How to Drink Well in London

Our choices, ranging from classic watering holes to the upstarts. Cheers.

Right now, London has the best drinking scene in the world. Whether you want to dance with the It Crowd or chug pints at a traditional pub, let this list, numbered from hottest (and most crowded) to places where you can actually hear yourself, guide you.

1. Chiltern Firehouse
The city’s hot spot of the moment is courtesy of André Balazs. Good luck at the door.
1 Chiltern Street,

2. Drafthouse Birdcage
Order the craft Pale Fire ale at the restored 18th-century pub.
80 Columbia Road,

3. Mission
The food is fresh, the space open, and the vibe Californian (as are the can’t-miss wines).
250 paradise row,

4. Frank’s
In the summer, Brits flock to Franks, on the top level of a parking lot, for Campari and a view.
Peckham carpark, 95A Rye Lane, 10th Floor,

5. Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
Parisian transplants opened this wine bar in a courtyard.
6 Neal’s Yard,

6. Ruby’s
Go for the mojitos served in vintage milk bottles.
76 Stoke Newington,

7. Seven at Brixton
A hip crowd downs authentic caipirinhas at Seven inside Brixton Market.
Brixton Station Road,

8. Old Tom and English [CLOSED]
Here, you’ll find aged-gin drinks in a Barbarella-meets-Mad-Men setting.
187B Wardour Street,

9. Dandelyan [now Lyaness]
Drinks at this Mondrian hotel bar are spiked with petals, grass, even clay.
20 Upper Ground,

10. Bump Caves [CLOSED]
There are homemade liquors galore at this Sixties-inspired experience.
206-208 Tower Bridge Road,

11. Happiness Forgets
Sexy lighting and textbook cocktails in the city’s hippest part of East London.
8-9 Hoxton Square,

12. Kurobuta
A Japanese izakaya with an impressive sake selection.
251 King’s Road,

13. Zetter Townhouse
Kookily opulent, Zetter Townhouse is made for drinking by a crackling fire.
49-50 Saint John’s Square,

14. Permit Room
As if an Indian bar was airlifted to London.
7 Boundary Street,

15. Artesian
It’s fancy, central, and not too crowded.
Portland Place,

16. Bermondsey Arts Club
This Art Deco speakeasy hosts live jazz on Wednesdays.
102 Tower Bridge Road,

17. Redemption
Where to detox: Redemption is the city’s best place to get your cold-pressed juice fix.
51 Red Lion Street,

18. Brunswick House
This bar sits in a renovated Georgian mansion that doubles as a salvage yard. Good for dessert—or “pudding,” as you’re in Britain.
30 Wandsworth Road,

19. The Electric
After antiquing on Portobello Road, wrap up in a cashmere blanket with a beer and blockbuster at The Electric.
191 Portobello Road,

20. Crocker’s Folly
Looking for a mellow date spot. Here is one full of marble, Romanesque columns, and chandeliers.
24 Aberdeen Place,

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