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, www.chilternfirehouse.com
2. Drafthouse Birdcage
Order the craft Pale Fire ale at the restored 18th-century pub.
80 Columbia Road, drafthouse.co.uk
The food is fresh, the space open, and the vibe Californian (as are the can’t-miss wines).
250 paradise row, www.missione2.com
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, frankscafe.org.uk
5. Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
Parisian transplants opened this wine bar in a courtyard.
6 Neal’s Yard, www.cvssevendials.com
Go for the mojitos served in vintage milk bottles.
76 Stoke Newington, rubysdalston.com
7. Seven at Brixton
A hip crowd downs authentic caipirinhas at Seven inside Brixton Market.
Brixton Station Road, sevenatbrixton.com
8. Old Tom and English
Here, you’ll find aged-gin drinks in a Barbarella-meets-Mad-Men setting.
187B Wardour Street, oldtomandenglish.com
Drinks at this Mondrian hotel bar are spiked with petals, grass, even clay.
20 Upper Ground, www.morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian/mondrian-london/
10. Bump Caves
There are homemade liquors galore at this Sixties-inspired experience.
206-208 Tower Bridge Road, bumpcaves.co.uk
11. Happiness Forgets
Sexy lighting and textbook cocktails in the city’s hippest part of East London.
8-9 Hoxton Square, happinessforgets.com
A Japanese izakaya with an impressive sake selection.
251 King’s Road, kurobuta-london.com
14. Permit Room
As if an Indian bar was airlifted to London.
7 Boundary Street, dishoom.com
It’s fancy, central, and not too crowded.
Portland Place, artesian-bar.co.uk
16. Bermondsey Arts Club
This Art Deco speakeasy hosts live jazz on Wednesdays.
102 Tower Bridge Road, bermondseyartsclub.co.uk
Where to detox: Redemption is the city’s best place to get your cold-pressed juice fix.
51 Red Lion Street, redemptionbar.co.uk
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, brunswickhouse.com
20. Crocker’s Folly
Looking for a mellow date spot. Here is one full of marble, Romanesque columns, and chandeliers.
24 Aberdeen Place, crockersfolly.com
For more drinking tips, check out our feature “How to Drink Anywhere in the World” from the May 2015 issue.
Image of the Electric courtesy of the bar.