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London Bars & Nightlife

Bars & Nightlife neighborhood
Bar Termini
7 Old Compton St., Soho
From Tony Conigliaro, the don of cocktail-making in London and founder of 69 Colebrooke Row, and Marco Arrigo, the head of quality at Illy, comes an Italian-inspired coffee and cocktail bar so perfect that it might just beat the real thing. Here, you can have your cappuccino at the bar—made with UHT milk, just as the Italians do—or sit at one of the tables sipping transcendent cocktails served by mixologists in elegant, crisp white uniforms. The space is tiny, which actually makes the experience all the more charming and authentic.
Blind Pig
58 Poland St., Soho
The Blind Pig is a proper speakeasy. In other words, it’s difficult to find. (Look for the old-school optician’s sign and knock). Once you’re inside, the dark, moody interior feels a little illicit in the best way. The low ceiling is entirely mirrored, the bar is a long sheet of polished copper, and the booths are a rich brown leather you immediately want to melt into. The cocktails are tongue-in-cheek interpretations named after the figures from our childhoods—Peter Rabbit, Pooh, even Harry Potter—with a full illustrated menu to match. Aptly, the Harry Potter is a reimagined butterbeer bitter, butterscotch included.
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
8-10 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden
From the infamous "Quatre Garçons," a group of French dandies known for their splashy bars and eateries, comes this pitch-perfect wine bar known as the CVS for short. They've intelligently created a two floor suite of comfort, full of soft upholstery, cushions, rugs, and walls painted dark, velvety tones. It has that clubby feel of the kind of place you'd stick around for hours, and undoubtedly will, for the extensive wine list (pages upon pages of mostly European bottles) and phenomenal snacks—the mandatory charcuterie and cheese boards (sourced at Androuet, no less) and an ever-changing sandwich that's earned top marks.
Dukes Bar
35 St James's Pl., Mayfair
A well-made martini is hard to come by, and for this alone, Dukes Hotel Bar merits a visit. This quintessentially British bar is an elegant affair and a perfect spot to decompress in Mayfair. Have a seat at one of the tables and take in the hushed civility around you—portraits of notable Brits, prints of city landmarks. In a few minutes, a bartender in a starched white jacket will come by with the martini trolley and mix the cocktail to your exact specifications. It’s ideal for a calm drink with your parents (the cigar and Cognac garden helps), or come alone, sit at the bar, and enjoy the indulgence of a perfectly mixed drink, just because.
Frank’s Cafe
95a Rye Lane, Peckham
Ever since 2008, Frank's Cafe—a bar located on top of a parking garage in Peckham—has been the neighborhood's main hub for summertime drinking. It's fairly bare bones when it comes to drinks and presentation—cocktails are pretty standard and you dine at shared picnic tables—but the sunset views across South London make navigating the always crowded concrete rooftop worthwhile. There are a lot of good up-and-coming galleries in the area, too, including Hannah Barry and The Sunday Painter. This means that the best nights to head over are after the gallery openings, when many of the neighborhood's young artists and curators head out for a celebratory drink, and this installment of the pop-up's light, Mediterranean-inspired fare.
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