is comprised of Brut Gold, Rosé, Demi Sec, and the ultra-prestige single varietals, Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs – all created with immense attention to detail. The small winemaking team are known for sourcing the best fruit, taking just the first and freshest portion of the cuvée press. Drinking Armand de Brignac crowns a special occasion, marked by luxury.
To find out more, visit Armand de Brignac.com