The best bars in London, England...

 

Despite their crazily early closing times, there's no doubting that London boasts the best bars and pubs in the world. From historic drinking dens frequented by Shakespeare, Dickens and royalty, to London Dry Gin distillers and the finest cocktail bars on the planet.

 
 
  • What surprises most people when visiting London is that the bars close as early as 22:30 with many closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Those that do stay open until 02:00 can often require membership, be in hotels or involve a lengthy journey across town. Nightclubs open until 05:00 or 06:00
  • You are advised to make reservations (where possible) at most cocktail bars in London
  • Many of the best bars in London operate a smart casual dress code; no jeans, sportswear or trainers
  • London is a gigantic city and you'll need to plan your route in advance as the bars are scattered all over the city. Take the Tube or a black London cab to speed up your journey if necessary [map]
  • When in London, you should obviously try the London Dry Gin, normally drank with tonic, or the local ales. A pint is the equivalent of 0.57 litres.
  • Some of the most famous drinks in the world like the Vesper Martini, White Lady, Corpse Reviver #2, Hanky Panky, Espresso Martini, Bramble and The Collins originate from the best cocktail bars in London
  • Virtually all London bars accept payment by credit or debit card
  • Most London bars offer free WiFi, even at some of the older establishments
  • Smoking is not allowed in London bars
  • Service charge is often included (normally specified on your bill) and can be as high as 13.5%. Locals generally tip by rounding up the bill to the nearest £1 or leaving loose change

 

Best Bars London ~ Oblix / Photo: Facebook oblixrestaurant

Best Bars London ~ Oblix / Photo: Facebook oblixrestaurant

1 ~ Oblix

If you're only going to visit one bar in London, then it should be this one on the 32nd floor of The Shard. It ticks all the boxes with amazing beautifully presented creative cocktails, live jazz and the best views of the city. Smaller than the impressive but more touristy Aqua Shard bar (see below), one floor down and accessed from the same lift exit, it's a lot more intimate with dark lighting. Although there are less window seats than its neighbour, you are higher up into the clouds giving you a better perspective of the city's skyline and changing weather. Alongside craft beers and a fantastic premium spirits range, the cocktails are imaginitive, twisting classics with homemade and contemporary ingredients. There's even a bottle conditioned selection, kept in crystal cut decanters allowing them to mellow over a minimum of 6 months. Smart dress code, over 16's only after 18:00. Open daily. 

Cocktails £12.50+     Beer (0.5l) £8.50+   Wine  £7+

London Bridge (3 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Cahoots / Photo: Facebook cahootslondon

Best Bars London ~ Cahoots / Photo: Facebook cahootslondon

2 ~ Cahoots

From the same people as Mr Fogg's (see below) and Barts (also below), this underground 1940's Blitz inspired bar opened in March 2015, providing a place for rascals and dames to spend their hard earned clams on wartime influenced cocktails and to have a right old knees up at roaring swing nights. Disguised as an air raid shelter in a London Tube station underneath Kingly Court, a bit of role playing is required when confirming your reservation. You'll be glad to learn that's where the charade ends though and the sound of bombs falling outside is a welcome omission even though the spirit of the Blitz lives on. Open daily and closing as late as 03:00 on Saturdays. Reservation required.

 

Cocktails £7+     Beer (0.5l) £5.50+   Wine  £5+

Oxford Circus (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Gordon's Wine Bar / Photo: gordonswinebar.com

Best Bars London ~ Gordon's Wine Bar / Photo: gordonswinebar.com

3 ~ Gordon's wine bar

Established in 1890 and thought to be the oldest wine bar in London, this cellar bar next to Charing Cross Station offers a real feel for Dickensian London. Located inside Kipling House, which was home to Samuel Pepys in the 1680’s and Rudyard Kipling in the 1890's, the cavernous candlelit room boasts rickety tables and chairs and age faded wooden walls, covered in historical newspapers. If it's all too dark for you, you can drink on the spacious terrace surrounded by history and green on Watergate Walk. The award-winning wine list is varied and full of interesting wines with Sherries, Madeiras and Ports served from the barrel. It's also famed for its wide ranging cheese selection. Open every day from 11:00 - 23:00 (22:00 on Sunday). No reservations taken.

Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  £5+

Embankment (1 minute walk)

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Bwst Bars London ~ Duke's Bar / Photo: dukeshotel.com

Bwst Bars London ~ Duke's Bar / Photo: dukeshotel.com

4 ~ Dukes Bar

Hidden down a beautiful courtyard in Mayfair, the legendary tiny bar in the plush 5 Star Duke's Hotel is internationally renowned for its famous Martinis. Frequented by James Bond author Ian Fleming, the bar is said to be the inspiration for the classic line, '"shaken, not stirred!". A signed photo of Sean Connery welcomes you into the intimate lounge which is decorated with antique paintings and incredibly rare vintage liquors. Obviously, it's all about the Martini and legendary bartender Alessandro Palazzi will bring the ingredients to you on a trolley, explaining the history of the drink and the hotel's famous guests as he makes it to your liking. Vesper Martinis, invented by Fleming, are made as close to the specifications in the Casino Royale novel as possible (the original ingredients are no longer available). However you decide to take your's; vodka, gin or a Vesper, dry or wet, with an olive or a twist, you'll certainly order it "shaken, not stirred" in this historic bar. Be aware though, they are that strong, a house limit of three per person applies. Martini Masterclasses are also available.  Smart dress code. Open daily until 23:00 (22:00 on Sunday). No reservations taken.

Cocktails £17+     Beer (0.5l) £11+   Wine  £10+

Green Park (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ COLD / Photo: cityoflondondistillery.com

Best Bars London ~ COLD / Photo: cityoflondondistillery.com

5 ~ City Of London Distillery

C.O.L.D. - as it is known for short - opened in 2012 at the foot of the steps to St Bride’s Church near to the City Thameslink train station, bringing gin distilling back to the City of London after an absence of nearly 200 years. The large basement speakeasy-style cocktail bar overlooks the striking copper stills, with a faint aroma of gin vapour adding to its unique atmosphere, making it the perfect place to enjoy the famous homemade City Of London Dry Gin or others in their 300 bottle collection. The gin based cocktails are excellent whilst the Gin Taster Tours are also extremely popular with a Gin Lab allowing visitors to distill their very own personalised bottle of gin. Open until 23:00. Closed Sundays.

Cocktails £9.50+     Beer (0.5l) £10+   Wine  £8.50+

City Thameslink (2 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ The Cocktail Trading Co. / Photo: Facebook TheCocktailTradingCo

Best Bars London ~ The Cocktail Trading Co. / Photo: Facebook TheCocktailTradingCo

6 ~ The Cocktail Trading CompanY ~ Brick Lane

Having made a name for themselves in January 2015 in temporary premises underneath the Central & Co restaurant in Soho and later in the basement of Ask For Janice in Smithfields, this brainchild of three of London's best barmen, Andy Milz (Diageo World Class Finalist), Olly Brading (London Cocktail Club), and Elliot Ball (Steam & Rye), opened their flagship bar on Brick Lane in February 2016. Serving some of the finest experimental cocktails in Europe; expect very tasty and equally pretty drinks served in unexpected vessels, such as a ration tin, a bronze bell, a ketchup bottle, a noodle box and even a snow globe. This dream team really do know how to take cocktails to another level and you will struggle to find better concoctions at these prices in central London. A huge portrait of Winston Churchill overlooks the room, which gets very busy as word spreads of its whereabouts. Open every day (closing slightly later, at midnight Thursday - Saturday), they don't take bookings.

Cocktails £8.50+     Beer (0.5l) £7+   Wine  £5+

Shoreditch High Street (3 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Cittie Of Yorke / Photo: Best Bars Europe

Best Pubs London ~ The Cittie Of Yorke / Photo: Best Bars Europe

7 ~ The Cittie Of Yorke

Although the current building of this Holborn pub was rebuilt in the 1920s, the buildings on its site have been pubs since 1430. Welsh poet Dylan Thomas wrote a poem about it in 1951 entitled "Henneky's Long Bar", which was the pub's previous name and that now given to the huge stunning hall-like backroom, which makes up one of the three drinking areas. Today the pub is owned by Samuel Smith, a no-nonsense cheap ale and liquor brewery rather fittingly located just outside of the city of York in the north of England. With over 25 of their brews to choose from at crazily low prices, you could easily be sat in one of the carriage-like snugs for many hours admiring the almost medieval castle-like architecture around you. Open seven days a week until 23:00.

Beer (0.5l) £2.50+   Wine  £5+

Chancery Lane (1 minute walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Artesian / Photo: artesian-bar.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Artesian / Photo: artesian-bar.co.uk

8 ~ Artesian

Named the World's Best Bar in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, by some distance, this should be every cocktail lover's first port of call when visiting London. Mixologists the world over flock to this plush cocktail bar in the 5 Star Langham Hotel to pay homage to the inventive creations from the team of perfectionists lead by American barman Pip Hanson, who replaced legends Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale in November 2015. The drinks push the boundaries of expectations - think large floating plastic clouds above your drink containing Guatemalean Mayan Worry Dolls in a scent of eucalyptus; cocktails served on elephants made of Lego; and beautiful concoctions delivered in the bar's trademark heavy brass pineapples. The menu is also said to boast London’s largest collection of rums and an extensive Champagne list. Named after the 110 metre-deep artesian well under the building, the first Grand Hotel in the world when it opened in 1865, even the ice here is special; said to be purer, colder and with a higher density, making it last longer and keeping your cocktails cooler. Smart casual dress code. Over 18's only after 18:00. Open every day from 11:00 - 02:00 (midnight on Sundays). No reservations taken.

Cocktails £17+     Beer (0.5l) £11.50+   Wine  £9+

Oxford Circus (5 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ Ye Olde Mitre Holborn / Photo: yeoldemitreholborn.co.uk

Best Pubs London ~ Ye Olde Mitre Holborn / Photo: yeoldemitreholborn.co.uk

9 ~ Ye Olde Mitre

Built in 1546 for the servants of the Bishops of Ely and extended in 1782, this tiny back alley Holborn pub is famous for having a cherry tree, (now supporting the front) that Queen Elizabeth I once danced around with Sir Christopher Hatton. Incredibly hard to find, it's set in a part of London steeped in history. Henry VIII was married in St. Ethelredas church next door and it's near where William Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered, along with other traitors who were also killed nearby. The pub itself also oozes history with it's old wooden paneling, open fire and old furniture transporting you back in time to when the likes of Lord Nelson drank here. Owned by London brewery Fuller's, it opens until 23:00 daily. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Chancery Lane (4 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Mr Fogg's Residence / Photo: mr-foggs.com

Best Bars London ~ Mr Fogg's Residence / Photo: mr-foggs.com

10 ~ Mr Fogg's Residence

This magical speakeasy, hidden down a backstreet in Mayfair epitomises London from another era. Accessed by a doorman in period dress, who pulls on an old fashioned doorbell to announce your arrival, it is themed around Phileas Fogg, the hero of Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ and member of The Royal Institute, which is located just around the corner. Oozing Victorian charm in a way that many others have tried and failed, it's packed with artefacts you'd imagine to find in the fictional adventurer's home, from stuffed hunting trophies to butterfly collections and birdcages, penny farthings, gramophones, foreign antiques, Khaki Pith helmets and, of course, a hot-air balloon. The staff wear bellboy outfits and conjure up great "Eighty Days"-themed cocktails, each described by Fogg with a story from his travels and served in lead crystal glasses, whilst the beers are served in silver tankards. The Afternoon Teas are also worth booking. The concept has since spawned Mr Fogg's Tavern, a Victorian theme pub near Covent Garden whilst the team responsible for both are also behind 1940s wartime theme bar, Cahoots (above) and 1920s speakeasy Barts (below). Open late every day (02:00 at weekends), reservations are recommended.

Cocktails £12+     Beer (0.5l) £6.50+   Wine  £7.50+

Green Park (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Connaught / Photo: the-connaught.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Connaught / Photo: the-connaught.co.uk

11 ~ Connaught Bar

Ultra-stylish décor and mouth-watering cocktails put this 5 star hotel bar in Mayfair into a league of its own. Inspired by English Cubist and Irish 1920s art, with textured walls shimmering in platinum silver leaf, this is one of two bars at the Connaught Hotel. The cocktail menu is a fusion of tradition and innovation using exclusive vintages and limited edition Champagnes, spirits and liqueurs although the bar is best known for its perfect martinis, taking the ceremonial elements of this particular cocktail experience one step further with a Martini Trolley, wheeled to your table, where your drink is prepared and only quietly stirred, never shaken. You can even have a cocktail masterclass with award-winning mixologist Agostino Perrone. Smart casual dress code, closes at 01:00 daily (midnight Sunday).

Cocktails £15+     Beer (0.5l) £9+   Wine  £13+

Bond Street (7 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Old Bank Of England / Photo: oldbankofengland.co.uk

Best Pubs London ~ The Old Bank Of England / Photo: oldbankofengland.co.uk

12 ~ The Old Bank Of England

Situated in the former Law Courts branch of the Bank of England on Fleet Street, built back in 1888, this beautifully renovated Fuller's pub allows you to enjoy a pie and a pint in stunning surroundings. With its opulent interior, it easily stands out as one of the finest pubs in London. Literally the height of sophistication, many of the building's original features remain including a gallery area overlooking the whole pub and giving a great perspective on the building's ornate furnishings. A wonderful walled courtyard makes it the ideal spot for a quick pint when the sun's out too. The basement still contains the original vaults used to store bullion, and indeed some of the Crown Jewels during the First World War. It also has a more grisly connection with the past, for it lies between the site of the barber shop owned by Sweeney Todd, and the pie shop owned by Mrs Lovett, his mistress. It was in the tunnels and vaults below the building that his victims were butchered before being cooked and sold in the pies to Mrs Lovett’s unsuspecting customers. Fortunately, the pub's pies are less ghastly. Open from breakfast until 23:00 daily (12:00-18:00 Saturday). Closed Sunday.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known  Wine  Not known

Temple (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ American Bar at The Savoy / Photo: fairmont.com

Best Bars London ~ American Bar at The Savoy / Photo: fairmont.com

13 ~ American Bar at The Savoy

One of the most iconic cocktail bars in the world, this historic art deco design venue dates back to 1893 and even boasts a museum, charting its history. There have only been eleven head bartenders in all that time, the most famous of which include Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman (1903-1924), whose signature cocktail, the Hanky Panky, is still a popular choice today, and Harry Craddock (1925-1939), who not only created a number of classic cocktails, including the Corpse Reviver #2 and White Lady, but also compiled these recipes into the legendary Savoy Cocktail book, which is still regarded today as the bartender’s bible. Since 2010, World Class Bartender of the Year, Slovakian Erik Lorincz, has taken on the role, overseeing a creative menu that celebrates the hotel's 125 years history. The walls of the bar feature photographs of famous guests, whilst a pianist plays jazz every day from a baby grand piano in the centre of the room. Whilst here, you should also check out the more intimate Beaufort Bar (below), just across the lobby and equally as impressive. Smart casual dress code. Open until midnight every day.

Cocktails £16+     Beer (0.5l) £10.50+   Wine  £10+

Embankment (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Beaufort Bar at The Savoy / Photo: fairmont.com

Best Bars London ~ Beaufort Bar at The Savoy / Photo: fairmont.com

14 ~ Beaufort Bar AT THE SAVOY

Ask people if they prefer The Savoy Hotel's historic American Bar (above) or its more intimate Beaufort Bar and you'll fail to get a definitive answer with both impressing in equal measure. Therefore it makes good sense to visit both if you're in the building and decide for yourself. Formerly known as "The Winter Garden" and standing on the hotel’s former cabaret stage, this dimly-lit, theatrical, gold art deco setting offers cocktails that push the boundaries. The tradition of live entertainment continues to this day with nightly musical performances, as well as Cabaret and Burlesque evenings on the first Sunday of every month. Award-winning Head Bartender Chris Moore has put together a pop-up book menu of Character Cocktails, served in era-specific vintage glassware and garnished at your table, paying tribute to four of The Savoy’s most famous personalities. One of the most popular cocktails, The Impressionist, arrives at the table with a smoking rose for that element of drama and there's an impressive selection of vintage and non-vintage Champagnes. Smart casual dress code and open until 01:00 daily. No reservations taken for weekends.

Cocktails £16+     Beer (0.5l) £10.50+   Wine  £11+

Embankment (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ White Lyan / Photo: whitelyan.com

Best Bars London ~ White Lyan / Photo: whitelyan.com

15 ~ White Lyan

Located in Hoxton, this is a cocktail bar with a difference. All the drinks are pre-made, created in-house by Ryan Chetiyawardana and Ian Griffith, using their own spirits and ingredients before being bottled and chilled. They don’t use ice, perishables or brands and you won't find a lemon, lime or any other fruit on the premises. The result means spot-on drinks every time without the theatrical pretence you normally expect in London cocktail bars of such good quality. Open until midnight every day (01:00 Friday and Saturday).

Cocktails £6+     Beer (0.5l) £6+   Wine  £5+

Hoxton (5 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese / Photo: Best Bars Europe

Best Pubs London ~ Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese / Photo: Best Bars Europe

16 ~ Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

This tourist-packed Fleet Street pub oozes history. The original pub, dating back to 1538 was rebuilt in 1667 following the Great Fire of London and continues to generate a gloomy charm due to the curious lack of natural lighting inside, sawdust covered floors and age-worn paintings. The darkness easily helps you imagine London in the times of Charles Dickens, the author regularly frequented the pub and even refers to it in "A Tale Of Two Cities". P. G. Wodehouse, W.B. Yeats and Boris Pilnyak were also regulars who namecheck it in their writings, whilst Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were also said to be regulars. Split into various rooms with roaring fireplaces, there's also a large wine cellar bar accessed by a steep, narrow and low ceiling staircase. For around 40 years, the pub was famed for its African grey parrot named Polly. When it died in 1926, over 200 newspapers around the world wrote an obituary. A new parrot has replaced him and can be found in the room used as a restaurant. Today the pub is owned by Samuel Smiths, a no-nonsense cheap ale and liquor brewery from Yorkshire who own some of the most beautiful and historic pubs in London and the UK. Unlike many of the pubs in this area, it is open seven days a week until 23:00.

Beer (0.5l) £2.50+   Wine  £3+

City Thameslink (4 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Aqua Shard / Photo: aquashard.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Aqua Shard / Photo: aquashard.co.uk

17 ~ Aqua Shard

If it wasn't for the inclusion of The Shard's other cocktail bar, Oblix, higher up in our list of best bars in London (and higher up the landmark building too), then this fantastic three-storey high atrium bar on the 31st floor would probably top our list. Surprisingly cheaper than you would expect for a sky bar with such an amazing view, the drinks are top drawer and the view is the best in the city, with window seats offering views of the entire city. No children after 18:00. Open until 01:00 daily (02:00 Friday & Saturday).

Cocktails £13.50+     Beer (0.5l) £6.50+   Wine  £7.50+

London Bridge (3 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Nightjar / Photo: barnightjar.com

Best Bars London ~ Nightjar / Photo: barnightjar.com

18 ~ Nightjar

This multi-award winning prohibition-style speakeasy, hidden behind a black door marked only with a nightjar bird, near Old Street station, offers some of the best cocktails in London alongside live jazz music every night (£5+ cover charge). The menu includes vintage spirits, dating from the 1860s to the 1940s, and one of the UK's largest collections of absinthe. Open until 01:00 Sunday - Wednesday, 02:00 Thursday and 03:00 Friday & Saturday. Booking is essential. They have opened a second bar, Oriole (below) in November 2015.

Cocktails £10+     Beer (0.5l) £6+   Wine  £5+

Old Street (1 minute walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Ronnie Scotts / Photo: ronniescotts.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Ronnie Scotts / Photo: ronniescotts.co.uk

19 ~ Ronnie Scott's Jazz CluB

One of the oldest and most renowned jazz clubs in the world, this Soho legend opened in 1959 and since that time has featured most of the legendary and popular names in modern jazz and jazz fusion. As well as the main club, the venue’s upstairs cocktail bar, known as Ronnie’s Bar, enjoys considerable prestige as a classy and upmarket place to while away the evenings in style, recreating the relaxed vibe of the ‘50s speakeasy with its own music line-up. As it's a live music venue, you will need tickets for the gig to gain access (around £30 for the jazz club or £5 for the bar) [click here for tickets]. Open until 03:00 daily (midnight on Sunday).

Cocktails £9.50+     Beer (0.5l) £6.50+   Wine  £6+

Leicester Square (5 minutes walk)

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Best Pub London ~ The George Inn / Photo: nationaltrust.org.uk

Best Pub London ~ The George Inn / Photo: nationaltrust.org.uk

20 ~ The George Inn

Owned by the National Trust and dating back further than 1543, this historic pub next to London Bridge is the city's last remaining galleried coaching inn, having been rebuilt in 1677 following a serious fire. It is split into four bars, set around an attractive cobblestone courtyard, which offers great summertime drinking in the shadow of The Shard. On the ground floor, you will find The Parliament Bar, which used to be a waiting room for coach passengers, and the main Middle Bar, which was visited by both William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens who even references it in "Little Dorrit". Upstairs, along the famed gallery, you will find The Gallery Bar, a restaurant serving traditional English fayre in the former bedrooms of the old inn. There is London history oozing from every nook and cranny of this beautiful pub and, with over twelve ales on draft, you can easily feel part of it. Open daily 11:00 - 23:00.

Beer (0.5l) £4+   Wine  £4+

London Bridge (2 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Worship Street Whistling Shop / Photo: whistlingshop.com

Best Bars London ~ Worship Street Whistling Shop / Photo: whistlingshop.com

21 ~ Worship Street Whistling Shop

Combining the charm of Victorian squalor with the elegance of grand gin palaces, this Shoreditch basement bar from the same people behind Purl (see below) takes drinking to another level. Inspired by the trends and drinking cultures of days gone by, they take you back to an era of compounded gin, meat pies and straw floors when, in 18th-century London, as many as one in four houses produced their own gin. Alongside a library of vintage gins, some dating back over 100 years, the cocktails are truly unique, created using rotary evaporators, sous vide, vacuum technology and a large array of enzymes, acids, proteins and hydrocolloids. You can even learn how it's all done with their Masterclass. There's also a range of barrel and bottle age drinks, English sparkling wines, craft beers and fine wines. Open until midnight Monday & Tuesday; 01:00 Wednesday & Thursday; 02:00 Friday & Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Cocktails £9+     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Moorgate (7 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Callooh Callay / Photo: calloohcallaybar.com

Best Bars London ~ Callooh Callay / Photo: calloohcallaybar.com

22 ~ CalLooh CaLlay

Named after the Jabberwocky poem in Lewis Carroll's "Through The Looking Glass", this surrealist bar offers some of the most innovative drinks in London across three quirky rooms, the back one accessed via a Narnia-like wardrobe (you'll need to make a reservation to go through it). The decor gives an occasional nod to Alice In Wonderland, the walls are decorated with 1980s cassettes and the menu cards change regularly and can be themed around anything from a 1980s annual, a school yearbook or an Oyster Card leaflet. Upstairs, hidden behind a curtain, is the secret Jubjub Bar, an exclusive reservation-only area where a different guest bartender or brand ambassador serves some of the best cocktails in the whole of London each week. Open until 01:00 every day.

Cocktails £9+     Beer (0.5l) £7.50+   Wine  £5+

Old Street (7 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ Lamb and Flag / Photo: lambandflagcoventgarden.co.uk

Best Pubs London ~ Lamb and Flag / Photo: lambandflagcoventgarden.co.uk

23 ~ Lamb & Flag

London pubs don't get much more historic than this; dating back to 1772 and a regular haunt of Charles Dickens, this hidden away Covent Garden pub is a history hunter's dream, retaining its old-world charm to this day. The pub serves excellent real ale from Fuller's and features in practically every London guide book ever written. The pub acquired a reputation in the early nineteenth century for staging bare-knuckle prize fights earning it the nickname 'The Bucket of Blood", and the alleyway beside the pub was the scene of an attack on the poet John Dryden in 1679 by thugs hired by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, with whom he had a long-standing conflict. Open every day until 23:00 (22:30 on Sunday).

Beer (0.5l) £4+   Wine  £4.50+

Covent Garden (2 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ The Zetter Town house London / Photo: thezettertownhouse.com

Best Bars London ~ The Zetter Town house London / Photo: thezettertownhouse.com

24 ~ The Zetter Townhouse

Accessed through a discreet entrance on St John’s Square, the lounge bar within the funky Zetter Townhouse hotel is a sumptuous and intriguing place from groundbreaking barman/chemist Tony Conigliaro and Michelin Star chef Bruno Loubet. With an open fire and random furniture, it feels like the private residence of an eccentric and indulgent great aunt. Think stuffed kangaroos, gramophones, dressed cats holding umbrellas, a gorgeous library, antiques, family portraits and staff wearing period clothing. Open daily until midnight (01:00 Thursday - Saturday).

Cocktails £9.50+     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Farringdon (6 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Portobello Star / Photo: portobellostarbar.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Portobello Star / Photo: portobellostarbar.co.uk

25 ~ The PortObello Star & The Ginstitute

The site now occupied by this great gin and cocktail bar next to Portobello Road Market has been serving alcohol since 1740. Today it is owned by the guys behind the excellent Portobello Road Gin, which was originally distilled on site before becoming so popular it had to be made in bigger premises. It is also home to The Ginstitute, a small re-creation of a Victorian gin palace, located on the top two floors, complete with a staggering selection of gins including many antique bottles and archive materials from the most famous London Gins. Here you can learn about the spirit, enjoy tastings and even create your own. Open daily until 23:30 (00:30 Friday & Saturday).

Cocktails £8+     Beer (0.5l) Not known Wine  £4.50+

Ladbroke Grove (8 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz / Photo: theritzlondon.com

Best Bars London ~ The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz / Photo: theritzlondon.com

26 ~ The Rivoli Bar

Serving what are probably the most expensive drinks in London, the intimate cocktail lounge inside The Ritz hotel is overtly Art Deco in its design. It's a sophisticated symphony of camphor wood walls, illuminated Lalique glass panels, patterned mirrors, brilliant gilded ceiling domes, and an under lit bar topped with polished cocktail shakers, from which the bartenders craft cocktails utilizing premium spirits, homemade cordials and bitters. The 'Ramos Gin Fizz' is the cocktail of choice, served in a golden goose egg perched within an edible caramel nest, or indulge in a spot of time travel with a vintage cocktail, created with spirits dating from the 1940s to the 1980s that were discovered in the depths of the hotel's cellars. Smart casual dresscode although Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie for Afternoon Tea or the restaurant. No reservations taken. Open daily until 23:30 (Sunday 22:30). 

Cocktails £19+     Beer (0.5l) £14.50+    Wine  £15+

Green Park (1 minute walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Nag's Head / Photo: Best Bars Europe

Best Pubs London ~ The Nag's Head / Photo: Best Bars Europe

27 ~ The Nag's Head

From the moment you walk through the door in this beautiful 300 year old Knightsbridge pub, obeying the sign that says "strictly no mobile phones", you can feel the sense of going back in time. Owned by the Duke of Westminster and ran for the last 35 years by the friendly but dry humoured character that is Kevin Moran (not the ex-Manchester United player), the walls are decorated with a clutter of authentic vintage memorabilia, from wartime military hats and original historic photographs and cartoons to working Victorian slot machines, including a rather racy "What The Butler Saw" machine. This really is a London pub from a faraway time but it's important to follow the rules of the house; order one of the guest beers (it's a pub, not a museum!), don't hang your coat on the back of your chair, and don't even think of using your mobile phone, laptop or any other modern day gadget. Otherwise you might just experience the surliness of the old-fashioned traditional British pub landlord and quickly be shown the exit.

Beer (0.5l) £4+    Wine  £5+

Knightsbridge (4 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Mr Fogg's Tavern / Photo: Facebook foggstavern

Best Bars London ~ Mr Fogg's Tavern / Photo: Facebook foggstavern

28 ~ Mr Fogg's Tavern

Opened in October 2015, this spin off from Mr Fogg's Residence (above) continues the "Around The World in 80 Days" theme in the setting of a traditional London pub, close to Covent Garden, and offers great cocktails, real ales, Afternoon Teas and one of the biggest gin collections in town. The 1870’s themed inn is split over two floors with the Tavern downstairs and the Gin Parlour & Salon found upstairs, boasting over 300 gins, 25 tonics and a plethora of complimenting botanicals, all served by waiters in period dress. You can even take a Gin Safari tasting session. There's that many distractions here, old Phileas certainly wouldn't have made it around the world in 80 days if this had been his local. Open daily until 23:00 (23:30 Friday & Saturday). 

Cocktails £7+     Beer (0.5l) £5+    Wine  £5.50+

Leicester Square (2 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Happiness Forgets / Photo: happinessforgets.com

Best Bars London ~ Happiness Forgets / Photo: happinessforgets.com

29 ~ HapPiness Forgets

"High end cocktails, low rent basement" is the tagline and it certainly sums this great little bar on Hoxton Square up perfectly. Dimly lit and very intimate - reservations are highly recommended (half the bar is kept free for walk ins) - this is how cocktail bars should be; high quality drinks, a friendly atmosphere and unpretentious talented staff. Excellent. Open every day 17:00 - 23:00.

Cocktails £9+     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Old Street (7 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ Princess Louise / Photo: Facebook john.boyle.7399

Best Pubs London ~ Princess Louise / Photo: Facebook john.boyle.7399

30 ~ Princess Louise

This historic pub in Holborn boasts possibly the best preserved Victorian pub interior in London. Built in 1872, its wood panelling, etched glass, ornate tiles and a series of seating booths around a bar in the middle of the room date back to 1891 and was lovingly restored in 2007 by current owners, cheap ale brewer Sam Smiths. As it is considered so historically significant, even the men's toilets, with their marble urinals, are listed. The venue was home to influential folk music meetings in the 1950s and 60s organised by Manchester folk legend, Ewan MacColl. Open seven days a week. 

Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Holborn (1 minute walk)

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Best Bars London ~ The Star At Night / photo: thelondonginclub.com

Best Bars London ~ The Star At Night / photo: thelondonginclub.com

31 ~ The STar

Nestled in the heart of Soho you’ll find this home to The London Gin Club, an independent, relaxed table service bar, serving over 130 gins (88 from the UK) alongside gin based cocktails. Also known as "The Star At Night", there's tasting menus allowing you to try various gin and tonics alongside original vintage gins from the 1950s to the 1970s. Downstairs, you'll find a vaulted room which resembles an old air raid shelter. Reservations recommended. Open until 23:00. Closed Sunday. 

Cocktails £8.50+     Beer (0.5l) £7.50+    Wine  £6+

Tottenham Court Road (6 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ 69 Colebrooke Row / Photo: 69colebrookerow.com

Best Bars London ~ 69 Colebrooke Row / Photo: 69colebrookerow.com

32 ~ 69 COLEBROOKE Row

Officially called "the bar with no name" but better known by its postal address, probably as a result of problems when ordering taxis, this tiny bar from drinks guru Tony Conigliaro pushes the boundaries of cocktail making, using esoteric ingredients that have been developed in his Drink Factory laboratory around the corner, which is actually located in Pink Floyd’s old recording studio. Identifiable by a lantern and burgundy awnings, the bar is housed in one intimate room which blends the feel of Film Noir with a 1950s Italian Café. Cocktail Masterclasses are also available. Open Sunday - Wednesday until midnight, Thursday until 01:00 and Friday & Saturday 02:00. Reservations recommended.

Cocktails £9.50+     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Angel (8 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Rules / Photo: rules.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Rules / Photo: rules.co.uk

33 ~ Rules Cocktail Bar

Established by Thomas Rule in 1798, in the year Napoleon opened his campaign in Egypt, this is the oldest restaurant in London. Serving traditional British food, specialising in game, oysters, pies and puddings, there's more to this Convent Garden institution than just food. Upstairs, through the door to the right of the restaurant entrance, guarded by the top hat wearing doorman, you'll find a plush red seated cocktail bar, where once Edward VII and his mistress Lillie Langtry dined in private. It is one of the best kept secrets in London and is certainly the place for those seeking a civilised bolt hole to enjoy perfectly balanced drinks in elegant but relaxing surroundings. This is surely the most English of English places to drink in London. Open daily until midnight.

Cocktails £13.50+     Beer (0.5l) £6+    Wine  £7.50+

Leicester Square (5 minutes walk)

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Best Clubs London ~ Ministry Of Sound / Photo: ministryofsound.com

Best Clubs London ~ Ministry Of Sound / Photo: ministryofsound.com

34 ~ Ministry Of Sound

One of the most famous clubs in the world, this 2,400 capacity home of dance and house music was set up in an old bus station next to Elephant & Castle in 1991 and has since gone on to guest some of the biggest DJs in the world, spawning a whole record label in the process, which includes Hed Kandi. Open until 7am at weekends.

Cocktails Not known  Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Elephant & Castle (6 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ High Water / Photo: Facebook HighWaterLondon

Best Bars London ~ High Water / Photo: Facebook HighWaterLondon

35 ~ High Water

This stunning neighbourhood cocktail bar in Dalston, with its exposed brick walls, blue tiled bar and beautiful wooden ceiling, is brought to you from the dream team of Durham Atkinson (Dead Rabbit NY), Bobbie Hiddleston (Hops & Glory), Mia Johansson (Milk & Honey) and Barbarossa Inan (Hawksmoor) and has earned the reputation as being London's "bartender's bar". As you'd expect from such an impressive collective, the attention to detail with both service and drinks is second to none. There's even mini cocktails, served with a bottle of beer as a chaser. Open daily until 00:30 (01:30 on Friday & Saturday).

Cocktails Not known  Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Dalston Kingsland (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ LCC Goodge Street / Photo: londoncocktailclub.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ LCC Goodge Street / Photo: londoncocktailclub.co.uk

36 ~ London Cocktail Club ~ Goodge Street

Walking down the stairs of this Goodge Street "punk gin palace", the first thing you’ll see is a graffiti painting of Jack The Ripper and a prostitute. The dim lighting, velvet seating and vintage ornaments add to the feel of going back in time albeit with a kitsch punk vibe, whilst the brightly lit back-bar shows off row upon row of dangerous looking spirits. This is one of seven venues from the London Cocktail Club. Open Monday - Thursday until 00:30 (midnight Friday & Saturday) with Happy Hour before 19:00. Closed Sunday.

Cocktails €8.50+    Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Goodge Street (3 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Purl / Photo: purl-london.com

Best Bars London ~ Purl / Photo: purl-london.com

37 ~ Purl

Purl first opened it’s doors in Marylebone May 2010 with an aim to bring classic cocktails back to the forefront of London’s drinking scene, whilst adding new flare and creativity to forgotten libations from the Prohibition era. The result are drinks that satisfy on a multi-sensory level, using aroma, fogs, airs, foams, food, bespoke serviceware and liquid nitrogen to bring the drink to life and transport the guest to another place or time. Look for the swinging sign at 50/54 Blandford Street, knock three times (the password is “Hair of the Dog” if they ask) and enter the speakeasy room to the soundtrack of jazz and blues. Bookings recommended. Open until 23.30 Monday to Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Baker Street (7 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Churchill Arms / photo: churchillarmskensington.co.uk

Best Pubs London ~ The Churchill Arms / photo: churchillarmskensington.co.uk

38 ~ The Churchill Arms

Built in 1750, this Kensington pub stakes a genuine claim for the title of London’s most famous pub. In the 1800s, Winston Churchill's grandparents were regular visitors - which eventually led to the renaming of the pub after World War II. It is now best known however for the incredible array of beautiful flowers and hanging baskets that tumble out onto the street from its frontages. The character continues inside, where history and heritage literally line the walls. There’s Winston Churchill memorabilia here in abundance, alongside a fascinating collection of other trinkets and knick knacks from times gone by, Fuller's Ales and even a Thai restaurant in the back. Open until 23.00 Sunday to Wednesday and midnight Thursday to Saturday.

Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Notting Hill Gate (4 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ The Running Horse / Photo: therunninghorsemayfair.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ The Running Horse / Photo: therunninghorsemayfair.co.uk

39 ~ The Running Horse & The Whip

Established in 1738, this is the oldest public house in Mayfair. Reopened in 2013 following a collaboration between James Chase (Chase vodka and gin, and Tyrell's crisps) and Dominic Jacobs (Sketch restaurant), the pub has been lovingly restored and includes a fantastic cocktail bar upstairs, The Whip. Open until midnight every day, 20:00 on Sunday.

Cocktails €8.50+     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  €5+

Bond Street (6 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Grenadier / Photo: taylor-walker.co.uk

Best Pubs London ~ The Grenadier / Photo: taylor-walker.co.uk

40 ~ THE Grenadier

Originally built in 1720 as the Officers Mess for The First Royal Regiment of Foot Guards, who fought off the French at Waterloo in 1815, this historic Belgrave Square pub became a licensed premise in 1818 and it's said that the Duke Of Wellington even drank here. It is so called after a young grenadier soldier, affectionately named Cedric by locals, whom is said to have been caught cheating at a game of cards and savagely beaten to death as a punishment. His ghost is said to haunt the pub to this day and visitors have attempted to pay off his debt by attaching money to the ceiling, which, after over a century, has been totally covered with notes of all currencies. Hidden down a London backstreet, it's famed for its Bloody Marys and Taylor Walker ales. Open every day until 23:00.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Hyde Park Corner (4 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Barts / Photo: barts-london.com

Best Bars London ~ Barts / Photo: barts-london.com

41 ~ Barts

"London's worst kept secret" is a proper 1920s Prohibition style speakeasy themed around Chicago gangsters and housed within the posh Chelsea Cloisters serviced apartments building, which boasts a porter on the door and seems to be the least likely place for a bar. Entry to which is gained by finding the lantern lit black door, ringing a doorbell and waiting for the cuff port to slide open and the person on the other side to grant you access. It may be hidden inside an apartment, said to belong to "Uncle Bart", but it certainly doesn't take itself too seriously. The walls are decorated with stuffed animals and cuckoo clocks, the menu placed within an old novel, and the cocktails are served in Laurel & Hardy cups, cigar boxes, teapots, top hats, giant teacups and even a gramophone. From the same people as Mr Fogg's and Cahoots (above). Open each day until midnight (01:00 Thursday - Saturday). No reservations taken Thursday - Saturday.

Cocktails €11+     Beer (0.5l) €5+    Wine  €7+

South Kensington (6 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ The Oliver Conquest / Photo: Facebook The-Oliver-Conquest

Best Bars London ~ The Oliver Conquest / Photo: Facebook The-Oliver-Conquest

42 ~ The Oliver Conquest

London is obviously celebrated for its fabulous gin and this warm, friendly modern pub near Aldgate East Station is famed for boasting a fantastic selection of over 300 bottles of the juniper based spirit, one of the largest collection in the city, with gin flights also available. Apertivo, Board games, a dartboard, great beers and the daily newspapers should keep you entertained if you get bored of looking at the gin collection. Open until 23:00 (23:30 Thursday - Saturday). Closed Sunday.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Aldgate East (4 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Evans & Peel Detective Agency / Photo: evansandpeel.com

Best Bars London ~ Evans & Peel Detective Agency / Photo: evansandpeel.com

43 ~ Evans & Peel Detective Agency

This speakeasy on the Earls Court Road is disguised as a Prohibition-era detective agency. Make a reservation and then ring the buzzer on the door where a smartly dressed "private investigator" will take you into the agency's reception and ask you about your case. Be aware, you'll need to get involved in a bit of role playing at this stage but, once satisfied, he'll select the right book that swings open the bookcase to reveal the dimly lit vintage heavy cocktail bar behind. Whilst the role playing stops here, bottled beers are served in brown paper bags and the draught beer is pumped through an old radiator. The cocktails are excellent and well worth investigating. Open until midnight (00:30 at weekends). Closed Sunday & Monday.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Earl's Court (4 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Old Bell Tavern / Photo: nicholsonspubs.co.uk

Best Pubs London ~ The Old Bell Tavern / Photo: nicholsonspubs.co.uk

44 ~ The Old Bell TaVern

This Fleet Street pub boasts a long history, having been a licensed tavern for more than 300 years. Built by Sir Christopher Wren in the 1670s, it housed his masons who were rebuilding St Bride's Church across the road after the Great Fire. The front has colourful stained-glass windows and the stone floor gives it an olde world feel. Forever popular with the journalists of Fleet Street, a framed copy of a Daily Mail stands by the bar with the headline "St Paul's stands unharmed in the midst of the burning city", published the morning after the Blitz. A Nicholson's pub Open daily until 23:00, Saturday 20:00 and Sunday at 17:00.

Beer (0.5l) €3.50+    Wine  €4.50+

City Thameslink (2 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Satan's Whiskers / Photo: satanswhiskersblr.tumblr.com

Best Bars London ~ Satan's Whiskers / Photo: satanswhiskersblr.tumblr.com

45 ~ SATAN'S WHISKERS

If stuffed animals, old school hip hop and devilishy good cocktails are your thing, then this tiny neighbourhood bar in Bethnal Green is the place for you. Sinners welcome. Open until midnight every day.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Bethnal Green (3 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Nola / Photo: nola-london.com

Best Bars London ~ Nola / Photo: nola-london.com

46 ~ Nola

OK, when compiling our list of best bars in London, and each of the other cities on Best Bars Europe, we work under the remit that those bars should only represent the city they are in - the kind you will not find elsewhere on your travels. For that reason, we've overlooked some great hotel cocktail bars, Tiki dive bars and many a Mexican tequila den. So, you're probably wondering how this Shoreditch cocktail bar makes our list, with its clear inspiration from the culture and rich history of New Orleans and Louisiana (from where it takes its name). Put simply, this is one of the best bars in the world, and seemingly the bar of choice for many an off duty barman or spirits business ambassador, each flocking here for the modern creations inspired by New Orleans set to a backdrop of live jazz and blues. Open until 01:00 (03:00 Friday & Saturday). Closed Sunday.

Cocktails €8+     Beer (0.5l) €5+    Wine  €5+

Old Street (7 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Experimental Cocktail Club London / Photo: chinatownecc.com

Best Bars London ~ Experimental Cocktail Club London / Photo: chinatownecc.com

47 ~ Ecc Chinatown

The London offering from the Parisian Experimental Cocktail Club is a well-hidden three floor speakeasy found nestled between two restaurants in the heart of Chinatown, behind an unmarked black doorway with a splash of red paint. Plush, secretive and very French, the cocktails are also amongst the best in town and there's also a range of vintage spirits from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. It's also one of only a handful of bars open until 03:00 every day (midnight on Sundays). £5 cover charge after 23:00.

Cocktails €8+     Beer (0.5l) €5+    Wine  €5+

Leicester Square (3 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Dog & Duck London / Photo: nicholsonspubs.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Dog & Duck London / Photo: nicholsonspubs.co.uk

48 ~ The Dog & Duck

This famous historic pub in Soho was the regular haunt of George Orwell. A Grade II listed Victorian establishment, dating back to 1897, it is very ornate with mirrors and tiles and offers a great real ale selection. It's also said that John Constable and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were regulars of the original pub on this site, which was built in 1734. A Nicholson's pub. Open every day until 23:00.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Tottenham Court Road (5 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Graphic / Photo: graphicbar.com

Best Bars London ~ Graphic / Photo: graphicbar.com

49 ~ Graphic

This funky Soho bar claims to have the UK's largest selection of gin however they've clearly not looked in the Guinness Book Of Records as, there, they will find The Old Bell Inn near Manchester, which currently boasts over 600 and counting. The Oliver Conquest and Mr Fogg's Tavern (both above) also seem to outdo them in London with 300 each. Either way, with over 235 brands to choose from, their gin list is extremely impressive and with a backdrop of art by some of the most innovative artists, it's a stylish place for gin enthusiasts to visit. Cocktails are served in paint pots and it's also home to the Juniper Club, which offers free gin tastings every other Monday. Open until midnight. Closed Sunday.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

Piccadilly Circus (4 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs in London ~ Cockpit / Photo: Best Bars Europe

Best Pubs in London ~ Cockpit / Photo: Best Bars Europe

50 ~ Cockpit

Standing on the site of William Shakespeare's old house, this historic London pub was once also the venue for cockfights until the blood sport was banned in 1835. The main area of the pub is actually the old cockfighting ring, whilst above you can still see the old gallery, from which gamblers would have cheered on their bird. Open until 23:00 daily.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known    Wine  Not known

City Thameslink (4 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Lamb Bloomsbury / Photo: thelamblondon.com

Best Pubs London ~ The Lamb Bloomsbury / Photo: thelamblondon.com

51 ~ The Lamb

This beautifully preserved, Grade II listed Victorian pub in Bloomsbury dates back to 1729 and still has the historic etched glass snob screens in place above the bar. These frosted glass windows were popular in the 1890s and hid the customer from the publican when they ordered their drinks, but the hinges still allowed the the bar staff to check on the customers without disturbing their privacy. This prevented the well-to-do drinker having to see the common man drinking in the bar, and vice versa. An original working polyphon (the predecessor to the gramophone) sits in the corner whilst the walls are lined with sepia prints of music hall players. Charles Dickens lived locally and was said to be a regular (The Dickens Museum is just around the corner). Open until 23:00 (midnight Thursday - Saturday).

Beer (0.5l) €4+   Wine  €4.50+

Russell Square (6 minutes walk)

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Best Pubs London ~ The Cross Keys Covent Garden / Photo: Best Bars Europe

Best Pubs London ~ The Cross Keys Covent Garden / Photo: Best Bars Europe

52 ~ THE Cross Keys

This tiny Covent Garden pub is famed for the plants and flowers which cover its doorway. Inside you will find an old Victorian boozer, littered with brass antiques and bric-a-brac. Alongside photos of old Prime Ministers and The Beatles, there's even a signed napkin from Elvis on the wall. Open until 23:00 daily.

Beer (0.5l) €3.50+   Wine  €3.50+

Covent Garden (2 minutes walk)

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Best Bars London ~ Twinings / Photo: twinings.co.uk

Best Bars London ~ Twinings / Photo: twinings.co.uk

53 ~ TWinings

OK, not a bar but a must-visit when in London for a beverage of a different sort, is the oldest tea house in the world. In 1706, Thomas Twining bought a tiny coffee shop at the back of what is now 216 The Strand and started selling his famous teas to the upper classes. As women were banned from entering the masculine arena of the coffee and tea houses, it wasn't unusual to see high class women waiting outside in their carriages, sending their footmen in to purchase the expensive teas. By 1717, he had expanded by knocking into the two adjacent buildings to create the tea shop that has since traded their for over 300 years. In fact, it's hard to imagine that the tea shop actually stood here for over 176 years before the Royal Courts Of Justice opened just across the road. Following a recent refurbishment, the shop now boasts a small museum and a Loose Tea Bar, which offers you the chance to sit down, sample different teas for free and even book a Masterclass. Did you know that the Twinings crest is the oldest commercial logo that has been in continuous use and Twinings is the oldest family ran company in the world? Open until 19:00 during the week (17:00 on Saturdays and 16:30 Sundays).

Tea Free

Temple (4 minutes walk)

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Last updated 8 March 2016