Whether you’re looking for a new bar to discover, the perfect date night destination or want to scour to find London’s best speakeasy, we’ve rounded up the city’s best kept secrets. From late-night drinking dens to Champagne bars, bars with flamboyant interiors to cocktail havens, read on to find out more.
The Bloomsbury Club Bar
Centred around the Bloomsbury Set, the group who rejected Victorian ideologies of religion and explored new ways of spiritual meaning through art, writing, kinships and belief in an interconnected universe, the bar is one to visit for those who love Tarot. Their array of 14 cocktails all correspond to 14 states of mind or being, linked to a special deck of Tarot cards.
Sip into the night on cocktails such as the Flaming Venom, made with Absolut Elyx Vodka, wild berries, young artichoke leaves and Perrier-Joüet Grand Brut NV; Mirror Image, a mix of Mount Gay XO, beeswax infused Remy Mártin 1738, green chartreuse, absinthe and blackberry tincture; and Siren Call, a combination of buffalo trace, bols genever, ‘big green’ artichoke, red plum extract and cocoa nib tincture.
Hidden inside the Grade II listed hotel, Kimpton Fitzroy London, the Fitz’s Bar has become renowned for its flamboyant interiors, iconic Jazz Age mirrorball and seriously delicious cocktails.
Head here to soak up the decadence, from the Ostrich feathers and crocodile-skin wallpaper to the dazzling mirrorball that cascades from the ceiling. The curated drinks list will make you want to sip late into the night, enjoy everything from spirits to sparkling wine.
Kimpton Fitzroy London, Russell Square, London WC1B 5BE
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Hidden beneath the hotel, the bar acts as a kind of stripped back speakeasy, offering a wealth of delicious and carefully concocted cocktails from their team of mixologists. It’s the latest establishment from cocktail maestro, Mr Lyan, so you know you’re in for a treat when it comes to cocktails.
It offers a stark contrast to its older sister, Lyaness, with the focus on a more lo-fi, analogue approach to cocktail making. Expect a new take on your favourite classic drinks, including a delicious Sancho Leaf Martini that’s a must-try.
The interiors, designed by Lore Group Creative Director Jacu Strauss, are moody and atmospheric, keeping in line with the lo-fi approach. It features panelled wood and bespoke furniture upholstery in deep orange and red tones.
One Hundred Shoreditch Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JQ
Stepping foot in Barts is like venturing back in time to the 1929 prohibition-era. The apartment-turned-speakeasy is the home of the prolific Chicago gangster ‘Uncle Barts’, and is rich with his mischievous antics and heady cocktails.
Brought to life by the Inception Group, the menu is packed with bootlegged favourites, from the Leading Lady, made up of star of Bombay gin, peach liqueur, lemon and aloe vera juice, to Not Quite Queensberry, a mix of milk and toffee-washed Mount Gay Black Barrel double Cask Blend rum, Cointreau Noir orange liqueur, English Breakfast tea, lemon and Brazilian bitters.
The Champagne Bar at 116 Pall Mall
Hidden behind the extraordinary facade of the Grade-I listed building, The Champagne Bar is a hidden oasis destined to be explored.
Once the wine cellars of the Prince of Wales and the United Service Club, the space is now a stunning champagne bar. Enter through the original iron gate cellar doors to the converted cellar with vaulted ceilings, exposed brickwork, plush velvet seating, and long wood-topped bar, alongside a private dining room, seating up to 50.
Reinvented by Searcys, expect an array of fizz including one of the largest selections of magnums in London.
116 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5ED
The Hideaway Bar at Sloane Place
Hidden in the basement of Sloane Place is The Hideaway, an art deco basement venue, where there are plenty of corners to while away an evening with a group of friends or a lover. The Hideaway is exclusively open on Thursdays only for Sloane Sessions, a live music evening offering an intimate, fun space with great drinks, snacks, and atmosphere.
60 Lower Sloane Street, Chelsea, SW1W 8BP
When I think of London’s speakeasy-style cocktail bars, Nightjar always springs to mind. It’s become a London institute when it comes to innovative cocktails and the perfect intimate date night destination.
Now with two London locations, it’s the perfect place to soak up the best of the city’s cocktail scene. The menus honour three distinct historical eras of 20th century cocktail-making – pro-prohibition, prohibition and post-war.
Sip on cocktails such as Aztec Tapache , a savoury tipple of Herradura, Chinotta & camomilla liquor, pineapple huacatay & purple corn tepacher, fino sherry and freshly squeezed lime juice; and the Toronto, a rich, smoky old-fashioned style cocktail of Woodford Reserve Bourbon whiskey, orange blossom smoke, coffee & roasted pecan maple syrup, Fernet Branca and candyfloss. Or go for a signature Nightjar creation with their London Mule or Name of the Samurai.
Helping to add a touch of theatrics to your night is the Ricco Lounge. Tucked away on Russell Gardens, the cocktail lounge can be found serving up a dedicated selection of classic and signature cocktails, full of flavour. Menu highlights include The Flightless Bird, a mix of Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon juice, elderflower cordial, homemade kiwi and bayleaf syrup and egg white; Salted Caramel Daiquiri, a mix of Bacardi Spiced Rum, salted caramel syrup and lime juice; and A Nod to Noddy’s Smoke Bubble, made with Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey, Campari, sweet vermouth, homemade urfa biber chilli strawberry and black pepper.
They host regular events and live entertainment, including their weekly ChicEasy Cabaret night that’s well worth the visit if you fancy being thrown back to the roaring 20s.
11 Russell Gardens, W14 8EZ
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Open until late Tuesday through to Saturday, Oriole is the place to head for beguiling decor, expertly mixed tipples and great hospitality. You’ll find the bar serving up some of the best cocktails in the capital, from classics to signature serves, all of which are paired beautifully against the live music. Cosy in for the night and you won’t be disappointed.
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69 Colebrooke Row
The Bar With No Name, more commonly known as 69 Colebrooke Row, is the cocktail bar everyone talks about. Perfect for first dates, catch-ups with friends or even after work drinks, expect a mix of aperitifs, digestifs, cocktails and more hidden inside.
Grab a selection of small bite plates, alongside one of their seasonal cocktails. We love the Maestro Hi, made up of rum, verjus, bergamot, candy ginger, gunpowder tea and soda, but you can’t go wrong with a house martini either.
69 Colebrooke Row, N1 8AA
The speakeasy every Londoner knows about, Cahoots is inspired by the 1940s. Located in Soho, its interiors replicate an abandoned train station and is made up of three parts: The Underground, Ticket Hall and Control Room.
The Underground will see your step inside a vintage tube carriage, complete with underground signs and booth seating, while The Ticket Hall is now home to the black market for liquor and cocktails for all your scoundrels. The Control Room, set in the centre of the disused train station, is filled out with danger-marked levers, wires, switchboards and flashing lights. Oh and plenty of cocktails and shindigs too.
5 Kingly Street, Carnaby, W1B 5PF
Discount Suit Company
For a bar that’s unapologetically dark and dingy, look to Discount Suit Company. It might not look like much from the outside – although it definitely fits into the East London hip vibe – but the Discount Suit Company serves up some of the best cocktails this side of London.
Tuck away in a former suit tailor’s store room, sip late into the night on the likes of Oogum Boogum, a mix of Seven Tails XO Brandy, passion fruit, sauternes and suze; Soma, a blend of Ocho Blanco Tequila, Americano vermouth, Manzanilla Sherry and honey; and the Hunky Dory classic of Rhum Agricole, Plum Umeshu, orgeat and citrus.
Tucked inside St Martins Hotel, this modern day speakeasy is bursting with character. Influenced by the British Empire and its tea trade, the bespoke and signature cocktails will transport you from harbours across the world in an instant.
From Cairo to Kyoto, Mexico City to Mumbai, sip through the menu and be mentally transported to over 25 destinations. There’s the Marrakech, Morocco made up of Opihr gin, ginger syrup, orange blossom, egg white, cream, moroccan spices, citrus, mint and soda water; Lima, Peru’s pisco, homemade lavender syrup, sea salt, lemon juice and egg white; or go fruity with Beijing, China’s mix of Bombay Sapphire gin, melon liqueur, lemon juice, honey, lychee juice and Aperol.
45 St Martin’s Lane, WC2n 4HX
This one might not be much of a secret, but it’s definitely up there as one of London’s best speakeasy-inspired bars. Since opening in 2008, Callooh Callay has been named Top 50 Cocktails Bars multiple times, including this 2022.
Head down and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, sip on cocktails late into the night or simply catch-up with friends in a cool setting.
65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
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