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Where to find the best cocktails in London—11 atmospheric spots for heady blends and flavorsome fusions

After 17 years of London living I’ve come acquainted with my fair share of pubs, bars and elegant cocktail joints, and while some have come and gone, others (thankfully some of my favorites) remain. Like hunting out the best oysters in London, finding the best cocktails requires patience, stamina and quite often, a hefty wallet. Short and strong blends are my vice, think Pisco Sours, Dirty Martinis, and Negronis, but this list isn’t solely focused on short, potent blends, it also features intriguing new mixes, unique flavours and some of the best creations in the city. Here are the best bars and restaurants for an expertly mixed tipple that’ll leave you wanting more.

Where to find the best cocktails in London...

1. Le Comptoir Robuchon, 6 Clarges St

12 carefully mixed blends make up Le Comptoir’s offering, split into ‘Avant’ and ‘Après’. I opted for ‘Jasmine Reviver’ as a little pre-lunch pick me up that worked a treat. Jasmine tea syrup balances out the tartness of fresh lemon, while 1757 vermouth and botanist gin provide a heady kick—the most delightful mix I’ll look forward to drinking again soon. 

cocktail at le comptoir robuchon, served in a dainty glass, one of the best cocktails in london
Jasmine Reviver at Le Comptoir Robuchon
Every cocktail on the menu has been created specially for the restaurant and I noticed some intriguing ingredients like limoncello foam and tonka bean syrup.
Cocktails at Le Comptoir Robuchon start from $22 (£18).

2. 45 Jermyn St, St James’s

As well as being one of the most impressive cocktail joints in Mayfair, 45 Jermyn St also whips up one of the best breakfasts in London so make a note to head back for the bacon sandwich one morning. I adore Jermyn St for its hidden location, vibrant coral booths, and Mad Men style aesthetic, and always leave feeling merry following a handful of visits over the years. 

two cocktails on a wooden table at 45 Jermyn St, one of london's best cocktail bars
My favorite Martini at 45 Jermyn St
The cocktail list is made up of an impressive 29 options, that includes five amazing variations of the Bloody Mary—‘Hinomaru Mary’ has a Japanese edge with sriracha and Japanese dressing, while ‘Dirty Mary’ uses bacon salt and tequila. My favorite cocktail here is the ‘Martini 45’ which always arrives ice cold with a speared olive, pickled onion and cornichon—heavenly! Anyone who loves a little nostalgia or likes their cocktails on the sweeter side of the scale will be overjoyed with the gin, bourbon or champagne ice-cream floats.
Cocktails at 45 Jermyn St start from $13 (£10.50).

3. Sir Frank’s Bar, Beaverbrook Townhouse, 115-116 Sloane St

Having opened towards the end of 2021, Sir Frank’s Bar at the very beautifully designed Beaverbrook Townhouse is one of the newest places on the list but fast becoming one of the best. The impressive menu boasts 23 outstanding creations (5 alcohol free options), ranging from unique blends like Town House Saketini to Martini classics, there’s even a $75 (£60) cocktail that comes with a spoonful of caviar. 

two cocktails on brass bar at sir franks bar at beaverbrook townhouse in london
Cocktails at Sir Frank's Bar
I tried Top Hat—a champagne and tequila blend featuring chili, lime and agave—and Dame Shirley Bassey, which uses house made champagne cordial paired with Kong’s Tail Vodka and orange bitters. Just beyond the bar lies one of the most incredible eating experiences in London; Jan Horak’s Omakase (Japanese tasting menu), book ahead for course after course of sheer perfection on a plate, from yellowtail sashimi with zingy yuzu jelly, to scallop temaki, and more.
Cocktail at Sir Frank’s Bar start from $22 (£18).

4. City Social, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St

This Michelin-starred restaurant by Jason Atherton boasts panoramic views of the city, chic surroundings and breathtaking food, but it’s also the place to head for a beautiful cocktail. 

cocktail at city social with note pegged to the rim and plants in the background
Custom cocktail at City Social
Much of the menu seems to be inspired by South America with ingredients like Waqar Pisco, cachaça and cacao syrup being used to create new and intriguing fusions. The cocktail I tried has since been swapped out for newer inventions but I loved how it arrived with a witty note pegged to the rim.
Cocktail at City Social start from $17 (£14).

5. Brutto, 35-37 Greenhill Rents

Without a doubt one of the best Italian restaurants in London, Brutto also impresses with its $6 (£5) negronis. Seriously, who can fault a decent bargain cocktail in London, especially in the dreamy atmosphere of Brutto. 

negroni next to a menu at Brutto in Farringdon
The perfect negroni at Brutto
Short, strong and served as it should be—with a thick wedge of orange—this is one of my all time favourite spots in London for cocktails and dinner. If you’re not a fan of the negroni, there’s a great selection of longer tipples too. See you at the bar.
Cocktails at Brutto start from $6 (£5).

6. Sushi Samba, Heron Tower, Bishopsgate

Hyper popular spots like Sushi Samba aren’t really my idea of fun but I do like the views here if you can snag a table of a quiet day. The cocktail list boasts 16 signature blends created by bartenders past and present. 

cocktails on yellow table with menu at sushi samba
Sushi Samba's cocktail offering 
Continuing with the theme of the restaurant, drinks are mixed with Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian inspired spirits and flavours like match syrup, cacao infused vermouth and cachaça. I tried ‘Wakaba’ a green short drink made from matcha, gin, and grapefruit juice, as well as the Thai inspired ‘Tom Yam’ - a super zingy silky smooth and uber drinkable long mix of chili, lemongrass and lime leaf jumbled with gin and citrus.
Cocktails at Sushi Samba start from $17 (£14).

7. Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard

With 25 cocktail blends, including low-alcohol and virgin options chances are you’ll find a cocktail you’ll enjoy at Ham Yard Hotel. My go-to here is the ‘Black Margarita’, a super sour mix of fat-washed Herradura Plata tequila, lime, agave, homemade blackberry purée and a black salt rim. 

a martini and black margarita next to a menu at the ham yard hotel in london
Ham Yard's Black Margarita & a martini
The sparkling options are also pretty good and affordable, but I’d swerve dinner as it’s worth noting service can sometimes be a little sketchy.
Cocktails at Ham Yard Hotel start from $15 (£12).

8. Kaia at The Ned, 27 Poultry

Kaia's food options are a little pricy for what you get - there are plenty of better Asian restaurants in the city, but the cocktails at Kaia are worth a detour if you’re in the area. 

two cocktails on a marble table at Kaia, at the Ned in london
Cocktails at Kaia
The menu is short but includes delightful ingredients like yuzu, cherry sake, pandan and miso - don’t miss ‘Manila’ and ‘Aichi’. Once you're fully imbibed rooms at The Ned won't disappoint!
Cocktails at Kaia start from $19 (£15).

9. Upstairs at Langan’s, Stratton St

There’s just eight cocktails on the Upstairs at Langan’s menu and each has been named after a song. The delightful sounding, ‘I’m Still Standing’—features an intriguing mix of clarified double cream, cola syrup and Courvoisier, while ‘Maggie May’ contains yuzu, banana peel rum and champagne. 

two dirty martinis at Upstairs at Langan’s, one of the best cocktail bars in london
Cold, briny and potent, just how I like it at Langan's
I ordered off-menu with a classic vodka dirty martini, the perfect drink to enjoy alongside good tunes.
Cocktails at Langan’s start from $20 (£16).

10. Shoreditch House, Ebor St

I’ve never had a membership to Soho House but have always managed to hang out at various London outposts through work events or friends, and while I used to love hanging by (or in) the pool in Shoreditch House back in the mid-2000’s when the place had a funky edge and arty crowd, these days I actually just prefer a local pub and London Fields Lido. 

two Picante de la Casa's at shoreditch house, one of the best cocktails in london
Poolside cocktails at Shoreditch House
But there’s one cocktail that goes hand in hand with Shoreditch House and that’s a Picante de la Casa - the perfect mix of spice, citrus and Patrón tequila - I could drink them all day!
Cocktails at Shoreditch House start from $11 (£9).

11. Seabird, 40 Blackfriars Rd

With 12 alcoholic blends, 3 non-alcoholic cockatils and a $250 (£200) absinthe infused fishbowl Seabird really does cater to all tastes. Sitting on the rooftop of the Hoxton Southwark hotel the views here are undoubtedly impressive as is the surrounding decor which almost makes it feel as though you’re on vacation. 

two cocktails at seabird above the hoxton southwalk, one of the best places to grab a cocktail in london
Seabird's cocktail offering 

The cocktail selection is solid with interesting bespoke blends as well as a few classics. Oyster happy hour is Monday through Thursday between 3pm to 7pm where English and Scottish oysters are just $2.50 (£2) a pop and a martini costs just $9 (£7).

Cocktails at Seabird start from $17 (£14).

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