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.
China Tang, Mayfair
The Dorchester’s art deco-style, oriental parlour evokes inter-war glamour, from the classic cocktails and high-end wine list to a clientele of models, film stars and expensively suited business folk. Dim sum is available all day, while the Peking duck (served in two or three courses) is one of the best in London. Live jazz on Tuesday evenings gets the whole place swaying with a Shanghai swing.
Where: The Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA
The Connaught Bar, Mayfair
A bar so glamorous that even an after-work drink feels like a cause for celebration, few drinking dens can match the effortless chic of The Connaught Bar, a shimmering shrine to cocktails and home to a world-class team of bartenders. Decadent canapés such as black truffle and Comté fritters with truffle mayo are further reasons to add The Connaught to your ‘must-visit’ list.
Where: 16 Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown
ECC is from the same stable as à la mode Parisian thoroughbreds such as Prescription in St. Germain-des-Prés, so reserve a table in advance if you don’t want to risk being turned away by the greeter on the front door. Beyond the scruffy entrance, you’ll discover a moody boho pile arranged over the upper floors of a Chinatown dwelling, where cocktails made with vintage spirits appeal to the flush and flash.
Where: 13a Gerrard Street, W1D 5PS
Gong, London Bridge
High-rise bars are now a common feature of the capital’s skyline so if you’re all set on drinking at altitude, you may as well go for the tallest one around. Squeezed in at the sharper end of The Shard, Gong is London’s loftiest bar, complete with separate Champagne bar and a swimming pool open for punters to lounge by (but not to dip into) from 8.30pm.
Where: Shangri-La Hotel, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 90U
MNKY HSE, Mayfair
Beloved of the fashion crowd, this glossy gaff recalls the sort of New York nightspot the Sex and the City ladies would have lapped up. The jazz sounds, funk, house and disco get much louder as the hour grows late and the drinks flow. House wine starts at £32, but there’s an impressive range of big-ticket offerings as you delve deeper into the list, including a magnum of prestige cuvée Armand de Brignac for very special occasions. Teeny tacos and tapas meanwhile won’t add an ounce to the trimmest figure.
Where: 10 Dover Street, W1S 4LQ
Book in advance (online only) for this highly rated – and usually – full 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 served in tiki-tastic drinking vessels. A seating-only policy makes Nightjar London’s most civilised speakeasy.
Where: 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB
Nobu Berkeley St, Mayfair
David Collins fashioned some of London’s most decadent bars (Artesian, The Blue Bar), but the fabulously ethereal bar at Nobu Berkeley St represents the creative peak of the late, great Irish designer – the Tardis as imagined for a Japanese remake of Doctor Who, perhaps. Pair Eurasian tapas and sushi platters with pedigree French fizz.
Where: 15 Berkeley Street, W1J 8DY
The Rivoli Bar, Piccadilly
There’s a reason why the phrase ‘putting on The Ritz’ is synonymous with old-school opulence: this legendary hotel is the last word in palatial luxury. Champagne afternoon teas are what the place is most famous for, but in-the-know imbibers head instead to this jewel-box of a bar, all gilded ceilings and swirly chandeliers. Big-ticket bubbles and beluga caviar are among the luxey attractions.
Where: The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR
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