15 hottest bars in London
Don't miss these awesome cocktail bars. The hottest places to unwind after dark.
Radio Bar (ME London Hotel)
Exclusive and upbeat, Radio Bar touts itself as Aldwych’s only all-day rooftop bar, lounge and terrace. You’ll need to nod to the trends to get past the selective door staff before you’re shown to a comfy sofa or cabana with startling views across the Shard, London Bridge, St Paul’s, Somerset House and the Houses of Parliament from a tenth-floor setting. Snack on premium tapas, order the finest of cocktails and lap up the luxury of this former radio building that is now the ME London Hotel.
336-337 The Strand, ME London Hotel, London WC2R 1HA
Tel: 020 7395 3440 www.melia.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/london/
The highest outdoor terraces in Europe are the setting for the lounge bar at Sushi Samba, located on the 38th and 39th floors of Bishopsgate’s Heron Tower. Take the lift up for breath-taking views from floor-to-ceiling glass windows under latticed bamboo ceilings, where some of the city’s most exotic cocktails are served. Albeit pricey, specials such as the creamy Lychee Cooler and fresh Coco-Rose are the perfect way to soak up the sights of London – with sides of sushi and sashimi on hand.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
Tel: 020 3640 7330 www.sushisamba.com
Tel: 020 7078 9639 www.themayorofscaredycattown.com
Tel: 020 7235 5250 www.harveynichols.com/restaurant/
Harvey Nichols Bar
The fifth floor of Harvey Nichols is Knightsbridge’s oasis for savvy shoppers. With décor inspired by Émile Gallé's iconic 1902 anemone design for Perrier-Jouët's Belle Époque Champagne bottle, vintage fizz is the main draw. The impressive list of Champagnes is accompanied by an inventive cocktail list and tasty bar snacks. Photographic prints adorn the walls, while pretty pastel greens and pinks provide a splash of colour to the otherwise magically minimalist white and glossy décor.
109 - 125 Knightsbridge, Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor, London SW1X 7RJ
Tel: 020 7491 4840 www.dukeshotel.com/foodanddrink-dukesbar.php
Shaken, not stirred…
Step into a movie scene and make like James Bond at the classic Dukes Bar within the boutique Mayfair hotel of the same name. This legendary lounge is world-famous for its martinis and individualised cocktails, and is a favourite of James Bond author Ian Fleming (supposedly being the inspiration for the classic 'shaken, not stirred' line). And now guests can sample the Fleming 89, a new martini celebrating the link between Dukes and James Bond, or simply sit back in the cognac and cigar garden.
St James's Place, London SW1A 1NY
Tel: 020 7314 3419 www.the-connaught.co.uk/mayfair-bars/
A league of its own
The recently refurbished Connaught Bar is uber-stylishly decorated in 1920s style, with walls shimmering in platinum, offering chic charm and a cool ambience. The cocktail list is a fabulous fusion of tradition and imagination, featuring rare vintages and limited-edition Champagnes, spirits and liqueurs, while the latest ‘signature serve’ is a whisky and bespoke chocolate taster. Watch the bartenders dazzle you with their skills or sample the ‘perfect martini’ from the unique Martini Trolley.
Carlos Place, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL
020 7493 4545 www.dorchestercollection.com/en/london/
An American in Paris
Situated next to the Dorchester Hotel, at 45 Park Lane (hence the name), Bar 45 boasts a broad range of cocktails. Whether you fancy a Forbidden Kiss or Dragon’s Fire, these concoctions are some of the best in town. They don’t come cheap, but what would you expect on Park Lane? The bar is also home to the largest selection of American wines in the UK, as well as a tantalising menu of snacks from Chef Wolfgang Puck, including Mini Kobe Sliders and House Smoked Pastrami Reuben Sandwiches.
45 Park Lane, London W1K 1PN
Tel: 0207 234 8000 www.shangri-la.com/london/shangrila/dining/
Gong (Champagne Bar at the Shard Shangri-La Hotel)
Champers in the sky
This brand-spanking-new bar is set on the 52nd floor of the sky-scraping Shard landmark, within the Shangri-La Hotel, and is the highest Champagne bar in the city. With floor-to-ceiling windows and the most wowing views you can imagine, this is a show-stoppingly sophisticated, romantic venue that oozes exclusivity. You may need to book in advance from Wednesday to Sunday to sample the speciality cocktails and sparkling Champagne from the oriental-style surroundings that live up to Shangri-La standard.
31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9QU
Tel: 020 7877 7842 www.vertigo42.co.uk
Vertigo 42 Champagne Bar
Sparkle in style
Until the recent arrival of Gong (above), Vertigo 42 was London’s highest Champagne bar. It remains one of the city’s finest, located atop Tower 42, and offering spectacular panoramic views of iconic landmarks from a super-stylish setting. A global tapas-style menu accompanies a unique collection of Champagnes, which can be sampled from £14 a glass to Laurent-Perrier tasting experiences from £45. As well as fine wines and top spirits, there’s a classic cocktail list that includes the tangy Italian Kiss.
Level 42, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ
Back in the Big Easy
Inspired by the diversity and rich history of New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA – get it?!), there’s no cooler location for such a bar than style-savvy Shoreditch. Hang out with hipsters and get in the swing of New Orleans jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll in this open and spacious basement bar. The cocktail list includes creations dating back to the 1850s, modern mixes and a range of drinks currently served in the best bars in New Orleans itself. A slice of the Big Easy to London.
1st Floor, 68 Rivington Street London, EC2A 3AY
Tel: 020 7600 2161 www.enotecaguildhall.co.uk/guildhall
Enoteca da Luca
A taste of Italy
Home to three venues, Enoteca da Luca hosts one of London’s best bars, Guildhall. Open-plan, with a wine shop, bar and restaurant, it is Italian-inspired with antipasti, tapas and hearty dishes delivered with friendly service in a relaxed yet elegant ambience. The extensive wine list makes it ideal for tasting sessions or a classy night out, so start with a Sauvignon and close with a Chianti. And, with the new opening at the junction of Watling Street and Bow Lane, that glass of wine just got closer…
10-12 Basinghall Street, London EC2V 5BQ
Tel: 020 7420 2900 www.paramount.uk.net/restaurant-bar
Picture-perfect panoramas are the order of the day at Paramount, located on level 32 of the Centrepoint building. Boasting views of St Paul’s and the city’s newest skyscrapers, it is a stylish all-day venue with a bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. The chic, custom-made copper bar with its designer furniture and low lighting makes the ideal setting for sampling fine wines and Champagnes, as well as endless cocktails like the classic 1934 Cosmopolitan, from £12.
Centre Point, 101-103 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1DD
Tel: 020 7481 1464 www.bravastapas.co.uk
Spain on the docks
As well as a tantalising tapas menu, this unique bar and restaurant hiding amidst the chain venues along St Katherine’s Dock serves a superb selection of Spanish drinks in a rustic but refined atmosphere. Sip on a Recaredo sparkling wine, a Bodegas El Nido red or a Tanqueray cocktail. If Spanish beer is more your thing, you can choose from Estrella Dam, San Miguel and Mica, while snacking on traditional tapas with a twist.
Ivory House, London E1W 1AT
Tel: 0207 036 0608 www.mr-foggs.com
Eighty days around the world
Informal but elegant – and full of character – Mr Fogg’s helps its visitors relive the travels of the fictional Phileas Fogg through charming trinkets, treasures and a fantastic drinks list. Turn up for a Musical Evening or the Tipsy Afternoon Tea - £35 including a selection of gin-blended tea cocktails in teapots. Set in a Mayfair backstreet, the place has a real Victorian feel, you are greeted by Fogg’s butler and even the spirits served date back to 1904. There’s nowhere better for a true taste of bygone days.
15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, London, W1J 6JD
Tel: 020 7478 0540 www.aqua.com.hk/flash/#/eng
After a day of shopping on Oxford Street or soaking up the spirit of Soho, head to one of London’s few-and-far-between rooftop bars. With its wide-ranging views over bustling Regent Street and beyond, to a stunning sunset over Marble Arch, it is home to Londoners who live the good life. We love the Rose & Li cocktail – a mix of Veuve Clicquot, rose liqueur, lychee and flowering rose buds – not cheap at £14 a pop but worth paying for the chilled yet classy atmosphere and cool clientele.
240 Regent Street (entrance 30 Argyll St), Soho, London W1B 3BR
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
The secret of Spitalfields
To make it into this cloak-and-dagger drinking den, you need to know the code. Ask if the mayor is in and you’ll be taken through the Breakfast Club eatery to a huge Smeg fridge door and granted access through a secret passageway to the underground speakeasy. Here you can sample the menu served in the dining room above, along with classic cocktails and house specials, such as the Posh Paddington and Gatsby’s Rose. This is a hideaway with all the hallmarks of a hip East End hangout.
12-16 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS