12 Must-Visit Cocktail Bars in London

Whether you’re looking for an espresso martini, classic cocktail or a more unusual option, these are 12 of the best cocktail bars in London.

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London’s many cocktail bars frequently top the 50 Best Bars list, and the city has established itself as a haven for both classics and experimental originals. It’s home to some of the most influential cocktail bars in the world, including a number of high-end hotel bars like the Library Bar at the Lanesborough, Dukes Bar at Dukes London and Ryan Chetiyawardana's Lyaness at Sea Containers. Aside from these classic mainstays, however, in recent years, plenty of newer spots have stood out as particularly memorable, with an international set of mixologists who want to innovate and push the boundaries of what can be mixed in a glass. 

Many of these bars, which tend to prioritize walk-in guests, also cater to sober-curious guests, featuring a list of non-alcoholic options alongside their classic cocktails. It’s an important step that ensures all visitors get to have the same mixology experience. Some are less pricey than others, and some take visitors into less touristy areas of the city, but all of the bars we’ve compiled offer something compelling and enjoyable, with an emphasis on less already-hyped spots—but including a few classics, of course. Whether you’re looking for an espresso martini, classic cocktail or a more unusual option, these are 12 of the best cocktail bars in London.

Satan’s Whiskers

  • 343 Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 9RA

Satan’s Whiskers, found off the beaten path in Bethnal Green, has a casual vibe but a predilection for crafting a perfectly balanced cocktail. The bar is edgy, with a fun hip-hop focused playlist, and the bartenders are ready to make anything you throw their way. Definitely try the frozen Gold Rush, but the bar focuses on a blend of traditional and modern classics, from a daiquiri to an East 8 Hold-Up (ask for the backstory). Reservations can be made by phone only, but walk-ins are welcome. If you want to try another cocktail bar in the area, walk just a few short minutes over to Coupette.

Satan’s Whiskers. Steven Joyce

Side Hustle

  • 28 Bow St, London WC2E 7AW

The NoMad Hotel’s Side Hustle has only been open for a few years, but it’s already earned a reputation for delicious, well-made cocktails and great food. The menu is influenced by southern California and Mexico, with an emphasis on mezcal- and tequila-focused drinks like margaritas and palomas, as well as NoMad classics. The non-alcoholic menu, dubbed “Soft Cocktails,” is equally thoughtful, and there are plenty of beer options available. The food ranges from Mexican-inspired bites like tacos to ceviche, making the bar a great place to grab a drink and dinner when in Covent Garden. Reservations are available from 11 a.m. daily on the hotel’s website. 

Side Hustle. Sude Hustle

The American Bar

  • The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ

The American Bar, found inside the five-star Savoy Hotel, is the oldest cocktail bar in London, and one of the top bars in the world. It lives up to its reputation with immaculate martinis, top-notch service and live music courtesy of jazz pianists who set a classic vibe in the Art Deco space. If you can snag one of the coveted bar seats, it’s a treat to watch the mixologists at work, although the walk-in only policy can be tricky on busy evenings. The cocktail menu rotates with original creations throughout the year, but it’s the signatures, like the White Lady, that really make the experience. Downstairs, the Beaufort Bar is slightly edgier, with a more lounge-like feel. 

The American Bar. Jack Hardy

Tayēr + Elementary

  • 152 Old St, London EC1V 9BW

Opened in 2019, Tayēr + Elementary on Old Street in East London's Shoreditch is two bars in one. Created by bartenders Monica Berg and Alex Kratena, Elementary is more casual, serving beer, wine and cocktails with views of the street, while Tayēr is more about innovative drinks in a lab-like environment. It’s walk-in only and guests can expect thoughtful, unusual flavors with high-end presentation. Many of the cocktails, like the sandalwood martini and vetiver negroni, are available in batched bottled form from the bar’s shop, which means you can take them home as a delicious souvenir. 

Tayer + Elementary. Tayer + Elementary

Kwãnt Mayfair

  • 52 Stratton St, London W1J 8LN

Previously located on Regent Street, Kwãnt recently moved to a coveted spot in Mayfair, close to The Ritz. The fashionable cocktail bar is the brainchild of Erik Lorincz, former head bartender of The American Bar, and the drinks menu is focused on unusual takes on established classics. The atmosphere is upscale and eclectic, with a strong attention to detail both in the décor and in the service. There are chic bar snacks on offer alongside the drinks, and guests can partake in a seven-course tasting menu that is as indulgent as it is pricey. It’s a no reservations spot, so arrive early on busy nights.

The Connaught Bar

  • 16 Carlos Pl, London W1K 2AL

The Connaught Bar is considered one of the best bars in London—and for good reason. The stylish, discerning space, located inside The Connaught Hotel, has a timeless, old school elegance that goes so far as to include a martini trolley that is wheeled tableside. It's a special experience; you'll essentially customize your martini, right down to the handmade bitters. Head bartender Agostino Perrone has a long history at The Connaught, helming menus that highlight everything from vintage classics to inventive signature drinks that embrace clever uses of ingredients. The bar also serves caviar, high-end snacks and a lobster roll that is not to be missed. If you're a bubbly enthusiast, stop by the Connaught's Champagne Room.

The Connaught. The Connaught

Three Sheets

  • 13 Manette St, London W1D 4AP, United Kingdom

Three Sheets initially launched in the hipster neighborhood of Dalston, but has since expanded to a new location in the heart of Soho. The unique, carefully-crafted cocktails are made with an attention to detail that tends to impress guests. The menu is divided by “sheets,” which indicate how boozy you can expect the drink concoction to be. It’s a good choice for those looking for alcohol-free options or just a good coffee, and the drink prices, although not cheap, tend to be lower than other similar cocktail bars. Reservations are available online and recommended, since both locations are relatively intimate.

Three Sheets. Three Sheets

A Bar with Shapes for a Name

  • 232 Kingsland Rd, Whitmore Estate, London E2 8AX

Technically, the name of this bar is an illustration of three colorful shapes thanks to its artsy Bauhaus inspiration. Imagined by bartender Remy Savage, A Bar with Shapes for a Name embraces experimental flavor combinations in a contemporary, gallery-like space. Everything has a backstory and the bartenders offer a narrative experience alongside the cocktails themselves, ideal for those looking for something more unusual, though there are also classics like an old fashioned and martini. Reservations can be made during specific hours and are recommended as the bar has a devoted following.

A Bar with Shapes for a Name. A Bar with Shapes for a Name

Bar Swift Soho

  • 12 Old Compton St, London W1D 4TQ

Bar Swift was one of the first contemporary cocktail bars to pop up in Soho, and it’s become a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The upstairs is more casual and ideal for a quick aperitif, while the moody downstairs has a lounge-like atmosphere and a more in-depth list of more complex cocktails, like the Vignette, made with gin, Noilly Prat, St. Germain, celery and absinthe, and the Old Compton, composed of French cognac, rum, strawberry, rhubarb amaro, lemon and angostura.

On Sundays, jazz and ragtime musicians take over the lower bar to accompany an exclusive selection of drinks. Tables can be booked for all three of Swift’s bars around the town, although the Soho outpost only reserves spots downstairs.

Bar Swift. Addie Chinn

Scarfes Bar

  • Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN

While London boasts an array of hotel bars, Scarfes Bar, in the Rosewood Hotel, is a definite standout. It marries elegance and comfort, with a drawing room-like sensibility with antique books, a pianist and a working fireplace. It’s named after Gerald Scarfe, a British cartoonist and illustrator whose work is on display on the walls, and the cocktail menu mirrors the quirky, comedic vibe of his portraits. The bar is primarily walk-in, although groups of six or more, as well as hotel guests, can book in advance. 

Rosewood London Durston Saylor

Silverleaf

  • 3rd Floor, Devonshire House, 3 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4JX

Contemporary cocktail bar Silverleaf, on the third floor of Devonshire House, is all about the sensory experience of its drinks. The most recent menu highlights the flavor profiles of fruits and vegetables, building both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails around ingredients like mango and fig. The high-end bar snacks are equally delicious, and guests can partake until 2 a.m. The bar regularly holds tasting events, and reservations both special evenings and regular tables can be made online.

Silverleaf. Julian Abrams

Viajante87

  • 87 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JZ

Viajante87, a neighborhood bar in Notting Hill, is one of the most recent additions to the London cocktail scene. The Latin American-inspired bar is intimate and friendly, with resident DJs performing on the weekends. The drinks pay homage to the bar’s name (which means traveler in Spanish), and take guests on an experience around countries like Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. The non-alcoholic selection is equally considered, and there are a few bar snacks available to keep you satiated. Reservations are a good idea, although Viajante87 aims to keep seats open for walk-ins when possible.

Viajante87. Viajante87

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