Updated November 2022!
I love a cocktail in a special place, and keep an ongoing a to-visit list for places I’m recommended! This list is generally for the more special occasions, where you’ll be paying on average at least around £10-15.00 per cocktail, but you’ll be somewhere very fancy and worth it for that money! Have also thrown in a couple of places I think are just as lovely on a day to day level, that do a great happy hour or come up from time to time with offers for a special London cocktail. For that date, that special anniversary, or simply when you just need to celebrate being in London! You only live once, right?
1) Fontaines (Stoke Newington overground)
Small but totally dreamy, I feel very smug indeed that this beauty sits on my doorstep in Stoke Newington. Step off the rather meh looking high street into this true 1920’s oasis. The owner has thought of every little detail, nothing of its decor has been scrimped on, the staff are wonderful and the cocktails are gorgeous.
On Thursdays the cocktails are just £5.00, plenty of cosy seating space, and the bar has many fab cinema and dance style events. Couldn’t recommend it more! The most special of London cocktail places.
2) Hotel Cafe Royale (Central London: Piccadily Circus Tube)
We tried huge G&T’s such as Monkey 47 and Dods- £19 each with service charge included and some olives and light bar snacks were provided by the attentive staff. Great for photos throughout the elegant and impressive foyer areas, and really genuinely lovely staff.
The Green Bar possibly isn’t one of the nicest bars in terms of decor and layout, (get me to the Oscar Wilde Bar for afternoon tea pleeease) but we really enjoyed our drinks here, and I adore this photo of my friend Helen enjoying her fish bowl, below. It was a fun evening for a delightful London cocktail experience!
3)Bokan (Canary Wharf tube)
So this one was a little bit of a surprise for me! Canary Wharf is actually such a gorgeous area, but somewhere I don’t go too that often.
Based on the 38th floor of the Novotel hotel, Bokan is roomy with a fun mix of cocktails, all around the £12 mark (you’ll pay for additional service charge if you have waiter service of course, otherwise you can buy direct from the bar).
The views are really great- loved being able to see Greenwich, the Shard, London Eye and the Gherkin and the bar is roomy and split over 2 levels, with the great outdoor terrace, as below. Because it’s relatively unknown, I’d wager that it doesn’t get too hugely busy either, and we had ample choices of where to sit when we visited one Saturday afternoon. A very special London cocktail bar indeed.
4)The Coral Rooms (Tottenham Court Road tube)
The Coral Room is cosy, chic and simply gorgeous. I felt it had a 60’s vibes to it, and I loved the warm orange mixed with palm trees and cigar cool setting. You’ll wish you were there dressed in vintage finery!
We enjoyed the “Man about Town” and the “Swizzler” cocktails, and the bar staff provide a worthy performance in making them- who doesn’t love a fab cocktail making performance?!
It’s also next to the equally memorable for all the right reasons; the very inimitable Dalloway Terrace (whom I totally recommend for brunch).
5)Searcy’s Bar, The Gherkin (Aldgate)
Now this was a special destination and a much appreciated Christmas present. It was absolutely gorgeous to be sat at the top of such an iconic building as the Gherkin (even with rain) and watch night fall around you. Dream destination with a great friend, or someone special- to be honest, we saw parents and their children, families, couples: everyone and anyone enjoying themselves here. It was a glorious atmosphere and well worth the extra pennies, at roughly £14 per cocktail plus service charge.
The rainy evening didn’t dampen our time there. Sublime, cosy atmosphere: super special London cocktail activity; just remember you will need to book in advance.
6)Victorian Bath House (Liverpool St)
I celebrated my birthday here in 2018 with a friend, and just love the fact that this place is such a unique and interesting tardis! Right next to Liverpool St station, you’d walk past easily without realizing what it is- a grade 2 listed bathhouse, dating back to 1817. If you’re looking for something unusual, here it is!
We loved the gorgeous atmosphere, dark candlelit corners and array of cocktails. The service wasn’t quite the best as I recall (in terms of speed) but we had a tremendous time and I’d love to go back! Word of advice: you’ll need to book in advance for here!
7)High Water, (Dalston- East London)
Hip cocktail bar in Dalston, most perfect on weekday evenings when it’s candle lit and super chill! (Also super fun at weekends, but I just loved the zen of the place midweek- you really appreciate how pretty behind the bar is when there’s no one there!)
The “East End 8”, with gin instead of vodka, is reason to go ALONE. Shame I knock it back in 2 mouthfuls!
This is a small but cute coffee shop, come cocktail bar, where from 4-7pm daily, all scrumptious cocktails (I tried the Clover Club and Kingston Colada) are only £6.00. A real bargain!
And a perfect place to watch London city rush by. Not a whole lot of seats, so make sure you get there early, or stand outside in the sun to people watch. It’s a fab city based after work venue.
9)Mr Foggs Safari Experience (Covent Garden/ Charing Cross)
We bought an offer from Time Out London offering £20 instead of £30 for a little (slightly odd!) safari themed snack, alcohol flavored mousse, one G&T, and one cocktail. We loved our bar, our friendly waiter service and the drinks!
My friend and I both really like Mr Foggs, and I loved this themed bar, with the binoculars and safari hats on the table, and the little “bridge” you cross to come in. It was a fun evening and we left tipsy- very much recommend! It’s website is brilliant and well worth a look for extra ideas! London cocktail fun!
10)The Alchemist, (Liverpool Street)
The Alchemist came recommended to me, from a friend who knew I greatly enjoy a quirky London cocktail. We went to the branch at “Bevis Marks” which is just a 5 minute walk from Liverpool Street station tube and overground. On a Sunday it was lovely and quiet, the staff were super friendly and great at giving me a recommendation of drink based on what I like (gin and something sweet). I chose from the “theatrical” cocktails list, the “Cherry Poppins”. Myself, and little Sonny were enthralled at the magic used to create the dome on top! I’d definitely return, because I do like a bit of theatre with my cocktail I have to say: childsplay in adulthood is most certainly something I enjoy!
11) Three Sheets, (Dalston)
Lovely, intimate little bar that isn’t evident from the street: we almost missed it! Open Wednesday-Sunday, it has a small but specially curated cocktail menu: I had the French 75, and really recommend! This one would be great for a date. Open from Wednesday to Sundays, and open during the day selling coffees. A lovely and unique London cocktail bar, selling very special London cocktails.
12) Rooftop Standard, (Kings Cross)
Confession: the Rooftop doesn’t offer a great mix of cocktails, and the atmosphere feels a bit touristy if I’m honest. I’m including it though, as the staff were so nice to us, and the views were just amazing! We were in love with sitting staring at St Pancras and Kings Cross, from a different perspective. Not one to linger at, but definitely one to visit for them views! You’ll definitely need to book.
13) Mr Foggs, Tavern, (Covent Garden)
My second time visiting the Tavern, in Christmas 2021, and the first time at Christmas! Which I so recommend: it was GLORIOUS! Great fun, great decorations, fun staff and fun mix of inventive cocktails!! Highly recommend, booking essential.
London cocktails and it’s glorious range of London cocktail bars…elegant or quirky and fun, I love them all!
If you found this post useful, I’d really love to know! Where you have been out of these, and where would you recommend? Please get in touch, and follow us on Instagram @lovinglivinglondon for more ideas and London inspo.