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Best Cocktail Bars in Central London: A Guide to the Top Spots for Drinks

July 24, 2023

Central London is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world. These bars are known for their creativity, attention to detail, and exceptional service. Whether you're looking for a classic cocktail or something more adventurous, you're sure to find it in Central London.

The history of cocktail bars in Central London dates back to the 19th century, when the first cocktail bars opened in the city. Since then, cocktail culture has flourished in Central London, with new bars opening up every year. Today, Central London is home to some of the most innovative and exciting cocktail bars in the world, and it's a destination for cocktail enthusiasts from around the globe.

If you're looking for the best cocktail bars in Central London, you're in luck. From classic speakeasies to modern mixology bars, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the top-rated cocktail bars in Central London, as well as some emerging cocktail trends and tips for choosing the right bar for your night out.

Key Takeaways

  • Central London is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world, with a rich history of cocktail culture dating back to the 19th century.
  • Top-rated cocktail bars in Central London offer exceptional service, creativity, and attention to detail, making it a destination for cocktail enthusiasts from around the globe.
  • Emerging cocktail trends and tips for choosing the right bar can help you make the most of your night out in Central London.

Historical Background of Cocktail Bars in Central London

Cocktail bars have been an integral part of London's social scene since the late 19th century. They were initially established in the West End, where the wealthy and fashionable would gather to socialise and enjoy a drink or two.

One of the earliest and most famous cocktail bars in London is the American Bar at The Savoy, which opened in 1893. It quickly became a popular spot for London's elite, who were attracted to its luxurious atmosphere and innovative cocktails.

During the Prohibition era in the US, many American bartenders moved to London, bringing with them their knowledge of mixing drinks. This influx of talent led to the creation of new and exciting cocktails, which helped to establish London as a leading city in the cocktail scene.

In the 1950s and 60s, cocktail bars became associated with glamour and sophistication, with many establishments featuring live music and a dress code. One of the most famous cocktail bars of this era was the Playboy Club in Mayfair, which attracted celebrities and high society.

Today, cocktail bars in central London continue to evolve and innovate, with many establishments offering unique and creative drinks menus. From speakeasy-style bars to rooftop venues with stunning views, there is something to suit every taste and occasion.

Top Rated Cocktail Bars in Central London

If you are looking for the best cocktail bars in Central London, you have come to the right place. Here are our top picks, divided into four sub-sections: Soho, Covent Garden, Mayfair, and Shoreditch.

Soho

  • Mark's Bar: This vintage speakeasy is hidden beneath Hix Soho and offers an eclectic atmosphere and experimental tipples.
  • Swift: This bar offers a wide range of classic and contemporary cocktails in a stylish and elegant setting.
  • The Vault at Milroy's: This underground bar is located beneath a whiskey shop and offers an extensive whiskey selection and expertly crafted cocktails.

Covent Garden

  • Blame Gloria: This lively bar offers a fun and quirky atmosphere, with a menu of creative cocktails and live music.
  • Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour: This Victorian-style bar offers a vast selection of gin and gin-based cocktails, along with a charming and eccentric decor.
  • The Alchemist: This bar offers a theatrical experience, with cocktails that change colour, smoke, and bubble, along with a menu of creative and innovative drinks.

Mayfair

  • The Connaught Bar: This elegant and sophisticated bar offers a menu of classic and contemporary cocktails, along with impeccable service and a refined atmosphere.
  • The American Bar at The Savoy: This iconic bar has been serving cocktails for over a century and offers a menu of classic cocktails, along with live music and a luxurious setting.
  • Artesian: This bar has won numerous awards for its innovative and creative cocktails, along with a stylish and contemporary decor.

Shoreditch

  • Callooh Callay: This quirky and playful bar offers a menu of creative and inventive cocktails, along with a whimsical and imaginative decor.
  • Nightjar: This bar offers a vintage and intimate atmosphere, with a menu of classic cocktails and live jazz music.
  • The Gibson: This bar offers a menu of unique and unusual cocktails, along with a stylish and sophisticated decor.

Whether you are looking for a classic cocktail or something more experimental, these top-rated cocktail bars in Central London are sure to satisfy your thirst for a great drink.

Unique Features of Central London Cocktail Bars

Central London is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world. These bars offer unique features that set them apart from the rest. Here are some of the most notable features that you can expect to find in central London cocktail bars:

Quirky Themes

Many of the cocktail bars in central London have quirky themes that make them stand out. For example, there are bars that are designed to look like a library, a laboratory, or even a speakeasy from the Prohibition era. These themes add to the overall experience of the bar and make it more memorable.

Creative Cocktails

Central London cocktail bars are known for their creative cocktails. Bartenders in these bars use unique ingredients and techniques to create cocktails that are not only delicious but also visually stunning. Some bars even offer bespoke cocktails, where the bartender creates a drink tailored to your specific tastes.

Hidden Entrances

Some of the best cocktail bars in central London have hidden entrances. These entrances can be found behind bookshelves, inside phone booths, or even through a secret door in the wall. These hidden entrances add to the overall experience of the bar and make it feel more exclusive.

Rooftop Views

Central London is known for its stunning skyline, and some cocktail bars take advantage of this by offering rooftop views. These bars offer a unique perspective of the city while you enjoy your cocktail. Some of these bars even have outdoor seating, making it the perfect place to enjoy a drink on a warm summer evening.

Live Music

Many central London cocktail bars offer live music, which adds to the overall atmosphere of the bar. Some bars have jazz bands, while others have DJs playing the latest hits. Live music makes the bar feel more lively and adds to the overall experience.

In conclusion, central London cocktail bars offer unique features that make them stand out from the rest. Whether it's a quirky theme, creative cocktails, hidden entrances, rooftop views, or live music, these bars offer an experience that you won't find anywhere else.

Emerging Cocktail Trends in Central London

Central London is known for its vibrant and dynamic cocktail scene, with new trends emerging every year. In 2023, we've seen some exciting new developments that are sure to impress even the most discerning cocktail connoisseurs.

Low-ABV Cocktails

One of the most notable trends we've seen in Central London this year is the rise of low-ABV cocktails. These cocktails are designed to be lighter and more refreshing, with a lower alcohol content that allows you to enjoy more than one without feeling too tipsy. Some popular low-ABV cocktails include the Aperol Spritz, the Negroni Sbagliato, and the Americano.

Sustainable Cocktails

Sustainability is a hot topic in the food and drinks industry, and Central London's cocktail bars are no exception. Many bars are now using sustainable ingredients and eco-friendly practices to create delicious cocktails with a conscience. For example, some bars are using leftover fruit and vegetable scraps to create syrups and garnishes, while others are using biodegradable straws and recycled glassware.

Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

As more people choose to reduce their alcohol intake, non-alcoholic cocktails are becoming increasingly popular in Central London. These cocktails are crafted with the same care and attention as their alcoholic counterparts, using exciting ingredients and innovative techniques to create complex and delicious flavours. Some popular non-alcoholic cocktails include the Seedlip & Tonic, the Virgin Mary, and the Pineapple & Cucumber Cooler.

Global Influences

Central London's cocktail scene has always been influenced by global trends, and this year is no exception. We're seeing a rise in cocktails that draw inspiration from all corners of the world, from Japanese whisky highballs to Mexican margaritas. Many bars are also experimenting with lesser-known spirits and ingredients from around the globe, creating exciting new flavour combinations and pushing the boundaries of what a cocktail can be.

Overall, Central London's cocktail scene is more exciting and diverse than ever before, with new trends and flavours emerging all the time. Whether you're a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or a curious newcomer, there's never been a better time to explore the city's vibrant and dynamic bar scene.

Tips for Choosing the Right Cocktail Bar

Choosing the right cocktail bar can make or break your night out in Central London. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your selection:

  • Consider the vibe: Do you want a laid-back atmosphere or a high-energy party scene? Are you looking for a romantic spot or a place to hang out with friends? Make sure the vibe matches your mood and expectations.
  • Check the menu: Look for a bar with a diverse and interesting cocktail menu. A good cocktail bar will have a mix of classic and innovative drinks, as well as a selection of spirits and mixers.
  • Read reviews: Check online reviews to see what other people are saying about the bar. Pay attention to comments about the service, atmosphere, and quality of drinks.
  • Location: Consider the location of the bar and how easy it is to get to. Is it close to public transport? Is it in a safe area?
  • Price: Cocktails can be expensive, so make sure you're comfortable with the prices before you go. Some bars offer happy hour or other specials, so check their website or social media for deals.
  • Dress code: Some bars have a dress code, so make sure you're dressed appropriately. Check the bar's website or social media for details.

By keeping these tips in mind, you'll be able to choose the right cocktail bar for your night out in Central London.

Conclusion

Central London is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world, with a range of venues to suit every taste and budget. From chic rooftop bars to hidden speakeasies, there is something for everyone.

Whether you are looking for classic cocktails or innovative new creations, the bars in central London have got you covered. Many of them also offer delicious food menus and live music, making them the perfect destination for a night out.

To help you navigate the city's cocktail scene, we have compiled a list of the best bars in central London. Our top picks include:

  • The American Bar at The Savoy: This iconic bar has been serving up classic cocktails since 1898 and is a must-visit for any cocktail enthusiast.
  • Oriole: This hidden gem is tucked away in a basement in Smithfield and serves up delicious drinks inspired by global flavours.
  • The Artesian: This luxurious bar at The Langham hotel is known for its creative and innovative cocktails, as well as its stunning decor.
  • Nightjar: This speakeasy-style bar in Shoreditch is a favourite among locals and tourists alike, thanks to its extensive cocktail menu and live music.

Of course, this is just a small selection of the many amazing cocktail bars in central London. We encourage you to explore the city and discover your own favourites.

Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a great night out, the bars in central London are sure to impress. So why not grab some friends and head out for a cocktail (or two) tonight?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the top-rated cocktail bars in Central London?

Central London is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world. Some of the top-rated cocktail bars in the area include the American Bar at the Savoy, Nightjar in Shoreditch, and Coupette in Bethnal Green. These bars are known for their expertly crafted cocktails, unique atmospheres, and exceptional service.

Where can I find the best rooftop cocktail bar in London?

If you're looking for a rooftop cocktail bar with breathtaking views of the city, head to the Radio Rooftop Bar at the ME London hotel. This bar offers stunning panoramic views of the River Thames and London skyline, along with an extensive cocktail menu and a chic atmosphere.

Which cocktail bars in Covent Garden are worth visiting?

Covent Garden is home to many popular cocktail bars, but some of the best include the Blind Spot at the St Martins Lane hotel, the London Cocktail Club, and the Escapologist. These bars offer unique and innovative cocktails, along with lively atmospheres and excellent service.

What are some cheap cocktail bars in London that still offer high-quality drinks?

London is known for its high prices, but there are still many cocktail bars that offer high-quality drinks at affordable prices. Some of the best include the Discount Suit Company in Spitalfields, the Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green, and the Happiness Forgets in Hoxton. These bars offer expertly crafted cocktails at reasonable prices, along with friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere.

What makes London Cocktail Club stand out from other cocktail bars in the city?

The London Cocktail Club is known for its fun and lively atmosphere, along with its innovative and creative cocktails. This bar offers a unique experience, with bartenders who are known for their showmanship and flair. The London Cocktail Club also offers cocktail-making classes, making it a great choice for those who want to learn more about mixology.

What are some of the most unique and innovative cocktails served at cocktail bars in Shoreditch?

Shoreditch is known for its vibrant and creative cocktail scene, with many bars offering unique and innovative cocktails. Some of the most popular include the Experimental Cocktail Club, which offers a range of creative and unusual cocktails, and the Nightjar, which is known for its vintage-inspired drinks and innovative presentation. Other popular bars in the area include Callooh Callay, which offers a range of quirky and inventive cocktails, and the Cocktail Trading Company, which is known for its playful and imaginative drinks.

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About the Author: 

Hometainment Team

HOMETAINMENT, a company specializing in curating hospitality and entertainment experiences, delivers them directly to your place of choice , be it your Home your office , your shop , etc…. It stands as the premier platform for home and office entertainment, alleviating the stress associated with hosting. Boasting an extensive array of offerings, from private chefs, bartenders, and musicians to masterclasses, well-being activities, and children's entertainment, HOMETAINMENT continually expands its repertoire with new experiences and experts each week. The seasoned HOMEtainers manage every aspect of your event, regardless of its scale, ensuring a seamless and memorable experience.

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