The City of London isn't exactly renowned as a place of temperance. 

It operates on a 'work hard, play hard' type of mentality, with a watering hole on every street and every corner. 

However, being the sophisticated Square Mile reader that you are, your tastes may be a little higher than Wetherspoons and / or Be At One.

(Not that there isn't a place for both in the world – but it's a place you don't occupy all too often.) 

We've compiled a list of the best bars in the City of London, breaking it down by all the relevant areas: from Shoreditch to London Bridge to the distant Canary Wharf. (Financial district: still counts.) 

Want more detail? Every bar has a link to its bespoke Bar Necessities review, breaking down the vital information from cocktails to cost.  

The list will be updated with new entries so watch this space. 

Bottoms up! 

Best bars near London Bridge 

Situated on the 32nd floor of the Shard, Oblix East offers panoramic views of London, along with delicious small plates and frankly fantastic cocktails. Plus you'll totally feel like James Bond. 

Read the full review of Oblix East 

The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, SE1 9RY;

A very beautiful underground cocktail bar, Nine Lives brings a touch of Brooklyn to Bermondsey Street (OK, just off Bermondsey Street). The playlist the only thing cooler than the drinks. Food is supplied by the Tigre Tacos truck outside. 

Read the full review of Nine Lives

8 Holyrood St, SE1 2EL;

Arabica Bar + Kitchen isn't only about the drinks: it also serves up some of the finest Middle Eastern cuisine in London. There's another site in Kings Cross, if that's more convenient for you. 

Read the full review of Arabica

Borough Market, 3 Rochester Walk, SE1 9AF;

Fancy some culture with your cocktails? Tavolino brings Milanese coffee houses and the Trattorias of Florence to London Bridge. If there's a London Mafia they probably eat here. They certainly would if they had any taste. 

Read the full review of Tavolino

London Riverside, SE1 2DB;

Best bars near Bank  

Since its opening in 2017, the Ned has established itself as one of London's most popular venues in the City – with a private members' club, multiple restaurants and bars, and even a nightclub in the basement. The Nickel Bar in the vast foyer is perhaps the pick of the bunch. 

Read the full review of The Ned

27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ;

Sat atop One New Change, rooftop bar Madison London is the closest you'll get to Ibiza without having to leave the City. Expect live music, flowing cocktails and great food. One for the Gram. 

Read the full review of Madison London

One New Change, EC4M 9AF;

One for the oenophiles: Tappit Hen is a wine bar built on the site of a famous port merchant so, yes, the place has a fair bit of a pedigree when it comes to the plonk. There's also a Wednesday steak night – and yes, you better go rare. 

Read the full review of Tappit Hen  

21-23 St Swithin's Ln, EC4N 8AD;

Oeno House is a new fine wine boutique from wine investment firm Oeno. Take home a bottle from an extensive stock list of more than 700 labels, or enjoy your chosen wine in the charming surrounds of The Royal Exchange. It's a wine bar but not as you know it. 

Read the full review of Oeno House

Royal Exchange, EC3V 3LR; Oeno House

Best bars near Liverpool Street

Happy days: The Alchemist has finally brought its unique range of cocktail bars to the City. Expect creative mixes with a touch of the dramatic and plenty of oomph. The drinks menu has to be seen to be believed (and ordered from). 

Read the full review of The Alchemist

6 Bevis Marks, EC3A 7BA;

Since opening in 2016, Black Rock has established itself as one of the finest whisky bars in London. The centrepiece is the hollow tree trunk that carries two rivers of whisky across the room. There are also numerous blends to choose from, all ordered by taste and price, and even cocktails too! 

Read the full review of Black Rock 

9 Christopher St, EC2A 2BS;

Discount Suit Company has established itself as a London institution since opening in January 2016. The tiny underground bar is the true definition of timeless in that it could be any hour and any era once you've descended into its depths.  

Read the full review of Discount Suit Company

29A Wentworth St, E1 7TB;

Best Bars near Farringdon 

Launched by the team behind the celebrated Nightjar, Oriole has already made the 50 Best Bars in the World list, and won Best New Bar at Tales of the Cocktail festival. The menu is split into three sections – Old World, New World, and The Orient – and every one of the 30-odd cocktails is a work of art. Be sure to book in advance. 

Read the full review of Oriole

E Poultry Ave, Farringdon, EC1A 9LH;

The Gunmakers x Tigre Tacos
The Gunmakers x Tigre Tacos

Clerkenwell stalwart The Gunmakers is technically a pub but the residency of street-food specialists Tigre Tacos ensures fantastic Mexican food and a cocktail list created by Victor Barascu, the head bartender of Nine Lives. That's enough to qualify The Gunmakers for this list. 

Read the full review of The Gunmakers

13 Eyre St Hill, EC1R 5ET;

Best Bars near Spitalfields

The Gun is a bar masquerading as a pub but don't be fooled – a bar it most certainly is. It's also something of a City institution, with some version of the Gun existing in Spitalfields for nearly 500 years. The latest incarnation opened in 2019, and probably has more amenities than the Tudor one. 

Read the full review of The Gun

54 Brushfield St, Spitalfields, E1 6AG;

Part Parisian bistro, part English Gastropub, part rooftop cocktail bar, The Buxton manages to be master of all trades. You can even stay there overnight if you fancy making a proper evening of it – and why wouldn't you? 

Read the full review of The Buxton

42 Osborn St, London E1 6TD;

Formerly Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, Colours Hoxton is the sparkling result of an extensive revamp. With a kitchen run by The Orange Buffalo, and a aim to champion queer art and culture, you can be sure of a fun – and, yes, colourful – night whenever you stop by.  

Read the full review of Colours Hoxton

2-4 Hoxton Square, Hackney, N1 6NU;

Slap bang between Shoreditch and Hoxton but we'll give it to the latter. Gold Step is a tequila and mezcal bar situated in the basement of the ultra-trendy Jaguar Shoes Collective. Taking a date there will bring massive cool points (and a tequila-inspired hangover). 

Read the full review of Gold Step

32-36 Kingsland Rd, E2 8DA;

Ever After Cocktail Bar
Ever After Cocktail Bar

Situated above the equally brilliant Happiness Forgets – both bars are from the same team – Ever After is a winning combination of inventive drinks and delicious food from head chef Joni Ketonen. Head downstairs afterwards for a proper evening out. 

Read the full review of Ever After

8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU; Ever After

Best Bars near Shoreditch

The Green Room is the cocktail bar at the ultra-cool The Curtain – the hotel-cum-members' club that's become one of the area's go-to destinations since it opened in 2017. You needn't be a member of The Curtain to drink at The Green Room but that doesn't mean you shouldn't become one. 

Read the full review of The Green Room

45 Curtain Rd, Hackney, EC2A 3PT;

A lovely, relaxed place of calm amid the madness of Shoreditch. Luigi's is Spelzini Cafe by day before transforming into a bar at night – so you can guiltlessly spend a day there. The Italian bar food is delicious and fantastic value. 

Read the full review of Luigi's

154-158 Shoreditch High St, Hackney, E1 6HU;

Best Bars near Tower Hill 

Savage Garden is a fun, funky bar with a rooftop that looks over the City – this is definitely one for the summer months. Expect creative cocktails, delicious sharing plates and a buzzy ambience. Do not, however, expect savagery. Or a garden. 

Read the full review of Savage Garden

Floor 12, 7 Pepys St, EC3N 4AF;

Best Bars near Canary Wharf 

Situated on the waterfront, No 35 Mackenzie Walk is a big, bustling bar and restaurant equally suited for summer tipples or Christmas shindigs. There's a private dining room should you want to escape the Muggles, and a non-meat Sunday roast should you want to save the planet. 

Read the full review of No 35 Mackenzie Walk

29-35 Mackenzie Walk, Canary Wharf, E14 4PH;