Colorful ceiling at one of the best bars in London

21 Best Bars in London in 2023 (By a Local)

From cocktail bars to beer gardens, pubs, and casual dives, the best bars in London include something for everyone.

I’m a London local who loves checking out new spots around the city. I’m here to help supplement your London itinerary with some of the best bars to try. 

Whether you’re on the lookout for the best craft beer or you’d rather get dressed up and head to a rooftop bar, London has everything and more within its range of boroughs. No matter where you stay in London, you’ll find the perfect bar for you!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

21 Best London Bars

Rooftop at the Standard Hotel

A gem just steps away from the iconic King’s Cross station, the views and atmosphere at this rooftop bar will blow you away

Sunset view of London from the rooftop of The Standard Hotel
Sunset views of London from the Rooftop at The Standard

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 The Standard Hotel’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 203 981 8888

A rooftop haunt on the 11th floor of the Standard Hotel, this bar is absolutely buzzing in the summertime. Offering excellent views of the London skyline, this bar in King’s Cross makes an excellent spot for a London date night or catching up with a friend.

The bar also serves a selection of snacks, cocktails, and beers, perfect for enjoying while watching the sunset from above. Note that the rooftop is only open during the summertime, so enjoy it in the nice weather while you can! Not to worry though, this hotel with quirky interiors offers plenty of other fun bars with their own unique flair.

The Blues Kitchen 

For an evening filled with live jazz music and dancing, be sure to check out one of the three Blues Kitchen locations in London

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 The Blues Kitchen’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 207 729 7216

What elevates a night out from good to great is live music. If you’re in the mood to dance the night away to some top hits with a jazz twist, then look no further than Blues Kitchen. With three locations in some of the top nightlife neighborhoods in the city, this jazz staple is one of the most popular bars in London.

Blues Kitchen has locations in Brixton, Camden, and Shoreditch, so it is likely that you’ll be able to access at least one of the three locations easily from where you’re staying. 

The joint also has some classic bbq favorites on the menu, so you can make a night out of it and enjoy a meal before getting out your dance moves.

👉 Read Next: 37 Best Things to Do and See in London

The Prince

A buzzing beer garden with food stalls, head over to The Prince with some friends for a fun afternoon of drinks and sports

The author Brooke Horrobin and her friend with big smiles at The Prince's beer garden in London
My friend Emily (right) and I enjoying the beer garden at The Prince

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 The Prince’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 208 187 1037

One of the best and most popular types of bars in London are beer gardens. They’re great for watching the game – whether it be rugby, football or cricket – catching up with a group of friends, or just doing some good old-fashioned day drinking.

The Prince in West London has one of the best beer gardens, serving up classic cocktails like Pimms, pornstar martinis, and margaritas, along with their own special blends. This locale is also home to three restaurants offering a variety of bites to snack on, from pizza to pastrami while enjoying the day out with your friends.

Nightjar Shoreditch

Step into a speakeasy where you’ll get to experience unique cocktails and live music within a mysterious setting defined by old-school glam

Two craft cocktails at Nightjar Shoreditch music bar in London.
Funky craft cocktails by candlelight at Nightjar Shoreditch

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Nightjar Shoreditch’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served

Speakeasy cocktail bars are my favorites, and they just so happen to make up some of the best bars London has to offer. This particular gem in Shoreditch is extra special, with its extensive cocktail menu filled with adventurous concoctions. 

This spot is unlike other cocktail bars in London because, in addition to its excellent drink selection, there is also live jazz and blues music to set the scene for an enjoyable evening.

You can check out their music listings to see what’s happening, and take a sneak peek at their cocktail menu online. You won’t want to miss out on this fun venue in one of London’s best neighborhoods for nightlife. They also have a sister bar on Carnaby street in Soho.

👉 Exploring Shoreditch? Don’t miss my list of the best things to do in Shoreditch!

Heaven

This multi-level club located under Charing Cross station will have you on your feet dancing all night long

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Heaven’s Website | 🍽️ Food Not Served | 📞 +44 207 930 2020

If you’re in for a good old-fashioned club night of dancing with your friends, be sure to hit up Heaven in Soho. Despite being a large multi-floor venue, this place gets busy and almost always has a line, so I would recommend going early to guarantee entry. 

This club is LGBTQ+ friendly, and it won’t be long before you’re dancing amongst Soho locals who frequent this joint. Each level offers its own vibe, so be sure to check each area of the club out when you visit and make sure to wear comfy shoes.

The Little Blue Door

In the mood for a house party but your friends want to go out? Find a happy medium at this casual bar with games and cocktails

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 The Little Blue Door’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 204 513 2429

When you step into this bar, you may have a moment of confusion as to whether you’ve walked into a house party. The Little Blue Door is part of a series of four casual neighborhood bars in London’s drinking scene, presenting a friendly environment and the ambiance of a house party.

Another fun feature of this bar is that you can host a dinner party, without having the mess to clean up at your flat. You can plan in advance and rent out a private room for you and your friends with dinner and drinks within the charming yet unassuming venue.

The Ned

For an evening of elegance and class in the City of London, check out this multi-faceted hotel and member’s club containing several unique restaurants and bars

Classic interior view of London's The Ned bar.
Mysterious dimly lit interiors at The Ned (photo: Aerial-motion / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 The Ned’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 203 828 2000

Located in the City, The Ned is a venue that has it all. It’s a Rooftop bar, private members club, and hotel. It’s also home to some great London restaurants – both fine dining and casual.

Each room and restaurant within this central London location has its own unique look and feel, equipped with elegant velvet furniture, sophisticated tiles, and marble accents. The interiors alone are a reason to visit this place, however, you are also not hurting for choice when it comes to dining options and bars. There are plenty open to the public, even if you’re not a member.

Skylight Tobacco Dock

Rooftop bar in east London filled with street food, cocktails, fun, games, and views that are great during any season

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Skylight’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served 

This massive venue in East London is one of the best rooftop bars in London. Not only is Skylight Tobacco Dock one of the few rooftop bars open during any season, but there is always some type of event or activity taking place that you won’t want to miss out on.

The bar offers a wide array of food and beverages, along with activities to enjoy while partaking in the libations, including seasonal contributions such as cozy igloo pods in the winter and lawn games in the summer. The bar also hosts bottomless brunches and a rooftop ice rink, and can also host tailored parties to suit your group. 

If you’re looking to bring out your adventurous side at the bar, I would highly recommend this lively establishment!

Northcote Records

Grab your friends and spend the evening tearing up the dance floor in a bar buzzing with live music in the heart of Clapham Junction

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Northcote Records’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 203 006 5911

Clapham Junction is a buzzing neighborhood in SouthWest London any night of the week. If you’re looking to spice up your weekend plans and visit a place that is guaranteed to be bumping, I recommend checking out Northcote Records in this area.

This bar tends to have a younger crowd typically in their 20s, so that’s something to keep in mind. This spot is particularly great because you can either bust out the dance moves or just relax at a table with your friends, both are offered. There is often live music as well which always elevates a night out.

📚 Related Reading: The Best Day Trips from London

Bar Crispin

Intimate and trendy wine bar with sharing plates containing locally-sourced ingredients

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Bar Crispin’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served 

Another fun spot for a date night is Bar Crispin, a really special wine bar and restaurant nestled within Soho. In addition to its curated wine list of mainly European wines, Bar Crispin also has a seasonal selection of small plates to enjoy.

This adorable spot is also very environmentally friendly, putting thought into the wines they offer, providing house wine on tap which saves several glass bottles per year and helps to reduce its carbon footprint, and sourcing ingredients for the small plates using local produce from independent growers, small scale farmers, and producers.

If you like what you’ve tried, they have a bottle shop and wine club online.

Fabric

Iconic venue home to resident DJs where you can spend the evening immersed in drum and bass, techno, dubstep, and house

Exterior street view of London's Fabric night club during daytime
Outside of one of London’s most famous nightclubs (photo: William Barton / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Fabric’s Website | 🍽️ Food Not Served | 📞 +44 207 336 8898

One of the most iconic clubs to ever touch London soil, Fabric is a world-renowned establishment hosting resident and guest DJs across three spaces. The events are often ticketed, so be sure to check out who is playing in advance and grab your tickets before heading to the venue.

This one’s for the late-night clubgoers, as the venue doesn’t open until 11 pm and stays open well past several other bars in London. DJs at Fabric play a variety of types of electronic music including techno, house, drum and bass, and dubstep. 

Mare Street Market

Cool east London pizza restaurant by day, party by night

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Mare Street Market’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 207 745 2470

Mare Street Market is a lush establishment in East London home to several types of businesses by day including a restaurant, coffee shop, deli, bottle shop, barber, and more. You’d be surprised when the sun goes down and this building turns into a proper party. It’s filled with people chatting and dancing indoors or hanging in the beer garden out back.

The bar offers a generous drinks list, with cocktails at a reasonable price in comparison to many other London bars, and non-alcoholic or low-alcohol options, so there is something for everyone. 

This bar generally has such a great vibe, and I would highly recommend it as a fun girls night spot. 

Bluebird 

Located on King’s Road, the Bluebird is a bar and restaurant home to a spectacular vibey beer garden

Closeup view of a spicy margarita with a salted rim at Bluebird bar in London
Spicy margarita at Bluebird 

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Bluebird’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 207 559 1000

If you’re a reality TV fan, you may have already had this King’s Road bar and beer garden on your London bucket list. It doubles as an excellent brunch spot and also a lovely atmosphere to enjoy some great cocktails.

The spicy margarita (pictured) is one of the best ones I’ve ever tasted, and I consider myself a bit of a spicy marg connoisseur, so that’s saying a lot! You will love the ambiance of this gorgeous beer garden, which has heaters so you can enjoy it throughout the year.

Freedom Bar

Two-floor LGBTQ+ friendly Soho haunt with a cocktail lounge and nightclub

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Freedom Bar’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 207 734 0071

In my opinion, Freedom Bar is the best bar in central London if you’re looking to start your evening with a cocktail in the lounge and cap it off on the dancefloor.

The upstairs of Freedom Bar is more of a sit-down lounge vibe where you’ll actually be able to have conversations in a more relaxed environment. Take the steps downstairs and it’s as if you’ve entered a completely different bar, where everyone is showing off their finest dance moves. 

I may or may not have run into a former Drag Race contestant at this bar, so that should give you a heads-up on what you’re in for if you plan to visit Soho’s famous Freedom Bar. 

Night Tales

Leafy tropical bar with a beer garden and music venue in the back

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Night Tales’s Website | 🍽️ Food Not Served 

Fun in all seasons, this multi-faceted bar and music venue in east London appeals to many. Night Tales is one of my favorite bars in London because when you walk in, you’re greeted with industrial tropical vibes, but if you head further back in the bar, you can get a completely different kind of experience.

Tucked away in the back of the bar is a music venue where you can dance the night away. If you’re looking for a more chilled vibe, I would recommend heading over with a group of friends and enjoying the terrace with some cocktails. 

If you’re celebrating a special event, this space also offers private hire on their daybeds, tables, and booths with table service.

Disrepute

Basement cocktail bar with nice ambiance and leather booths

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Disrepute’s Website | 🍽️ Food Not Served | 📞 +44 207 494 2505 

Disrepute is not your average speakeasy basement cocktail bar. Within its hidden location, this establishment brings class and elegance, straight out of a magazine. Located on London’s famous Carnaby Street, this is the perfect place for a catch-up with a friend or a date night. 

This place has great drinks, where each classic cocktail is expertly crafted and the ambiance will leave you wanting more. From Sunday to Thursday, they offer an aperitivo hour from 4-6 pm, where you can enjoy a cocktail for a very reasonable price.

This is a spot worth adding to your list, and a great excuse to get dressed up.

Ronnie Scott’s

One of the oldest jazz clubs in the world, open since 1959

The infamous neon sign at the entrance to Ronnie Scott’s jazz music club in London
The infamous neon sign at the entrance to Ronnie Scott’s (photo: cktravels.com / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Ronnie Scott’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 207 439 0747

If you’re a fan of jazz music, then it’s essential you make this Soho jazz institution a stop on your London to-do list. Ronnie Scott’s has featured some of the most famous modern jazz musicians of all time and is a great spot for a lively night out.

The bar is open 7 days a week until the wee hours of the morning, particularly on Wednesday through Saturday. 

👉 Pro Tip: It is no secret that this is THE jazz club in London, so make sure you book advance tickets so you don’t miss out on a fun night.

Simmons Bar

Cheap and cheerful bar with drink deals and disco caves

A bartender preparing two cocktails at London's Simmons Bar
Cocktails being made at Simmons Bar 

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Simmons Bar’s Website | 🍽️ Food Not Served | 📞 +44 203 879 9245

If you’re in the mood for a lively bar that won’t break the bank, Simmons would be my top recommendation. With locations scattered across the city, they offer some of the best happy hour drink deals in London, for a longer timeframe, might I add.

You can enjoy cheap drinks from 3-8 pm in the Piccadilly, Soho, and Oxford Street locations, while all others offer them from 4-9 pm. Serving drink classics like the pornstar martini, they also serve all the staples like wine, prosecco, and beer.  

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

The speakeasy cocktail bar is hidden behind a refrigerator door

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 207 078 9639

If you want a proper speakeasy, as in the type that has you looking behind every door and sign to find it, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town will provide that thrill. Located near Liverpool Street on Artillery Lane, you will need to open the refrigerator door in order to escape to this underground oasis below the Breakfast Club.

Entry to this bar doesn’t come that easy, though. Remember to request to see ‘The Mayor’ to be given access to experience the moody basement bar that awaits.

Netil 360

Trendy East London rooftop bar equipped with food, views, and a sauna to take them in

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Netil 360’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served

Overlooking the iconic London skyline, Netil 360 is an incredible rooftop bar in east London, complete with a garden, excellent food and beverage options, and even a sauna. The vibe at the bar is casual, which is unlike many of the other rooftop bars in London that tend to be on the dressier side. 

This is a great place to visit both day and night to enjoy a local craft beer in the sun, take in the sunset in a warm and cozy sauna, or pop some champagne while stargazing. Netil 360 has the ingredients for the perfect date night out.

Opium

Chinatown’s best-kept secret for late-night dim sum and unique cocktails

People walking under hanging red lanterns in London's Chinatown district at night
London’s bustling Chinatown at night (photo: vvoe / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 🍻 Opium’s Website | 🍽️ Food Served | 📞 +44 207 734 7276

This set of cocktail bars nestled within Chinatown’s core is one of my absolute favorite spots I’ve discovered since living in London. The fact that you have not one, but three bars to choose from within this building means you are very likely to find something that suits your style.

This is the type of place you want to go if you’re looking to impress someone, for a few reasons. The dimly lit ambiance and 1920s Shanghai-themed decor will set the scene for an evening of adventure. Each of the bars provides an array of creative cocktails to choose from, and the best part is that they serve dim sum until 3 am to accompany it.

This place is very special, and I would highly recommend checking it out with someone special. 

FAQs About Bars in London

Where in London has the best nightlife?

Some of the top areas for nightlife in London include Soho, Shoreditch, and Brixton. Soho is a great spot for gay bars and clubs, hip cocktail bars, and pubs, always filled with people. Shoreditch is the trendiest part of London and offers many hidden gems from quirky cocktail bars that are great for dates to live music venues. Brixton is a diverse and artistic neighborhood offering an array of great nightlife options.

What bars are there in London?

There are several different types of bars in London, which vary based on what neighborhood you’re in. The selection ranges from an intimate wine bar to a late-hours club, to a pub that’s great to watch the game with friends. Some of the most unique bars are hidden in the form of a speakeasy with different themes. There is really something for everyone when it comes to the scene of bars in London.

Which part of London has the most bars?

When it comes to the English people’s favorite type of bar – the pub, the borough of Westminster is known to have the highest number of them across the entire city, with hundreds. Generally speaking, Soho also has a very large quantity of bars as London’s main area where visitors choose to hit the town.

Is London nightlife good?

London is one of the top cities in the world for nightlife, due to its vibrance, bustling crowds, and lively landscape. People from near and far come to the city, and both visitors and locals alike appreciate a good night out on the town in London. There is something for everyone in terms of bars, clubs, pubs, and lounges.

***

Thank you for reading my guide on the best bars in London! To ensure the safest and best possible experience when going out to paint the town red, be sure to read my tips for safety in London. I hope you have the best time exploring what the bars in London have to offer!

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)

Help us help you travel better!

Your feedback really helps ...

What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.