Whether you fancy a classy or fun themed night out in the capital, cocktail bars are the way to go, especially in London where new and innovative ones are popping up each year. We all have our classic favourites (psst mine’s a mojito), but sometimes we want to push the boat out with our spirit choices and try an original mixture. This is why I have compiled a list of the best cocktail bars in London – to make sure that no one goes without. So let’s have a look!
Address: 212 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
Inspired by the infamous story of three inmates escaping from the world’s securest prison, Alcotraz is located in Shoreditch and is a one-of-a-kind speakeasy bar. To ensure you can enjoy these criminally good cocktails, you need to whack the orange jumpsuit on and try and sneak your alcohol by the guards. If you’re successful, you’ll be invited into the bar where ‘inmates’ prepare your drinks, and you can sip them with your friends in a ‘prison cell’ – it’s definitely one for the bucket list. If that doesn’t sound amazing already, Alcotraz also creates cocktails tailored just to the alcohol that you bring and to your taste, so make sure the Warden does catch you!
Address: E Poultry Ave, Farringdon, London EC1A 9LH
Type ‘the best cocktail bar in London’ and Oriole will always appear first, and I can’t say I’m surprised. An award-winning, vintage tavern located in Farringdon boasts charm and beauty as the cocktails take you on a journey through history in a single glass. Choose to have a sip of the ‘Old World’, ‘The Orient’, or ‘The New World’ as you create your own map through the past with the plethora of cocktails and rare spirits that are served. Combine uniqueness with elegance, and I welcome you to The ‘Oriole’.
Address: 171 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 2DY
Portobello Star first opened its doors to the residents of the capital all the way back in 1740, and it must be doing something right because not only is it just as popular as it was almost three centuries ago, but it made its way onto my list! This rustic cocktail bar is immersed in the cosmopolitan streets of west London and hosts an array of exotic and premium drinks, all for a great price too. With renowned signature cocktails, and not to mention a 2-4-1 happy hour, Portobello combines style and history to make your night that extra bit special.
Address: 27a Throgmorton St, London EC2N 2AN
Located in the heart of the capital, Demon is a low-lit basement cocktail bar offering a relaxed, yet charming atmosphere along with their exceptional drinks menu. As they only offer seating, this allows you to take a breath from the hustle and bustle of London and enjoy one of their signature cocktails, at a great price too of course. Not only do they offer classic drinks, ‘Demon’ also hosts a special ritual (it’s a great thing, I promise), where they’ll create two cocktails, one reflecting ‘wickedness’ and the other ‘wisdom’, make them 100 times and then never again! An utterly unique experience you need to check out.
Address: 175 West End Ln, West Hampstead, London NW6 2LH
Let’s flip a coin. Heads I win. Tails I win. That’s right, Heads and Tails is a two-sided bar where everyone’s a winner, alongside some ridiculously good drinks. The ground floor is known as the ‘Heads’, hosting high ceilings, bright lights and marble countertops, not to mention the secret garden out the back, specialising in elegant and fruity cocktails. Head downstairs to ‘Tails’, and you will encounter a low-ceilinged, dark lit bar with wooden accents that serves more hearty, rustic cocktails – there’s literally something for everyone. So if in doubt, just flip the coin.
Address: 111 Waterloo Rd, Bishop’s, London SE1 8UL
Think marble countertops, high glass ceilings and dazzling LED lights, then think of ‘Tonight Josephine’ – every pink princess’ dream come true! Serving glamour and style with bold, luscious cocktails, this bar does not disappoint. Whether you fancy their signature ‘Espresso Martini’, or want a taste of their original ‘Mexican Butterfly’, the menu is endless, so grab your friends and your highest heels and head on over to try one of the best cocktail bars in London. Because “Well behaved women don’t make history” – Tonight Josephine.
Address: 129 City Rd, Old Street, London EC1V 1JB
The Nightjar hosts a renowned world reputation for its cocktails, bringing fresh and exciting twists on your favourite classics with vintage spirits and stylish presentations. This speakeasy-esc bar also showcases live jazz, blues and swing artists that are some of the best in London, taking you back to the times of old-school high fashion and glamour. With a mixture of strong, drier cocktails and fruity, more creamy cocktails available from throughout the eras, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and experience, maybe even for the first time (but certainly not the last!).
Address: 13 Kingly Ct, Soho, London W1B 5PW
A fantastically quirky bar inspired by the 1940s is Cahoots, hosted in the disused Kingly Court Underground Station, and is it fascinating! Travel back in time to late night swinging parties and black-market cocktails right in the depths of Soho, with a bustling atmosphere and a reignition of the post-war festivities. Whether that be in the Underground, Ticket Hall, or Control Room, enjoy their deliciously signature hooch served in vintage mugs and glasses, as this is by far one of the best cocktail bars in London.
Address: 65 Rivington St, Hackney, London EC2A 3AY
Hosting a vibrant and intimate atmosphere, and obviously some incredibly good drinks, it’s no wonder that Callooh Callay holds a plethora of awards, including ‘World’s Best Cocktail Menu’ in 2012 and the ‘Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar’ in 2016. Oh, and did I mention they only opened in 2008? That’s right, with all these awards they must be doing something right (they’re basically like the Billie Eilish of cocktails), so no wonder it’s on my list and now in your diary!
10. The Gibson
Address: 44 Old St, London EC1V 9AQ
Think of travelling through a time machine to the 1900s, and then pair that with ‘The Gibson’: vintage, rustic and utterly unique – and what a night that will be. Located in Shoreditch, this cocktail bar not only offers signature drinks but also the opportunity for you to experience a beverage tailored just for you with their map through history. By selecting a drink from your chosen season, this will set the coordinates of your next destination through time, which not only further enhances the vintage atmosphere of the bar, but also the beauty and story behind it.
11. Murder Inc
Address: 36 Hanway St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1UP
A neighbourhood cocktail bar located in Soho, Murder Inc serves some seriously good drinks, and for an amazing price too. Their menu hosts an array of cocktails that are simple, yet have a sense of intrigue about them, perfect if you don’t fancy anything too flashy or in your face. So whether it be their ‘Apri-Kos Punsch’ (gin and cinnamon sherbet) or ‘Devil Wears Prada’ (vodka, pomegranate, and prosecco), there’s a flavour for everyone. Plus if you fancy something that’s not on the list, all you need to do is ask and their skilled bar staff with craft it up for you!
Address: 141-143 Shoreditch High St, Hackney, London E1 6JE
Imagine bright colours, palm leaves and flamingos. Then imagine vibrant cocktails and a bustling atmosphere. Here I present to you ‘Barrio’, a Brazilian-inspired bar serving great music and flavours – Latino style. Whether you fancy a classic mojito or want to push the boat out with their carefully crafted mango batida, the only thing that’s stopping you is which one to decide on first. Oh – and did I mention they’re super affordable as well?
Address: 64-68 Atlantic Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8PY
One of London’s favourite independent cocktail bars (their words, not mine – although I must agree with that statement), ‘Tequila Mockingbird’ is bursting with amazing drinks, eclectic music, and most of all, a whole load of excitement. Serving classic such as ‘Long Island Iced Tea’ and ‘Negroni’ to ‘Kwerky Kiwi’ and ‘Disney Princess’, not to mention their ‘Tequila Punch’ which holds a top-secret recipe, this cocktail bar in the heart of Brixton brings the buzz of the borough to life. And if this couldn’t get any better, they also host Happy Hour, where every single cocktail is buy one get one free until 7 pm daily! So make sure to grab your friends and head on over for an electrifying experience.
Address: 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG
An 18th Century townhouse located in Mayfair, Sketch is a quirky tearoom that transforms into a cocktail lounge every night. Showcasing charm and an iconic reputation for its one-of-a-kind interior design, I have nothing else to tell you but to check it out yourself! Revel in the pink room that’s jacketed with original artworks by David Shrigley and plush couches, or have a peek into the East Bar that’s situated inside of a giant, bright white spaceship – the choices are endless. And of course, the cocktails are just as quirky and iconic (certainly, with some classics thrown in)!
15. Be At One
Address: 10 Beak St, Soho, London W1F 9RD
A cocktail bar with great service and a phenomenal party atmosphere is a reputation that many institutes would love to hold – and ‘Be At One’ does just that. With many dotted around London, it’s no wonder that this has become a favourite for many spirit lovers, with a large menu of drinks tailored to suit everyone’s tastebuds. Whether that be fruity or dry, spicy, or sweet, this bar has it all; the only thing that’s missing is your reservation.
Address: 10 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6BR
Inspired by the tropics of the Amazon and the lush greenery of the rainforest is ‘Amazonico’, opened in 2010 and still serving vibrant cocktails to this day. Whilst indulging in their diverse selection of drinks, you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Latin-American inspired DJ sounds whilst overlooking the views of their spectacular kitchen. With bright tempered glass features and wooden accents, you can escape the hustle of the city and delve into the South American ambience, all whilst taking full advantage of the cocktail menu, of course.
Address: 29 Circus West Battersea Power Station, London SW11 8NN
‘No 29 Power Station’ is a trendy, bright cocktail bar and restaurant overlooking the River Thames hosting a contemporary interior design that’s perfect as a background for socialising. With outdoor terrace seating overlooking the famous landmark, what view could be better whilst sipping on their iconic margarita? From fresh to fruity cocktails by the glass, you can even order a jug of them to make sure you never run out – now that sounds like a great night to me!
18. Aqua shard
Address: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY
This cocktail bar with 360 panoramic views of London is by far one of the most luxurious venues in the capital, so be prepared to be amazed. When you enter, you’re invited to a place of glamour and indulgence with glass walls and low-lit spotlights, providing a more intimate and charming atmosphere. Now I can’t lie, the prices are a tad more on the expensive side, but with an incredible skyline right in front of you, plus a fantastic selection of cocktails for all, it’s impossible to pass up.
And there you have it, my top 18 of the best cocktail bars in London, perfect for every occasion and everyone’s tastebuds! Certainly, the capital doesn’t disappoint with its plethora of venues and flavours, so make sure you head on over to check them out. Just a quick question – which one’s first on your list?