There are over 166,000 licensed venues in the UK: a remarkable one for every 280 residents.
In London alone there are nearly 7000 pubs not counting the flashy cocktail bars, rammed discos, and continental-style cafes mixing up some of the best drinks in the world.
How does one narrow it down then? Well, one drink at a time.
Here are the best bars in London.
This basement bar on the fringes of Shoreditch combines low lighting and a spirited cocktail list with live jazz and blues music. A great date and couple atmosphere here – just make sure you reserve in advance by booking a table online.
Worship Street Whistling Shop
A bare-brick Victorian themed Shoreditch bar reinventing classic cocktails. Few places combine the odd appeal of Victorian slums with the elegance of a grand gin palace, and few have the wine list to match a notable cocktail prowess – there’s something for everyone here.
Originally built in 1720 as an officer’s mess for senior infantry in the British army, this quirky English pub in Belgravia is a great place for draught ales and proper pub grub. Many believe it’s haunted by a junior officer who was beaten to death for cheating at cards.
This iconic venue has been London’s jazz spot since 1959. Any of the cosy pew type seats create an intimate atmosphere whether you’re watching touring artists or the fabulous house band play into the early hours of the morning.
Ladies and Gents Bar
The aptly named ‘Ladies and Gents’ refers to its location as a former underground toilet in North London’s Kentish Town. It’s not just some cheesy premise though – the locally sourced ingredient cocktails and craft spirits make it one of the best watering holes around.
This Soho bar is all about Italian charm. This is a great spot whether you’re looking for a classic negroni cocktail or even high quality coffee straight from the continent – it has become so popular that one hour booking slots are needed.
Gordon’s Wine Bar
London’s oldest wine bar was established in 1890 and is still family run to this day. The exposed brickwork makes you feel like you’re in a dimly lit railway tunnel – and what a place to sip on something from arguably the city’s finest wine list.
The American Bar at The Savoy
Tucked away in a quaint yet charming courtyard steps away from the River Thames is this classic hotel bar. The list of distinctions here are long – World’s Best Hotel Bar, Best International Bartender, and Best Bar in the Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards. Try the frothy espresso martini and let the piano man play you off into another world.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
The list of famous regulars at this dimly lit, gloomy pub landmark is long for good reason. It’s actually so old that it had been around for over a hundred years by the time the original burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Milk and Honey
This 3-floor cocktail bar in the middle of Soho is normally members only but tourists can get in with a simple reservation. The attentive service of high end cocktails and scrumptious salumi platters in an intimate atmosphere straight out of a David Lynch movie is second to none.
Sky Pod at Sky Garden
It’s hard to beat the view from 155 metres above the city at this impressive drinking rooftop – it’s also one of the only bars in town with its own garden, and an impressive one at that.