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London's bar scene is known for its diversity and its wide-ranging mix of options, from opulent rooftops to Mad Hatter-like bars and endless pubs and cocktail havens. Here's our own curated list of London's best spots and a taste of everything the bar scene has to offer.
Best Bars in London
Polpo at Ape & Bird | Gastropub | Soho
A welcome alternative to the sometimes touristy or commercial pubs of the area, this refined bar is a local hideaway for those visiting the Soho or in search of a drink. The pub's artful decor is both appealing yet unassuming, making for a classy vibe to quell your hunger with some Venetian style eats and a long list of premium Italian liquors and liqueurs.
Artesian Bar| Bar | Marylebone
Consistently heralded as the best bar in the world, The Artesian has an air of grandeur made unique by the staff's unassuming nature, not taking themselves too seriously and ensuring a fun atmosphere. Unique use of ingredients like kale, mushroom, and curry, further ascribe to this philosophy, keeping customers consistently surprised with inventive taste, quirkiness and wild choice of names for each particular drink.
Sky Pod Bar | Bar | Aldgate
Full disclosure, we come here for the view. Sky Pod offers a 360-degree view, 35 floors up, of the whole of London. If there's a landmark you've yet to see, you'll probably catch a good glimpse of it from here. With live music Thursdays through Saturdays and affordable drinks that will delight both sight and taste, this is the spot to visit. Call in ahead of time and put yourself in the queue, you will not be disappointed.
Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel | Cocktail Bar | Soho
A dark and elegant creation of opulent Art Deco at the end of a winding gold staircase at the 20's style Parisian Brasserie, Zédel near Piccadilly Circus. The attention to detail and service make this an inarguably beautiful and classy spot to have a pre-show drink while the attentive staff brings you bowl after bowl of popcorn.
Nightjar | Restaurant & Bar | Shoreditch
A hidden slice of old-school glamour on the fringes of Shoreditch. Nightjar shy's from the lively nighttime crowds to offers a quiet time and some great cocktails in a candlelit bar and calming jazz tunes. However, this seat-in only bar, so call ahead for reservation, it is well worth it and the best of its kind.
Callooh Callay | Bar | Shoreditch
An eccentrically themed bar and one-time winner of UK's best cocktail menu, Callooh Callay offers a great alternative for a casual atmosphere with unique craft drinks. Drop in on Sunday Funday for a lively scene and maybe a good round of Jenga. Also, look into their cocktail masterclass if you have the time.
Mr. Fogg's | Cocktail Bar | Mayfair
A Victorian era-themed bar that whimsically pays tribute to Phineas Fogg, the protagonist of Jules Verne's, ‘Around The World in 80 Days’. The tavern-like atmosphere is romantic and fun, the long list of cocktails and pale ales add to the comfort. Personally, we'd say their gin and tonic is one the best in town.
Radio Rooftop Bar | Tapas Bar | Strand
If you can beat the long lines, ride the express lift to this 10th-floor bar at ME London Hotel and order up a round of cocktails with tapas while you basque in a perfect view of the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, and the London Bridge. This is a popular hideout for locals, so be wary of a crowd.
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town | Cocktail Bar | Aldgate
An inventive take on the speakeasy trend, this bar opens up to a fridge door in the upstairs of the busy Breakfast Club restaurant. Like all great hidden bars, it's no longer that hidden, but the dimly lit setting and cozy atmosphere still make it a great spot for a romantic evening or quite time out.
The Book Club | Bar | Shoreditch
Do not judge a book by its cover, or a bar by its name, this affordable bar has more to do with ping-pong and liquor than books. The creative place is popular among young trendy crowds and serves cleverly named innovative cocktails, food and snacks all-day. It's also a great venue for live bands, movie dance-alongs, ping-pong tournaments, talks, and some serious video game nights.