We’ve taken the liberty of compiling you a to-do list.
It is made up of what we deem to be the best bars in central London – everything from a laid-back, buzzy theatre bar to a cocktail parlour voted No. 1 in the world.
AWARD WINNING GLAMOUR: THE CONNAUGHT BAR | Mayfair
Topping The World’s 50 Best Bars list, The Connaught Bar is the epitome of old-school glamour – lofty, ornate ceilings; marble floors; and big brown leather armchairs. The cocktails are a mix of signature creations and slightly more classic drinks, although always with a Connaught twist. Like their Bloody Mary for instance, ‘pepped with home-made spices and…celery air’. They also have a world-renowned martini trolley which – wheeled up to you at your table – offers up seven different styles of martini to drink… You’ll be hard stretched to find anywhere better. READ MORE.
Address: The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, Mayfair, W1K 2AL | No bookings: find out more here.
PURE ITALIAN STYLE: BAR TERMINI | Soho
Our list of “Duos Who Have Made The World A Better Place” is long. But only the latest duo on our list – cocktailing supremo Tony Conigliaro and coffee king Marco Arrigo – have pooled their respective talents in order to create a tiny little 1950’s Italianate coffee and cocktail bar in the heart of Soho. Pop in for an espresso with the paper, or settle in to try each and every one of their negronis… READ MORE.
Address: Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 5JE | Book here (highly recommended – though they’ll always try to fit you in somehow).
MINIMALIST DRINKS & MAXIMALIST INTERIORS: ARTESIAN | Marylebone
Back in the day, Artesian was voted best bar in the world for three years running. Not ones to rest on their laurels, a brand new team took over – and now it serves cocktails made with just two ingredients (and no more theatrical, smoking vessels). Those drinks still come in at £20 a pop, but if you’re curious as to how Champagne tastes with cream, or citrus grappa with sandalwood, there’s no
other better place to find out. READ MORE
Address: Langham Hotel, 1C Portland Place, W1B 1JA | Book here
WORLD FAMOUS JAZZ DEN: RONNIE SCOTT’S | Soho
It’s London’s most renowned jazz bar – a low-lit, subterranean drinking den, where you can while away the evening eating and drinking, all while listening to incredible jazz. READ MORE.
Address: 47 Frith Street, Soho, Central London, W1D 4HT | Book tickets here
DATE-NIGHT WINE BAR: LADY OF THE GRAPES | Covent Garden
Lady of The Grapes is an intimate, candlelit wine bar, focused on championing wines from female producers. It’s the perfect spot for a date, or a long chat with a close friend. They also have a delicious selection of French-inspired dishes to choose from – things like homemade foie gras, served with fresh fruit bread and apple cider jelly; or fondue – made with three different types of cheeses, with plenty of crusty white bread for dipping. READ MORE
Address: 16 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7NJ | Book here
LAID-BACK CREATIVE DEN: SOHO THEATRE BAR | Soho
It’s a laid-back, inclusive theatre bar, filled with creative types drinking and/or waiting on the next show. We like it because it sits in a nice middle ground between sticky pub, and cocktails. In fact, it’s hard to think of another place like it. Also, you’re almost always guaranteed a seat. See, even if you arrive when it’s full, it won’t be long until the next show – at which point everyone filters out and that booth you’ve eyed up in the corner is yours. READ MORE
Address: 21 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3NE | No bookings – find out more, and see upcoming shows, here.
A REAL WORK OF ART: BOURNE & HOLLINGSWORTH | Fitzrovia
A quirky cocktail bar in Fitzrovia combining blown-up 19th century paintings on the walls, mismatched chairs, and intriguing drinks. Basically, it’s like getting drunk in a tiny back room of the National Gallery. READ MORE.
Address: 28 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JF | Book here.
HIGH-END COCKTAILS IN A TREE HOLLOW: HIDE BELOW | Mayfair
It’s an incredibly handsome basement bar underneath Ollie Dabbous’ Michelin starred restaurant, Hide. As well as its own walk-in wine cellar, it boasts a sweeping bar carved out of ancient burr oak, backed by a full-stocked, glistening jewel of a drinks cabinet, lit up in gold. The cocktails come courtesy of Oskar Kinberg, a long-term colleague and friend of Dabbous, who – above everything – knows how to mix a bloody good drink. There’s no theatrics here; instead the focus is flavour. Seasonal produce is use to create simple but delicious drinks, and we’re yet to taste anything to the contrary. READ MORE.
Address: 85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NB | Book here.
A BAR OF TWO HALVES: SWIFT | Soho
It’s a two-storey cocktail bar on Soho’s Old Compton Street, brought to you by the folks behind both Nightjar and Milk & Honey. Upstairs is a slightly more laid-back, brighter space, focused around a small list of ‘light’ cocktails and oysters; downstairs on the other-hand is low-lit and moody, with a 250-strong whisky selection; a slightly lengthier (often whisky-based) cocktail list; and, at points, live jazz. READ MORE.
Address: 12 Old Compton Street, Soho, London W1D 4TQ | Book here.
Last updated: 10th November 2020 | Main image: Hide Below
Ticked off all the best bars in Central London? Check out The Nudge’s guide to the best restaurants in Central London, too.