It’s a surprisingly good place to have a right royal knees-up.
In fact, we’d wager that it’s only here that you can drink vermouth spritzers on tap, taste samples from a giant wine vending machine, order a reindeer old fashioned, pop a magnum of Champagne at 3 in the morning, or sip on a cocktail that effortlessly encapsulates the entire plotline of Titanic…
Lots of ice.
Behold, the best bars in Victoria…
The Drunken Oyster
The Drunken Oyster is a secret bar tucked above Jason Atherton’s Hai Cenato…
But happily, you won’t need to shell out much.
Because 3-6pm is happy hour every day, meaning you can get one of their sparkling ‘taptails’ (a cocktail on tap) for a mere five pounds, or a pizza and cocktail for £9. Which is not to be sniffed at, when those cocktails include hot negronis, IPA-infused vermouth and tonics, and a concoction with olive oil and white truffle Amaretto…
Details: Open daily, noon-midnight (4pm on Sundays) | Good for: Aperitivo hour(s) | £
Bar & Lounge at The Goring Hotel
Hotel bars generally come in one of two styles –
1) Mini; or
2) Drenched in deep red damask wallpaper; sporting a roaring fire, a terrace for the warmer months, and a barkeep who knows his way around the 184 bottles behind the bar – and will serve you at any time of the day or night…
Happily, this concerns the latter.
Details: Open 24 hours | Good for: Armagnacs at 4am | ££££
Finally, somewhere you can get hold of a decent Reindeer Old Fashioned in London. The intolerably glamorous Nordic-French eatery has a killer cocktail bar parked in its centre, at which you can sip on an Icelandic yoghurt cocktail, a liquid version of crème brûlée, and the aforementioned Reindeer Old Fashioned – which is exactly what it sounds like.
Details: Open Mon-Sat 11am-10.30pm (from 4pm Sat) | Good for: Creative cocktails in beautiful surroundings | £££
Clarendon Cocktail Cellar
A subterranean basement bar serving up cocktails inspired by iconic films, The Cellar contains antique cast iron library shelves, vintage marine lamps, red leather bar stools, a dedicated table tennis room and artwork from the Lawrence Alkin gallery – all of which is carefully topped off by a tin tile ceiling. Each drink arrives with its own complementary film poster coaster, and more importantly, popcorn sprinkled with ‘bacon dust’… which is like gold dust, only more in demand. READ MORE
Details: Open 5pm-late daily | Good for: Low-lit date nights | ££
Perched above the Rail House Café in Nova Food is a Puffing Devil.
Which might be alarming, were it not for the fact that they serve such excellent cocktails, like the Saffron Spritz, combining saffron-infused gin with rhubarb liqueur and Champagne; or the Hundred Marks, with whisky, quince liqueur and smoked sea salt.
And that’s not just a puff piece.
Details: Open daily from 10am-11pm (6pm Sundays) | Good for: creative concoctions | ££
Sporting 140 bottles hooked up to futuristic taps dotted around the room, Vagabond is the indecisive wine-drinker’s haven. On entry, you’ll be handed a card to top up with your tab, which you’ll then be able to swipe at any bottle to taste either a sample or a full glass. Essentially, it’s a giant vending machine of wine – only with cheese and charcuterie platters to boot.
Details: Open daily 11am-late | Good for: First dates…and second, and third… | £ – £££££££
This Scottish eatery has gone way past the point of mere Highland fling, and is having a full Scotch love affair. Their Belgravia branch is a warren of drinking dens, dining rooms, a courtyard and cigar terrace; each liberally scattered with tartan and Scots paraphernalia. Unsurprisingly, there’s a strong whisky collection behind the bar, and an equally strong jazz band in front of it who perform every night (no bagpipes involved).
Details: Open noon-1am Mon-Sat (from 6pm Saturdays) | Good for: Live music | £££
Enticingly self-described as “contemporary Balls”, this wine-focussed, traditionally furnished boozer runs a packed schedule of masterclasses in cocktail-making; wine and whisky tastings; and gin infusion workshops – a timetable that can only be improved by the daily £5 cocktail happy hour between 5-7pm, making it indisputably one of the best bars in Victoria for after-work drinks.
Details: Open Mon-Sat, 11am – midnight (11pm Mondays) | Good for: After-work drinks | ££
Notes Coffee & Wine
Their Victoria branch is tucked in the shiny NOVA Food, and sports glass walls lined with a carefully curated wine collection, plus a kitchen from which you can order sharing boards of cheese and charcuterie…
Details: Open M,T 8am-7pm, W-F 8am-9pm, weekends 10am-5pm | Good for: Hopping on the biodynamic wine wagon | £££
Partial to a tipple? Peruse the Best Bars in London