This is one of the most common questions before visiting London: Where to drink in London?
London is a city that’s famous for its vibrant nightlife, and it’s no surprise that the capital is home to some of the world’s best bars. From classic speakeasies to modern mixology hotspots, there’s no shortage of drinking destinations to explore in London. Here are the 10 top best bars where to drink in London:
- Lyan – ess: Is the flagship bar from the award-winning Mr Lyan and his team, set within the iconic Sea Containers London. Awarded World’s Best Bar & Best International Hotel Bar at Tales of Cocktail Spirited Award. The first of two of Chetiyawardana’s bars on the list. Those familiar with the history of the site will know it was once the place of the World’s Best Cocktail Bar Dandelyan, but was closed before being regenerated as Lyaness as we know it today.
- Nightjar: Tucked away in the heart of Shoreditch, Nightjar is known for its speakeasy vibe and impressive cocktail menu. The bar is decked out in Art Deco style, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists. This is the ultimate speakeasy bar of London – descend the stairs and be prepared to be enchanted by a 1920’s scene of candlelit tables, glorious tin cup cocktails, where jazz and swing bands will soundtrack your evening. It is seating only at Nightjar, so make a booking and soak up the magical atmosphere of this jazz and cocktail heaven. There is no other bar in London, let alone Shoreditch, like this.
- Oriole: Inspired by the golden age of exploration, Oriole is a stylish cocktail bar that takes guests on a journey around the world through its drinks menu. Located inside The Hoxton Hotel in Southwark, it’s a popular spot for after-work drinks and weekend nights out. The Oriole’s sumptuous space is an oasis of warmth, mystery and magic where for the space of an evening Londoners and visitors alike can enjoy a glorious sense of disconnection from the outside world.
- Satan’s Whiskers: This East London bar has a vintage vibe and serves up classic cocktails with a twist. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, making it a great spot for a relaxed night out with friends. Breaking down the bar experience into drinks, service and atmosphere, Satan’s Whiskers is the master of them all. And perhaps that’s why this is so often referred to as London’s bartenders’ bar. Set away from the glamour of central London in east-ish Bethnal Green, Satan’s Whiskers has an unassuming feel. Inside it’s all exposed bricks, taxidermy and vintage booze posters, somehow tied together with its now-famous hip-hop playlist.
5. Swift: With two locations in Soho and Shoreditch, Swift is a popular bar that offers both classic cocktails and innovative drinks. The bar has a lively atmosphere and is a great spot for a night out with a group. Taking inspiration from the European class of bar where a quick drink marks the end of the day or the beginning of the night, Swift sits effortlessly between a local pub and a reservation-only bar, swooping in to join the cultural hub of central Soho. Since its inception in 2016, Swift has won a plethora of awards including GQ Bar of the Year 2018, Time Out Bar of the Year 2017, Time Out’s cocktail bar of the Year 2018 & 2019, and #41 Best Bar in the World at World’s 50 Best Bars 2019.
6. Purl: Purl is another speakeasy-style bar, located in Marylebone. The bar has a vintage feel and serves up creative cocktails that are inspired by different eras in history. This is a unique and top London bar to visit that is a throw back to the golden age of cocktails thanks to their baroque interiors, broody atmosphere and ever-growing collection of vintage wares. It is seating only, which adds to the occasion and you must make a booking in order to visit. This is one secret bar of London that you must discover soon
7. Happiness Forgets: This cozy basement bar in Hoxton has a laid-back vibe and a great selection of classic cocktails. The bar’s motto is “serious drinks, not a serious attitude,” making it a welcoming spot for anyone looking for a fun night out. “High-end cocktails in a low-rent basement”, Happiness Forgets has charmed its way onto The World’s 50 Best Bars list by dint of its eclectic, well-balanced cocktails and super-friendly staff. Owned by the knowledgeable Alastair Burgess, the space may at first appear ramshackle – flickering candlelight against red brick walls, stackable, school-style chairs – but every attention to detail is paid to the superlative drinks offering.
8. Scout: A sustainable-focused bar in Hackney, Scout is renowned for its innovative drinks made with foraged ingredients and local produce. With its cornerstones of simplicity and waste reduction, Matt Whiley’s Scout, now settled into its new Hackney location, made its 50 Best Bars debut in 2018. Local ingredients are key for this sustainably minded cocktail bar, which champions British produce and utilises products from local foragers and growers.
9. Three Sheets: A small but mighty bar in Dalston, Three Sheets is a favorite among industry insiders for its unpretentious atmosphere and expertly crafted drinks. From its minimalist decor to the succinct collection of cocktail ingredients on a shelf behind the bar. All of this, as well as a concise selection of elegant cocktails, have helped make it an industry favorite (and a new entrant on the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2018) since it was opened by brothers Noel and Max Venning in 2016. Arguably the best-known item on the menu is the carbonated take on the French 75, combining gin, lemon, Moscato, and orange flower
10. Sucre by Alma: Located in Soho, is the new cocktail bar run by Tony Pescatory. A cocktail bar where art meets craft. Alma is home to craft cocktails, cultural vibrancy, vintage sounds, and sophisticated surroundings. Join the team behind this fantastic concept:
London boasts some of the world’s finest bars, and these top 10 establishments are a must-visit for anyone seeking a great drinking experience. From classic cocktails to innovative new blends, these bars are guaranteed to impress any cocktail enthusiast, and here at Hospitalian, we will do our best to always give the best advice on where to drink or experience your favorite destination.