Whether you prefer hazy secret hotspots or bold, brash party joints, there’s a perfect cocktail bar waiting for you on your next visit to London. The UK’s capital takes cocktail making very seriously, so much so that it’s bars – as well as the drinks they serve – have become works of art. And that’s just fine by us! Vodka or vermouth; sweet or sour; delicate or daring – no matter what the ingredients, you’ll find your dream drink somewhere in the city. Which, of course, begs the question – where do you start looking? If only you had some sort of guide – well, that’s where we come in. Check out our top picks for some of the best cocktail bars in London. Follow our advice and you’ll be savouring the clever concoctions of master mixologists in next to no time.
65 Rivington St,
London EC2A 3AY
Mixing delectable elixirs since 2008, the quirkily named Callooh Callay is a household name in London’s cocktail bar scene. Opening at a time when these sorts of places were few and far between, Callooh Callay really set the bar high (pun fully intended). In the years it’s been operating, Callooh Callay has gone from strength to strength, serving an extensive clientele and winning numerous awards for its tasty tipples.
A standout Shoreditch attraction, Callooh Callay is worth visiting for the name alone – it’s just so fun to say! But of course, we know you need a bit more convincing, which is where the cocktail menu comes in. Whether you fancy a French Bellini – Chambord (black raspberry liqueur), horchata puree and Prosecco – or feel like jumping on the Gin Wilder bandwagon – a winning combination of Tanqueray gin, fennel and nettle cordial, and iron tincture – your taste buds are in for a real treat. Close to our Shoreditch hotel, stop by Callooh Callay for a next-level cocktail experience.
The Park Pavilion,
40 Canada Square Park,
London E14 5FW
Featuring a secret garden-inspired lounge with timber panelling as well as its own mixology table for customers who want to bring their own beverage ideas to life, The Parlour serves tempting drinks made with fresh, seasonal ingredients all day long. Striking and innovative, this place is perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks, with an alfresco terrace and bar providing the ideal spot for soaking up the sun with a cocktail in hand when it’s warm out. Able to cater for big groups as well as smaller parties, The Parlour is everything a stylish, laid-back cocktail bar should be.
‘Discover a window to another world of drinks,’ says the menu at The Parlour, and they’re certainly not wrong. From classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned to tropical delights including the Morgan Caribe – Chairman’s Reserve rum blended with banana liqueur, cardamom and bay leaf syrup, banana puree, lime, and pineapple – your palate is sure to be pleased. Located just seven minutes (on foot) from Point A Canary Wharf, The Parlour is the place to be for taking cocktail hour to a whole new level.
2, Sir Simon Milton Square,
London SW1E 5DJ
Mixing Italian cocktails with a twist, The Drunken Oyster is a neon-lit cocktail bar situated in the heart of Westminster. Sleek and ultra-modern, every effort has gone into ensuring that customers have a great time, including the regular live sports screenings and 4-8PM happy hour. It may say ‘No Oyster Required’ on the cocktail menu, but we’re willing to bet that after a few of these beauties, you’ll be as happy as a clam.
And speaking of the menu, what a selection! Featuring signature concoctions such as the Less Than Perfect Manhattan – Bulleit rye, Cynar artichoke amaro, Fernet Branca, maple water, and house brine mix, all topped off with a nice, juicy olive – alongside simpler spritzes like Amalfi 75 – Limoncello, Italicus bergamot liqueur, citrus, and Prosecco – The Drunken Oyster has something to suit all tastes. Not far from Point A Westminster, this is the perfect setting for coming out of your shell and enjoying quirky cocktails in London.
King’s Cross St. Pancras
9 Caledonian Rd,
London N1 9DX
Café by day, cocktail bar by night, Drink, Shop & Do brings new meaning to the phrase ‘bit of this, bit of that’. The brainchild of old school chums Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap, it opened in 2009 with one simple aim: to combine all the founders’ crazy ideas under one roof! With a fun, friendly atmosphere and a very pleasant setting, it’s hardly surprising that Drink, Shop & Do keeps drawing in the crowds.
As far as cocktails are concerned, the choices are extensive, sorted by spirit on the menu. Gin lovers can look forward to trying a Rose & Lychee Martini, which includes Hendricks and the rich sweetness of Turkish delight, while veterans of the vodka tonic should think about spicing up their usual order with the Lemon Tart, a lip-smacking blend of Belvedere vodka, lemon curd, and biscuit rim. No matter what your tastes, there’s a perfect cocktail waiting for you at Drink, Shop & Do. A stone’s throw from Point A King’s Cross (just four minutes on foot), you’re all but guaranteed a good time at this lively, lovely bar.
8 Sheldon Square,
London W2 6EZ
One of Paddington’s most popular Chinese restaurants has just opened a brand new cocktail bar, and it’s already a top destination for stylish, sophisticated nights out in the UK capital. Luxurious and charming, Pearl Liang Cocktail Bar has a distinct Oriental feel about it, with chic modern décor providing an elegant backdrop. Serving an impressive selection of cocktails, Pearl Liang’s laid-back atmosphere makes it as ideal for casual drinks as it is for late-night soirees.
In terms of the cocktails themselves, there’re five separate categories: Flute, Martini, Short, Long, and Mocktails. Whether you go for the classic Kir Royal or the more adventurous Monkey Fashioned, expect a beverage that’s been made with a lot of care and attention. What’s more, it’s only a 10-minute walk from our Paddington hotel, making Pearl Liang the perfect place to enjoy fun cocktails in London.
London EC2M 3TJ
The Victorian Bath House is a venue like no other. Located in the heart of the busy City of London, it takes just 10 minutes to walk there from our Liverpool Street hotel. A subterranean space full to the brim with character, this historic hideaway is sure to impress all who walk through its doors. Grade II listed, Victorian Bath House is a hidden gem in the treasure trove of cocktail bars in London.
But exactly what kinds of cocktails are on offer here? Well, for starters there’re a lot of them; a 50-strong list means there’s something to quench everyone’s thirst. Created by specialists in ‘booze engineering’, cocktails at the Victorian Bath House promise to be unique, elaborate, and colourful. Next time you’re in or around Liverpool Street, be sure to experience the flavour sensations of Victorian Bath House cocktails, each one infused with hand-selected herbs, spices, fruits, and sometimes other wonderful mystery ingredients for a true taste extravaganza.
And with one final sip, our cocktail bar journey comes to an end. Although, with so many different locations and flavour combinations to try, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you. So many cocktails, so little time. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.