From five star luxury to unique boutique boltholes, pull up a pew and knock knees at one of London’s best hotel bars. With some of the best cocktail menus in town, inspiring interiors and Instagram opportunities in every corner, here are our top 24 to wet your whistle at.
Lyaness, the bar at Bankside’s Sea Containers London, has been voted one of the World’s Top 50 Bars and we’re not surprised. Brainchild of the award-winning Mr Lyan – London’s top mixologist – expect seriously good cocktails that push the boundaries of booze and interiors just waiting to be Instagrammed.
Where: 20 Upper Ground, London, UK
Nearest station: London Waterloo East (0.3 miles)
After a £15m renovation, iconic Mayfair hotel Flemings looks better than ever. Step back into the golden era of the 1930’s at the Manetta’s Bar – think polished rose gold and plush velvet. Take a seat at the bar, order a martini and knock knees for ultimate date night.
Where: Flemings Mayfair Hotel, Half Moon Street, London, W1J 7BH, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Green Park (0.2 miles)
If you’ve ever walked the stretch of Piccadilly, you’ll be familiar with The Athenaeum’s incredible living wall that tumbles down the hotel’s exterior. On rainy London days head inside and admire the feature, cocktail in hand, at the iconic hotel’s bar. Definitely one for whisky lovers, the bar boasts no less than 100 bottles, ranging from exciting new brands to old and rare varieties.
Where: 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.4 miles)
With live music every night and seriously sinkable cocktails, Scarfes Bar is without a doubt Holborn’s best drinking den. The roaring fire, cosy velvet booths and low lighting make it the perfect bar to haul up in on drab winter evenings.
Where: Scarfes Bar, Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
The Perception Bar at Soho’s W Hotel is not only home to sinkable cocktails and great DJs sets, but, wait for it, Europe’s biggest disco ball! If that doesn’t get you on the dance floor, nothing will.
Where: 10 Wardour Street, Leicester Square, London, W1D 6QF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.2 miles)
Somewhat of a London hidden secret, the Napoleon is London’s smallest hotel boasting just one room on its top floor. Below that, are three entirely unique bars; Black Rock in the basement – think oysters, whisky and old school hip hop, Sack – a Spanish-inspired sherry bar, and the Devil’s Darling – timeless glamour, white dinner jacket-wearing bartenders and classic cocktails.
Where: 9 Christopher St, Finsbury, EC2A 2BS
If Dynamo were a bar, he’d be Maskelyne & Cooke. The drinking den with a difference sits inside Piccadilly’s Le Meridien and celebrates all things magic. Cocktails come served with a side of sleight of hand as some of the world’s top Magic Circle magicians perform each night.
Where: Le Méridien Piccadilly, Piccadilly, London, UK
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.2 miles)
There’s a charming tale behind this bar’s name. It was inspired by a comic series about Detective Inspector Smith and his arch rival, the infamous socialite scoundrel, Mr. William Whistle. Supposedly they would have secret meet ups in the Park Lane Hotel (where Smith & Whistle is housed) and order strong martinis – which is why the bar pour their measures to 35ml as standard. Don’t blame the hangover on us. Oh, and side note, the bar is one of London’s only dog-friendly high-end bars, even serving up ‘dogtails’ for your four legged friends. Cute.
Where: Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Green Park (0.4 miles)
The amount of awards this bar has won is longer than its liquor menu. Slap bang in the centre of London it’s the perfect pitstop post-Oxford Street shopping or pre-tipple before a Soho dinner.
Where: 1C Portland Pl, Marylebone, W1B 1JA
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues at this Bowie themed bar. Ziggy’s, at the Hotel Café Royal, is where David Bowie partied the night away following his last performance as alter ego Ziggy Stardust. Rockstars Mick Jagger, Lou Reed and Paul McCartney were also in attendance that night making it one of London’s coolest and rich-history bars. A must for music and cocktail fans alike.
Where: 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4DY
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)
Private members bars don’t come much chicer than this and with a Tower Bridge location, Ten Trinity Square is ideal for work (or pleasure) drinks. With luxe décor, a building rich in history and a top-end drinks list, this place is sure to have a hand in closing your next business deal.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.1 miles)
This new East London hub brings together work and play perfectly. With a working space filled with modern art and a cosy fire, a sweets trolley to satisfy your sweet tooth, plus a cool bar, this is one entirely unique hotel.
Where: 2 Macclesfield Road, London, EC1V 8DG
Nearest station: Old Street (0.5 miles)
Hotels with Michelin star restaurants and a plethora of bars to choose from are hotels we can get on board with. Head to South Place’s Secret Garden for an oasis in the heart of the city – think waterfalls, palm trees and heaters (this is London, after all). Or, if a table inside is more your vibe, 3 Bar offers one of the area’s best gin menus and a Poptail menu – that’s popcorn and cocktails if you’re wondering.
Where: 3 South Place, London, EC2M 2AF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Moorgate (Great Northern) (0.2 miles)
Technically reserved for Ned members only, you can sometimes get a booking in the Library bar if you’re dining at one of the hotel’s restaurants – call in advance to check or pull in a favour from a friend with the right credentials. This cosy bar is the Ned’s hidden gem thanks to its martini and champagne trolley and cosy, curtain-hidden location inside the main restaurant area. Order the Breakfast at Emily’s cocktail which, quite literally, tastes like marmalade on toast. Mind-blowing.
Where: 27 Poultry, The City, EC2R 8AJ
The grande dame of Bloomsbury, every room in the Kimpton is a feast for the eyes and an interiors lover’s dream. Start off at Neptune, the hotel’s chic restaurant that’s a favourite with the fashion set. Before heading down to Fitz’s, the drinking den of dark corners and the best Negronis in town.
Where: Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel, 1-8 Russell Square, London WC1B 5BE, UK
Nearest station: Russell Square (0.1 miles)
The St James Bar’s new look is a lesson in how to do cool interiors. Sumptuous blue velvet booths, a marble bar top and gold lighting make up the cosy bar. Order oysters, cheese and charcuterie or delicious bar snacks alongside one of their famous cocktails.
Where: Sofitel London St James, Waterloo Place, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.3 miles)
Whether you’re staying at the five star Kensington hotel or not, make sure you pop in for a nightcap at their super chic bar. With a menu inspired by a 1950’s Italian trattoria, order warming plates of slippery pasta in the winter or head out onto the terrace for gooey burrata salads and spritzes come summer.
Where: 60 Hyde Park Gate, London, SW7 5BB
Nearest station: High Street Kensington (0.6 miles)
You could be forgiven for thinking you’re in a Brooklyn-based bar at King’s Cross’ Double Standard. The retro 70’s-inspired interiors make for the perfect Insta backdrop, from the lush house plants to the woven wood and the backlit bar.
Where: 10 Argyle St, Kings Cross, WC1H 8EG
This handsome hotel bar oozes Gatsby glamour. Pull up a velvety grey stool at the mirrored bar and sip on champagne like a modern day Daisy Buchanan. Gin lovers will revel in their 22 plus types of gin, but we hear the whisky-based ‘Hot Penicillin’ is damn good if you’re after something stronger. With a bar menu that includes the likes of beef filet and spaghetti cacio e pepe, this is one bar we’d quite happily spend the whole night in.
Where: 24 Egerton Gardens, Chelsea, SW3 2DB
If you’re looking for wow-factor the Coral Room is your bar. This is one of those places you can quite literally take anyone, from a date to a group of girlfriends or even your mum. The service is always friendly, drinks delicious, interiors impeccable and there’s often live jazz to listen to, too.
Where: The Bloomsbury 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3NN
If the walls could talk in Claridge’s Le Fumoir… Just about anyone who’s anyone has nestled into this cosy bar’s nooks, making it one of London’s great institutions. You can’t book but it’s worth the chance as nowhere has that certain magic quite like Claridge’s.
Where: Claridge's, Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
Elegant leather and dimly lit tables are the vibe at the Beaumont bar. A shout out must go to the scent too, yup, you read that right, the hotel has been scented by the one and only Jo Malone MBE and it smells divine. Fancy.
Where: The Beaumont Brown Hart Gardens Mayfair London W1K 6TF
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.2 miles)
If you want to up your Instagram game, the Berkeley’s Blue Bar is exactly what it says on the tin… blue. What the bar lacks in size it makes up for in style with its blue-toned interiors, from the chairs to the mirrored walls and even some of the cocktails. Insta fodder at its finest.
Where: Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RL, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
While the wood panelled walls might make this bar look tame, the vibe at the Punch Room is anything but. Probably thanks to the some 30-something speciality punches on offer and the old school soundtrack of soul, blues, ragtime and doo-wop. The type of place where you go for one and come out hours later.
Where: 10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NP
One for those who enjoy the finer things in life, this bar should go to the top of your hotel to-visit list. Guests at this knockout, award-winning establishment can expect a dazzling cocktail menu where each and every option is lovingly crafted with meticulous detail by the bar staff. Innovative cocktails, the Connaught’s signature Martini Trolley and a refined interior, featuring huge mirrors and shimmering walls coated in platinum silver leaf, make this bar the perfect place to bring friends, colleagues or that date you’re trying to impress.
Where: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.5 miles)
Looking for something different? Check out our round-up of London’s best boutique hotels here.