Tap & Bottle
Talisa Dean 18/11/22
There are a lot of great bars in London Bridge. Then again, being located along the edge of the River Thames, it’s not a huge shock that the place has a few decent watering holes.
And these London Bridge bars can do it all: sky-high special occasion drinks at the Shard, trendy wine bars under railway arches, environmentally-kind cocktail lounges, a bar with a skatepark, and a club that’s been converted from a 17th century church. All told, it would make for a pretty varied bar crawl…
So, whether you’re here on the promise of one pint or have committed to a long night of drinking, here are the very best bars in London Bridge.
The Green Room
It appears that gorgeous Portuguese restaurant Casa do Frango is hiding something…
…and it is. It’s called The Green Room, and it’s a living room-like secret bar accessed through an unmarked curtain. Once inside, secure an armchair, put your feet up and sip on Portuguese-inspired classic cocktail interpretations like piri-piri margaritas, chocolate port old fashioneds or a negroni that swaps out vermouth for Ginjinha, a Portuguese cherry liquor.
Details: Behind a thick, velvet curtain in Casa Do Frango, 32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU | Open Mon-Sat from 12pm
In Bar Daskal, the Harts Group continue to build a solid case for skipping the flight to Spain and just heading to Borough Yards instead. It’s named after the brothers’ uncle Vladimir Daskaloff and is inspired by both his villa in Mallorca, and his drinks cabinet. The booze is a lineup of Spanish greats: sherries, regional wines, Estrella and cocktails like the refreshing Agua de Valencia (formulated with gin, blood orange and Cadiz fizz). Considering Daskal’s close proximity to the brothers’ other Iberian offerings, Barrafina Borough Yards and Parrillan, the drinks are in good company for food: Andalusian olives, gildas, chorizo and cheeses keep you satiated between swigs, delivered through a direct passageway to Barrafina.
Details: 10 Park St, London, SE1 9AB | Just turn up – find out more HERE
Like our feline friends, we’re very fortunate to have Nine Lives – a sustainability-focussed, subterranean bar in London Bridge station’s shadow, all kitted out with woven lamps, wicker chairs and lush, tropical greenery (think secret jungle lair meets tiki bar). Besides creating excellent cocktails, the team’s other priority is the planet, and the drinks programme employs a zero-waste ethos where ingredients are reused and herbs & garnishes are grown from the bar’s own urban garden. So when you’re putting away those eco-friendly palomas and picantes, the only thing getting wasted is you…
Details: 8 Holyrood Street, SE1 2EL | Book here
A trip to Tap & Bottle is a bit like a wine version of going to the pub. It’s situated up a narrow staircase in a Dickensian rickety, brickety building (a Grade II listed former townhouse) and rather than pints of lager, it pours wines from its taps – of which there are around ten kegs on the rotation, with the much wider selection from the cellar spanning old, new and even ancient world bottles (Georgia, Armenia, etc.). In summer, the best spot is one of the terrace tables tucked among the chimney pots at the back.
Details: 64 Union Street, SE1 1SG | Find out more & book here
You’re about to get a new favourite chocolate bar. Rabot 1745 is a restaurant & bar run by the cocoa connoisseurs at Hotel Chocolat, where every item on the menu features chocolate in some form. The bar area looks out onto the twinkly setting of a quiet Borough Market by night; an unusual setting matched by equally quirky concoctions like the Velvetised Chocolate Martini, the White Chocolate Mojito and the Cacao Old Fashioned.
Details: 2-4 Bedale St, London SE1 9AL | Find out more here
Bar Swift Borough
The latest addition to the Swift family of bars is in London Bridge, bringing you the same winning combination of suave interiors and brilliantly executed signature cocktails as its predecessors in Soho and Shoreditch. Upstairs is a glossy spot held back for walk-ins where you can swing by for a light spritz, while downstairs is a low-lit bolthole for serious after-dinner drinks…
Details: 66 Borough High Street, London SE1 1XF | Find out more & book here
One of several bars and restaurants in the Shard, the double-height Aqua Shard bar and restaurant sit pretty on the 31st floor of the iconic skyscraper. And while yes, you’re here first and foremost for the exceptional postcard views – ticking off all London’s best attractions in a few head turns – it’s the cocktails that’ll extend your stay past the twenty minute mark. Signatures like the bubbly Star Bellini (vodka, orange flower, pecan, peach, bubbles and passionfruit water) rise to the occasion, but be warned, there is a minimum spend.
NOTE: There’s a smart casual dress code (no sportswear/flip-flops, etc) and bar-only bookings have a minimum spend of £50pp.
Details: 31st Floor, The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Find out more & book here
Part skate park, part bar, Hop Kingdom’s divided between a drinking area decked out with long benches that fronts its craft beer brand, Hop King (with experimental brews like a CBD pale ale) and two indoor skate spaces equipped with a 4ft mini-ramp, moveable ledges and quarter-pipe steps. Expect to leave with more than just a sore head…
NOTE: You’re not able to ride scooters or BMXs here, so if you’ve brought your bike you’ll have to leave it at the door… or do a 180, and head home.
Details: 16 Druid St, SE1 2EY | Find out more here
Once St Thomas’ Church and now one of London Bridge’s best bars, the pews here have been swapped out for a spacey dance floor, the altar has been converted into live music stage, and an original Banksy (Christ With Shopping Bags) is framed on the wall. The holy water on offer includes all the standard classic cocktails, spirits, wine and draught beers – nothing too gimmicky as the floor is made for dancing. They even do brunch. Hallelujah…
Details: 9a St Thomas St, SE1 9RY | Find out more & book here
After making Flat Iron Square a roaring success, the team had the good foresight to transform another disused patch of land adjacent to London Bridge Station into an equally bustling food & drink hub. At Vinegar Yard you’ll find weekly pop-up vintage and flea markets, street food stalls, giant red ants invading an abandoned train carriage, a sun-trap terrace, and a great big beer garden that peddles pours from local London breweries. They’ve even wisely installed an indoor boozing area for when, you know, the weather inevitably turns sour…
Details: 72-82 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU | Find out more and book here
40 Maltby Street
Drinking wine inside an old, darkened train arch was, a few years ago, not exactly glamorous. But times have changed, and it’s a classy affair at 40 Maltby Street. Because as London Bridge bars go, this one’s a beauty. Spruced up with retro-industrial lighting and high-tabled seating, the space juggles its responsibilities between neo bistro and natural wine bar where you can chit chat late into the night over hand-picked bottles of biodynamic wine – from the usual suspects, France & Italy, to the lesser-known in Slovenia & Greece – from the warehouse of co-owner Raef Hodgson’s boutique importer label, Gergovie Wines. Bookings are a no-go, so arriving early is recommended to snare the best seats. Maybe after a mooch around Maltby Street Market? Only a stone’s throw away…
Details: 40 Maltby Street, SE1 3PA | Find out more on their website here
Hungry? Never fear. We’ve amassed the best restaurants in London Bridge too.
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