Bar Lina


Hattie Lloyd 23/02/24

The Best Bars in Soho

The Best Bars in Soho | 19 Exceptional Drinking Spots

London’s naughty corner has been making a name for itself in the restaurant department, and the bars have followed. From speakeasies to classic pubs, Soho has it all – except, perhaps, a subterranean, Blitz-era drinking den serving cocktails in an old underground carriage.

Oh, no wait – it totally has one of those, too.

So here, in no particular order, is our pick of the best Soho bars. Off we go…

Bar Termini | For Aperitivi

Bar Termini

Perfectly at home alongside the long-standing Italian restaurants around Old Compton Street is the compact Bar Termini. By day, it’s an efficient espresso bar; by night, it serves a short and sweet list of reasonably priced cocktails from 69 Colebrooke Row’s Tony Conigliaro. They serve up four types of house negroni (poured right to the brim) alongside a few classics and the occasional curveball characteristic of Mr. C (the Terroir contains distillates of flint, clay and lichen). There’s an equally concise food list offering charcuterie, carpaccio and a cheeseboard for pre-dinner grazing – just make sure you book one of their 25 seats (it’s table service only) before the place gets as busy as its station namesake.

Details: 7 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JE | Book here

Swift | For Incredible Cocktails

Swift bar soho

Swift’s opening was essentially the royal wedding of the cocktail world, having been put together by Nightjar’s Edmund Weil and Rosie Stimpson and Milk & Honey’s Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson. Whether you’re necking martinis and oysters at the glossy ground floor power bar or enjoying the immensely creative cocktails in the snug downstairs, you’ll be in more than capable hands.

Details: 12 Old Compton Street, W1D 4TQ | Book here

Bar Lina | For Italian Charm

bar lina

Knock on the door of the right deli after hours, and you’ll be hustled, Goodfellas-style, past the kitchen, down the stairs, and into a gorgeous, plum-coloured subterranean speakeasy with low ceilings, soft chenille banquettes, and a beautiful marble bar. The drinks at Bar Lina are made only with spirits from Italy, or ingredients crafted in-house, and they’re fantastic – the Basilico in particular is one-of-a-kind, like a pesto martini. And the snacks – hot, carby, delicious – are just what you’ll be hankering for at 11pm.

Details: 18 Brewer St, London W1F 0SG Book here

Atelier Coupette | For Experimental Drinks

atelier coupette bar in soho

From the same team behind the award-winning Coupette in Bethnal Green, this new sibling bar in Soho is designed as a kind of cocktail ‘workshop’. That means the drinks change on a regular basis, and frequently venture into new, experimental territory – and it’s down to you to dutifully try them. On the opening menu: the frozen Cookies Tho with whisky, vanilla and hazelnut cookie milk; the Apricot Sencha with green tea, apricot wine and gin; and the impressively boozeless Coconut Americano

Details: 9 Moor St, W1D 5ND Book here

SOMA | For Totally Unique Cocktails


A very welcome addition to the Soho bar scene, courtesy of the folks behind the neighbouring Kricket. SOMA is that kind of instantly impressive spot; from the low-lit, luxurious decor of shimmering bar tops and heavy-curtained booths to its unusual menu that infuses drinks with Indian flavours. Take the Jaggery, an Old Fashioned whose sugar syrup’s been swapped out for sweet jaggery cane and toasted coconut; or Chai, a rum sour with clarified chai and ginger. They’re pulled off with aplomb, and and the 3am closing time makes it very tempting to stay and try them all…

Details: 14 Denman Street, Soho, W1D 7HJ | Book here

Bar Crispin For Natural Wines

Bar Crispin

Bar Crispin takes all the joy of Spitalfields’ Crispin, and squeezes it into a bar in Central London. It’s a pleasingly avant-garde kind of space, decked out in graphic zig zags, where you can take your pick of 150 natural wines curated by sommelier Alex Price (formerly of members club Annabel’s). That’s not a challenge for you to go out and try them all, of course, but it is open all day… (until 11pm) and although it’s called Bar Crispin, a snappy menu of seasonal small plates that includes pig’s head croquettes with hot plum sauce and beef tartare toast with blue cheese, means that you can have a cracking dinner here too.

Details: 9 Kingly St, W1B 5PY | Book here

Dram Bar | Futuristic Cocktails… and Pool

dram bar soho

Just occasionally, the rampant redevelopment of London’s delightfully seedy old neighbourhood throws up a positive. And one such positive is Dram; the latest creation from the team behind Silverleaf, parked in a futuristic space on Denmark Street. There’s a lot of whisky here, obviously. But the team are absolute wizards when it comes to cocktails, so you should try at least one while you’re here – either pre-batched to perfection upstairs, in a can from their own cocktail vending machine, or shaken up in the more intimate basement bar.

Details: 7 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8LZ Book here

Below Stone Nest | Cocktails in A Crypt

Below Stone Nest, Soho

Thanks to its pared-back interiors, peeling walls, candlelight, live music and short-but-sweet menu of cocktails, beers and natural wines, Below Stone Nest has plenty going for it. The fact that it’s housed in a crypt underneath a 19th century church hidden in plain sight on Shaftesbury Avenue is just icing on the cake, really.

Details: 136 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5EZ | Walk-ins only

Louche | For Raucous Nights Out

Louche, Soho

Louche aims to bring back a little of old, naughty Soho to new, respectable Soho. So naturally, they’ve plastered the walls of all three storeys with photographs of famous local characters, drawn up a menu of adventurous cocktails, and thrown in two stages for good measure, which are graced regularly with musicians, jazz bands, cabaret acts, burlesque artists, singers, and – in between all that – vinyl-spinning DJs.

Details: 5 Greek St, W1D 4DD | Book here

Nightjar Carnaby | For Live Music

nightjar soho

Step through an unmarked door in Kingly Court and you’ll find yourself in Nightjar Carnaby, sister of the 10-year success story in Shoreditch, where you can hide away in a darkened corner and soak up a little old school glamour via world-class cocktails and a nightly soundtrack of live jazz, blues, ragtime, funk and swing.

Details: Unit G15, Kingly Court, Soho, W1F 9PY | Book here

The Blind Pig | NYC-Style Speakeasy

The Blind Pig, Soho

You’ll discover this Poland Street bar in one of two ways:

1) By venturing into the discreet porch marked by the old spectacle-shaped ophthalmologists sign, rapping tentatively with the door knocker aptly moulded to the shape of a blindfolded pig, and waiting with baited breath to be let inside…


2) The old fashioned way, via the staircase, after eating at the Social Eating House.

However you get there, you’ll be glad you did – with its antique mirrored ceilings, wood-panelled walls and copper-topped bar, The Blind Pig is subtly shiny, atmospheric and intimate, even for large groups. The current menu is definitely not themed after Disney films, with original drinks like the Poison Apple (tequila, manzana liqueur, lime & agave) and the 101 (with two types of bourbon, Kahlua and espresso). You’ll also find bar snacks ranging from chorizo dogs to pumpkin latte and rum jelly sundae, alongside what can only really be described as a full-on steak.

Details: 58 Poland Street, W1F 7NR | Book here

The Vault beneath Milroy’s | For Whisky Fans

Milroys Vault

For a good drink in Soho, sometimes you need to look beyond. Specifically, in this instance, beyond a bookcase – because at the back of this esteemed whisky shop, there’s a hidden door that leads to a woody, subterranean speakeasy serving up all manner of thirst-quenchers. Listings change every couple of months to keep things fresh, but expect relentlessly adventurous offerings like the ‘Pickled Strawberry’, with Champagne, sherry, and pickled green strawbs. And being under a whisky shop, it would be nothing short of blasphemous to have anything less than a separate list of whisky cocktails, organised by provenance, and inventively mixed with more bitters and vermouths than you can shake a cocktail stick at. So that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Details: Through the bookcase at Milroy’s, 3 Greek Street, W1D 4NX | Book here

Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel | For Sheer Glamour

Soho Bar Americain

Nestled in the opulent 30s underground complex that is Brasserie Zédel, Bar Américain is an art deco dream of a date spot. Lavishly appointed with velvet bar stools, polished walnut walls and retro lighting, it’s tempting to spend all night working through old-school cocktail list with drinks like the Chrysler Cocktail, made with port, Chambord, Campari, curacao, cognac and probably just about any other liqueur beginning with C that you can think of.

Details: Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED | Book here

Cahoots | For Getting Blitzed, Blitz-Style

Cahoots kingly court bar

Signs that you’re in Cahoots: you’ve been greeted by a ticket inspector, checked your coats in a ticket hall, listened to 1940s PSAs in the toilets and are now enjoying a ringside view of live swing music from your retro train carriage. The underground, Underground-themed bar has one of the most coherently and impressively executed themes in London, with bartenders dressed in 40s gear and a cocktail menu printed as a (huge) newspaper. This place has got Blitz spirit in droves, and they’re serving it up in hip flasks, thimbles and their unusual ‘Dig for Victory’ themed cocktails, mixed with peas and potatoes.

NOTE: No space? Head across the alley to their second bar, Ticket Hall & Control Room.

Details: 13 Kingly Court, W1B 5PG | Book here

Flute | Glitzy Bar with a Rooftop Terrace

Perched at the top of the newly unveiled Broadwick Hotel, Flute hits all the right notes. For one, it has a rooftop terrace – and yes, it’s tiny, but it’s still something of a rarity in Soho. Secondly, it has eye-dazzlingly opulent interiors designed by the maximalist Martin Brudnizki. And thirdly, the cocktails are pretty great – you’re definitely paying a ‘glitzy rooftop bar’ tax, but with concoctions like the Midori Sour (melon eau-de-vie, green apple, white penja pepper, lemon & matcha) you’re at least getting bang for your buck. Basically, if you really want to pull out all the stops on a date, this is a great place to do it.

Details: 20 Broadwick Street, London W1F 8HT Book here


After something more casual? Check out Soho’s best pubs instead