Home Lifestyle London’s best cocktail bars – from Lucy Wong to Scales

London’s best cocktail bars – from Lucy Wong to Scales

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Some of London’s best bars are underground (Picture: El Bar De Cavita)

Spicy margs, martinis, strawberry daquiris – who doesn’t love a good cocktail?

And it’s even better when you find the perfect setting to sip in.

May 13 is World Cocktail Day, and we can think of no better way to celebrate than by picking some of our favourite cocktails bars in London.

Unsurprisingly, the capital is full of incredible, award-winning bars, from glamourous hotel salons to quirky underground speakeasies.

Whatever your vibe, we’ve selected some of the best in the capital to put on your list.



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Be At One

Raspberry Beret isn’t just a Prince song (Picture: Be At One)

Best for: free drinks!

Book a table at Be At One on May 13 (aka World Cocktail Day) for a complimentary round of fruity Raspberry Beret cocktails especially for the occasion. 

The fun and fruity drink contains Absolut Raspberri vodka, Chambord Black Raspberry liqueur, blue curaçao, cranberry, raspberry and lemonade, and is sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries. Sounds like a hit!

The one to order: the Raspberry Beret, obviously.

Free cocktail available 13 May only, various venues. T&Cs apply. Book here.

Scales

Scales is all about sleek, ultra-unique drinks (Picture: Scales)

Best for: speakeasy vibes

It’s all about balance at Scales, a modern-day speakeasy and one of London’s best-kept secrets. A little black door in Mayfair bottle shop Drink With Sasha leads down to an intimate bar area, all low-lit and peppered with numerical symbols like a sleeker version of Dr Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum.

The small list of innovative, precision-mixed cocktails is crafted and served by two charming expert mixologists, who also happen to be Scales’ owners. Our favourites were Shiso Apple, a zingy blend of Desi Daru vodka, shiso leaf and green apple, and the sweet, tequila-heavy Clementine – both weighed and measured to perfection using ultra-premium spirits.

Behind the scenes is the laboratory – to use the mixologists’ own words – which houses medical-grade equipment used to spin, dry and distil their one-of-a-kind concoctions ready for each night’s guests.

And somehow, the drinks aren’t crazy expensive. Why weigh up any other options?

The one to order: the zingy Shiso Apple.

Cocktails from £15. 25 Duke St, Mayfair. Book here.

K Bar

Top-rated K Bar is the ultimate luxurious cocktail spot (Picture: K Bar)

Best for: pure luxury

If you use Tripadvisor to decide where to go out in London, then there’s a strong chance you’ve spotted K Bar, which is the #1 ranked bar in London thanks to a litany of glowing reviews.

Their playful cocktail menu is called Reflections, inspired by their jewellery box of a lounge – all sparkling chandeliers and velvet armchairs. Select your drinks from the mirrored menu or let the charismatic bar staff guide you to new favourites.

The concepts behind each are complex and unusual: inspired by the smell of rain, the earthy, floral Pluvio comes topped with a mushroom, while the Babylon melds warming whiskey with fragrant jasmine and peach in homage to the mythical hanging gardens.

Complimentary nuts and nocellara olives are a tasty plus. We’ll give it five stars too!

The one to order: refreshing, jasmine-scented Babylon.

Cocktails from £19. The Kensington Hotel, 109-113 Queen’s Gate, Kensington. Book here

Wacky Wombat

Expect quirky drinks inspired by Down Under (Picture: Julie Spicy)

Best for: crazy flavour combos

Wacky Wombat is a homage to Nico de Soto’s Australian travels where each cocktail represents a memory of his.

Who needs a photo album when you can create the Overland Track with gin, fermented caju, pepperberry and whey to remind you of Tasmania, or the Melbourne bar-scene-inspired Der Raum with coconut oil, gin, amaro, sweet vermouth, jackfruit, koshihikari and lemon myrtle?

Sidenote, fans of Stranger Things should check out the bathroom…

The one to order: Melbourne bar-scene-inspired Der Raum.

Cocktails from £13. Manette St, Soho. Book here.

Lucy Wong

Come for cocktails, stay for dim sun (Picture: Lucy Wong)

Best for: Asian-inspired elegance

In a basement just off Tottenham Court Road, the minds behind Lucy Wong have creatively designed a space that transports you to a 1950s Hong Kong setting inspired by the romance novel The World of Suzie Wong.

From traditional Chinese decor and velvet plush seating, the bar looks gorgeous, delicately illuminated in an orange light that emits from low-hung lanterns and behind textured screens. The cocktails are exciting and imaginative (the fruity and beautifully presented Shanghai 75 being a personal favourite) and the food has no business being this tasty for a late-night bar.

The Dim Sum selection is gloriously succulent, the Cantonese duck deliciously tender and their signature fried rice packs a surprising punch of sweet, spicy flavours. I was not expecting some of the best macaroons I’ve ever tasted here, but like everything else at Lucy Wong, they are classy, vibrantly tasty, and worth a trip back for.

The one to order: fruity Pandan Milk Punch.

Cocktails from £13, Dim Sum from £8. 33-34 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia. Book here.

The Bloomsbury Club Bar

So pretty (Picture: Bloomsbury Club Bar)

Best for: a themed night

When Egyptomania swept Britain in the 1920s, the literary boffins of the Bloomsbury Set were not immune. Now 100 years on, the cocktail bar named after Virgina Woolf et al. is throwing back to Tutankhamun’s heyday with a luxe cocktail menu inspired by iconic symbols of Ancient Egypt, complete with a pyramid divination board and lots of hieroglyphs.

There’s the god of death, Anubis, pungent with Rémy Martin and served in a pitch black goblet, and the Ib, a peachy number that I could easily have drunk three more of.

It’s a massive, pyramid-shaped gimmick, but one that’s fun and delicious enough to be worth £17 a pop. A good chaser for a day at the British Museum.

The one to order: Anubis – dark, smoky and served in a black goblet

Cocktails from £17. 13 Great Russell St, Bloomsbury. Book here. 

El Bar De Cavita

Margaritas, mezcal and Mexican street food (Picture: El Bar De Cavita)

Best for: authentic margs

There is a warm, joyful energy that is synonymous with Mexican cuisine, and Chef Adriana Cavita’s eponymous debut restaurant takes that energy, wraps it up into divine corn tortilla tacos and infuses it into some of the best cocktails you will ever try.

The appetizers are small, but bursting with flavour (this is not a place for haters of lime or chilli) with the highlight being an extraordinarily good Pulpo a las Brasas (crispy grilled octopus with a fresh habanero salsa drizzled all over it). The generous mains make up for the small plates, but you can expect more subtle flavours here, with the mole verde a perfect balance of smoky chargrilled chicken and a warm green herb sauce.

We reviewed Cavita’s basement bar before and our recommendation still stands, its cave and candle-lit vibe makes for the perfect drink, the perfect date, and the perfect ending to a night. Cavita is more than just a window into Mexican cuisine – it’s a spec-taco-lar, sublime success.

The one to order: A Thousand Million – sexy and spicy.

Cocktails from £14. 60 Wigmore St, Mayfair. Book here.


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