Selected London Bars
A chic cocktail lounge on the legendary Kings Road.
316–318 Kings Road,
A multi award winning bar, JuJu has just been named “Best Bar” at the London Club and Bar Awards 2011 and has previously been awarded “Outstanding Mixology and Best New Bar”. Located in the heart of Chelsea on the King’s Road, they serve the finest cocktails mixed by some of London’s best bartenders.
5 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5PF.
Telephone: +44 0207 434 3417
This Soho favorite boasts some serious blending of cocktails. Spread over two levels, upstairs it’s all plush private booths and chandeliers, an ideal spot to relax and linger over a drink. For a livelier night go downstairs where live DJs play on most nights.
31-33 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London, W1B 4BN.
Telephone: 020 7478 8910
The only permanent ice bar in the UK, it’s kept at a constant minus 5 degrees. The ice is imported from Sweden and has been turned into bar. Ice stools circle ice tables in front of ice art while ski suited barmen make vodka cocktails which are served in ice cube glasses. There’s a cover charge but that includes your first drink. The ice bar phenomenon may no longer seem as unique as it once did – the idea has been reproduced at a number of locations around the world – but still a memorable night out.
100 Wardour St, London, W1F 0TN.
Telephone: +44 020 7314 4000
Taking its name from the famous bar in Havana where Hemingway once drank. The clientele is the usual upmarket London lot, credit crunch or no (which is fortunate as prices veer towards the steep). The music is Latin and appealing and, daiquiris aside, the regular cocktails are also pretty special: excellent mojitos and some decent contemporary concoctions. Also, being a Cuban bar, they offer a large range of cigars.
The Connaught Bar
The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, London, W1K 2AL.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7499 7070
The Connaught Hotel – the grandest of London’s grande dames – has had a bit of makeover. Already it has unveiled the divine Coburg Bar and now we have this, a glorious room designed by David Collins and housed in the hotel’s former American Bar. The ever so elegant space is bedecked in metals, marble and leather with art deco detailing. The cocktails are true classics, impeccably executed with the very best ingredients, and there’s also a large selection of champagnes and fine wines. Bar food comes care of the hotel’s new resident chef Helene Darroze. None of this comes at a low price, of course, but that’s to be expected: the Connaught is a world class bar in a world class hotel that has embraced 21st century style without sacrificing any of its considerable character.
The Library/The Garden Room
Lanesborough Hotel Hyde Park Corner, London, SW1X 7TA.
Telephone: +44 0207 5599
Too often bars feel like bland copies of each other. These days retro-minimalism has been done to death and retro-futurism is not far behind; it’s at times like this you long for a return to a world of classic drinking. The Lanesborough has created The Garden Room, for those who believe the life went out of the London bar scene along with the smoke. An extensive collection of Cuban cigars is offered for those who want to complete their evening in style
177 Portobello Road, London, W11 2DY.
Telephone: +44 0207 727 2700
Think Tiki drinks and you immediately imagine the South Pacific. Although, when poured properly, there is nothing so delicious as a tropical cocktail and who better to bring the first authentic Tiki bar – Trader Vic’s apart – to London, than King Cocktail himself, master mixologist Dale DeGroff who trained staff at the Player and the Match bars. Set in terminally trendy Notting Hill on the boho-chic Portobello, the décor is palm-tree retro kitsch, with dark walls, bright splashes of colour to match that in the Sours and Sunrises, and the odd Tretchikoff on the wall – South Africa’s master of the kitsch genre. The crowd is typical Notting Hill cool – celebrities, media tarts and fashionistas are a dime a dozen in these parts – but the bar is every bit as laid back and fun as was intended. And well priced too: a masterful cocktail for £4 in Notting Hill?
131 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 5BB.
Telephone: +44 0203 008 7763
You’ll need to ring a door buzzer to be allowed into this elegant members’ club in Fitzrovia, but hold your nerve because it’s rather wonderful inside: all glimmering, glittering white with subtly shifting lighting and rippling water features. Long white curtains hang around each small table allowing a measure of privacy to those seeking an intimate evening. The cocktail list is full of exciting combinations; we’re particularly taken with the combination of gin, honey water and champagne. Staff are efficient and know what their drinks. The dinner menu is not cheap at £90 for three courses, but it is inspired (the head chef has a background littered with Michelin star establishments), think lobster tagliatelle with chilli and garlic or a dessert of chocolate brownie with salted caramel mousse and tonka bean ice cream
35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7LB.
Telephone: +44(0)207836 5314
Rules is, without argument, a London institution. The oldest restaurant in the city (dating back to 1798), this Covent Garden survivor exudes the tradition and elegance of a past era. Rules cares not a jot for fads and fashions; it continues to serve its hearty English food to those who appreciate it, but while cocktails have always been served at Rules it is only recently that a dedicated cocktail bar has been opened on the restaurant’s upper floor. Glamorous in the most understated way, the bar is dedicated to the crafting of classic drinks; there are just ten choices on the list but they are all impeccably and lovingly prepared.