London's top restaurant bars

More than just a waiting area

Restaurant bars can be so much more than just a place to kill time whilst you wait for your table, they can also be pretty darned good in their own right.

For the best of this genre expect a great atmosphere, plush decor, cocktails and bubbly a-go-go and bar snacks so good you may even want to forfeit dinner.

Take a look at our list of the best restaurant bars in London...

Polpo Smithfield
2-3 Cowcross Street EC1M 6DR
Region: Clerkenwell
Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The basement of this popular Venetian restaurant was once a storage unit for meat carcasses. Quick to spot an opportunity, Polpo’s owners decided to turn the tiny space into a bar offering Italian aperitifs like negroni and Aperol spritz.

Hawksmoor Seven Dials
11 Langley Street WC2H 9JA
Region: Covent Garden
Nearest Station: Covent Garden

AIL Says: As well as serving British cocktails from yesteryear, the bar at the Seven Dials branch of Hawksmoorserve the kimchi burger, which has reached cult-like status. If you’re not a fan of the tangy Korean dishtry the lobster roll or the French dip sandwich made with short rib beef and bone marrow gravy for dipping.

  • 46/100
  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
9 Devonshire Square EC2M 4WY
Region: The City
Nearest Station: Liverpool Street (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: With its prime City location moments away from Liverpool Street and its own entrance separate from the restaurant, Anise is a very popular destination for after work drinks. Cocktails are mostly fruity or spiced, and small plates of things like tandoori salmon and chicken vindaloo sliders are on offer too.

    39 Whitfield Street W1T 2SF
    Region: Fitzrovia
    Nearest Station: Goodge Street

    AIL Says: The seemingly eternal waiting list for a table at Dabbous means that many traipse downstairs to the bar instead. This is no bad thing, as along with smart cocktails made with Scandinavian spirits, aged bourbon and freshly made syrups, bar snacks like crispy chicken wings with fenugreek and toasted garlic areof a very high standard too.

    • 50/100
    • OUR REVIEW 9/10
    • USERS 3/10
    The Cocktail Lounge at Zetter Townhouse
    49 - 50 St Johns Square EC1V 4JJ
    Region: Clerkenwell
    Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: The cocktail bar attached to Bistrot Bruno Loubet is run by Tony Conigliaro, who is also behind 69 Colebrooke Row aka The Bar With No Name. Ingenious drinks such as the Drie Van Drie with seaweed-infused whisky, liquorice and sherry have made this one of London’s topwatering holes.

    • OUR REVIEW 9/10
    l'Atelier De Joel Robuchon
    13-15 West Street WC2H 9NE
    Region: Covent Garden
    Nearest Station: Covent Garden (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: The elegant red and black décor of this bar says grown-ups only, while cocktails like the cherry cola cubalibre are frivolous and fun. If you get peckish there is a concise menu of meat, fish and vegetables on skewers.

    • FRENCH
    • 64/100
    • USERS 9/10
    Hakkasan Hanway Place
    8 Hanway Place W1T 1HD
    Region: Fitzrovia
    Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road

    AIL Says: Afterhours lounge Ling Ling is simply a section of Hakkasan’s dining area after 10 pm, Thursdays to Saturdays. A smartly dressed crowd turns up to sample the lengthy list of cocktails, sake, wine, champagne and spirits, plus there arelight bites including dim sum and Peking duck.

    • OUR REVIEW 7/10
    • USERS 9/10
    Mark's Bar
    66-70 Brewer Street W1F 9UP
    Region: Soho
    Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: The basement bar at Hix Soho manages to be homely yet glam at the same time,thanks to comfy Chesterfields, Persian rugs and a pool table. The cocktail list provides a lesson in historical British beverages and the “snax” are good enough to forfeit dinner for.

    • OUR REVIEW 8/10
    • USERS 7/10
    17 Frith Street W1D 4RG
    Region: Soho
    Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: If in terms of pisco you’ve only ever tried a pisco sour, you might want to check out Ceviche’s bar, which is dedicated to the Peruvian national drink. New cocktails frequently appear on the menu, and they even make their own pisco infusions with fruits and herbs.

    • OUR REVIEW 8/10
    • USERS 9/10
    34 Portman Street W1H 7BY
    Region: Mayfair
    Nearest Station: Marble Arch (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: A must for lovers of bubbly, whether you want to splurge £500 on 1981 Taittinger or a couple of glasses of Jacques Picard Brut will suffice. With over a hundred varieties Texture has one of the widest selections of champagne in the capital.

    • 37/100

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