What’s better than a bar? A bar that floats – that’s what. And oh buoy, do us Londoners like to be beside the seaside (or anchored up in a London borough, but you get the gist).
So, with Summer upon us we’ve rounded up the best boat bars, to anchorage you to have a tipple or two in the sun, whilst riding the waves. What do you wrecken? We personally think it’s aboat time you have an explore.
And before you ask, no I’m not the world’s worst speller, just reel nauti when it comes to boat puns. And don’t worry, read on and there’ll be moor where that came from.
If you’re looking to host a private party on a boat then check out The Yacht London. Take over their top deck, get the Aperol and Pimms flowing and dance the night away overlooking the Thames and Southbank. Not partying? Head to the restaurant for Champagne cocktails and a dedicated G&T menu. Cheers to that.
Where: The Yacht London, Temple Pier Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PN, UK
Nearest station: Temple (0.1 miles)
Twice as Much Fun
If your work commute makes you a frequent visitor to Paddington station then you might have been subject to the distracting glare of boats Darcie & May Green. Awash with geometric zig zags of colour, the bonny boat intrigues the eye, and then the cocktails, craft beers and more, intrigue the taste buds.
Darcie and May are in fact two separate boats (bonus boozing), designed exclusively by the ‘godfather’ of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake. Whilst there won’t be a grand sail away, as the boats are strapped to shore, there are 50-meter upper decks for enjoying a drink under the (hopefully hot) summer sun.
Where: Grand Union Canal, Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, W2 6DS
Alfred Le Roy
It’s Cocktails Ahoy aboard The Alfred Le Roy. This canal barge bar is equipped with table booths, tunes and every drink under the sun (quite literally, unless it rains). The Hackney Wick based boat and its great little drinks space is named after a famous British pub landlord, Alfred Le Roy (surprise, surprise) – sorry Peggy Mitchell, here’s hoping. You can also hire the barge out for private events and enjoy the decadent cocktail list amongst friends.
Where: Canalside Mooring 7 Queens Yard, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick
Not For the Sea Sick
Moored up at Temple Pier, it’s all in the name at Bar & Co, a party boat rocking the Thames with its open deck and DJ area. Not for the faint hearted (or the sea sick), Bar & Co has views of the London Eye, Big Ben and Oxo Tower – so if heights aren’t your thing, then shiver me timbers, the boat it is. Again, this boat is available for hire and with views like the ones on offer, it’s probably worth a sail. Bottoms up!
Where: Temple Pier Victoria Embankment, Victoria Embankment, WC2R 2PN
The 1930s Dutch Barge
Whilst many might travel to Amsterdam or the likes to get their full dose of barge, Tamesis Dock is here in London with a 1930’s Dutch barge, so save on the flight money and put it towards a tipple or two. The converted barge is moored between Lambeth and Vauxhall Bridge, providing quite the bird’s eye view – shout out to the tourists.
If you don’t like to share your food, drinks or barges for that matter, there’s also the option for private hire up to 1am.
Where: Albert Embankment, Lambeth, SE1 7TP
Cruising to Camden
Run by brother and sister Harry and Leah Lobek, London Shell Co is a floating restaurant and bar aboard the Prince Regent. Over two hours you’ll cruise along to Camden from Paddington whilst dining on a set menu and trying out plenty of wines. It’s got cosy dinner party vibes and by the end you and your fellow diners won’t want to leave the whimsical barge.
Where: Sheldon Square, Little Venice, W2 6EP
Sister of Tamesis Dock
Serious sibling rivalry on the cards here, as Battersea Barge is in fact the sister of Tamesis Dock. Maybe you’ll prefer one, or maybe you’ll like them both just as much – personally, we’re punting for the latter.
The barge is temporarily out of action due to the Thames Tideway Tunnel project, but watch out for its return. Bobbing up and down, the elusive barge is hidden half way down Nine Elms Lane. It’s almost as though it’s been hidden on purpose, because when you arrive, buoy are you thirsty – drinks please! Drinks are consistent with that of a bar offering, with the ability to host a variety of evening events on offer too such as weddings, meetings, parties, live music and more.
Where: Nine Elms Lane, SW8 5BP
Floating Chinese Restaurant
This floating Chinese restaurant’s exterior makes London seem a distant memory and China a reality, with such an alluring look traditional to Chinese culture. Floating on the waters of Regent’s Canal, the restaurant’s attention to detail on the outside is replicated on the in, with a selection of Chinese food and cocktails to be enjoyed amongst the swinging lanterns. In a classic red synonymous with China, the restaurant transports you to any year between now and ’95. If you’re looking for different dining or drinking experience to the norm, this one’s for you.
Where: Southern Star Cumberland Basin, Prince Albert Road, NW1 7SS