Best bars in London's tourist locations

Well worth a visit

Visiting London? Welcome! We don't bite... (unless you go see Miss Trixy on Wardour Street - she will bite, but it's extra.)

It's always hard trying to get under the skin of a place whenever you visit a new city, so we've put together a a few of our suggestions that you may come across around London's touristy hotspots. From smart and swanky, to cool cocktails to good ol' cockney grime... we include them all.

Oh and if you do go and see Trixy, tell her we say hi.

Portobello Star
171 Portobello Road W11 2DY
Region: Notting Hill
Nearest Station: Ladbroke Grove (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: Portobello Road is always thronging with tourists, and at weekend especially it's essential to sharpen your elbows if you want to get anywhere near the stalls. So it's a good job that this gin-focused bar opens at 11 am to provide some respite. The cocktail list is long, and the food is very hearty.

    Experimental Cocktail Club
    13A Gerrard Street W1D 6HB
    Region: China Town
    Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: Chinatown is an unlikely location for this bar, where the mixologists get very creative with their ingredients. Take the Kota Ternate for instance, a super-cocktail with rum, spiced tea, an Indonesian spirit called Batavia arrack made from sugar cane and fermented rice, pineapple juice and milk. Book a table in advance to make sure you get past the bouncers.

      Freud Bar
      198 Shaftesbury Avenue WC2H 8JL
      Region: Charing Cross
      Nearest Station: Covent Garden (0.2 miles)

      AIL Says: This basement bar in Covent Garden has amassed a devoted following in the 30 years it's been open. During the day it's a chilled cafe with food and daily newspapers, by night it's a friendly, lively drinking spot. It also serves as a gallery with frequently changing art on the walls.

        Pisco Bar at LIMA Floral
        14 Garrick Street WC2E 9BJ

        Nearest Station: Covent Garden

        AIL Says: Covent Garden's Bajo Bar is a perfect example of how varied London's bar scene is. It's entirely devoted to pisco, the Peruvian national spirit, and while the pisco sour is the house cocktail there are plenty of other novel concoctions to try. It's attached to the superb Lima Floral restaurant in case you get peckish, although the bar does snacks too.

          De Hems
          11 Macclesfield Street W1D 5BW
          Region: Chinatown
          Nearest Station: Leicester Square (0.1 miles)

          AIL Says: Just off Leicester Square you'll find De Hems, the capital's only Dutch pub that was opened by a seaman in the late 19th century. They serve beers from Holland as well as Belgium and Germany, however the food menu sticks to British pub classics.

          • OUR REVIEW 7/10
          • USERS 7/10
          20 Upper Ground SE1 9PD
          Region: Bankside
          Nearest Station: Waterloo East (0.2 miles)

          AIL Says: The swanky Mondrian hotel has been designed by the in-demand Tom Dixon, the man whose light fittings can currently be seen in every trendy restaurant in town. Cocktail bar Dandelyan features his iconic, modern style and a fashionable crowd. Ideal for when you're wondering around the South Bank and the London Eye.

            aqua spirit
            240 Regent Street W1B 3BR
            Region: Soho
            Nearest Station: Oxford Circus

            AIL Says: Get a glorious view of Oxford Street without having to be among the hoardes of shoppers from Aqua Spirit's rooftop terrace. Their cocktails are Japanese-inspired and snacks include sushi and yakitori.

              113 Bayham Street NW1 0AG
              Region: Camden
              Nearest Station: Camden Town (0.1 miles)

              AIL Says: Get a glorious view of Oxford Street without having to be among the hoardes of shoppers from Aqua Spirit's rooftop terrace. Their cocktails are Japanese-inspired and snacks include sushi and yakitori.

              • OUR REVIEW 8/10
              The Thomas Cubitt
              44 Elizabeth Street SW1W 9PA
              Region: Belgravia
              Nearest Station: Sloane Square (0.2 miles)

              AIL Says: Whether you're visiting Buckingham Palace as a tourist or you're a jaded Londoner who's mysteriously ended up here, you'll be pleased to know this a gastropub is just a few minutes walk away. Downstairs is the bar with a large selection of wines, upstairs is a very refined dining room.

              • USERS 8/10
              The Cinnamon Club
              30 Great Smith Street SW1P 3BU
              Region: Westminster
              Nearest Station: St. James's Park (0.2 miles)

              AIL Says: If you're at a loss for a bar after wandering around the Houses of Parliament, pop into the basement bar at The Cinnamon Club. Housed in the Old Westminster Library, this Indian restaurant has a formal, almost regal ambience. The bar is far more laidback however, with plenty of exotic cocktails and a lengthy list of spirits.

              • INDIAN
              • OUR REVIEW 9/10
              • USERS 9/10

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