London's fanciest cocktail bars

Every night should be cocktail night

You know something's amiss when your drink glass is better dressed than you. So unless you fancy being upstaged by a pink umbrella, a chunk of pineapple and dare we venture: a sparkler - it's probably best to make an effort when stepping out for something sophisticated at one of London's many world-class cocktail bars.

OK, so the little blighters ain't cheap... but that's the price you have to pay for being made to feel like a cross between James Bond and the Ambassador from a Ferrero Rocher ad.

Whatever your tipple you're bound to find something that pleases (and possibly bankrupts) at one of these perfect venues.

The Cocktail Lounge at Zetter Townhouse
49 - 50 St Johns Square EC1V 4JJ
Region: Clerkenwell
Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: The bar at the Zetter Town House plants one foot in the future whilst simultaneously leaving one lagging in the past. The look is all traditional fireside, leather armchair gents club with a healthy dose of modern art and irony lumped in for good measure. It works – and so do the delicate cocktails. Not cheap but certainly worth shelling out.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
The Dorchester Bar
53 Park Lane W1K 7TU
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Hyde Park Corner (0.4 miles)

AIL Says: The fact that this bar resides at the front of the regal Dorchester Hotel only makes it more fun that its dry vermouth cocktails make for some of the best drinking around. History and grandeur go hand in hand here to create an appealing destination at which you can get your cocktail sipping kicks.

  • USERS 10/10
1 Whitby Street E2 7DP
Region: Shoreditch
Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The endearingly over the top Lounge Lover is a bar that makes like looking down the sight of a kaleidoscope. Giant swans, huge ceramic vases, metal cages and a cocktail menu that will have you licking the print on the page – yes, they sound that appealing.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
50 - 54 Blandford Street W1U 7HX
Region: Marylebone
Nearest Station: Marble Arch (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: The Marylebone speakeasy is one of the classiest cocktail joints in town. Renowned for its stylish staff and suave clientele, the faintly gothic edge does wonders for its décor. There’s fire, liquid nitrogen and loud bangs to be witnessed in cocktails more complex than Fermat’s Last Theorem.

    Whitehall Place SW1A 2BD
    Region: Westminster
    Nearest Station: Charing Cross (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: Combining cocktails both classic and bespoke, Bassoon graces the Corinthia Hotel with its high-class appeal. Prices are high but a Bassoon Bellini won’t be just any Bellini and when most evenings are enjoyed accompanied by live lounge music, value for money ambles into sight.

    • OUR REVIEW 9/10
    • USERS 10/10
    The Bar with No Name
    69 Colebrooke Row N1 8AA
    Region: Angel
    Nearest Station: Essex Road (0.3 miles)

    AIL Says: The grand master of cocktail mixology, Tony Conigliaro’s place, 69 Colebrooke Row is a bit of an institution. Famous for the attention to detail, this is the place to come for the crème de la crème of the cocktail game. Drinks must be taken seriously; you will be impressed.

      Happiness Forgets
      8 - 9 Hoxton Square N1 6NU
      Region: Shoreditch
      Nearest Station: Old Street (0.2 miles)

      AIL Says: Happiness Forgets is a dangerously addictive place to drink your cocktails. So chic, so comfortable, you can end up in the subterranean style pit for hours on end. Cocktails are made with a delicate touch and a mixologists pedantry for getting it right. Beautifully dingy and they serve some of the best drinks Hoxton has to offer.

      • OUR REVIEW 7/10
      • USERS 8/10
      Refuel Bar & Restaurant
      4 Richmond Mews W1D 3DD
      Region: Soho
      Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

      AIL Says: Refuel at Soho Hotel isn’t all about celebrity spotting and post West-End shopping drinks. Its menu focuses on classics that are served with skill. Their Old Fashioned is a particularly pleasing blend and if you just so happen to end up sipping one next to an A-lister, then, it is what it is.

      • OUR REVIEW 8/10
      • USERS 9/10
      The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
      12-16 Artillery Lane E1 7LS
      Region: Spitalfields
      Nearest Station: Liverpool Street (0.1 miles)

      AIL Says: This Spitalfields speakeasy might have one of the strangest names on the cocktail scene but its entrance alone is worth a look. Concealed and clever, it’s almost a bonus that the drinks live up to its radical décor.

      • OUR REVIEW 8/10
      Ruby's Basement Bar
      76 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XB
      Region: Dalston
      Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.3 miles)

      AIL Says: A relative newcomer to the Dalston scene, Ruby’s Basement Bar is a cosy cocktail bar for conversationalists to go mad over. Serving blackberry mojitos in vintage milk bottles is the norm around this area and who would have it any other way?

      • OUR REVIEW 9/10

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