The Best Bars in London
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
Whether you choose to spend your evening at a humble pub or at a bespoke cocktail lounge at one of the city's finest hotels, London offers drinkers far more than a pint of bitters. Find the scene you seek, be it classic or newly minted, at one of these favorite London bars.
35 St James's Pl, St. James's, London SW1A 1NY, UK
You can only drink two martinis at the hotel bar at Dukes Hotel in Mayfair. The bartenders won’t serve you any more—that’s how potent they are. This is the place to come in London if you secretly wish you were a member of a...
10 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London W1J 7QF, UK
Kitty Fisher’s is the antithesis to the New York exposed brick brand of cool. Named after a Georgian courtesan, this tiny restaurant in Mayfair is rather a wood-clad room flickering with candles and exuding a intimate, “make yourself...
63 Worship St, London EC2A 2DU, UK
This dark, downstairs bar, formerly called Whistling Shop, intimately recreates the gin palaces of the early Victorian era. And while the decor is faithful to the era, the cocktails offer a modern twist on the old classics: there's even an...
129 City Rd, Hoxton, London EC1V 1JB, UK
The cocktails at the Nightjar are as spectacular as anything you’ll get in London—wittily designed creations like Beyond the Sea, which arrives in a giant seashell with a side of yuzu salt, or the Toronto, which comes with a stick...
20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED, UK
Looking for a late-night speakeasy? This one's a charmer. The Bar Americain's fairly hidden from the street, but when you get down there, it's like going back in time. You find a 1930s, art deco wonder, with white-jacketed cocktail waiters and an...
43 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QL, UK
Inspired by the fussball bars of northern Spain, Café Kick is a local’s favorite and a place to blow off some steam at the end of your day by violently propelling a small white ball between rows of wooden men. Situated in the lively...
44-46 Cranbourn St, London WC2H 7AN, UK
Drinks in London's West End rarely come cheap. Even less so in the crowded environs of Leicester Square, but if you find yourself in the area, there's a quiet, reasonably priced refuge known as the Cork and Bottle. It's a basement level wine...
47 Chandos Pl, Charing Cross, London WC2N 4HS, UK
London is famous all over the world for its thousands of pubs. In fact, there are so many of them, it can be hard to pick out the lousy ones from the ones that are absolutely fantastic. The Harp is the latter. It's small, it's intimate, it's...
58 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7NR, UK
Some of the most intriguing cocktails in London can be found at Jason Atherton's bars in Soho: Social Eating House, Pollen Street Social, and the newly opened Newman Street Tavern. That's thanks to Gareth Evans, officially crowned the best...
22 Great Chapel St, Soho, London W1F 8FR, UK
Julia Forte turned the Star At Night pub, an old fashioned boozer in the heart of Soho, in the London Gin Club in 2012, when she decided to start specialising in her favourite tipple: gin. Now, her bijou bar is home to 350 premium...
1 Hamilton Pl, Mayfair, London W1J 7QY, UK
This bar at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel in the Mayfair neighborhood celebrates London’s gin-soaked history with 35 varieties of British-made gin. The Poor Man’s Punch, served in a teapot, pays tribute to posh Mayfair’s scrappier past;...
33 Rose St, London WC2E 9EB, UK
Other than the fact that it’s just nice to see sunshine after a gray winter, the great thing about summer in London is that pubs let you drink outside. (You can do this year-round, but if you want a watered down beer, try doing this in the rainy...
186 Portobello Rd, London W11 1LA, UK
Set along Portobello Road, the Distillery takes its inspiration from the history of gin; the on–site Resting Room bar serves rare international spirits. Don’t miss the Ginstitute, a beloved neighborhood museum that was relocated...
4 Golden Square, West End, London W1F 9HT, UK
An artsy bar in Soho’s Golden Square, Graphic serves punch in paint cans and swaps artistic themes through its menu and décor every six months. (At this writing, the focus is on 3-D art, complete with 3-D glasses to enhance the drinking...
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