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Best Cocktail Bars in London: Our Top Picks for a Perfect Night Out

July 24, 2023

Best Cocktail Bars in London: Our Top Picks for a Perfect Night Out

London is known for its vibrant nightlife and incredible cocktail scene. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the best cocktail bars in the city. Whether you're looking for a classic cocktail or a unique creation, London has something for everyone.

Historically, London has been at the forefront of the cocktail scene, with some of the world's most famous cocktails originating in the city. Today, London continues to push the boundaries of mixology, with bartenders creating innovative and exciting drinks that are sure to impress. From speakeasy-style bars to seasonal pop-ups, there is no shortage of options to explore.

In this article, we will explore the top-rated cocktail bars in London, as well as some of the unique creations and seasonal bars that are worth checking out. We will also take a look at London's speakeasy-style bars and cocktail bars with incredible views. Join us as we dive into the world of London's cocktail scene.

Key Takeaways

  • London has a vibrant cocktail scene with a rich historical context.
  • The city is home to top-rated cocktail bars as well as unique creations and seasonal pop-ups.
  • From speakeasy-style bars to bars with incredible views, there is no shortage of options to explore in London.

Historical Context of Cocktail Bars in London

London has a rich history of cocktail bars dating back to the early 19th century. During this time, cocktails were becoming increasingly popular in America, and the trend soon spread to London. The first cocktail bar in London was the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel, which opened in 1893.

The American Bar quickly became popular with London's high society and was known for its innovative cocktails. In the 1920s, the bar was frequented by famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who were known for their love of cocktails.

During the prohibition era in America, many American bartenders moved to London to continue their craft. This influx of American bartenders helped to shape the cocktail scene in London and introduced new techniques and ingredients.

In the 1950s and 1960s, cocktail bars became increasingly popular with the younger generation, and many new bars opened up across London. These bars were known for their lively atmosphere and creative cocktails.

Today, London is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world, with many bars continuing to push the boundaries of mixology. From classic bars such as the American Bar at the Savoy to modern bars such as Lyaness, there is a cocktail bar to suit every taste in London.

Overall, the history of cocktail bars in London is a fascinating one, with many iconic bars and bartenders shaping the cocktail scene in London and beyond.

Top Rated Cocktail Bars in London

London is home to some of the world's best cocktail bars, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. To help you navigate the scene, we've rounded up the top-rated cocktail bars in London. From Soho's finest to Covent Garden classics, these bars are sure to impress.

Soho's Finest

Soho is a hub for nightlife, and it's no surprise that some of London's best cocktail bars are located here. Here are our top picks:

  • Swift: This elegant bar serves up classic cocktails with a modern twist. Try their signature Swift Martini, made with gin, vermouth, and a touch of elderflower.
  • Experimental Cocktail Club: This speakeasy-style bar is known for its creative cocktails and intimate atmosphere. Don't miss their signature Old Cuban, made with rum, lime, mint, and champagne.

Shoreditch Specialties

Shoreditch is a trendy neighbourhood with a vibrant bar scene. Here are our top picks:

  • Callooh Callay: This quirky bar is known for its playful cocktails and Alice in Wonderland-inspired decor. Try their signature Jabberwocky, made with gin, creme de menthe, and absinthe.
  • Nightjar: This award-winning bar is known for its innovative cocktails and live music. Don't miss their signature Penicillin, made with whisky, honey, ginger, and lemon.

Mayfair's Gems

Mayfair is a posh neighbourhood with some of London's most luxurious cocktail bars. Here are our top picks:

  • The Connaught Bar: This elegant bar is known for its impeccable service and classic cocktails. Try their signature Martini, made with gin, vermouth, and a touch of orange bitters.
  • Claridge's Bar: This glamorous bar is known for its Art Deco decor and sophisticated cocktails. Don't miss their signature Champagne Cocktail, made with champagne, cognac, and bitters.

Covent Garden Classics

Covent Garden is a bustling neighbourhood with a mix of classic and modern cocktail bars. Here are our top picks:

  • The American Bar: This iconic bar is known for its history and classic cocktails. Try their signature Hanky Panky, made with gin, vermouth, and Fernet-Branca.
  • Blame Gloria: This lively bar is known for its fun atmosphere and creative cocktails. Don't miss their signature Pornstar Martini, made with vanilla vodka, passionfruit, and prosecco.

Whether you're looking for a classic cocktail or something more creative, these top-rated cocktail bars in London are sure to impress.

Unique Cocktail Creations in London

London is renowned for its innovative mixology and unique cocktail creations. From molecular mixology to smoking cocktails, London's cocktail scene is always pushing the boundaries of what's possible with a drink. Here are a few of the most innovative and unique cocktail creations in London.

Innovative Mixology

London is home to some of the most innovative mixologists in the world. These experts are constantly experimenting with new techniques and ingredients to create unique and unforgettable cocktails. Here are a few examples of the most innovative mixology in London.

  • The Gibson Bar - This bar is known for its use of unusual ingredients, such as truffle oil and oyster brine, to create unique and complex cocktails.
  • Purl - This speakeasy-style bar is famous for its molecular mixology, which involves using scientific techniques to create innovative cocktails. Try their Smoking Barrel, which is served in a smoking gun and infused with hickory smoke.
  • The Alchemist - This bar is all about the theatrics of mixology. Their cocktails are served in unusual vessels, such as a smoking skull or a chemistry set, and often involve dry ice or other special effects.

Signature Cocktails

Many of London's best cocktail bars have their own signature cocktails that are unique to their establishment. These cocktails often incorporate local ingredients or pay homage to the bar's history or location. Here are a few examples of London's best signature cocktails.

  • The Connaught Bar - This bar is known for its signature martini, which is made with gin, vermouth, and a special blend of bitters. The martini is served in a chilled glass and garnished with a lemon twist.
  • The American Bar - This bar's signature cocktail is the Hanky Panky, which was created by legendary bartender Ada Coleman in the early 1900s. The cocktail is made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Fernet-Branca.
  • Nightjar - This bar's signature cocktail is the Penicillin, which is made with Scotch, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup, and a float of smoky Islay whisky. The cocktail is served in a glass flask and garnished with a sprig of thyme.

London's cocktail scene is always evolving, and these are just a few examples of the unique and innovative cocktails that can be found in the city. Whether you're looking for molecular mixology or a classic martini, there's a cocktail bar in London that's sure to satisfy your cravings.

London's Speakeasy-Style Bars

For those looking for a unique and intimate drinking experience, London's speakeasy-style bars offer a perfect blend of secrecy and sophistication. These bars are often hidden away behind unmarked doors or disguised as something else entirely, making them a bit of a challenge to find but all the more rewarding when you do.

One of the most popular speakeasy-style bars in London is Angel's "The Bar with No Name" in Islington. Despite its elusive name, this bar is well-known among locals and visitors alike for its expertly crafted cocktails and cosy atmosphere. Another popular option is the Seed Library, located beneath a hotel and offering a stripped-back speakeasy experience with a focus on carefully concocted cocktails.

Opium in Chinatown is widely considered one of the best speakeasy bars in London, with three different watering holes to choose from under one roof. This bar also boasts an impressive array of oriental-themed cocktails that are sure to impress even the most discerning drinker.

For those looking for something a bit more modern, Lost Property Office in Holborn offers a contemporary take on the speakeasy concept. This bar was launched by award-winning bartender Rich Woods, also known as "The Cocktail Guy," and features a menu of innovative and delicious cocktails.

Overall, London's speakeasy-style bars offer a unique and memorable drinking experience for those willing to seek them out. Whether you're looking for classic cocktails or innovative new creations, these hidden gems are sure to impress.

Seasonal Cocktail Bars in London

London has some of the best cocktail bars in the world, and many of them offer seasonal menus that change throughout the year. These bars use fresh ingredients that are in season to create unique and delicious cocktails that capture the flavours of each season.

One of the best seasonal cocktail bars in London is The Gibson in Clerkenwell. Their menu changes every few months to reflect the changing seasons, and they use ingredients like rhubarb, elderflower, and blackberries to create cocktails that are both delicious and visually stunning. Their current summer menu features cocktails like the "Sunshine in a Cup," which is made with gin, grapefruit, and elderflower, and the "Summer Fling," which is a refreshing blend of vodka, watermelon, and cucumber.

Another great seasonal cocktail bar is The Connaught Bar in Mayfair. They have a team of expert mixologists who create unique and innovative cocktails using seasonal ingredients. Their current menu includes drinks like the "English Garden," which is made with gin, elderflower, and apple, and the "Summer Cup," which is a refreshing blend of Pimm's, ginger ale, and fresh fruit.

If you're looking for a seasonal cocktail bar with a view, head to The Rooftop St. James in Westminster. They have a rooftop terrace that offers stunning views of the city, and their cocktail menu changes with the seasons. Their current summer menu includes drinks like the "Peach Fuzz," which is made with peach-infused vodka, lemon, and basil, and the "Strawberry Fields," which is a blend of gin, strawberries, and balsamic vinegar.

Overall, London has some amazing seasonal cocktail bars that are definitely worth checking out. Whether you're looking for a refreshing summer cocktail or a warming winter drink, these bars have something for everyone.

Cocktail Bars with Views in London

London is a city with stunning views, and what better way to enjoy them than with a delicious cocktail in hand? Here are some of the best cocktail bars with views in London:

Jin Bo Law

Jin Bo Law is a rooftop bar located on the 14th floor of the Dorsett City hotel. This bar offers panoramic views of the city skyline, including the Tower of London and the Shard. The bar has a stylish, Asian-inspired decor and serves a variety of innovative cocktails.

Aqua Shard

Located on the 31st floor of the Shard, Aqua Shard is one of the highest cocktail bars in London. The bar has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer breathtaking views of the city. The drinks menu features a range of classic and contemporary cocktails, as well as a selection of wines, beers, and spirits.

Madison

Madison is a rooftop bar and restaurant located in the heart of the City of London. The bar has a large outdoor terrace with stunning views of St Paul's Cathedral and the surrounding area. The drinks menu features a variety of cocktails, as well as wines, beers, and spirits.

Bussey Rooftop Bar

Bussey Rooftop Bar is located in Peckham and offers stunning views of the London skyline. The bar has a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere and serves a variety of cocktails, as well as pizza and other snacks. It's a great spot to catch the sunset with friends.

Radio Rooftop

Radio Rooftop is a stylish rooftop bar located on the 10th floor of the ME London hotel. The bar has panoramic views of the city, including the London Eye and the River Thames. The drinks menu features a variety of cocktails, as well as wines, beers, and spirits.

Whether you're a tourist or a local, these cocktail bars with views in London are sure to impress. Enjoy a drink with a view and soak up the beauty of the city.

Conclusion

London is a city that is famous for its cocktail bars, and for good reason. With hundreds of drinking dens in every corner of the capital, it can be hard to know where to start. However, after researching and exploring the city's best cocktail bars, we have narrowed down our top picks.

Whether you're looking for a laid-back atmosphere or a swanky rooftop bar, London has something for everyone. From the classics evolved school to the most inventive and creative mixology, the bars on our list offer a range of experiences that are sure to impress.

If you're looking for a classic cocktail experience, head to Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel. This Soho spot offers a seriously laid-back vibe and life-changing drinks. If you're after something a bit more intimate, Three Sheets in Dalston is a must-book location. Their inventive and creative cocktails are sure to impress even the most discerning of drinkers.

For those who want to experience the art of mixology, London's best cocktail bars take things to the next level. From billows of dry ice through to clouds of smoke, these spots make drinking an art form. Happiness Forgets is a dive bar that is writ elegant and offers an enviable flexibility in their cocktail offerings.

Overall, London's bar scene is one of the slickest and most inventive in the world, and these are our top picks for the city's best cocktail bars.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular cocktail bars in London?

London has a wide range of cocktail bars, but some of the most popular ones include Artesian, Nightjar, and Oriole. Artesian is known for its creative and playful menu, while Nightjar is famous for its live music and 1920s speakeasy vibe. Oriole offers a unique experience with its exotic decor and globally inspired cocktails.

Where can I find a rooftop cocktail bar in London?

If you're looking for a rooftop cocktail bar, you might want to check out the Radio Rooftop Bar, which offers stunning views of the city skyline. Other popular rooftop bars include the Aviary, Madison, and the Rooftop at Trafalgar St. James.

What is the signature cocktail at London Cocktail Club?

The London Cocktail Club is known for its quirky and innovative cocktails, but their signature drink is the Bacon & Egg Martini, which is made with bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and a garnish of crispy bacon and a quail egg.

What are some affordable cocktail bars in London?

If you're on a budget, you might want to check out some of London's more affordable cocktail bars, such as Discount Suit Company, The Sun Tavern, and The Four Sisters. These bars offer great cocktails at reasonable prices.

Where are the best girly cocktail bars in London?

For a more feminine vibe, you might want to check out some of London's best girly cocktail bars, such as Sketch, which offers a whimsical pink decor and creative cocktails, or Tonight Josephine, which is known for its neon lights and Instagrammable cocktails.

What are some Instagram-worthy bars in Soho?

Soho is home to some of London's most Instagram-worthy bars, including Cahoots, which is decorated like a 1940s tube station, and Experimental Cocktail Club, which offers a chic and sophisticated atmosphere. Other popular Instagram spots include The Blind Pig, Swift, and Bar Termini.

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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