5 favourite London cocktail bars

Even if you are staying in the most luxurious of London hotels, it is still a thrill to go out and explore what the the city has to offer after dark. There are of course hundreds of traditional pubs to choose from, but if you are looking for something different, perhaps you might like to try one of our five favourite cocktail bars. You won’t be disappointed…

Dukes Bar, Dukes Hotel

Dukes Bar is internationally renowned for its famous Martinis and personalised cocktails. Frequented by James Bond author Ian Fleming, this bar is said to be the inspiration for the much over quoted cocktail bar classic, “shaken, not stirred”. Situated in the St.James/Mayfair area of London, this bar is quintessentially British, and has a very traditional feel to it. Once you are firmly ensconced in a cosy chair and the waiter is frequenting your table with his drinks trolley, you won’t want to leave. It takes an evening in Dukes, before you can fully understand the old adage, “one cocktail is not enough, but two is too many”. You have been warned.

Dukes Bar, Dukes Hotel

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Le Bar is an elegant and enticing cocktail bar situated above this Covent Garden michelin star restaurant. It is perfect for pre dinner drinks as well as being a destination in its own right. The open air terraced area adds to the charm. When we visited recently during London Cocktail Week, the terrace had been decked out like the Siberian Express, giving cocktail lovers a taste of Russian decadence and glamour. The staff is both knowledgeable and engaging, with further enhances the pleasure of your visit. You will find all the classics on the menu, together with a few cocktails you will probably never heard of.

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Radio Rooftop Bar, ME Hotel

Located on the 10th floor of the shiny new ME hotel on The Strand, Radio Rooftop bar offers incredible views of the London skyline. The extensive terrace area is equipped with stylish sofas and extremely efficient heaters, which means that you can even sit outside during the winter months. This is definitely a destination for the sleekly dressed and genetically blessed. Even the delicious cocktails have glamorous names – with the exception of the unfortunately named, “On top of ME” which we are rather hoping somehow got lost in translation due to the Spanish influence of the Melia brand. The lively music and electric atmosphere might just keep you here until the early hours…

Radio Rooftop Bar, ME Hotel

Aqua

The central location of this cocktail bar, just off Oxford Circus, make it a perfect place to meet friends. The internal area of the bar is dark with lots of mirrors, and slightly reminiscent of a cruise ship nightclub, but the two large external terraces, with views down Picadilly and across the West End, more than compensate. The terraces do get a little crowded on a hot summer’s evening, but that’s a small price to pay for the pleasure of enjoying your favourite cocktail outside in the glorious sunshine in the centre of great city. In spite of it’s name, the Porn Star Martini is quite delicious.

Aqua

Nightjar

Don’t let the approach to this Shoreditch bar put you off, as once you go down the stairs you are transported into a world full of old school glamour, quirky dressers and affable hedonists. The cocktails, divided into historical eras such as pre-prohibition and post war, are from another world too… You can while away many hours listening to jazz and blues and soaking up the vibe in this intimate and what feels like a slightly secretive little den. Booking a table is essential as standing is not permitted.

Nightjar

Ceri Tinley is the Co-Founder and MD of Consensio Holidays.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Lee Fincher says:

    Gordon ‘s Wine Bar is our favorite bar in London. Posh you can get anywhere – this place is truly unique.

  2. Maxine says:

    Loungelover in Shoreditch is also one of my favourite luxury cocktail bars in London. Inventive drinks, good service and eclectic decor.

  3. Simon says:

    I just love the bar at Dukes Hotel, Mayfair. Two Martinis sets you up a treat, but three is somewhat dangerous!

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