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The Best London Cocktail Bars

The Best London Cocktail Bars

The Best London Cocktail Bars

Last Updated: 7th October 2019 | Main image: The Connaught Bar

As with everything featured within the Nudge hitlists, this small guide to the best London cocktail bars is nothing more than a humble collection of our favourites.

It is, however, a collection of favourites which – by happy coincidence – doubles up as a more definitive and trustworthy list of the best London cocktail bars than you’re likely to find anywhere else.

Price; ambience; location; vibe and staff. 

None of these factors were given our direct consideration at any point at all. However they were all there – bubbling uncontrollably beneath the surface – as we diligently, and instantly, reacted to the command,

“The best London cocktail bars – list them”

by producing the following:

Bar Nightjar | Old Street

Nightjar - best cocktail bars london

Nightjar is a bona fide speakeasy, complete with candlelight, conspiratorial whisperings, rose-tinted mirrors, leather chairs, nightly live jazz and award-winning cocktails served in everything from hand-hollowed stones to bundles carried by a large model stork. It’s also a bona fide contender for the best bar in London. READ MORE
Like this? Try… their sister bar in Smithfield, Oriole
Details: 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB | Open daily

The Connaught Bar | Mayfair

A shimmering silver-laced vault hidden round the back of the Connaught Hotel, the bar here has just been crowned the top bar in London – and second in the world – by the World’s 50 Best Bars list. The reasons for which will become abundantly clear upon taking a secluded booth, catching the eye of the smartly dressed barkeeps, and watching as the bespoke martini trolley is rolled over to you, with its customisable array of tinctures, garnishes and spirits… READ MORE
Like this? Try… The Library Bar at The Ned, who also have a martini trolley stacked with vintage spirits.
Details: Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL | Open daily

Blind Pig | Soho

Blind Pig - best cocktail bars London

A serious cocktail bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Misnomered Less-Than-Perfect Manhattans (made with artichoke amaro, maple syrup and ‘house brine’) and Paloma Gimlets, plus small plates from Jason Atherton’s downstairs restaurant, Social Eating House – all behind an inconspicuous entrance beneath an optician’s sign. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Lounge Bohemia, another excellent speakeasy with theatrical cocktails
Details: 58 Poland Street, W1F 7NR Open Mon-Sat

The Gibson | Old Street

A Belle Epoque-era cocktail tavern; where drinks arrive enveloped in smoke and served in an array of curious and unusual vessels. The cocktail menu hops through time, filled with excerpts from various historical texts as well as the drinks themselves – including one aged in a parmigiano reggiano barrel. And as the lovechild of two former Nightjar and Connaught barkeeps, it behoves every inch its pedigree. READ MORE
Like this? Try… TT Liquor, a bar in an old police station with a similarly time-travelling menu
Details: 44 Old Street, EC1V 9AQ Open daily

Kwānt | Mayfair

Kwant cocktail bar London

Winning an impressive spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list within half a year of opening, Kwānt is everything you could want in a great London cocktail bar – a secretive location (behind an old oak door below Mayfair restaurant Momo); seductive, glossy surroundings with the occasional quirky touch; and an award-winning barkeep at the helm (in this case, the lauded Erik Lorincz)… READ MORE
Like this? Try… Milk & Honey, a glimmering 30s-style speakeasy over in Soho
Details: Below Momo, 25 Heddon Street, W1B 4BH Open daily from 5pm

Disrepute | Soho

Disrepute cocktails bars in London

An achingly glamorous underground warren, cloaked in velvet, brass and mirrors and home to some of the city’s more unusual cocktails. The menu is written entirely in the form of short stories, allowing you to choose a drink based on character rather than ingredients… READ MORE
Like this? Try… The Bletchley, an interactive bar where cocktails are created based on your personality
Details: 4 Kingly Street, W1F 9BW | Open daily

The American Bar | Strand

Quite literally the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous cocktails. Legendary bartender Harry Craddock compiled his creations (Corpse Reviver #2, White Lady, etc.) into the Savoy’s 1930 cocktail book here, alongside a number of other perfected classics – and they make them with just as much panache almost a century later. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Dukes, another classic hotel bar with significant heritage, as the spot where James Bond – and his martini – were born.
Details: The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0EZ Open daily

Scout | Hackney

Scout cocktail bar London

More lab than cocktail bar, Scout is the brainchild of acclaimed mixologist Matt Whiley, whose low-waste philosophy and focus on innovation has won him plaudits across the globe. Here, you’ll sip drinks made with razor clam and fermented birch sap, paired with seasonal dishes made with foraged ingredients… READ MORE
Like this? Try… Cub, a cocktail-restaurant from master mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana
Details: 224 Graham Road, E8 1BP Open Wed-Sat

Discount Suit Company | Liverpool Street

An illicit, soul-soundtracked, subterranean drinking den housed in the old stockroom of a suit tailor’s. The drinks here – creatively combining classic methods with new ingredients – change every six months or so, meaning that there’s plenty reason to keep coming back again and again… and again. READ MORE
Like this? Try… The team’s follow-up spot in Bethnal Green, The Sun Tavern – showcasing the Irish spirit poitín.
Details: 29 Wentworth Street, E1 7TB Open daily

Little Mercies | Crouch End

Little Mercies best cocktail bars London

Lateef Okunnu

A neighbourhood bar like this really is one of life’s little mercies. Set up by former Scout bar manager Alan Sherwood (with a little help from the Venning brothers at Three Sheets), it’s a friendly, totally unpretentious, but unequivocally cool spot in Crouch End, serving perfectly balanced cocktails made with painstakingly treated ingredients. Try the Old Fashioned with caramelised white chocolate, or the crystal clear martini made with avocado leaf cordial… READ MORE
Like this? Try… Behind This Wall, a hidden bar with small batch distillates, botanicals, and dancing
Details: 20 Broadway Parade, N8 9DE | Open Wed-Sun

Callooh Callay | Shoreditch

A bustling Victorian-inspired bar, inside which lives the actual, legitimate speakeasy wardrobe to Narnia. And by ‘Narnia’, we mean Callooh Callay’s dimly-lit, quirky booze-slinging, hideaway lounge. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Mr. Fogg’s Tavern, which has a Victorian gin parlour upstairs
Details: 65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY Open daily from 6pm

Artesian | Marylebone

Artesian best cocktail bars london

Artesian: In The Nudge’s Best London Cocktail Bars Hitlist. Also, on a side note, crowned as The World’s Best Bar by Drinks International three years running. READ MORE
Like this? Try… The Fumoir at Claridges, another top-shelf, art deco hotel bar with slick cocktails
Details: Langham Hotel, 1C Portland Place, W1B 1JA Open daily

Satan’s Whiskers | Bethnal Green

A Bethnal Green bar cramped between newsagents, mini-cab offices and strip clubs, with taxidermy on the walls and an illuminated icebox on the bar full of sliced tropical fruits. Order the Champs Elysées with Cognac and green Chartreuse, and soak up the hip hop soundtrack. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Happiness Forgets: let happiness remember, at this secret underground cocktail bar in Shoreditch.
Details:
 343 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9RA Open daily

Nola | Bethnal Green

NOLA - best cocktail bars London

A Bethnal Green cocktail bar inspired by the rich culture and history of New Orleans’ French Quarter, with period fittings and a regular line-up of live bands – that also serves a multi-award winning sazerac. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Kansas Smitty’s, a nearby bar specifically opened for the KS band to play in
Details:
 107 Roman Road, E2 0QN Open Wed-Sat from 5pm, Sun 12-4 and 5pm-midnight

69 Colebrooke Row | Angel

A small, intimate room of 1950s Italian furnishings and top tier cocktails from drinks virtuoso Tony Conigliaro. And yes, this bar has no name; perfect for when you don’t know where to go. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Untitled, TC’s other unnamed bar, covered entirely in tinfoil
Details:
69 Colebrooke Row, N1 8AA | Open daily from 5pm-late

Lyaness | Southbank

Lyaness best cocktail bars London

Lyaness comes to you from the revered Ryan Chetiyawardana, and replaces his bar Dandelyan (which held an unbelievable number of accolades). And it’ll no doubt win itself an equally impressive heft of plaudits, thanks to its glamorous baby blue interiors, floor to ceiling views across the Thames, and the new menu – which is nothing short of cocktail wizardry. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Heads + Tails, a neighbourhood cocktail den with two different personalities
Details:
 Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD Open daily

Coupette | Bethnal Green

There’s a lot packed into this tiny Coupette. Not just another exposed-brick toting bar in East London, it sports a genuinely intimate atmosphere, where low-hanging lighting’s reflected by the coppery sheen of the bar made up of hundreds of 10 Franc coins. That’s no coincidence, because the drinks list here – curated by ex-Beaufort Bar head Chris Moore – has a strong Gallic influence, with cocktails inspired by French cultural “muses” and underappreciated inebriants like calvados and poiré… READ MORE
Like this? Try… Original Sin, a brick-walled basement with its own pool table
Details: 423 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN Open daily

Three Sheets | Dalston

Three Sheets best cocktail bars London

A soothingly pared back, unpretentious Dalston cocktail bar where the menu has only three sections, which in turn have three drinks. This means that every drink on that menu is pretty much the Platonic ideal of that drink, having had weeks of assiduous experimentation and testing gone into its preparation. Thankfully, they rotate regularly, too – so you’ve the perfect excuse to come back again and again. READ MORE
Like this? Try… Bar Three, their follow-up in the basement of Blixen in Spitalfields Market
Details: 510b Kingsland Road, E8 4AE Open daily 5pm-12.45am

Zetter Townhouse | Clerkenwell

The most sumptuous and intriguing of all London cocktail bars: packed with curios and oddities, it’s a den of lived in luxury, home to Matt Whiley cocktails, taxidermied animals, and a coterie of contented drinkers… READ MORE
Like this? Try… the Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, another cosy gem beneath a boutique hotel
Details: 49-50 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4JJOpen daily

 

Happiness Forgets| Hoxton 

A laid-back, effortlessly cool basement bar just off Hoxton Square, serving ‘great cocktails’ with ‘no wallies’ (their words, not ours). It makes for a welcomed escape from the ordinary chaos of Shoreditch; somewhere you can go and hang-out among likeminded folk – many bartenders themselves –  who can taste the difference between a great cocktail and an ‘order-me-another-and-charge-me-double’ one. READ MORE.

Like this? Try… Original Sin, their sister bar in Stoke Newington
Details: 8-9 Hoxton Square, Hackney, London, N1 6NU | Open daily


Fancy some quirkier options? Check out the Nudge’s Guide to the most unusual London bars.



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