Forget cosy pubs and trendy, cosmopolitan wine bars. On colder days, the new place to curl up with a hot toddy is, believe it or not, the humble library bar.
No longer just spaces for bookworms, pottering pensioners and panicky students, more and more of London’s loveliest hotels and bars are opening swanky, book-filled watering holes, allowing visitors to partake in some seriously scholarly drinking. If you love books, cocktails and cosy corners, these are the best library bars in London for a cosy drink.
The Library Bar at The Lanesborough
The Lanesborough’s library bar feels like it’s barely changed over the years, yet remains a destination fit for the 21st Century.
Cognacs from the 1770s are served at the mahogany-clad bar, where you can sit on plush bar stools, or while away the hours with a good book, good company or good bottle of wine in the bookcase room with roaring fire and live piano.
Where: Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA
In the heart of pastel-hued Notting Hill, housed next to one of London’s oldest cinemas, it would be rude not to visit Electric House’s library bar if you have the chance.
Part of the Soho House group, the interiors are unsurprisingly beautiful, with wood-panelled walls and ceilings, a vinyl collection to browse, and of course, book-filled walls. Settle in for a sip in one of the plush sofas, and cosy up by the fire.
Where: 191 Portobello Rd, London W11 2ED
The Library Bar at The Ned
The seventeenth bar to open at The Ned is a library bar with a penchant for Champagne, martinis and cocktails.
Tucked away behind Cecconi’s, the space is perfect for sipping a martini (we’d go during the day before the crowds come in) and getting lost in a good book. What a glamorous way to spend an afternoon.
Where: 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
Perfect for sipping a martini and getting lost in a good book.
The Library Lounge at The Standard
During the day, The Standard’s Library Lounge is a haven for remote workers – where you can get stuck into your work surrounded by lush greenery and bookshelves filled with all kinds of genres – from sociology and psychology to science and religion.
By night, there’s a strict ‘no laptops after 6pm’ policy, when the library turns into the most chill bar space around – but the menu is on offer all day long. Think small bites and dishes taken from in-house restaurants Isla and Double Standard, and a lengthy cocktail menu to keep you going from dawn til dusk. Okay, maybe not dawn, but noon is surely acceptable in a library bar as cosy as this one.
Where: The Standard, 10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG
The Library at NoMad London
Read in luxury at The Library Cocktail bar at NoMad London. Reserved exclusively for hotel guests, you must be staying here to take advantage, but what better excuse to book a staycation?
The bar boasts collections on the arts, culture and history of London and New York, and is the perfect place to hunker down with a book and your classy cocktail of choice.
Where: 28 Bow St, London WC2E 7AW
Hunker down with a book and your cocktail of choice.
The Rosewood Hotel, a restored Edward mansion entered via a grandiose carriageway and courtyard, knows a thing or two about luxury and this much is obvious by its gorgeous Scarfes Bar.
This classy hangout is, without a shadow of a doubt, a book lover’s paradise. With a truly epic collection of books, comfy sofas and chairs, as well as a stellar drinks menu, it is certainly not to be missed.
Less of a library bar, and more of a secret library restaurant, the Kitchen Library at Corrigan’s Mayfair is private dining room with a difference.
Overlooking all the action of the kitchen, this space is host to Chef Patron Richard Corrigan’s personal library, with a collection of rare and well-loved cookbooks from throughout the ages. Just one metre from the pass, guests can experience the attention to detail from the kitchen first hand.
It’s unsurprisingly the most requested area by some of the restaurant’s most discreet guests, having seen many a contract signed and engagement ring exchanged.
Where: 28 Upper Grosvenor St, London W1K 7EH
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Swan Bar at Maison Assouline
Love books, cocktails and travel? You can’t miss a trip to the Swan Bar at Maison Assouline.
Housed in a gorgeous bookshop that boasts design-focused titles and rare first editions, the menu invites you to explore tantalising locations from our iconic travel series through expertly crafted cocktails inspired by each location.
Where: 196A Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EY
If you’re looking for the perfect place to take your book on a date then make a beeline for this Holborn hidden gem. Created for the Drake & Morgan collection (head to their restaurant in Kings Cross, it’s fantastic!) and inspired by the fabulous fables of Aesop, the Fable Bar offers seasonal food and sumptuous cocktails as well as bespoke events and fascinating literary masterclasses.
The library itself is lined with leather bound books sourced from vintage markets across the land so expect to be entranced and enthralled by the sheer variety of books on offer.
Where: 52 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2BN
The Cinnamon Club
Wine and books sit side-by-side on the shelves at the Cinnamon Club’s Library Bar. Reopened in 2015 following an extensive refurbishment, this fine, Grade II listed establishment was once the Reading Room of the old Westminster Library and, perhaps in homage to its history, is now home to a stunning library bar.
The Cinnamon Club serves innovative and creative Indian cuisine so the library is the perfect place to perch with a cocktail before you partake of dinner.