The Best Cocktail Bars In London For A Classy Drink

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Cocktail bars

We’ve selected a swathe of the most stylish cocktail bars in London for guaranteed good times.

Whether they’re sleek, quirky, or uber-cool, these excellent cocktail bars all have one thing in common: they serve frickin’ awesome drinks.

1. The Coral Room, Bloomsbury

the coral room

Stepping inside The Coral Room is like stepping onto a Wes Anderson film set. The distinctive and soothing coral-coloured walls provide the perfect Instagram opportunity, and the swish art deco furnishings take you back to a time of decadent debauchery. Find out more.

16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3NN. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road. 

2. 69 Colebrooke Row, Islington

Cocktail bars
Photo: @69colebrookerow

Technically, this bar has no name, only an address, which is how it ended up with the snappy name of 69 Colebrooke Row. Look for the lantern above the door to find your way in. Once inside, you’ll find a cosy interior with a nostalgic jazz vibe, and a menu of inventive drinks (Woodland Martini, anyone?), which definitely makes it worth the hunt.

69 Colebrooke Row, Islington, N1 8AA. Nearest station is Angel.

3. Callooh Callay, Shoreditch

Cocktail bars
Photo: @calloohcallaybar

Named after a line from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’, Callooh Callay has drinks that will make you gyre and gimble in the wabe. The intriguingly titled Big Smoke Gamble catches the eye, whilst the Nuts & Bolts looks strong enough to take down a frumious Bandersnatch.

65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY. Nearest station is Old Street.

4. Lyaness, South Bank

Cocktail bars
Photo: @lyanessbar

Formerly the home of World’s Best Cocktail Bar Dandelyan, Lyaness sprang to the head of the pride earlier this year. Still sumptuously decorated, still wildly inventive, Lyaness builds its cocktails around  a series of select ingredients, with names like Infinite Banana and King Monkey Nut. Early buzz is very, very good – find out more here.

Find it at Mondrian London, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD. Nearest stations are Blackfriars and Southwark.

5. Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown

Cocktail bars
Photo: @chick1709

Hidden away behind a shabby door in Chinatown, you’ll find a brilliant little cocktail bar with an ever-changing menu. Because of the experimental nature of their creations – and the complete lack of a website to direct you to – there’s little point recommending something which might be gone in a month. Guess you’ll have to keep visiting then, won’t you?

13a Gerrard Street, Soho, W1D 5PS. Nearest station is Leicester Square.

6. Ladies and Gentlemen, Kentish Town & Camden

Cocktail bars
Photo: @evillbrie

It’s no exaggeration to say that Ladies and Gentlemen is the best thing you’ll find in a former public toilet. They distil their own spirits on site – including the roguish Highwayman Gin – and use ingredients foraged from Kentish Town and Hampstead Heath to create their menu, featuring dangerous delights like the 5 Boroughs. Find out more here.

2 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, NW5 1NR. Nearest station is Kentish Town.

7. Fitz’s Bar, Bloomsbury

Cocktail bars
Photo: @fitzsbar

From the depths of a former toilet to the gilded rooms of Russell Square now, as Fitz’s Bar adds a touch of the opulence to our humble cocktail bars roundup. Inspired by the work of architect Charles Fitzroy Doll, it’s all silk ceilings, dark wood, and Art Deco fixtures. Try the Four Queens for an appropriately splendid drink to match your surroundings. More info here.

. Nearest station is Russell Square.

8. Trailer Happiness, Ladbroke Grove

Cocktail bars
Photo: @trailerh

Rum lovers better head to Ladbroke Grove, because this Tiki-style bar has a lot of it. You’ll also find other spirits infused into Tiki revamps of classic cocktails, but there’s no doubt that rum is the star of the show.

177 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 2DY. Nearest station is Ladbroke Grove.

9. Happiness Forgets, Hoxton

Cocktail bars
Photo: @cristian_silenzi

“Great cocktails, no wallies” is the mantra of Happiness Forgets, and they do both pretty expertly. Though it may look like an unassuming little place, the quality of cocktails routinely earns it a place on the World’s 50 Best Cocktail Bars list, and it cracked the top ten in 2016.

10. Nightjar, Shoreditch

Cocktail bars
Photo: @nightjar

A seemingly endless menu of original cocktails is the major draw here, with influences drawn from all over the world. Nightjar aims for stylish sophistication, and hits it pretty much bang on the mark. Swinging jazz nights also help to draw in the cool cats.

129 City Road, EC1V 1JB. Nearest station is Old Street.

11. The Bloomsbury Club Bar, Bloomsbury

Cocktail bars
Photo: @thebloomsburyclub

The Bloomsbury Set loved a drink almost as much as they loved a torrid love affair, and this bar pays homage to their lives. As well as describing the cocktails, the menu helpfully tells you which of them were sleeping together (and generally scandalising Edwardian society in doing so). These are refined drinks, so try not to Woolf them down too quickly. More info here.

16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3NN. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.

12. Iris, City of London

Cocktail bars
Photo: @searcysgherkin

Way up in the tippity top of the Gherkin, Iris opened to Joe Public last summer (having previously been a members-only spot) and immediately dazzled us with sweeping panoramic views. Cocktails are inspired by different areas of London – try the Paparazzi, a dazzling homage to the West End. Find out more here.

Level 40, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London, EC3A 8AF. Nearest station is Aldgate.

13. Discount Suit Company, Aldgate

Cocktail bars
Photo: @discountsuitco

Looks can be deceiving, you know. You’ll find this rundown suit shop particularly ill-fitting if you’re in the market for a three-piece, but if cocktails are the aim, then you’re in luck. The Mashville looks short and sharp, whilst this is perhaps the only place in London where you’ll be asking for A Kick In The Head. See more here.

29 Wentworth Street, E1 7TB. Nearest station is Aldgate East.

14. Coupette, Bethnal Green

Cocktail bars
Photo: @coupettelondon

Get ready to find your joie de vivre, because this place has a very distinct French influence. French spirits dominate a menu inspired by “avant-garde cultural icons”, and we’ll be eternally grateful for whoever inspired the Champagne Piña Colada.

423 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN. Nearest station is Bethnal Green.

15. Eve Bar, Strand

Cocktail bars
Photo: @evebarldn

Whether you’re a saint or a sinner (and given that you’re this far into a list dedicated to cocktail bars, I’d say you’re a glorious sinner!), you’re going to enjoy Eve Bar. With the positively Miltonian Paradise Lost – rum, pandan, banana, ginger, popcorn, and matcha – on the menu, you’ll find yourself in cocktail heaven here. Read all about it.

34 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HF. Nearest stations are Covent Garden and Charing Cross.

16. Behind This Wall, Hackney

Cocktail bars
Photo: @btwldn

As with many of the city’s best cocktail bars, Behind This Wall doesn’t go out of its way to be found. If you find the dimly-lit stairs and work your way inside, you’ll find a cracking bar with a cobbled-together hi-fi system and pizzas delivered by Yard Sale. Cocktails change with the seasons; current spring offerings include Flight of the Conchords and the sinfully sweet Soft Exit.

411 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1HY. Nearest station is Hackney Central.

17. Nine Lives, Bermondsey

Cocktail bars

Pouting defiantly in the direction of “you only live once”, Nine Lives’ tropical-themed bar is lush in every sense of the word. Per their website, they’ve “painstakingly given a shit” about everything on the menu, so you can bet drinks such as Crossfire Hurricane and El Tigre will be a special affair.

8 Holyrood Street, London Bridge, SE1 2EL. Nearest station is London Bridge.

Also published on Medium.

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