England’s cosmopolitan capital has something to offer everyone, and when it comes to bars, the choices can be staggering. Our top 10 picks for London establishments, rounded up below, are forward-thinking in concept and design—and offer palate-pleasing cocktails that truly raise the bar.
Designed by renowned French hospitality interior designer Pierre Yves Rochon, the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy hotel near Covent Garden is located on the historic property’s former cabaret stage, which has hosted musical stars like George Gershwin and Carol Gibbons.
The bar’s theatrical, art deco atmosphere is complemented by vintage glassware and cocktails named after The Savoy’s former celebrity guests.
Evoking the feel of a holiday in warm, sunny climes, Mint Gun Club is an aperitivo bar, tea room, and delicatessen that serves alluring cocktails such as Bloodstone, made with blood orange, cactus flower, blanco tequila and grapefruit.
Taking inspiration from travels to exotic locales, and the conviviality of the expatriate lifestyle, this establishment in London’s Stoke Newington neighborhood has hints of Asia and the Mediterranean in its design.
With exotic, palm tree wallpaper from London brand Iksel on its walls, and décor that would entice the likes of Indiana Jones, Oriole Bar in Smithfield Market serves equally exotic cocktails that celebrate cultures around the world.
This opulent oasis promises mystery, adventure, and escape from ordinary life.
Located in what was once an iron foundry in Shoreditch, this cocktail bar and restaurant connects to its industrial past with features like cast iron pillars and an industrial lift, which houses the DJ booth.
The old elevator shaft was transformed into a suspended DJ booth, where guests can enjoy live “supper house” music as they knock back a pint or two, and nibble on small sharing plates.
Bar consultancy firm Drink Factory hired Studioprototype to create this cutting-edge cocktail bar called Untitled. Located in the hip neighborhood of Dalston, East London, the centerpiece of the 2,000-square-foot space is a large communal bar on the ground level with a shiny, monolithic, cantilevered bar, and a stainless steel-covered base.
Silver foil and cement plaster were used for the wall and ceiling finishings to give the space a raw, unfinished aesthetic.
Designed by London–based Elliot Barnes, Behind This Wall was built by a group of friends, together with Jack Leith of local bespoke furniture makers Leith Furniture. Patrons can book a table or reserve the whole space. The venue places emphasis on good vibes, advising that only women can introduce themselves to men instead of vice versa, and that patrons are responsible for unruly guests.
Located on Mare Street in Hackney, this basement bar serves well-considered cocktails and music that pays homage to the “golden era” of London’s audio industry.
This modern, art deco-influenced bar in the Modrian London hotel in South Bank was created by award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, and features interiors by legendary British designer Tom Dixon. The establishment was named the world’s best cocktail bar by Tales of the Cocktail in 2017.
Inspired by Sea Containers House—a landmark building on the south bank of the River Thames—the bar is furnished with leather banquettes in cool lavender shades, velour lounge chairs, mirrored tables, and gold and brass accents.
Located in a former ‘60s haunt called The Pinstripe Club, Disrepute—a basement lounge bar between Carnaby Street and Beak Street—oozes plenty of disco-era sensuality.
The intimate, den-like space has vaulted ceilings, wood-paneled walls, and chairs and stools upholstered in olive, coral pink, and turquoise velour.
Inspired by the tiki bars of Polynesia, Nine Lives in Southeast London serves a stellar selection of spice- and fruit-infused cocktails. The bar’s name is a reference to its mission of salvation: “unveiled treasures, nothing wasted, everything lovingly sourced and selected with intention.”
Here, rattan chairs, Asian-style lantern pendant lamps, and vines hanging from the ceilings make patrons feel like they’ve exited London and entered a faraway land.
In the elegant The London EDITION hotel in the West End, striking artwork—such as a reflective, stainless-steel egg sculpture hanging from the ceiling—add a touch of surrealism to the Lobby Bar’s historic architectural features, as in its intricate, plastered ceilings and cornices.
Eclectic art and well-selected contemporary banquettes and chairs harmonize with regal British and European design elements in the Lobby Bar.
Sign up for the Dwell Daily Newsletter and never miss our new features, photos, home tours, stories, and more.
© 2018 Dwell Life, Inc. All rights reserved.