Found in the Corinthia Hotel by Embankment, this is a music-themed destination bar with art-deco style surroundings. The furnishings are all bespoke and the main show piece is the bar which has a piano built into its side. There are various reproductions of Jazz art adorned on the walls. A fabulous cocktail list but expect high prices. A place to impress or be impressed. Live music every night from 9pm except Sundays.
One of the best hotel bars in London can be found in the heart of Mayfair at the Connaught Hotel. The intimate 54-seat Connaught Bar is part of the Maybourne Hotel Group, which offers its guests a unique and authentic experience that reflects the individual nature of their legendary five-star hotels. Operating a no reservation policy, the bar gets very busy at the weekends so get there early. The cocktail menu is impressively clean cut in offering, in addition to their signature cocktails, a variety of five cocktails from three continents of the world, Europe, America and Asia. These cocktails have been inspired from the foremost hotels of those regions and thus the Connaugt Bar offers the best cocktails from any part of the world in one location. By working through the menu from Signature, Glamorous, Revisited and Elegance, you will have covered the world. There is also a good selection for those not partaking in alcohol. The Signature Connaught Martini is highly recommended not only for the taste but also for the whole experience of watching it be made for you by the mixologist from the bespoke Martini Trolley. I was lucky to have the Connaught Director of Mixology, Agostino Perrone make my martini. Have a look at the video here. This is definitely a place to visit if you are a keen martini lover. Expect to pay a hefty price, but it is worth it for the experience, service and ambiance of the bar.
This opulent bar is found in the deluxe Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. Soft red lighting, velvet seating and light background music make it the preferred choice for those who would like to relax with a quirky cocktail. The mirrored glass along the curved bar gives an outstanding reflection to all the coloured bespoke glasses and the finest bottles of champagne and luxury spirits which creates a unique atmosphere. The renowned Giuliano Morandin heads the team at The Bar and has devised new and classic cocktails with a twist. The cocktail list is spectacular with bespoke glasses for certain exclusive cocktails. Ladies try the ‘Champagne Simmer’ which is served with the Dorchester Collection’s very own lipgloss! There is also ‘Her Majesty’s Cup’ which was created to pay homage to the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee. This Earl Grey flavoured champagne cocktail is served in a quirky teacup with an accompanying teapot! There is a wide selection of food available at the Bar, not just bar snacks, where you can expect extravagant delicacies such as lobster, prawns and Wagyu Burgers. This Bar is one of the finest in London and is a place to see and be seen in.
An opulent cocktail bar found on the ground floor of the Great Northern Hotel. Located in the newly generated part of London, it has the Kings Cross station concourse on one side and St. Pancras International on the other. Mirrored ceilings with glass chandeliers make this bar really glamourous. The cocktails are amazing, must try the signature 'Spilt Milk' cocktail! There is leather booth seating and a mezzanine floor, overlooking the bar, which can be hired for private parties. Open from 7am for breakfast, till 1am at the weekends, when there is a live DJ playing classic 80s music and pop. A live pianist also features on some nights of the week. The food menu at the bar is very extensive offering exquisite seafood and meat dishes at very reasonable prices. A rarity for a centrally located bar in London. A definite must visit for a night out in the Capital.
The highest bar in London! Found in the Shangri-La Hotel in the Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building, at Level 52 this is the best view in London by far. Due to the structure of this unique building, the higher floors have proportionately less space. However, this is an added benefit for the bar as it has three distinct sections each with a different view. The champagne bar has cosy sofas and has the best view of Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, make sure to get the table at the far end by the window. The main bar is in the smallest section with views of the city of London, including St Pauls, Tower of London and all the new additions to the ever changing city skyline such as the Walkie Talkie and the Cheesegrater. The skypool area, which is only open after 8.30pm, is where you can relax on chaise lounges and sip cocktails admiring the highest pool in London, albeit very small, with London’s skyline as a backdrop. Look out for the London Eye. There is an area at the far end of the skypool which can sectioned off for private parties. Gong is a great place to impress a date, client or even family and friends. Expect fabulous service and premium priced cocktails which is understandable for the best view in London. As with all hotel bars, little nibbles are served with your drinks. The tempura seaweed crackers served here are so moreish! Make sure to reserve a table at the bar as the hotel’s ground floor hostess will check if you have one. My recommendations for the perfect table are: for romance the Champagne bar, for clients the main bar and for a group the skypool, having experienced all three bars on three separate occasions. Yes, it is my favourite bar in London! Security is tight at the Shangri-La, your bags will be checked before you take the first lift to the hotel reception at level 35. From there the second lift is taken to Level 52. Yes, you need to take two lifts! Enjoy the experience it is well worth it. The bar is open from 5pm daily.
At the 15th floor of the Saint Georges Hotel in Langham Place, this bar has iconic views of London’s streets and landscape. The bar is an average hotel bar with prices to match, but the view is worth it, considering it is only a stone throw away from Oxford Circus.
Located in the St.Martins Lane Hotel, in the heart of Covent Garden, this is an eclectic bar which has light as its main feature. The pure mix of pink, orange, green and purple colours creates a remarkable effect on the ceiling. Only table service is offered and patrons can enjoy sitting in the cozy niches. Snacks are provided from the hotel’s infamous Asia de Cuba restaurant and there are numerous popular cocktails to select from such as Strawberry Cheesecake and Raspassion Martini. The weekend features DJs and guest list reservation is advised.
Housed in the old luggage room of the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, this quirky bar does resemble a giant travelling trunk with studded luggage trimmings along the leather panelled walls. The leather armchairs are very comfy and allow you to indulge in the sumptuous cocktails at your leisure. The signature champagne cocktail is served in a Bentley Cup to share. The discreet entrance to the bar has allowed it to be quite anomalous, considering its prestigious location in one of London’s regal squares. A knock on an unmarked navy door, a peep through window, followed by an escort inside, makes this bar distinct in its own right. The bar is themed around the 1920s and after the famed Bentley Boys, all 16 of them, whose initials are embossed on the sides of the tables. The bar staff, dressed according to the 1920s theme, together with the art deco interior makes a sophisticated atmosphere. Only drawback is the walk to the restrooms!
At the Metropolitan Hotel in Park Lane. Regarded as one of the best bars in London, formerly a ‘members-only’ bar but is now open to all. Quirky midweek acoustic sessions feature at this bar from 6.30 – 9.30pm and live DJs at the weekend. The bar is open till 2am, giving you plenty of time to work through their innovative cocktail menu.
The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, has a fabulous bar on the 10th floor which has fantastic views of Kensington gardens, Hyde Park and the London skyline beyond. The perfect place to chill out and have some fantastic Chinese tea or inspirational cocktails whilst admiring the views.
Located in the Sanderson Hotel, just off Oxford Street. As the name suggests, the bar has a combination of purple etched Venetian mirrors, lavender Queen Anne chairs, lavish violet silk curtains and a dramatic purple bar, all of which provide a lounge of decadence.
Found at the top of the Melia Me Hotel on the Strand, this amazing rooftop terrace bar is totally unique from most of the other rooftop bars in London. The bar itself is indoors in a huge room with floor to ceiling windows and has DJs playing a fabulous variety of music. The outside space is the biggest for any rooftop bar in the Capital. With views of the River and Somerset House, this centrally located bar has it all. There is plenty of comfortable seating and secluded areas for private parties. It has a late closing,3am from Thursday to Saturday. There is no entry charge however entering the venue is tricky. Take the lift to the 1st floor to the reception hall and speak to the receptionist who will give you access to the lift which takes you to the roof-top (the lifts are otherwise locked for rooftop access).
Found in the ever so magnificent Rosewood London Hotel in High Holborn, a 1914 Edwardian, Grade II-listed building, Scarfes Bar, is the first bar to be themed around caricature art. Gerald Scarfe is the infamous artist behind the work which adorns the marble walls. Named after him, the bar showcases his artwork on large canvases with over 70 caricatures depicting well known personalities and celebrities such as David Beckham, Harry Potter, Boris Johnson and even Royalty with the first ever caricature of Prince George. A definite talking point!
The bar has cosy sofas, quiet corners, a central fireplace, comfortable bar seating and gives the impression of a sophisticated living room with plenty of book shelves filled with antique books. Open to the general public, the bar serves an Indian luncheon with a twist and in the evenings there is nice selection from the bar menu of Indian fusion snacks. Entertainment in the evening starts with a pianist and then moves on to a live jazz band.
The comprehensive drinks menu comes in a hard bound folder. Take note of the cover it is actually the imprint of Jerry Thomas’s (the father of mixology) first edition Bartenders Book (1862). At Scarfes, each spirit is listed by country of origin and after going through the listings if will be hard to select what you like as you will have covered the whole world! An exclusive drink, which is only available at the Rosewood and nowhere else in London, is the Austrian Rochelt ‘Eau-de-viux’ (Water of life) which is a colourless, fine-fruit flavoured brandy packaged in an exotic bottle with a bespoke silver cap individual to each bottle making it totally unique. This relaxed hotel bar has a great atmosphere and lots of quirks about it. Enjoy what’s on offer.
This rooftop bar is part of the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Tower Hill. Found on the 12th floor, it offers spectacular views of Tower Bridge, Tower of London and the Shard. The closest rooftop bar to the iconic Tower Bridge which provides great picture opportunites so don't forget your camera! Plenty of outside seating on both the north and south terraces and lots of cosy seating inside the bar. Various pop up quirky events held throughout the year such as summer beach club and winter retreats. There is a no booking policy and open from 11am every day till late night. A fabulous place to come and chill out and admire the views. Quieter during the day and a busy City crowd in the evenings when you can expect to queue downstairs before gaining access, especially if the weather is good. A good selection of bar snacks available, if you like seafood the lobster rolls and cruncty spicy calamari are very tasty, a good veggie option is fried courgettes in panko breadcrumbs. Must try the quirky fish biscuits, salt and vinegar flavoured fish shaped savoury biscuits which are very moreish, be warned!
Part of the Courthouse Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Soho, this funky roof top bar also has a covered section in-case the weather turns sour. Views of Carnaby below and the London skyline. Open to the public from 3pm only during the months April to September. The venue may be used for a private event so advisable to call beforehand to check. Listening to the mellow music, fantastic cocktails and bar snacks can be enjoyed soaking in the Soho atmosphere from above.
Part of the elegant Stafford Hotel in the Kempinski Group. The bar was aptly named after its ever-growing number of patrons from across the Atlantic during the 1930s. When ocean liners were the only safe way to travel. These adventurous travellers brought over the exotic Martinis and Manhattans that have become infamous on all cocktail lists worldwide. It was popular at that time for the patrons to leave a memento in the bar as personal gift to establish a place in the history of time. As such, it has become a bar in the Capital to see, with all the heritage and memorabilia adorning the walls and ceilings. There is also an outdoor courtyard, which provides an oasis of calm in the heart of St. James.
Set within the Courthouse Hotel, a former courthouse, the bar is in the original place where the prison cell blocks were and three of them are used as VIP rooms which can host about 8 people. An interesting concept for a bar. The cocktail menu features some signature legally-themed quirky cocktails.
Set within the Sanderson Hotel, this awesome 80-foot long onyx bar is the focal point. Open to non-residents it is a popular destination for people watching, especially if you can get a seat at the bar.
Found in the basement of the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, this tropical Polynesian paradise brings a ray of sunshine to the Capital city. The bar staff are dressed in tropical attire and the huge selection of signature cocktails are equally dressed with exotic fruits and decorations. Various cocktails are served in quirky ways for sharing. The bar has live music through out the week starting from 9.30pm to 11.30pm. The various styles and genres range from Soul, Jazz, Latin, Spanish, to Pop and Funk.
Found in the Hilton Hotel at Tower Bridge, a stone’s throw from the river front, this bar brings some glamour to the southside. Soft lighting, cosy sofas, sophisticated cocktails and live DJ sets on Thursday and Friday night. The funky music does create a vibrant atmosphere. The bar is a long room with separate seating areas sectioned off by quirky metal curtains. A great place to have a group gathering or even an intimate drink. The TwoRuba taster is a nice quirk to the bar menu, four bite sized dishes are paired up with four mini champagne cocktails to bring out the flavours in each. The combinations are interesting: Foie gras parfait, cream soda jelly on toasted brioche served with French soda foam cocktail, spicy squid with lemon vodka cocktail, pulled pork slider with ginger beer cocktail and a chocolate brownie with an orange inspired cocktail. A great way to sample the cocktails and bar food.
Watch out, the cocktails are potent! There is a private area which can be hired out. A nice space with leather seating along the walls and a central seating area, with the option to have your own DJ.
Found on the roof top of the Trafalgar Hotel, this bar covers the entire roof area and has seating for about 200 people. The seating area is very comfortable and there are outdoor heaters. A unique opportunity to see indulgent views of Trafalgar Square and the heart of London. The bar is open to the public from 4pm and there is a charge of £5 per person. Access to the bar is subject to availability, (it may be hired out for private functions) seasonality, (it is open from March to October and a few weeks over Christmas/New Year) and weather conditions. So it is advisable to call the hotel prior to making a visit.
The Park Lane Hilton on the 28th floor has this stunning bar which offers breathtaking views across the capital. It is open from 11am till late. A must visit at anytime of the day or night! No reservation is required.