When it comes to nightlife, Londoners are spoilt for choice. There have never been so many great bars to enjoy a drink. Yet despite the rise of places like Dalston and Brixton, central hotspot Soho can still serve up a top night. There might be less of the old smut Soho was famous for, but there’s still so much character, quirkiness and full-on fun to be had. Here are eight of Soho’s best bars:
Lively bar with a serious gin selection
Weekend DJs, plush sofas, and installations by some of the UK’s hottest street art talent – what’s not to love? Graphic Bar is one of those places with a great atmosphere, where even on a weeknight it’s buzzing with energy. Best of all, they’ve got London’s biggest selection of gin behind the bar, with over three hundred on offer. Result!
Sophisticated home of whisky
Here at The Handbook, we believe that nights out don’t have to be messy. After all, sometimes you want to sit somewhere beautiful and savour a glass of your favourite drink. If that sounds like you, The Vault at Milroy’s of Soho is what you’re after. Candlelight, cosy snugs, gorgeous wood panelling, and a whole host of amazing drinks, including a huge selection of whisky. It’s no surprise, when you remember that upstairs is Milroy’s, one of London’s best whisky stores. Make sure you try their cocktails – they’re to die for!
Trendy South American bar
No one knows how to party better than the South Americans. Barrio, which has bars in Shoreditch and Angel as well, is a vibrant clash of cities and cultures with a feel good party vibe. Tropical cocktails light up a great drinks menu, with food available for noshing. And the basement club will keep you going ’til dawn.
Legendary former home of the Marquee Club
With live music five nights a week, a stunning underground lounge bar, and a roaring club, 100 Wardour St has everything you could ask for. Once the home of London’s legendary Marquee Club, which hosted gigs with some of the biggest names in music including The Who, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix, 100 Wardour St (as it’s now known) has been given a fitting makeover in time for its relaunch in January 2016. Get down there and check it out!
Where: 100 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 0TN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.4 miles)
Exclusive Prohibition-era speakeasy
One of the trendiest bars in town, Milk & Honey has built a reputation as one of the coolest places to enjoy a drink. With a reservation essential to entry, the exclusive factor is high, but once you’re in you’ll be glad you put in the effort. Three floors of intimate booths await, with some top-notch mixologists at hand to whip you up some truly memorable cocktails. Definitely a great place to impress your date.
Merry pub and bar celebrating all things France
One of Soho’s oldest and most iconic bars, French House is heaving pretty much all the time. Join them for lunch for bistro-style French classics, or in the evening for a glass of France’s best vino, Breton cider or authentic Champagne. With an amazing atmosphere that brings to mind Soho’s golden years, this has to be one of London’s most charming bars. Vive le France!
Shabby-chic opium den-style cocktail lounge
This popular Chinatown hangout is insane. Incredible, theatrical cocktails – served in ships steaming with dry ice – loudspeakers in the bathrooms, and dim sum served until 2.30am, a night out at Opium is sure to be one to remember (if you stay sober enough, that is). Just look for the little jade door on Gerrard St and you’re in!
Classic cocktail bar serving historical drinks from the past
Sure, you could go to Mark’s to enjoy a Martini or a Sazerac, But only if you resist the urge to order one of their specialised heritage cocktails, including many gin-based numbers which you’ll love. Decadent leather Chesterfields, a whole host of historical curios on the walls, and delicious bar snacks in big portions make Mark’s Bar a firm favourite amongst the Soho crowd.