Top bars for celebrity spotting in London

We up your chance of running into a fully-fledged celeb

Nothing good can come from following famous people into bars and then trying to take pictures of them whilst they're not looking. Unless they've asked you to. You hear that Strictly Come Dancing's James Jordan? (He's always sending us emails... "I'll be stocking up on fancy grub like Vienetta later today if you're snapper's around?")

But yes, if your legs go all of a tremble when a bona fide resident of Celebville is within snapping distance then you'd best take a look at our list of "most-likely-to-spot-a-celeb" venues below and get that taser - sorry, cameraphone - on charge.

Refuel Bar & Restaurant
4 Richmond Mews W1D 3DD
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: The Soho Hotel is one of those places where anyone can come over all exclusive as a flight of fancy pushes them through the doors towards the £15 cocktails that always impress. Sean Bean will probably sit next to you and regale you with old Sharpe stories (again…) or you might even get what’s known in the game as a ‘Hollywood’, like Josh Hartnett. You just never know.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 9/10
Off Broadway
63-65 Broadway Market E8 4PH
Region: Hackney
Nearest Station: Cambridge Heath (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: The Ultra hip Broadway Market cocktail bar was recently graced by the presence of Natalie Portman – probably celebrating her neu-engagement to the mystical Klaxons front man. If not her then there are plenty of rock star lookalikes to gawp at, plus mean cocktails and even meaner burritos.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 8/10
The Roof Gardens
99 Kensington High Street W8 5SA
Region: Kensington
Nearest Station: High Street Kensington

AIL Says: So the urban legend goes, rock-stars got tired of throwing TVs out of windows when they went wafer thin and turned instead to the flamingos at Kensington Roof Gardens. Of course, you’d hope that’s just a myth but what is very much real is the presence of the A-listers there. Owned by Richard Branson and boasting an acre of lush gardens six stories above Kensington High Street you merely have to sneak into the VIP section to see Jagger and Bowie- almost definitely ‘jamming’. If you’re lucky enough to have ten friends you can even have your own summer BBQ for £50.00 a head with free club entry and star spotting included.

  • USERS 10/10
The Prince Arthur
80-82 Eversholt Street NW1 1BX
Region: Camden
Nearest Station: Euston

AIL Says: Who’d have thought a cosy neighbourhood pub would act as a beeline to the stars? It’s always the quiet ones and with Michael Fassbender, Will Young and Dominic Cooper all spotted in the gastro hideout, The Prince Arthur makes a big celeb spotting noise.

    Cafe Oto
    22 Ashwin Street Dalston E8 3DL
    Region: Dalston
    Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland

    AIL Says: Sometimes far out isn’t far enough, but in the case of Dalston’s Café Oto you’ve gone way the hell out there, so far in fact that the mainstream’s just a haze. Heavily Japanese influenced, it’s a café, bar and all round excellent art and performance space and lo-fi celeb haven. We’ve lost count of the times Jarvis Cocker’s told us about how much he LOVED BBC 6 Music and Simon Callow’s tried to improve our Shakespearean acting. ‘To go or not to go?’ Go.

    • OUR REVIEW 8/10
    Royal Opera House
    Bow Street, Covent Garden

    AIL Says: If there’s one thing celebrities know how to do it’s dressing up and looking fine. At the Royal Opera House Bar they can sail in under the pretence of seeing a show and simply display their dapper suited selves to anyone who’ll look – David Walliams is a regular, although he did attend Swan Lake having been spotted.

    Cafe De Paris
    3-4 Coventry Street W1D 6BL
    Region: Haymarket
    Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: If it’s Made in Chelsea you want then Café De Paris is the place to find them. The perfect place for long silences and scripted reality, if you hang around long enough you might even make the next series. In fact, Café De Paris is also one of London’s most historical venues and actually rather delightful.

    • OUR REVIEW 7/10
    • USERS 6/10
    The Groucho Club
    45 Dean Street W1D 4QB
    Region: Soho
    Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: Since 1985 The Groucho has been hosting the cream of the fashion, film and TV world in its Dean Street location. It’s a members’ club so you’ll need to fins a Soho creative with a large bank balance to get you on the guest list; from then on it’s star spotting paradise. Just act cool

    • USERS 10/10
    Notting Hill Arts Club
    21 Notting Hill Gate W11 3JQ
    Region: Notting Hill
    Nearest Station: Notting Hill Gate

    AIL Says: The creative endeavours of the Notting Hill Arts Club are still attracting the odd famous faces there to support label mates and industry pals. The weekly hip-hop night YoYo is still going strong after over a decade and at the least you’ll find Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts at the Thursday night soirees.

    • OUR REVIEW 7/10
    • USERS 7/10
    Phoenix Artist Club
    1 Phoenix Street WC2H 0DT
    Region: Covent Garden
    Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: Once beloved by washed up soap stars, they’ve now decamped to do Daz adverts and left the Phoenix to the stars of the comedy world. PAPPED: David Mitchell, Simon Amstell and David Cross of Arrested Development. This place is vital and if you’re really serious about the business of show you should be in its basement right now swigging wine to the sound of Maurice the manager’s Never-Ending Show Tunes Playlist (just make sure you get in before the eight o’clock members only cut off).

    • OUR REVIEW 7/10
    • USERS 9/10

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