The Handbook
The Handbook

31 Festive Instagrammable Bars

‘Tis the season to indulge in all things festive and, in our opinion, it’s always the season to get one for the ‘gram. So, we’ve handpicked the best bars in London that will make you feel all Christmassy and up your Instagram feed. From nostalgic festive pop-ups to traditional London haunts and fun places for wild Christmas drinks, these are the best Instagrammable bars you’ll find in the capital.

South Place Hotel

Grab your skates because we’re swooshing over to South Place Hotel. This Christmas, we’re celebrating the festive season in honour of the famous Vanilla Ice song ‘Ice Ice Baby’ with CÎROC Vodka within our Secret Garden, creating the most instagrammable setting to have Christmas cocktails.

From the 27th November, bring your Christmas spirit to South Place Hotel and indulge in pure decadence as you will be transported into a Christmas haven of exquisite CÎROC cocktails, baubles, twinkly lights, cosy throws, glittering disco balls, a CÎROC masterclass and even snowfall…

Where: 3 South Place, London, EC2M 2AF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Moorgate (Great Northern) (0.2 miles)
Website: www.southplacehotel.com

Ivory Vaults

Ivory Vaults is an underground venue with a difference, hosting a variety of immersive theatrical productions and private events.

The best bit? You can choose your own theme (or one from their popular range such as Winter Wonderland, Masquerade Ball, Big Top Circus, Alice or Cirque Noir if you’re lacking inspiration.) Now that’s one way to get on everyone’s Insta stories.

Where: Ivory Vaults Ivory House St Katharine Docks London, E1W 1BP
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.4 miles)
Website: www.ivoryvaults.com

Boyds Grill & Wine Bar

Boyds Grill & Wine Bar is celebrating the Christmas season with a festive facelift. Sit back and relax in the soft glow of fairy lights adorning the marble walls and columns. This particular winter makeover includes frost-dusted foliage, tinsel-clad trees and golden reindeers. To complete the feel-good festivities, why not try a new tipple with the Boyds’ Christmas Cocktail; a warming mix of Goldschlager, Kraken Spiced Rum and apple & lime juice. 

Where: 8 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BY, UK
Nearest station: London Charing Cross (0.1 miles)
Website: www.boydsgrillandwinebar.co.uk

Sofitel London St James

If only we lived in a house with teal velvet chairs and a wow-worthy metallic bar. Cosy, cool and just the right side of sexy, this is a bar waiting to be Instagrammed. Head there this Christmas for a special festive treat or a date night to remember.

Where: Sofitel London St James, Waterloo Place, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.3 miles)
Website: www.sofitelstjames.com

Sky Garden

Sky Pod Bar will be getting a merry makeover as it hosts an alpine lodge in collaboration with Moët & Chandon. It’s been decorated with frosted wreath-adorned archways, twinkling fairy lights, glittering bell jar lanterns, faux fur cushions and chunky cable knit blankets – we mean, could it be any more festive and Insta-friendly?

Book in advance and rock around mini Christmas trees with a cocktail in hand or enjoy a glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne paired with Moët pretzel match sticks dipped in olive cocoa butter. Yum

Oh, and did we mention the incredible views over London?

Where: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF, UK
Nearest station: Monument (0.2 miles)
Website: skygarden.london

Searcys at The Gherkin

Ever wanted to head 38 floors up to the glass-roofed top of one of London’s most iconic buildings? Well you can as Searcy’s at The Gherkin is open to the public and it will not disappoint. During the festive season they’ve partnered with Laurent-Perrier Champagne to make all your seasonal soirées more special. A snap of a glass of bubbles with the views of The City behind? That’s sure to bring in the likes.

Where: 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), Saint Mary Axe, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Fenchurch Street (0.2 miles)
Website: www.searcysatthegherkin.co.uk

The Curtain

For the first time ever, arguably one of London’s coolest hotels is opening it’s rooftop bar to the public. LIDO at The Curtain in Shoreditch has been transformed into an enchanted Winter Garden, adorned with copious amounts of foliage, fairy light canopies, feathers and faux fur.

For a limited time only across 12 days, non-members will have special access to this usually exclusive rooftop space, where they can drink, dine and enjoy. And… there will even be a rooftop cinema sponsored by Veuve Cliqot. Now it really does feel like Christmas.

Where: The Curtain, Curtain Road, London, UK
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street (0.2 miles)
Website: www.thecurtain.com

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

Whether it’s Christmas or Chelsea Flower Week, the Ivy’s façade in SW3 always goes to town to satisfy all our selfie needs. This festive season, they’ve gone big with a Narnia-inspired wonderland. Think icicles dripping from the canopy, twinkling white lights, tumbling ferns, giant snowball-like baubles and, the best bit, an entrance that’s been transformed to look like the wardrobe door.

Where: 195 -197 King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EQ
Website: www.theivychelseagarden.com

Mews of Mayfair

What better way to see the Christmas lights than sitting in one of London’s most beautiful 18th century courtyards sipping on a warm Berry Blazer? Don’t worry, the stunning courtyard is heated so you’ll be nice and cosy.

It’s the perfect spot for a festive date night, a catch up with friends during those endless days between Christmas and New Year or a pitstop post-Christmas shopping.

Where: 10 Lancashire Court New Bond Street W1S 1EY
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.3 miles)
Website: www.mewsofmayfair.com

Coq d'Argent

Head over to French restaurant, bar and terrace Coq d’Argent and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a chic cabin in the Alps. The cabins can be booked out privately for up to eight guests and will be serving up true alpine fair including, warming Hennessy cocktails and an indulgent whole baked cheese. Dreamy.

Where: No.1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ
Website: www.coqdargent.co.uk

Dalloway Terrace

What some places make up for in Instagrammability, they lack in substance but not the Dalloway Terrace. The impossibly pretty terrace reinvents itself throughout the year to suit the season and is now decked out in Narnia-style snow sprinkled ferns, twinkling lights and faux furs.

But it’s certainly not style over substance, the food and drink are impressive too. Book in for the Afternoon Tea which is currently serving up such delights inspired by the uber luxe ski destination Gstaad, Switzerland. Think mini (and more posh) Toblerone, desserts inspired by Edel Weiss and Mont Blanc tarts.

Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)
Website: www.dallowayterrace.com

Hotel Café Royal

Make you followers green with envy at Hotel Café Royal’s Green Bar. The hotel has been shaking and stirring drinks since 1865 making it one of London’s most treasured institutions. The interiors are one for the feed as they bring together the old glamour of the building with modern touches, incredible art and a wealth of, you guessed it, green. Oh, and the drinks are pretty spectacular, too.

Where: 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4DY
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)
Website: www.hotelcaferoyal.com

Le Pont de la Tour

Backdrops don’t get much better than Tower Bridge, so head to the terrace at Le Pont de la Tour to snuggle under faux fur and enjoy their bespoke Truffle Hut. Returning for the second year, the Truffle Hut has had a makeover with walls cladded with bark and tree trunks, and a roof covered entirely with moss. Big enough only for two and covered in hanging lights, faux furs and cushions, it’s one of the most romantic Christmas dates you’ll find in the capital. Make sure your other half is a fan of truffles because, quite obviously, the entire menu is dedicated to them.

Where: 36d Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf, London, SE1 2YE, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.5 miles)
Website: www.lepontdelatour.co.uk

Henrietta Hotel

Covent Garden-based hotel, the Henrietta have launched a Miracle Bar pop-up and if this doesn’t get you in the festive spirit nothing will. The concept comes from the U.S., where Miracle bars are hugely popular at this time of year, and celebrate all things kitsch and Christmas. Think tinsel, tacky decorations, quirky cocktails and Christmas tunes galore. The Instagram opportunities are endless.

Read more about Miracle bar here. 

Where: 14-15 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8QH
Website: www.henriettahotel.com

The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

Chocoholics, break off a piece of this. This festive season, Smith & Whistle at The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane has been transformed into an indulgent chocolate wonderland with opulent décor and bespoke chocolate bars.

There will be plenty of decadent cocktails to order to get in the festive spirit and even more Instagram opportunities.

Where: Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Green Park (0.4 miles)
Website: www.sheratonparklane.com

The Montague on the Gardens

Forget that it’s rained in London for about two months straight and head to the Montague’s adorable ski lodge. The alpine-themed bar will have you feeling like you’re in Banff rather than Bloomsbury with fake snow, a flickering fire, warming winter cocktails, gooey melted cheese dishes and even skis propped up against the charming wooden lodge.

Where: 15 Montague Street, London WC1B 5BJ
Nearest station: Russell Square (0.3 miles)
Website: www.montaguehotel.com

Annabel’s

Talk about photo opportunities, never one to be outdone by, luxury London members’ club Annabel’s have only gone and done it again with the most impressive exterior decorating skills we’ve ever seen. Even if you don’t have a membership it’s worth walking past for a nose and an Insta snap at the very least.

Where: 46 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5AT, UK
Nearest station: Green Park (0.3 miles)
Website: www.annabels.co.uk

Aqua Shard

Fashion and the festive season come together at London’s iconic Aqua Shard, where designer Holly Fulton has designed a unique Christmas tree. The British designer, known for her love of all things Art Deco, has taken inspiration from the playful aesthetic of legend Busby Berkeley’s musicals from the Roaring Twenties. Tuck into the limited edition white chocolate mousse with Veuve Clicquot Champagne jelly and spice wine sorbet. Ok, it’s more of a dessert but it comes in a cocktail glass. Plus, 50% of sales will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Where: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Website: www.aquashard.co.uk

Savage Garden

Instead of hopping on a two hour plane journey to Austria this Christmas, whizz on up to Savage Garden’s rooftop and explore their very Austrian inspired sky lodge. Take a walk on the wild side and expect to be dancing to cheesy tunes at their Savage Sessions and drinking one too many glasses of glühwein.

Where: 7 Pepys Street, Tower Hill EC3N 4AF
Nearest station: London Fenchurch Street (0 miles)
Website: www.savagegarden.co.uk

Jimmy's Lodge

On the Southbank this festive season you’ll find Jimmy’s Lodge, or should we say Jimmy’s expanding festive lair. There’s a wooden lodge serving up warm Martin Miller’s Gin cocktails and unashamedly indulgent fondue, an outdoor bar (heated of course) and the show stopping igloos that sit on the side of the Thames. Book in a party of eight for a Christmas treat you’ll remember for years to come. Alpine sweaters and bobble hats, optional.

Where: 78 Waterloo Bridge, London, SE1 9PX
Website: www.jimmyspopup.com

Claridge's

If there’s one hotel in London that oozes Christmas sophistication it’s Claridge’s – there’s just something magical about the place. Each year, the five-star institution enlists a top fashion designer to reimagine their famous Christmas tree.

Previous years have included John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Dolce & Gabbana and this year, Christian Louboutin. Fans of shoes and all things festive should get themselves down there from Thursday 21st November to check out arguably the most stylish Christmas tree you’ll ever see.

Read more about the Claridge’s Louboutin 2019 Christmas tree here. 

Where: Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HR, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.3 miles)
Website: www.claridges.co.uk

Fentimans Pink Gingerbread House

Think sugar, spice and all things pink this Christmas and you’ve got Fentimans Pink Gingerbread House nuzzled atop Skylight. Channel your inner Hansel and Gretel and embark on your own sugar-filled adventure scattered with candy canes, cocktails and, of course, gingerbread. It’s the perfect spot to cosy up after a glide along their iconic ice rink. If you go anywhere this Christmas make it Fentimans Pink Gingerbread House at Skylight.

Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, St Katharine's and Wapping, E1W 2SF
Website: www.tobaccodocklondon.com

34 Mayfair

Have 34 Mayfair gone one step too far? Maybe, but it won’t stop you hurrying on down to take a peak inside their bauble covered dining room. Every single inch of the Mayfair establishment will be covered from head to toe with 8,400 baubles. It’s one to nosy at even if you are a bit of a Humbug.

Where: 34, Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 2HD, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.5 miles)
Website: www.34-restaurant.co.uk

Coppa Club Tower Bridge

When is it officially winter? When the clocks change? When Slade comes on the radio? When Coca Cola’s ghastly ‘holidays are coming’ ads air? No, we measure the season of goodwill to the moment that Coppa Club open their infamous igloos.

Thames-side Coppa Club launched the igloos three years ago and they’ve already become an institution. They might not be the original, or even the best, but they’ve captured Londoner’s imaginations with their beautifully half-timbered igloos overlooking Tower Bridge and The Shard. Enjoy table service from Coppa Club and all the excellent food and drink options you’d expect.

Where: 3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, EC3R 6AH
Website: www.coppaclub.co.uk/towerbridge

Bluebird Chelsea

Post-Christmas shopping on the King’s Road, dip into Chelsea institution Bluebird, and cosy up in their Swan Lake-inspired courtyard. Bursting with fairy lights, fake snow and Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes, they’ve turned their famous outdoor space into a charming winter wonderland. Sip on Ciroc White Grape cocktails such as the Sygnet Sour or White Ember.

Where: 350 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UU, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Imperial Wharf (0.8 miles)
Website: www.bluebird-restaurant.co.uk

The Churchill Arms

Is this the most festive pub in London? Yep, we think it just might be. The Churchill Arms in Kensington proved it doesn’t do things in half measures as it turned on a blindingly good display featuring 21,000 fairy lights. If you love Christmas and the snugness of it all then this outrageously awesome display is bound to get you in the mood.

Where: 119 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8 7LN
Website: www.churchillarmskensington.co.uk

The Orrery

It’s a rooftop, but it’s a terrace too. Les Alpes (French for- well you know what it’s French for) have come to London with an alpine winter terrace. Not only that, there’s a menu of mountain classics from chef patron Igor Tymchyshyn. Inspired by the rustic chalets that dot France’s mountain slopes and an abundance of frosted fir trees and planters, a magical feel is guaranteed.

Where: 55 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5RB, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Regent's Park (0.4 miles)
Website: www.orrery-restaurant.co.uk

Smoky Barrels

You may be slap bang in the middle of London but you’ll feel like you’re in the Scottish countryside at Smoky Barrels, the new venture from our favourite Scottish boys, Mac and Wild. Not only can you warm up with a wee dram or two – this place knows its whisky and whisky cocktail – but you can have a go at the high-tech, virtual shooting range too.

A night sure to rustle up some healthy, festive competition and the only opportunity to partake in country sports in the cosy indoors, drink in hand.

Don’t leave without trying the Forth Bridge cocktail made with Scotland’s answer to Coca-Cola, Irn-Bru.

Where: 1 Devonshire Square, Spitalfields, London EC2M 4YP, UK
Nearest station: London Liverpool Street (0.2 miles)
Website: www.smokybarrels.com

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar

Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar has been transformed into a cosy winter wonderland where you can enjoy Gin Mulled Wine and other spicy-wintery cocktails. Impress your followers with a picture of their quintessentially British Christmas Tree and the London Eye in the background.

Where: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Waterloo (0.3 miles)
Website: www.gillrays.com

The Secret Forest at Harvey Nichols

Hop, skip and jump over to Harvey Nichols this Christmas for their new Secret Forest pop-up. Propped on the fifth floor of their Knightsbridge store, you’ll be treated to naughty but nice ice cream cocktails, Nordic nibbles and festive film screenings.

Where: 102-125 Knightsbridge, Belgravia, SW1X 7RJ
Website: www.harveynichols.com

Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason

Can you even call yourself a Londoner if you haven’t glided along the ice (or fallen flat on your face) at the Somerset House ice rink? It’s a tradition as old as time (nearly) and this year Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason is celebrating its 20th year, so if that’s not enough of an excuse to whizz around the ice, we don’t know what is. Get your Torvill on beneath the impressive 40ft tree, book in for a late-night DJ set on ice or, for the first time, London’s insomniacs can skate all night long in a 24/7 skate fest on the 7th and 8th December.

Where: Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA
Website: www.somersethouse.org.uk