Best Bars in London
If one thing is true of London it’s that there are loads of bars. Reflecting a cultural desire to create temporary instances of community that stand in, if just for a moment, for the unbearable loneliness of being an individual, getting sloshed on a good night out is something we Brits we really love! We’ve put together a list of the best bars in London to sort you right out.
Top of our list of the best bars in London, and possibly the most preposterous drinking establishment we have ever visited, is Sketch. By day, Sketch is an upmarket cafe and restaurant, but by night it turns into a dangerously hip cocktail bar. The decor in and of itself is worth a look: lurid neon lights cast shadows across a parlour so meticulously arranged it could be a still from one of Wes Anderson’s less popular films – in a good way. Sketch also boasts some of the most ostentatious toilets in the city, perhaps the greatest latrinal work of art since Marcel Duchamp’s frankly less impressive ‘Fountain’. Order a few cocktails sink deliriously into the intoxicatingly decadent atmosphere. Cheers!
7am-2am, Sat: 8am-2am, Sun: 8am-12.30am
Next on our list of the best bars in London is a hidden gem. From the outside Bun House might seem like an innocent Chinese tea room, selling steamed buns and dumplings. But head downstairs and you’ll find out what this place is really about. Hidden beneath the shop is a bar serving cocktails, Chinese beer and wine, and a selection of delicious Sichuan nibbles. A large gramophone in the corner pitches tinny 60s music, green neon lights illuminate a parlour that projects a certain kind of seedy glamour; you’d be forgiven for imagining Dennis Hopper inhaling nitrous oxide in the corner before greedily tackling a bao. Order the tea stained egg and fried tofu and sink a few Tsingtao before heading onto a night out in London’s fashionable Soho.
Mon-Thurs: 11-11pm, Fri-Sat: 11-1am, Sun: 12-10pm
Viva Espana! So say us at Footprints Tours, and at no point is our iberican fervour stronger than when we visit Bradley’s bar in Soho. The flash of castanets, the stamp of flamenco, the roll of Spanish guitar: none of these will be found in Bradley’s Spanish Bar, which instead prides itself on its vintage jukebox pumping out by-gone hits like Things Can Only Get Better as if it’s 1997. If that sounds hellish don’t worry: the decor and booze on offer are authentically Spanish, and the raucous atmosphere is enough to trick you into thinking you’re necking beer and tapas on an Andalusian plaza. Unquestionably one of the best bars in London, Salud!
Mon-Thur: 12-11.30pm, Fri-Sat: 12-12pm, Sun:12.30-10.30pm
Tottenham Court Road Station
Have you ever fantasised about drinking fine wine in a cave? Ever dreamed of charcuterie in a cavity? Ever had a hankering for ham in a hollow? Us too, and our dreams were realised at Gordon’s Wine Bar on Villiers Street. Walking down the steps , you’re greeted by a long alleyway heaving with city workers and media types. On busy nights it can seem a hellish melee, like the ending to the film 300 except everyone’s wearing suits and eating cold cuts. But you’ll have to squeeze your way inside to see why this place is truly unique: the interior to Gordon’s is a essentially a huge cave lit primarily by red candles; intimate tables recede into the shadowy wall, red wine bottles line the bar, sticks of salami hang like more meaty bats from the ceiling. We recommend buying a bottle of house wine to share and whiling away the evening with your fellow troglodytes.
Mon-Sat:11-11pm, Sun: 12-10pm
6, 9, 11, 15, 23
Q Park Trafalgar, Spring Gardens, St. James’s, London SW1A 2TS
What could be cooler than a rooftop bar in London’s up and coming Peckham? The answer of course is a rooftop bar in London’s up and coming Peckham in the winter, which is not a problem you’ll have to deal with, as Frank’s Cafe Rooftop Bar is now closed until spring. It still warrants it’s place on our list of the 5 best bars in London, and well worth a visit when the sun comes back out. Built atop a disused car park, Frank’s is blessed with a derelict charm, sensational views across the city, and aperol spritz in plastic cups. When you’ve had a few, head down to a club in the same building and dance to The Cure with everyone else.
Mon-Sat: 5-11pm, Sun: 12-11pm
Peckham Rye Station (overground line)
Frank’s is in a carpark, so drive right up (and drink responsibly!)