Louie

Features

Jason Allen 03/01/24


The Best Bars In Covent Garden

Located just around the corner from Soho and a 20 second tube ride from Leicester Square Station on the Piccadilly line (making it the shortest train journey in London, if you’d like to tick that off your bucket list), Covent Garden – which is home to many of the best London theatre shows; amazing shops; a world famous market; street performers; the Royal Opera House; and a smorgasbord of wonderful restaurants – gets the most foot traffic out of any area in the city, with roughly 44 million visitors each year. So really it has an obligation to contain a rich variety of decent watering holes… 

And a rich variety of decent watering holes it does indeed contain, from exquisite cocktail bars and traditional pubs (check out our guide to the best pubs in Covent Garden if you’re interested in the latter) to eclectic Victorian gin parlours; candle lit wine caverns; and dinky sake dens.

Whatever the occasion may be – pre-theatre drinks, post-theatre drinks, a hot date or celebration – you’ll find all you need in this guide to the best bars in Covent Garden.

Please read responsibly…

 

Side Hustle

side hustle cocktail bar covent garden

After placing first in the list of North America’s best bars, it’s unsurprising that the London outpost of the NoMad hotel would make the cut on our (equally highly esteemed) list of bars in Covent Garden. Taking over what was once Bow Police Station is Side Hustle, a bar that’s wasted no time in scoring a World’s 100 Best Bars nod for itself, serving signature cocktails alongside Latin American snacks.

Details: 28 Bow Street, WC2E 7AW | Book here

Dovetail Bar

Heading into Dovetail feels a bit like going to a friend’s flat who’s renting two floors above a takeaway. But if your friend made cocktails like these, then you’d never need to go out for drinks. With room for about ten punters, Dovetail’s a one-room bar where the tenders are quietly turning out some of the most creative twists on classic cocktails in the area. Try the Piña Colada with its slug of sherry, crème de banane and dulce de leche, or the Bramble spiked with port and lemon sorbet.

Details: 2nd Floor, 9 Russell St, London WC2B 5HZ Book here

The American Bar At The Savoy

Savoy American best bar in Covent Garden

If you’re after a classic cocktail, The American Bar at The Savoy is probably the place that invented it. We’re not exaggerating. Legendary bartender Harry Craddock’s classic cocktails (most of which feature in “The Savoy Cocktail Book” that he wrote during his spell as head barman throughout the 1930s) are still served there, with the nightly musical backdrop provided by a tuxedo’ed crooner tinkling on the ivories.

Details: The Savoy Hotel, Strand, WC2R 0EZ | Walk-ins only

Scarfes Bar

Scarfes bar Covent Garden

With its deep armchairs, crackling fire and collection of over a thousand antique books, the award-winning Scarfes Bar feels like a study that’s been stretched out to accommodate a generously proportioned bar. A collection of satirical paintings by Gerald Scarfe adorns the walls, who’s also contributed a number to the brilliantly executed cocktail list. That’s backed up by a selection of over 200 single malt whiskies, over 60 gins, and live music six nights a week.

Details: Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN | Book here

Below Stone Nest

Below Stone Nest

From the minds behind Orasay and Peckham’s rooftop bar Frank’s, Below Stone Nest is a “beautiful, old fashioned dive bar” underneath a Grade-2 listed chapel in Covent Garden. Not only is the space a serious looker (crumbling brickwork, cast iron pillars and white church candles on every table), but the drinks are decent too. You can choose from a list of classic cocktails, as well as a highly curated list of wine and beer, to the tune of a solid DJ programme curated by music man, Tic Zogson.

Details: 136 Shaftesbury Avenue, Covent Garden, W1D 5EZ | No bookings

STEREO

stereo bar covent garden

On the one hand, you’re keen to ramp the night up a notch, with some live music, dancing, and sharing cocktails served in a giant disco ball. On the other hand, the idea of hot wings is calling you. STEREO’s got you covered on both sides, with late-night food from Acme Fire Cult‘s Andrew Clarke, DJ sets and live bands, and the kind of effortlessly suave interiors we’ve come to expect from the team behind the nearby Henrietta Hotel.

Details: 35 The Piazza, London, WC2E 8BE Book here

Freud’s

Freud bar covent garden

Freud Bar’s decor can only be described as… non-existent. But it’s precisely this lack of pretension that makes it one of the best bars in Covent Garden. Freud’s has bare concrete walls covered in rotating artworks, and pint glasses filled with cheap & delicious cocktails – and you’ll need to talk very loudly to overcome the charged, giddy atmosphere. Precisely nothing about it has even a veneer of artifice, and precisely everything about it is fantastic.

Details: 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JL

Mr. Fogg’s Tavern

foggs tavern bar covent garden

Mr. Fogg’s Tavern is exactly as Dickensian as it sounds: stepping inside is like entering a cosy, grog-filled inn from the 19th century. Downstairs you can huddle round barrels, swill punches and crowd around the old piano for Tom Carradine’s Cockney Singalongs. Upstairs is decked out as a gin parlour & salon in which you will, predictably, find lots of gin… and, less predictably, an array of other 19th century-inspired cocktails served in a chintzy room which looks as though the Victorian era exploded inside it.

Details: 58 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4EA | Book here

Lady of the Grapes

lady of the grapes wine bar

Lady of the Grapes feels like the sort of bar that’s been around forever – comfortably worn leather seats, old vintage tables, wine bottles lining every inch of the walls – despite only opening its doors a few years ago. Turns out they’ve just got the recipe immediately right with gallons of vino (mostly grown by female producers, hence the name), and cheese, charcuterie, and fondue to share.

Details: 16 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NJ | Book here

The Alligator Bar at Louie

Louie

Louie’s third floor bar has more than just a snappy name. The place turns out some stellar signature cocktails like the Absinthe Frappée (absinthe, pear, jasmine) and the nutty Milky Way (rum, brandy, sunflower seed, baked bread & oatmilk). There’s an atmosphere of wonderfully refined decadence thanks to the stylish furnishings, the regular live bands, and the snack menu, which includes lobster rolls and Southern pecan pie…

Details: 3-15 West St, WC2H 9NE | Book here

Spey Bar

spey bar

The next time you fancy a dram of prime Speyside whisky served in comfortably luxurious surroundings, you should head to the Craigellachie Hotel in the Highlands… or Spey Bar, their outpost in Covent Garden, where over a hundred whiskies and a handful of plush armchairs sit in an old magistrates’ court room. Three different tasting flights put you in the judging seat, or you can get malts mixed into a couple of innovative signature cocktails like The Stratton, with Copper Dog, vanilla and mango tea milk punch.

And yes, there are haggis scotch eggs.

Details: Browns Covent Garden, 82-84 St. Martins Lane, WC2N 4AG Book here

Baranis

Baranis covent garden bars

Baranis is a basement cocktail bar with a simple menu of traditional Provençal snacks and a sizeable array of the region’s prime anise-flavoured apéritif, pastis. They also have a gravelled indoor pétanque court, where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball. Simple. Until you’ve tried the pastis, that is.

Details: 115 Chancery Lane, WC2A 1PP | Book here

Gordon’s Wine Bar

gordons wine bar

Gordon’s Wine Bar – a crepuscular, subterranean, semi-circular cave carved from bedrock, and lit by candle light – is the sort of place that you can escape underground and tuck yourself away in a corner to sample an award-winning wine list of unsuspectingly modern drops from both the classic regions of France to South America and beyond… and some of Gordon’s 17 cheeses, evening tapas or Sunday roasts.

Details: 47 Villiers Street, WC2N 6NE | Book here

La Goccia Bar

la goccia bar interior

Wander through the serene courtyard at Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden, and you’ll come to the quietly secluded cocktail bar they keep there – La Goccia Bar. Inside, it’s awash with natural flourishes, from the florally inspired paintings on the walls, to the actual flowers dotted about in various vases. Oh, and the bar? It’s made from real leaves (collected in Italy) cast into bronze. And just to complete the picture, the cocktails are all botanically inspired, too.

Details: Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden, Floral Court, WC2E 8JD | No Bookings

Moto

Moto best bar in Covent Garden

Moto is a relaxed, minimalist sake bar with an impressive roster of rice wine organised by flavour profile on the menu. If you’re not a seasoned sake drinker, you can kick off with a cocktail – and if you find something you like, you can take it home from the bottle-shop. Plus, there’s some mouthwatering Japanese bar bites on offer, including sake-battered chicken karaage.

Details: 7 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7NA | Book here

Eve

Eve

Set beneath the Michelin-starred Frog by Adam Handling, you’ll find Adam’s other half: Eve. Beautifully decked out with leafy alcoves and stained glass panels, it’s a suave space that serves mind-bending concoctions like the frozen cube of Black Russian… onto which you’ll pour a White Russian to allow the flavours to gradually shift.

Details: 35 Southampton Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7HE | Book here

La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

compagnie des vins surnaturels covent garden

Strangely for a bar named after the “supernatural”…

they don’t serve spirits.

What La Compagnie does serve, however, is a collection of carefully selected Old World wines – best enjoyed outside on the courtyard tables in Neal’s Yard – by the glass and bottle, including a succinct selection of port and madeira wines, all of which you can enjoy alongside cheese, charcuterie and small plates like scallop with Jerusalem artichoke. You can even order a glass of ‘mystery wine’, which – if you can somehow identify it – will win you a bottle.

Details: 8-10 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP | Book here

 


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