If you’ve followed the global bar scene for the last few years, you’ll know that London boasts some of the best cocktail joints in the world—but seeing as we’re based in San Francisco, it can be a bit tricky for the Bevvy staff to hop across the pond ourselves. That’s why we’ve partnered with The Idle Man, a London-based menswear and lifestyle brand, to bring you this guest post listing great bars to check out next time you’re in the city. While classic spots like the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel and modern favorites like Callooh Callay are always fun, this list deviates from the canon a bit to find some lesser-known spots that are just as great! – Bevvy
If you find yourself in London you’ll have the very pleasant, if perhaps overwhelming, task of finding a great bar. Whether it’s a cocktail bar pushing the boundaries of mixology or a relaxed pub serving great beers, this list aims to help you out and give a you bar guide to one of the greatest cities in the world.
1. Be At One (Lyceum Theatre)
Be At One started as the venture of 3 bartenders from TGIF. Opening their first bar in 1998, Be At One has gone from strength to strength with bars all over the country.
Their mission, “to be the best bar by being the best hosts,” is visible in everything they do—from the smile and hello as you enter, to dancing on the bars as Tina Turner blasts out on the speakers.
2. Old Street Records (Shoreditch)
This is a bar for lovers of live music and pizza, which should cover just about everyone! Old Street Records is a great place to set up shop for the night, as the staff are incredible at emitting crazy amounts of energy to keep you going till the early morning.
In a great central location, Old Street Records will guarantee you a fun night out where you will inevitably meet some really great people.
3. Blind Pig (Soho)
This is a bar for those who are have a thing for Prohibition-era speakeasies. Situated above an award-winning restaurant with vintage decor, it makes for an intimate setting in the evening. Dark lighting and a mirrored ceiling harkens back to the ’20s, and impeccably-dressed staff serve you at your table, making this a great date location or a place to catch up with old friends.
Situated in the heart of Soho, this is a perfect spot to head to after dinner or to start your night in a relaxing, elegant setting.
4. Gordon’s Wine Bar (Embankment)
London’s oldest wine bar (established in 1890) stays true to its roots with tight and windy staircases lit by candlelight. The wine list is extensive, but not overpriced, which is very refreshing in central London. If the intimate interior becomes too much, then take a step outside and enjoy the large outdoor area that runs close to the River Thames.
With a barbecue ready to feed you, it’s easy to spend hours at Gordon’s. This is one for the conversationalists.
5. Cocktail Trading Company (Brick Lane)
A small, secretive place with cocktail geniuses behind the bar and a menu that changes frequently. You can’t rely on getting the same drink every time at the Cocktail Trading Company, but you can expect everything to be delicious and made by friendly bar staff.
As an added bonus, going here means you’ll be located near Brick Lane, and that means 24-hour bagels!
6. Hawksmoor (Spitalfields)
Take the steps down to Hawksmoor to enter into a seductive, dark haven for budding mixologists.
The Hawksmoor holds onto the sensual nature of the building’s past occupation as a gentlemen’s club, however the new, sleek fittings make for a more sophisticated feel.
7. Euston Tap (Euston Station)
This selection is for the beer and cider lovers out there. Located by Euston Station, “The Tap” makes for a perfect pit-stop before your train—but be careful not to miss it when you get into the swing of things!
What used to be public toilets, Euston Tap has one building dedicated to beer and one to cider, offering a wide selection of both local and international drinks. With friendly, laid-back staff and a large outdoor area, it’s the perfect way to spend a summer evening.
In addition to the Idle Man’s list, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to mention some London mainstays that have been on our own radar recently.
8. Dandelyan (South Bank)
Named for world-renowned bartender “Mr. Lyan” (Ryan Chetiyawardana), this relatively new cocktail bar in the Mondrian Hotel on the banks of the Thames has already earned itself a slew of international awards, including Best New International Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
Pop into Dandelyan for some truly inventive drinks and beautiful decor, and definitely wear some snazzy cocktail attire to match.
9. Happiness Forgets (Shoreditch)
Though it can get a bit crowded, Happiness Forgets is a London mainstay for good reason. Known for its impeccable service and equally delicious drinks, this bar also made a splash at the 2016 Spirited Awards, where it was named Best International Cocktail Bar.
Happiness Forgets is a quite-literally underground bar that describes its aesthetic as “high end cocktails, low rent basement.” There’s no standing allowed, so be sure to reserve a table well in advance if you want to guarantee a spot.
10. The Connaught (Mayfair)
Finally, there’s The Connaught, located in the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. This is a swanky cocktail joint that won the title of Best International Hotel Bar at the 2016 Spirited Awards, and has made a name for itself around the world for its excellent drinks.
It’s certainly pricey, considering that it sits within one of the most expensive luxury hotels in the city, but The Connaught is worth a visit if you can cobble together the cash.
Feature Photo: Dandelyan | Kris Piotrowski, Time Out