Shaken not stirred.
That’s how you may have to be woken after a night exploring the finest bars in St James’s. But as the birthplace of Bond’s classic catchphrase, there’s no other way to do it but to go all in.
So we’ve duly curated a guide to the best places for a stiff drink in the area, from refined hotel bars to sleek cocktail dens and old-school wine bars…
The American Bar at The Stafford | ££££
This is a real Old Boys’ club.
And we’re not just talking about Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam.
An eccentric, old-school, ‘clubhouse’-style bar hidden within a hotel hidden within a cul-de-sac, The American Bar’s walls are plastered with all manner of eclectic paraphernalia, from model planes to er, a stuffed kangaroo – the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or two and pretend you’re Old Money. READ MORE
Details: The Stafford Hotel, 16-18 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NJ
Dukes Bar | ££££
One of the most famous bars in St James’s, Dukes is the birthplace of Bond’s ‘shaken not stirred’ slogan. So it’s fitting that they serve up seven different takes on the martini – although they’re so sock-blowingly strong you’ll only be allowed to order two. Which should still give you time to luxuriate in the understated indulgence of the bar, before retiring to the cognac and cigar terrace. Because of course they have one of those. READ MORE
Details: 35 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NY
The Rivoli Bar | £££££
This place is less Art Deco, and more Art Decooohmygod. Glossy camphor wood panelling is interspersed with Lalique glass panels, beaten copper reliefs and de Lempicka prints, with gold-leaf scalloped alcoves in the walls and ceiling. The cocktails are equally magnificent, variously arriving in elaborate vessels, billowing plumes of smoke, or, in the case of the True Gentleman, poured into a tiny top hat with a miniature cane. READ MORE
Details: The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR
Pall Mall Fine Wine | ££
Tucked inside a Victorian shopping arcade, Pall Mall Fine Wine is an atmospheric temple to grape hooch, stocking over 100 bottles of wine and Champagne – a not insignificant half of which are also available by the glass, to be enjoyed in a romantic, candlelit corner booth with terrines and sharing boards. They’ve also got a piano and record player, which you’re thoroughly encouraged to acquaint yourself with, too.
Details: 6-8 Royal Opera Arcade, SW1Y 4UY
Ni Ju San | ££
Nestled beneath Alan Yau’s Sake no Hana, Ni Ju San (23 in Japanese) is an achingly sleek cocktail den, offering concoctions like the Velvet Haiku – combining sake with velvet falernum, green tea and prosecco, served in a traditional sake carafe – as well as wines and beers, plus regular sake masterclasses. So you’ll know sake like the back of your hana.
Details: 23 St James’s Street, SW1A 1HA
Davy’s at St James’s | ££
Down an unassuming alley you’ll find this cavernous cellar bar perched inside a set of old Champagne vaults, filled with snug Chesterfield armchairs, precariously lit candles and old wine-related paraphernalia. As part of the Davy’s wine merchants family, the wine list here is both extensive and reasonably priced – but it’s also worth ordering the house beer, Old Wallop – which is still served in antique pewter tankards.
Details: Crown Passage, Pall Mall, SW1Y 6QY
NOTE: You can find out more about bars in St James’s on the area’s official website HERE, and check out our full guide to St James’s here.
Last updated: 8th of April 2020
Showing someone special round the area? You’ll be needing our list of date ideas in St James’s, then