London cocktail bars are among the finest in the world.
Speakeasy bar? Not a problem. Rooftop bar? Just above you, sir. Whatever your drinking desires, London will have a cocktail bar near you. The issue you have is finding the right one.
That's where we come in. We've rounded up the best cocktail bars in London. From Mayfair to Shoreditch, London Bridge to Soho – our guide covers every cocktail bar imaginable.
Every cocktail bar is linked to its own Bar Necessities review to ensure you know exactly what to drink and eat once you arrive. The guide will be regularly updated so make sure to keep tabs on it.
And speaking of tabs – ours is a martini. We'll see you at the bar.
Best cocktail bars near Soho
A cocktail bar that feels a little like drinking in Hell's Waiting Room, Murder Inc is one cool joint. The walls are covered with an assortment of boxing memorabilia and bric-a-brac; an army of bottles glisten behind the bar. Sinful, sexy and simply divine.
36 Hanway St, W1T 1UP; Murder Inc
Hidden beneath Pali Hill restaurant, Bandra Bhai is a cocktail bar that brings Indian smuggling dens and delicious drinks to Soho with decor as cool as the drinks. It may be small but Bandra Bhai is an easy place to lose yourself – assuming you can find the place first.
79-81 Mortimer St, W1W 7SJ; Bandra Bhai
Paradise Soho is more of a Sri Lankan restaurant which happens to have a dazzling cocktail list. But it looks like a bar and that cocktail list really is dazzling so Paradise makes the cut. Just make sure you don't skimp on the food.
61 Rupert St, W1D 7PW; Paradise Soho
Louche already boasts an all-time great name for a cocktail bar. Throw in fantastic drinks, live music and burlesque dancers and you have the latest Soho destination. It stays open late, too, so you'll be able to make a night of it.
5 Greek St, London W1D 4DD; Louche Soho
This elegant cocktail bar has something for everyone, as it’s made up two parts. Downstairs is a firm favourite among Londoners, where you can expect a slower evening and a large list of whisky – live music included. Or swing by the upstairs for a quicker drink on your way to the West End. There's also a Bar Swift in Shoreditch but the Soho Swift is the original.
12 Old Compton St, London W1D 4TQ; Swift
The Little Scarlet Door
The newest addition to Little Door & Co, The Little Scarlet Door brings house party vibes to Greek Street. There's also The Little Orange Door in Clapham, The Little Blue Door in Fulham and The Little Yellow Door in Notting Hill should you not be near Soho or simply like to mix up the colour scheme.
12-13 Greek St, London W1D 4DL; The Little Scarlet Door
Best cocktail bars near Mayfair
Descend twisted oak staircase of Mayfair super-restaurant Hide and enter Below: a stylish cocktail bar, serving one of the most interesting drinks menus in London. Think boujee drinking den meets swanky ski chalet.
5 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB; Below
Mr Fogg's Residence
Widely recognised as one of the world’s finest cocktail empires – with seven iterations of Mr Fogg’s and counting, spread across London – Mr Fogg’s Residence is the original and best outpost of the lot. The cocktail menu is naturally global, drawing from spirits all around the planet.
15 Bruton Ln, London W1J 6JD; Mr Foggs Residence
The Glade at Sketch
If Alice emerged from Wonderland and decided to open a cocktail bar, the results would likely resemble The Glade at Sketch. The place is a trip, all neon lights and brightly coloured chairs and foliage hanging from the ceiling. A very silly place, but rather wonderful nonetheless.
9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG; sketch
Red Room at The Connaught
The Red Room is a truly gorgeous space that holds its inhabitants like a cocoon – once you emerge, even Mayfair looks a little shabby in comparison. Our advice? Don’t emerge. The Connaught’s wine cellar contains some of the finest bottles in the world. Get stuck into that instead.
Carlos Pl, London W1K 2AL; The Connaught
Best cocktail bars near Kensington
Amaro is one of those great things – a proper cocktail bar in a part of town not known for them. A decorated team led by Elon Soddu, formerly of the Savoy, makes interesting and elegant mixed drinks, while there's charcuterie and small plates if you're hungry.
15 Kensington High Street, W8 5NP; Amaro
For somewhere with a down-to-earth feel but that's still capable of making exquisite twists on classic cocktails, Publiq is a no-brainer. A gastropub feel and a top-level drinks list combine for a great date spot in this neck of the woods.
1 Palace Gate, W8 5LS; Publiq
Best cocktail bars near Covent Garden
Beaufort Bar at the Savoy
Fancy an evening of pure luxury? Beaufort Bar at the Savoy is one of the finest in the world – a gorgeous cocktail bar situated within London's most famous hotel. Do not turn up here in a tracksuit.
The Savoy, the Strand, WC2R 0EZ; Beaufort Bar
The American Bar at the Savoy
View on Instagram
A true legend – many say this is the best hotel bar in the world (don't tell Beaufort). Another Savoy stalwart this art deco venue is straight out of a scene in The Great Gatsby. The epitome of old-school glamour, come to the American Bar if you’ve got someone you want to impress.
The Savoy, the Strand, WC2R 0EZ; The American Bar
Knight's Bar at Simpson's in the Strand
Simpson's in the Stand is a true London institution, nearing its 200th birthday. The Knight's Bar offers a more relaxed environment than downstairs restaurant The Grand Divan, while never allowing you to forget where exactly it is you are drinking.
100 Strand, WC2R 0EW; Simpson's in the Strand
Eve Bar is the first cocktail bar from celebrated chef Adam Handling – you'll find it hidden beneath his restaurant Frog in Covent Garden. With five expert bartenders and great bar snacks, come get your cocktail on.
34 Southampton St, London WC2E 7HF; Eve Bar
Best cocktail bars near Charing Cross / Trafalgar Square
St James Bar at the Hotel Sofitel
Intimate yet unapologetically swanky, you’ll discover the St James Bar by the foyer of the five-star Hotel Sofitel. It's the kind of place James Bond might visit on his night off. Needless to say, ours is shaken not stirred.
6 Waterloo Pl, St. James's, SW1Y 4AN; St James Bar
Overlooking Trafalgar Square, rooftop bar Bisushima sits atop of the new Page8 hotel in Charing Cross. Its views over London can only be described as panoramic – and if you think the cocktails are impressive, wait until you try the food.
8 St. Martin's Pl, WC2N 4JH; Bisushima
Rockwell at Trafalgar St James
Housed within the St James Hotel, overlooking Trafalgar Square, cocktail bar Rockwell offers the perfect setting for those late-night drinks. Fabulous and photogenic.
Trafalgar Square, 2 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2TS; Rockwell
A perfect pre or post theatre experience, Farzi Cafe serves up experimental twists on familiar Indian and British dishes alongside an incredibly inventive cocktail list. The current menu is inspired by the Zodiac and certainly deserves the star treatment.
Haymarket, London SW1Y 4BP; Farzi Café
Best bars near London Bridge / Borough
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.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, SE1 9RY; oblixrestaurant.com
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.
8 Holyrood St, SE1 2EL; ninelivesbar.com
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.
London Riverside, SE1 2DB; tavolino.co.uk
Another bar suffused with a New York state of mind – specially the trendy parts of New York. Brix offers easy access to the sights of the Southbank and plenty of fantastic food and cocktails.
16 Great Guildford St, London SE1 0HS; Brix LDN
Best bars near Waterloo
The latest venture from “The World’s Most Awarded Bartender” Ryan Chetiyawardana, AKA Mr Lyan, Lyaness serves up a cocktail list you won't find anywhere else in London. Pig's blood, anyone? A must-visit for any cocktail connoisseur.
Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD; Lyaness
View on Instagram
A perfect summertime drinking spot, Bar Elba offers a range of brilliant cocktails – try the zombies – and glorious views over Waterloo. There's also frequent film screenings and some very competitive drink packages.
Rooftop Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UL; Bar Elba
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.
27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ; thened.com
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.
One New Change, EC4M 9AF; madisonlondon.net
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.
21-23 St Swithin's Ln, EC4N 8AD; davy.co.uk/wine-bar/tappit-hen/
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.
Royal Exchange, EC3V 3LR; Oeno House
Hithe + Seek
Hotel bars can often by a treat and Hithe + Seek continues that trend. Located in the five-star Westin London City, Hithe + Seek offers inventive cocktails and delicious sharing plates with some delightful riverfront views.
60 Upper Thames St., London EC4V 3AD; Hithe + Seek
Best bars near Old Street
A proper speakeasy – and one that needs little introduction. Nightjar will take you straight back to the prohibition for one of the coolest evenings of your life. Sway to live jazz and blues while you enjoy classic and experimental cocktails in this sophisticated venue. There's a reason why Nightjar is considered one of the best cocktail bars in the world, let alone London.
129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB; Nightjar
Tayēr + Elementary
Another double-bar venue, come to Tayēr + Elementary for experimental flavours made with seasonal ingredients. The front bar, Elementary is simple and industrial. Perch on the stool in the window and watch Shoreditch go by. The back bar, Tayēr, is where the magic happens. Centred around an open kitchen island, enjoy the famous katsu sando as you sip the concoctions of London’s best mixologists.
152 Old St, London EC1V 9BW; Tayēr + Elementary
This one's a must-visit on any cocktail lover's bucket list. The Gibson creates extraordinary concoctions that date back to Edwardian London, wind through the 1920s and take you into the future. You'll be spoilt for choice: but do order the bar's namesake (it's a Martini garnished with a picked onion.
44 Old St, London EC1V 9AQ; The Gibson
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).
6 Bevis Marks, EC3A 7BA; thealchemist.uk.com
Best Bars near Shoreditch
Fun, quirky and not a hipster in sight. Drinks are high in quality but low in pretention. Take delight in the brazenly named cocktails, like Flipping The Bird, and enjoy a night of revelry in Shoreditch’s most fun bar. Wannabe mixologists can even take a cocktail masterclass. There's also a Callooh Callay in Chelsea should you venture West.
65 Rivington St, London EC2A 3AY; Calooh Callay
The Green Room at The Curtain
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.
45 Curtain Rd, Hackney, EC2A 3PT; thecurtain.com
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.
154-158 Shoreditch High St, Hackney, E1 6HU; spelzini.co.uk
Found is a Shoreditch cocktail bar that you really should track down. Opened by celebrated mixologist Oskar Klimaszewski, Found is an intimate space with a focus on great cocktails and a great time. A wonderful place to lose yourself.
5 Ravey St, London EC2A 4QW; Found
The Rooftop at One Hundred Shoreditch
A rooftop bar at one of London's most buzzy hotels? Don't mind if we do. The Rooftop takes inspiration from Palm Springs, with the décor and fauna infusing the bar with a Californian (free) spirit. Panoramic views across East London are the perfect backdrop for an evening cocktails and carousing.
100 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JQ; The Rooftop
Best bars near Liverpool Street
Black Rock Whisky Bar
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!
9 Christopher St, EC2A 2BS; blackrock.bar
Discount Suit Company
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.
29A Wentworth St, E1 7TB; discountsuitcompany.co.uk
Nice and close to Liverpool Street Station, Nest is a perfect cocktail bar for either a post-work drink or a proper night out. You won't want to fly it anytime soon.
155 Bishopsgate, EC2M 3YD; Nest
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.
54 Brushfield St, Spitalfields, E1 6AG; thegunlondon.com
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?
42 Osborn St, London E1 6TD; thebuxton.co.uk
Wine bar Bottles has outlets in both Spitalfields and Chelsea. Expect Mediterranean food and fine wine, obviously. There's a pleasing rock 'n' roll vibe to Bottles – this is wine but cool. And considerably cheaper than a trip to Italy.
67 Brushfield St, London E1 6AA; Bottles
Located on the rooftop of Hyatt Place London City East, PocketSquare offers bespoke signature cocktails paired with delicious sharing plates. The view isn't bad, either – and if you've booked a room in the hotel, neither is the commute.
45 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DU; PocketSquare
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.
E Poultry Ave, Farringdon, EC1A 9LH; oriolebar.com
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.
13 Eyre St Hill, EC1R 5ET; thegunmakers.co.uk
Best Bars near Hoxton
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.
2-4 Hoxton Square, Hackney, N1 6NU; colourshoxton.com
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).
32-36 Kingsland Rd, E2 8DA; jaguarshoes.com
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.
8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU; Ever After
Best Bars near King's Cross / St Pancras
Double Standard comes courtesy of America’s coolest hotel group The Standard. In keeping with the hotel, the cocktail bar is a colourful throwback to the 1970s. Book a room and then you don't have far to travel home.
10 Argyle St, WC1H 8EG; Standard London
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 London Bridge, if that's more convenient for you.
7 Lewis Cubitt Walk, London N1C 4DT; arabicalondon.com
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.
Floor 12, 7 Pepys St, EC3N 4AF; savagegarden.co.uk
Offering reasonably priced cocktails, great pizza and live music every evening, Eastcheap Records is a great cocktail bar to go get your groove on. With 20 cocktails available, you'll soon be cutting shapes on the dancefloor.
20 Eastcheap, London EC3M 1EB; Eastcheap Records
Best Bars near Canary Wharf
No 35 Mackenzie Walk
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.
29-35 Mackenzie Walk, Canary Wharf, E14 4PH; no35mackenziewalk.co.uk
A wine bar with real credentials, Humble Grape has five locations across London: Blackfriars, Liverpool Street, Islington, Battersea and Canary Wharf. Can't venture out? Humble Grape delivers more than 400 sustainable wines anywhere in mainland Britain.
Various locations; Humble Grape
Best bars near Bethnal Green
Coupette is a bar that feels more suited to regulars in its locale than international tourists, but it's widely considered one of the best cocktail bars in the world. Under the stewardship of bar manager Andrei Marcu, it's back with a new menu. Believe the hype.
423 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN; coupette.co.uk
The Sun Tavern
A cocktail bar with a laidback pub vibe, The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green is a perfect place for a relaxing tipple or two. Be warned: these are not cocktails for the fainthearted. You don't want to be the designated driver.
441 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 0AN; The Sun Tavern