London Bars & Nightlife

Establishment neighborhood
129 City Rd., Shoreditch
Run like an old-fashioned speakeasy, it is easy to miss the black door that marks the entrance (it doesn't help that it's down a flight of dark stairs). Once you’re in, it’s like a true jazz age bar with some stiff, old fashioned drinks. Their super spicy Bloody Mary, which comes with a basket full of fixings so you can customize, is pretty memorable. You’ll often encounter troops of swing dancers ready to dance to the live jazz provided by the bar.
The Connaught Bar
Carlos Pl., Mayfair
Like the luxurious apartment on the top floor of the hotel, the bar at The Connaught was designed by the late David Collins. The art deco interior with its black marble floor, long mirrors, and custom-made leather chairs is a testament to his sophisticated taste. Order a martini, and a server will roll over an old-fashioned cart (the "martini trolley") so you can pick from custom flavors like cardamom, ginger, or grapefruit for your drink. Trust us, it's a memorable experience.
Frank’s Cafe
95a Rye Ln., 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.
Seymour’s Parlour
28-30 Seymour St., Marylebone
The lobby bar at the new Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone is a characterful representation of its fictional owner, Wicked Uncle Seymour. It's a dark room packed with his collections of antiques, curiosities, and stolen mini bar bottles—presumably from many slightly seedy hotel stays across the globe. It's a cozy, jolly old retreat from the shops and bustle of its surroundings. The short menu of drinks is designed by Tony Conigliaro, who is basically the don of the cocktail scene in London, and is full of wonderful, perfectly balanced tipples that each boast a story. Try the Sphinx, a delicious and light champagne cocktail named after Uncle Seymour's favorite bordello in Paris, as the barman won't fail to mention. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel
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