London is an incredibly vast city. It has a lot of everything — a lot of traffic, a lot of people, a lot of immigrants (yours truly), a lot of different foods and cuisines, a lot of cultures mixed together and, of course, a lot of fun things to do. Being, at heart, an aspiring boujee tw*t, I absolutely adore bars. Bars per se don’t have to be boujee to be good, but I just consider the activity of lounging in a bar with a drink to be something so incredibly posh at its core, that I still glue it to the boujee category. In terms of this timepass, London bars are incredibly numerous, varied and can often be very pleasing to spend time in — if you know where to go. So here I am, with my London bars recommendations. It’s as easy as that.
Shoreditch. Of course. Everything is not far from the Brick Lane. Callooh Callay is a gorgeous bar that, for its looks, is not as pricey as it could’ve been — oh yeah, I’ve forgotten to mention that a lot of London bars are, sadly, properly expensive. With its dimmed lights, a vast selection of delectable cocktails that are, comparatively, affordable, colourful yet cozy and warm interior and a fantastic location in the very centre of the beloved borough of Hackney, it is one of the citizens’ favourite go-to locations.
65 Rivington St, Hackney, London EC2A 3AY
Slightly (really, slightly) more pricey than the previous contender, this posh location with its 1920s inspired decor, seasonally alternating cocktail menus and elaborate presentation (plating? glassing?) of the cocktails they offer, The Gibson is definitely a location that will leave a mark in your memory. It has raving reviews, a wide selection of drinks and a wonderful atmosphere and a great location in Central London; do make sure to stop by, if you get the chance to.
44 Old St, London EC1V 9AQ
No frills, no pretence, no forced luxury; the Simmons bar, located in Soho, the very heart of London, is just here to offer you a good time. Offering cocktails at the very affordable price levels — by London standards — it also has the absolutely flabbergasting week-long offer of two cocktails for 10 quid during Happy Hour (4pm-9pm). Besides that, the interior is gorgeous and there are always some events happening there — that you don’t want to miss out on. Among London bars, this one is definitely in my top faves.
2 Bateman St, Soho, London W1D 4AE
This location is legendary, and not just because I like to use loud words. It is painfully expensive, incredibly gorgeous and has a history — legend has it that it is in this bar that Ian Fleming got inspired for James Bond’s legendary drink of choice, his special Martini. Dukes is definitely among the very expensive London bars, so for me to suggest you go there would be a travesty, but just in case you do have the spare cash: this location offers drinks, food, and a very memorable atmosphere, so… Besides, people seem to love going there on dates. That says a lot.
35 St James’s Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1NY
In contrast with the previous option, this location is way cheaper, way cozier and way more traditionally fun. Little Nan’s have an incredible number of locations across London, all offering handmade, gorgeous menus filled with varied drinks and foods, all incredibly affordable and fun; the locations themselves are bright and quirky and give you an atmosphere of coziness and comfort no matter which of them you went to.
Fitzrovia: 20 & 21 Warren St, Bloomsbury, London W1T 5LT
12th Knot describes itself as an “Eclectic rooftop bar overlooking the River Thames and London’s skyline”, and that is definitely its selling point. It is both a bar and a restaurant, with a wide variety of foods and drinks on offer, but what really makes you want to pick it out of all London bars you have in front of you is the absolutely fantastic view it offers to its visitors — located on the 12th (duh) floor of the Sea Containers building, it looks out at the entire London skyline, leaving you in awe. Cons, however, are the regular ones: 1) expensive, 2) needs a reservation. But, maybe, it’s worth it for once.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD
Milk & Honey
This bar is quite a legend. Milk & Honey is a membership-based location, making it quite unique amongst London bars. Yes, you can get in when you’re not a member, but only before eleven in the evening, and only with reservation. Having two bars — in London and in Manhattan — the London branch is so exclusive that I cannot even show you a photo of it. Yes, that’s right — people who do get in don’t take or post pictures from the bar online.
It’s a unique experience for multiple reasons, from the abovementioned membership doctrine to the fact that it’s three-story high and offers intimate booths for people to lounge and have their drinks in. Oh, and it’s expensive, of course, but is that really news in an article dedicated to London bars? Sadly not.
I did not want to finish the article on Milk & Honey — for one because I cannot get pics of it, and that’s annoying; but, in all seriousness, because that’s enough poshness, exclusivity, and priciness. Blame Gloria is a bar located in Covent Garden, one of the most touristy and pretty parts of London. It is a bar that plays upbeat songs, encourages you to dance and has been fittingly described as a ‘party pit’ — for a good reason, seen as it is situated below the ground (hence the ‘pit‘ part) and makes you wanna get lost in the night. It is also filled with gorgeous decorations and little spots that would look perfect on an Insta-photo, with very reasonably priced drinks and foods!
20 Bedford St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9HP