London’s 12 best bars

Go on a mixology odyssey at Eve Bar in Covent Garden as expert bartenders take you through perfectly executed cocktails. Credit: Justin De Souza, Eve Bar by Adam Handling

London has some of the best bars and restaurants in the world including slick speakeasies, sophisticated cocktail joints, and watering holes with clinking wine carafes—several standout venues in the city frequently make the World’s 50 Best Bars list. 

In Camden, music-lovers can jive to old-school Blues, while an ambient Covent Garden cubby hole highlights women in every aspect of its business. For cocktail purists, a Shoreditch favourite consistently tops critics’s round-ups. Dreaming about a stellar drink at one of the best bars in London? Look no further. 

Here are our top bar recommendations in the British capital, for all budgets and vibes, all bookable on OpenTable.


The best London bars to book ASAP – read on for a guide.


If you’re after low intervention wines – try Bar Crispin in Soho

A spread of shareable small plates and organic wines at bar Crispin, one of the best bars in London

In addition to stunning wines, enjoy hearty dishes dreamed up by chef Fabien Spagnolo at Bar Crispin. Credit: Bar Crispin

Dominic Hamdy and Oliver Hiam, founders of Spitalfields restaurant Crispin, launched its Soho sister bar Bar Crispin in 2021. Since then it’s become an institution for its wine list, meticulously curated by Alex Price (ex-Annabels and Beaverbrook), celebrating organic and biodynamic practices. Wine comes from classic regions like the Loire and Beaujolais and volcanic vineyards in Tenerife and Sicily. A highlight is the Green Room, a 16-person private dining cellar adorned with a hand-painted chandelier and a show-stopping red square table, complemented by twinkling lights and emerald accents. Spearheaded by Fabien Spagnolo (formerly of Pollen St. Social, Frenchie, and Casa Fofo), the food menu showcases European flavours. Expect dishes like mussels with n’duja and oyster mushrooms with Marmite and egg yolk.

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For zero-waste cocktails – visit Eve Bar by Adam Handling in Covent Garden

A neon sign hangs on a wall, surrounded by mounted books and candles at Eve Bar, one of the best bars in London

“Resist everything except temptation” is the motto at Eve Bar, a neon-filled space where it’s all too easy to lose track of time. Credit: Justin De Souza, Eve Bar by Adam Handling

Cocktail purists will love the menu at the dimly-lit and velvet clad Eve Bar, chef Adam Handling’s first standalone bar underneath his London flagship restaurant Frog. Incorporating leftover ingredients from Frog in the drinks-making process, Eve embraces a zero-waste ethos. The menu is divided by techniques used in the bar’s mixology lab, such as clarification and distillation and five expert bartenders are on hand to talk through every detail of the technical tipples. Drinks change regularly but expect cocktails like the Kentucky Husk featuring bourbon, pistachio, and bitters and  Rocket Fuel, with zero-waste kimchi, tequila, and chilli. Indulge in snacks like fresh sourdough with chicken butter and venison tartare for an especially satisfying experience.

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For a taste of Italian flavours – book at Daphne’s in South Kensington

Small lamps sit atop a red and green marble bar, flanked by leather bar stools at Daphne’s, a restaurant and bar in London

Daphne’s counter bar gives diners a taste of Italy-inspired dolce vita. Credit: Daphne’s

Daphne’s has beckoned diners through its doors since the 1960s, boasting lush foliage-filled interiors and vibrant Italian flavours. Its emerald counter bar is a destination in its own right. Shuttle to a bygone era via its leather stools and the vintage Italian adverts that decorate the menu, all while absorbing the thrum of the busy restaurant. The Daphne’s Martini is a London icon, served simply with gin, bitters, and dry vermouth, while signatures like the Pitted Cherry with whisky, maraschino, and bitters evoke a balmy Tuscan summer.

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For an intimate wine tasting – try Sager + Wilde at Paradise Row in Bethnal Green

The interior of Sager + Wilde, a restaurant in London, is set in a railway arch and has a fully stocked wine bar as its focal point.

Sager + Wilde is a tribute to natural wines. Credit: Sager + Wilde

This spirited sibling to the Californian wine haven on Hackney Road is known for fine wine and a romantic atmosphere, sourcing bottles from around the world. Overlooking leafy parkland, Sager + Wilde is a local Bethnal Green gem and offers a scenic view from its outdoor terrace. Alternatively, cosy up in the railway arch dining space and sample a selection of natural reds, whites, and orange wines while grazing on seasonal small plates with Mediterranean flair. Highlights include burrata with apricot and fennel, and wafers of chilli-drizzled tuna carpaccio with green tomato and lardo. A private mezzanine area hosts intimate wine tastings (regularly featured on Sager + Wilde’s socials) and is available to hire for group gatherings. 

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For a fun night out – visit The Blues Kitchen in Camden, Shoreditch, and Brixton

A bartender makes cocktails against a backdrop featuring a stocked bar and a brick wall decorated with adverts at The Blues Kitchen, one of the best bars in Camden

Don’t skip the stellar bourbon selection at The Blues Kitchen. Credit: The Blues Kitchen

Few places in London do live music as consistently well as The Blues Kitchen. It’s open until midnight every night and serves banging bourbon-based cocktails and burgers alongside blues music. The staff is game for a good time; watch them dance as they prepare your drinks. Diners will be transported to New Orleans jazz clubs with the low-lit interiors, all exposed bricks, neon lights, and ceramic walls. For those looking to stretch their night out, there’s a dance floor across from the live music stage. Just don’t come here expecting to make your 9 am meeting the following day.

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For a glitzy Great Gatsby-esque experience – book a table at Park Chinois in Mayfair

An opulent Art Deco-style bar with gold walls and columns, flanked by high red velvet stools at Park Chinois, a restaurant and bar in London

Park Chinois bar is the epitome of old-school opulence. Credit: Park Chinois

This glitzy Mayfair bar is the brainchild of Alan Yau, the man behind London hotspots Hakkasan and Yauatcha. The bi-level bar boasts a live band, Great Gatsby-esque decor, and an extensive Chinese and South East Asian menu with dishes such as Cantonese duck with Champagne and orange sauce and summer truffle dim sum. There’s a darker, opulent space downstairs for dancing featuring live performers, acrobatic acts, and DJs who spin into the night. Make the most of your evening with cracking cocktails such as the Moulin Rouge with Japanese vodka, lavender honey, and raspberry, or the umami-packed Old Fashioned, with porcini-infused bourbon, sherry, maple syrup, and a house blend of bitters. 

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For wines made by women winemakers – try Lady of the Grapes in Covent Garden

Four wine glasses featuring a selection of red, white, and orange wine on a table at Lady of the Grapes, a restaurant and wine bar in London

Natural and low-intervention wines are the focus at this Covent Garden cubby hole. Credit: Lady of the Grapes

Organic, biodynamic wines made by women winemakers are the focus at Covent Garden’s Lady of the Grapes. On any given day, 25 wines are available by the glass and carafe and more than 200 are available by the bottle. The selection of pet nats, oranges, and red sparkling wines are particularly strong, but you don’t have to know wine to have a good time here as the staff churn out some stellar recommendations. Pair your selection with seasonal tapas-style fare such as sage tempura and boquerones. In summer, the street-side tables are ideal for savouring the buzz of Covent Garden. On colder nights, huddle inside over a plate of the bar’s famed baked Camembert cheese topped with hazelnuts and caramelised onion.

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For its commitment to sustainability – visit Nine Lives Bar in London Bridge

Green velvet chairs, marbled tables, and foliage-covered walls at Nine Lives, one of the best bars in London

Marbled tables and foliage-covered walls give this London Bridge bar an especially chic vibe. Credit: Nine Lives

This trendy bar’s name references its commitment to zero waste. Parts of the fruits and vegetables that don’t make it into the cocktails here get used for cordials behind the bar and soaps and candles in the bathrooms. The drinks menu is just as compelling as the bar’s mission. Case in point: cocktails such as the Strawberry Feels, made with strawberry Campari, bourbon, and egg white; and Lemon Song, a housemade limoncello with elderflower syrup and sparkling Crémant. Nine Lives Bar’s food game is equally strong with a focus on sustainable fish and banana blossoms, used to fill tacos by Le Tigre. Grab a seat in the bar’s plant-filled courtyard or in the softly-lit indoor space for an especially memorable night.

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For London’s oldest cocktail bar – book a table at the American Bar at the Savoy in Aldwych

The dining room at the American Bar at The Savoy, a hotel in London, featuring a geometric carpet, black and white photos on the walls, and brown leather chairs

The leather seats at the American Bar have hosted some of the history’s most notable figures, as seen in the photos that deck the walls. Credit: American bar at the Savoy

Any London best bar roundup would be incomplete without American Bar at the Savoy, the city’s oldest, continuously running cocktail bar. Since its debut in 1893, the elegant Art Deco venue has hosted influential figures such as Winston Churchill and Mark Twain while also gaining a reputation for its cutting-edge cocktails. Sit at the bar and let mixologists take you through the creative process behind some of the signature drinks. Or grab a plush leather seat and order a classic—few places will make it better—or something bespoke. Must-tries include the Jabberwock, a mix of gin, vodka, sherry, absinthe, and rooibos and kola nut tea; and the Jack Rabbit with cognac, maple syrup, pisco, and apple-shiso soda. The food menu includes sharing boards of British meat, cheese, or smoked and cured Scottish salmon.

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For a memorable boogie night – try the Dalston Jazz Bar in Dalston

Two men sing along to music at Dalston Jazz Bar, one of the best bars in London.

Get your boogie on at Dalston Jazz Bar. Credit: Dalston Jazz Bar

It doesn’t get much better than Dalston Jazz Bar for a full-fledged night out with food, booze, and dancing. After a generous meal inside the record-strewn interior (featuring an eclectic jumble of tables and chairs), the furniture is pushed back for a boogie. The three-course menu features seafood or vegetable platters with flatbread, and comforting desserts like brownies and carrot cake. A selection of wines, spirits, and beers is also served. Grab your drink of choice and dance the night away with locals as the DJ—who also doubles up as the chef—churns out hits.

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For a fancy cabaret evening – head to The Parlour at The Ned London at Bank

A server holds a tray with a trio of drinks including a martini and an old fashioned at The Parlour at The Ned, a restaurant and bar in London

Cocktails are paired with a range of musical performances at The Parlour at the Ned London. Credit: The Parlour at The Ned

For live music performances that are just as high calibre as the drinks, make your way to The Parlour at the Ned London. Watch singer-songwriters Reuben James and Kimberly Nichole, saxophonist and clarinettist Giacamo Smith and his five piece band, and other big names in the jazz and cabaret world. The show is best paired with top-notch cocktails including the Rosemary Jigalow (whisky, rosemary, and ginger soda) or the Night Train (tequila, fig, cardamom, and espresso). Nibble on dishes like whole lobster steak tartare and caviar with blinis. On Saturdays, a cabaret group takes to the stage with a theatrical experience featuring burlesque performers, singers, and comics.

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Shekha Vyas is a London-based reporter, writing about business, lifestyle, and food. Follow her on Instagram at @shekhav or on TikTok at @tastingbritain.


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