The 10 best bars in London

  • 04 August 2020
  • Reading time: 5 min

The Langham Hotel is one of those high-ceilinged, marble-pillared palaces that many well-padded visitors, yet few resident Londoners, seem to visit. But it’s worth getting your best togs on just to admire David Collins’s design of this handsome room. 

Baltic reopened in July 2012 following a fire, but little has changed. With a small square of front terrace, a modern bar and a grand, sunken restaurant, this little piece of Poland has been a worthwhile stop on Waterloo bar crawls for many a year.

Beaufort Bar at The Savoy
Following the £220m revamp, The Savoy’s devotion to debonaire drinking now stretches beyond the iconic American Bar. The Beaufort might be the second bar, but second-division it is not. It’s a considerably more salubrious space to sip than the American Bar, and combines a wow-factor interior with good service and top-quality (if pricey) drinks. 


Blue Bar

The name isn’t just a caprice: this David Collins-designed bar really is as blue as a Billie Holiday album. The sky-blue armchairs, the deep-blue ornate plasterwork and the navy-blue leather-bound menus combine with discreet lighting to striking effect. It’s a see-and-be-seen place, but staff treat all-comers like royalty, and the cocktails are a masterclass in sophistication.

The drinks menu at this part-sophisticated, part-kitsch Scottish-themed enterprise – tartan everywhere – is less of a list and more of an encyclopaedia. The histories of various whisky regions are outlined within its pages, which also contain individual tasting notes worthy of the most pedantic oenophile. 


Callooh Callay
This landmark of the Shoreditch bar scene takes its inspiration from a line in ‘Jabberwocky’, a Lewis Carroll poem, and tends to divide visitors. Many simply adore it; others find it pretentious.. 

Cinnamon Club

This classy two-floor operation, an imposing space that easily reveals its past as a public library, is divided between a top-notch Indian restaurant, a trendy evenings-only DJ basement and a study-like cocktail bar by the lobby.

Once the hottest ticket in town, the Hanway Place branch of Hakkasan is in danger of being eclipsed by its shiny new Mayfair sibling, where staff are notably friendlier.

The Lonsdale

Since its unveiling in 2002, The Lonsdale – hip cocktail bar, restaurant and lounge in upscale Notting Hill – has become local favourite and destination venue all in one.


Mandarin Bar

Step out of the Knightsbridge chaos into the Mandarin Oriental's cool marble surrounds and you might initially expect to be greeted with a proper British colonial drinking experience.

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