The Best London Cocktail Bars
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:
Zetter Townhouse | The most sumptuous and intriguing of all London cocktail bars: packed with curios and oddities, it’s a den of lived in luxury… | St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4JJ
White Lyan | White Lyan don’t stock ice, citrus, sugar, fruit or any other perishables; spirits are made to order or refined in house with filtered water distillations. It’s just like the future, without a DeLorian. | Hoxton St, Hoxton, N1 6PJ
Worship St Whistling Shop | Exploded Vodka Martini, anyone? Worship St Whistling Shop: a quirky cocktail bar inspired by Victorian gin palaces and dram shops of old. | Worship St, Shoreditch, EC2A 2DU
Artesian | Artesian: In The Nudge’s Best London Cocktail Bars Hitlist. Also, on a side note, crowned as The World’s Best Bar by Drink’s International three years running. | Langham Hotel, 1C Portland Place, W1B 1JA
Satan’s Whiskers | A Bethnal Green bar cramped between newsagents, mini-cab offices and strip clubs with an illuminated icebox on the bar full of sliced tropical fruits. | Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, E2 9RA
Experimental Cocktail Club | Hidden behind a scruffy, easily-missable door in the heart of Chinatown is this: a moody, legendary, Parisian, prohibition-style cocktail den. | Gerrard St, Chinatown, W1D 5PS
Purl | Purl: an old English drink consisting of warm ale, gin, bitters, brandy or milk, sugar and spices. Also, one of London’s best cocktail bars. | Blandford St, Marylebone, W1U 7HX
Bar Nightjar | Nightjar is a bona fide speakeasy, complete with candlelight, conspiratorial whisperings, rose-tinted mirrors, leather chairs, live jazz and award winning cocktails. It’s also a bona fide contender for the best bar in London. | City Rd, Old Street, EC1V 1JB
Happiness Forgets | Let happiness remember, at a secret underground cocktail bar in Shoreditch. | Hoxton Square, Hoxton, N1 6NU
Callooh Callay | A bustling Victorian-inspired bar, inside which lives the actual, legitimate speakeasy wardrobe to Narnia. And by ‘Narnia’, we mean Callooh Calay’s dimly-lit, tropicalia inspired hideaway lounge. | 65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
Nola | A Shoreditch cocktail bar inspired by the culture and rich history of New Orleans’ French Quarter with period fittings and an alternating line-up of pianists, live bands, and table dancers. | 68 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY
69 Colebrooke Row | A small, intimate room of 1950s Italian furnishings and top tier cocktails. And yes, this bar has no name; perfect for when you don’t know where to go. | 69 Colebrooke Row, Angel, N1 8AA
Bar Termini | Like 69 Colebrooke Row, Termini is a Tony Conigliaro joint. Only this time he’s joined forces with coffee king Marco Arrigo, and they’ve pooled their respective talents in order to create this tiny little 1950’s Italiante coffee and cocktail bar in the heart of Soho. | 7 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JE
The American Bar at The Stafford | An old world, old money boys’ club. The story goes that the walls were once so bare that a cloaked guest (on a fateful moonlit night) gave the head barman a hand-carved American eagle. This was soon followed by an Eskimo and a Kangaroo. Okay, you’re up to date. | The Stafford Hotel London, SW1A 1NJ
Blind Pig | A serious cocktail bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Thermo Nuclear Daquiri’s and Kindergarten Cup’s made from skittles-washed vodka and small plates from Jason Athertons downstairs restaurant, Social Eating House. | 58 Poland Street, W1F 7NR
Dandelyan | The Second London bar (after White Lyan) from Mr Ryan Chetiyawardana. Dandelyan has floor to ceiling window views of the Thames and St Paul’s, chrome and flamingo-pink leather seating, and moreover, a collection of impeccable cocktails. | Mondrian Hotel, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
Fancy some quirkier options? Check out the Nudge’s Guide to the most unusual London bars.