Find beauty in and around your glass at the prettiest bars in London.
London isn’t short of beautiful places to visit. Pretty streets, pretty restaurants: there are picture-worthy spots around every corner. That extends to the bars, too! Though we love a good pub as much as the next Londoner, sometimes you want to go to a place where the drinks are great and the Instagram snaps are even better. So, in the spirit of this – and looking ahead to the end of lockdown – we’ve rounded up the prettiest bars in London for your next cocktail date.
1. The Coral Room at the Bloomsbury Hotel
Created by designers Martin Brudnizki and Luke Edward Hall, The Coral Room is obviously a tonic for the eyes, with vibrant colours, parquet flooring, a classic marble-topped bar and other refined features. Naturally, there’s a creative menu of twenty different cocktails to work your way through, too.
📍 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3NN
2. Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals, Fitzrovia
Cocktails + plants + Instagrammable interiors = millennial dreamland. So the theory goes, at least. If there’s anywhere that’ll put it to the test, it’s Mr Fogg’s gin-heavy drinking spot, the House of Botanicals. This fine establishment does a rather nice job of doubling as a garden centre, given the shrubs, vines, and flowers covering the walls and ceilings. And they have a very lovely floral-inspired cocktail menu to boot.
📍 48 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1QQ
3. Goods Way, King’s Cross
Goods Way is, first and foremost, a New Orleans-inspired hangout with top cocktails and delicious street food. The venue is the sum of many parts, but cocktails can be found at Sweetwater, a fantastic American-style cocktail bar channelling the spirit of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta, or hidden speakeasy Nola’s.
📍 11 Goods Way, N1C 4UR
4. Hello Darling, Waterloo
Dreamed up by a couple of set designers, you can bet that Hello Darling is just as darling as its name. This Waterloo spot invites guests to drink and dine “inside a work of art”, and comprises three parts: Hello Darling, the fabulously extra cocktail bar and restaurant; The Cockatiel Club, a chic basement bar; and Darling House, an immersive house party-style bar.
📍 131 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UR
5. George’s Bar at the St Pancras Renaissance, King’s Cross
Boasting incredible architecture and equally incredible cocktails, this is a fantastic place to stop for a drink if you’d like to feel like royalty. Just don’t leave without taking a good look at the ceiling—it’s mesmerising!
📍 St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, NW1 2AR
6. Zetter Townhouse, Clerkenwell
Taxidermy and “pretty” aren’t two words I’m inclined to use in the same sentence, but Clerkenwell’s Zetter Townhouse has a pretty spectacular way of forcing my hand. This old-fashioned bar is both beautiful and eccentric, inspired by the stories of a fictional great aunt named Wilhelmina. The cocktails here are legendary, so you’d be hard-pressed not to stay for a few.
📍 49-50 St John’s Square, EC1V 2JJ
7. La Goccia, Covent Garden
The central London outpost of Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries is as beautiful as you’d expect. And, of course, the bar at La Goccia serves up some bloomin’ lovely botanical cocktails inspired by the brand’s floral heritage.
📍 1 Floral Court, WC2E 9FB
8. Nine Lives, London Bridge
A beautiful, subterranean tropical oasis, Nine Lives is one of London Bridge’s best kept secrets, as well as one of the prettiest bars in London. Expect lots of lovely rattan lampshades and lush greenery—oh, and a carefully curated list of fabulous cocktails, of course.
📍 8 Holyrood Street, SE1 2EL
9. Laki Kane, Islington
This tropical paradise will whisk you away to warmer climes, especially when you’ve got one of their famed artisanal rum cocktails in hand. The decor is rather tiki bar-esque, but definitely on the classy end of the spectrum. Laki Kane is Polynesian for ‘lucky person’, and we must admit it’s a pretty apt name. Head along for your next night out, you laki thing.
📍 144-145 Upper Street, N1 1QY
10. Oriole, Farringdon
Not only does this bar boast stunning interiors, but its cocktail menu is also a glorious work of art. Arguably made for Instagram, Oriole is inspired by all things tropical. The walls are adorned with palm trees, and the drinks are made with obscure and exotic ingredients that you may not have heard of, let alone be able to pronounce.
📍 East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield Market, EC1A 9LH
11. Sketch, Mayfair
Ah, sketch. Where to even begin? This place serves high-end food and cocktails in breathtaking surroundings. Seriously, every inch of it is begging to be Instagrammed. A sum of four parts, sketch is made up of: The Gallery, a pink paradise famous for its afternoon tea; The Lecture Room, a fancy sunset-themed room serving Michelin-starred food; The Parlour, a more affordable affair with chairs dressed in ballet shoes; and, last but not least, The Glade, which can only be described as a stunning, mythical forest. (Oh and of course there are also those famously Instagrammable toilets.)
📍 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
12. Little Bat, Islington
This neighbourhood bar serves an almighty brunch—but post meridiem, it’s all about the cocktails. It’s the perfect place for a romantic date night, or an overdue catch up with your mates.
📍 54 Islington Park Street, N1 1PX
13. Dalloway Terrace, Fitzrovia
You’ve probably seen this place on your Instagram feed once or thrice, and for good reason. This cute courtyard is known for its spectacular seasonal makeovers, with autumn being a particular favourite of ours. With a stunning backdrop of seasonal foliage illuminated by twinkling lights, it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon cocktail, and easily one of the prettiest bars in town.
📍 16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
14. Lost in Brixton
South London’s jungle paradise is filled with Latin American-inspired cocktails, lots of local beer, plus the option to order food from the market straight to your table. Accessed via a secret staircase in a corner of Brixton Village market, it’s a great spot to visit if you’re not quite ready to wave goodbye to the summer.
📍 Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS
15. Lyaness, South Bank
Formerly the home of World’s Best Cocktail Bar Dandelyan, Lyaness sprang to the head of the pride in 2019. Still sumptuously decorated, still wildly inventive, Lyaness builds its cocktails around a series of select ingredients, with names like Infinite Banana and King Monkey Nut.
📍 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
16. Eve Bar, Covent Garden
Hidden beneath Covent Garden is London’s very own Garden of Eden, brainchild of feted London chef Adam Handling. This bar is full of temptation, indulgence and hedonism. With a huge list of inventive and beautifully presented cocktails, as well as some seriously stunning interiors, Eve is pretty close to being Heaven on Earth.
📍 34 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HF
17. Charlie’s Bar at Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair
This place is primarily an extremely fancy restaurant, but there is also a small yet swanky bar area where you can grab a drink. You’ll be surrounded by botanical wallpaper and interesting art—not to mention the red velvet bar stools marked with the letter ‘C’, which commemorate Lord Charles Forte (father of Sir Rocco Forte, the hotel’s owner).
📍 Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP
18. Burlock, Marylebone
This buzzing basement bar stocks over 200 rums from all over the world, and you’ll find them mixed into an array of colourful cocktails. If you like to party Cuban-style (i.e. dancing all night long), this place is right up your street.
📍 31 Duke Street, W1U 1LG
19. Little Orange Door, Clapham
This place feels just like home, which is entirely the point. Just like award-winning cocktail bar Little Blue Door, the Little Orange Door is designed to replicate the old school house party, with DJs, dinner parties and bottomless brunches taking over the kitchen, living room and bathroom. As you’d expect from one of South London’s prettiest bars, each room is a feast for the eyes, with surprises behind every door.
📍 16a Clapham Common South Side, SW4 7AB
20. Artist Residence, Victoria
This place is really rather special. A stupendous triad of hotel, restaurant and bar, the running theme is art, so you can expect to see a rotating collection of prints and paintings adorning the walls.
📍 52 Cambridge Street, SW1V 4QQ
21. Blue Bar at The Berkeley, Mayfair
Last but by no means least we have the Blue Bar at The Berkeley, a bluemin’ lovely addition to the list. This place is pretty iconic, with its all-blue-everything vibes, as well as an elegant cocktail list served by some of the best mixologists in the business.
📍 Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL
Once you’ve tackled the prettiest bars in London, why not pop along to these quirky drinking spots for an unusual evening out?
Also published on Medium.