10 best new bars in London

From fabulous cocktail bars in London’s luxury hotels to speakeasy and hipster bars with live music, here’s a selection of London’s newest and most notable bars.

1.Velvet at the Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall

Within the luxurious Corinthia Hotel near Trafalgar Square is a glorious new speakeasy-style bar offering some of the best cocktails in the capital. Enter through a discreet entrance through thick red velvet curtains, into a stunning space designed by renowned restaurant and bar designers, David Collins Studio. Red and royal blue velvet furnishings, convex mirrors, a marble fireplace, and specially commissioned art from Robson Stannard help create an intimate and elegant setting. A performance space for live music offers jazz every night. But the main act is famed bartender “The Maestro” Salvatore Calabrese’s unbeatable cocktail list. Drinks created in the 1920s during the Prohibition era like Bee’s Knees and the Breakfast Martini have been given a modern twist. And what could be the best cocktail ever, the Spicy Fifty, a delicious combination of vanilla vodka, elderflower, honey, chilli and lime juice is so expertly made that you taste sweet, sour and spicy as individual flavors.

2.Common decencyNomad Hotel, Covent Garden

The Nomad Hotel already has the excellent, lively Side Hustle bar, but this new bar is an intimate speakeasy. The bar is in the basement of the former Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, where Oscar Wilde once stood trial for “an affront to common decency”. The underground bar has a New York prohibition vibe with fringed chairs, plush private booths – a secret drinking lair. The cocktail menu offers classics as well as inventive house specialties, such as the absinthe-flavored Green Muse or the Headless Horseman with an interesting list of ingredients including Havana Club, lime, pineapple and butternut squash.

3.The lower thirdsoho

Denmark Street has long been linked to live music, but many of its concert halls have disappeared in recent years. It’s good to see that the new bar, The Lower Third, is attached to a live music venue. The drinks menu is also quite rock n’ roll with a selection of ‘Boilermakers’, a half pint accompanied by a shot, such as Budweiser and Jack Daniel’s or Guinness and Laird’s apple brandy.

4.Bantoffsoho

Bantof is spread over three floors and has a pleasant terrace. The owners are keen to make it a place for art, late nights and entertainment. The cocktail menu includes classic martinis as well as an often-changing list of special creations like a chili-topped margarita or a strawberry-flavored Negroni. Bantof supports the artistic community, showcasing emerging artists who can exhibit and sell their work for free. PitCa is currently presenting a selection of his paintings.

4.The little scarlet doorsoho

Opening in the summer of 2022, this new Soho bar features interiors inspired by New York lofts and movie and TV themed cocktails like Mad Men, Sex and the City and Y Tu Mama Tambien. House classics are also excellent, including Little Scarlet Door’s House Punch, a delicious coconut rum drink, or Crimes of Passion, the bar offers a Pornstar Martini with strawberry and cream infused vodka, passoa, passion fruit and bubbly.

5.Alma, soho

Just opened last month, this sleek new bar run by Tony Pescatori (formerly of Nightjar) sits in the subterranean space below Sucre, Fernando Trocca’s Argentinian restaurant. The newest addition to Soho’s nightlife scene boasts a great drinks menu, complemented by live bands and old-school vinyl. Creative cocktails include: The Palm with vodka, fresh dates and mango juice; Clay made with whiskey, osmanthus tea, preserved plum Umeboshi and kunama made with rum, Cold Brew coffee and Ethiopian spice Korekima.

6.Quick, Arrondissement

The Swift team opened their third location in November in the bustling Borough Market. The two-story space reflects the Soho original with bespoke cocktails exclusive to the site. Swift Borough uses seasonal produce from Borough Market vendors. The upstairs bar is a reservation-free space with a classic-inspired drinks and appetizer menu. Swift favorites such as Swift Irish Coffee and Sgroppino are available alongside classic cocktails on demand. Also tasty, Olympian with fig armagnac, lemon sorbet, sparkling wine and Celeste with Beefeater gin, fig purée, hazelnut orgeat, lemon. Good to know, Borough Upstairs offers a happy hour every day until 6pm, with all aperitifs at £7. Downstairs, Back Pocket offers a more intimate, seating-only space with 11 original cocktails created by the award-winning team.

7.FlorattiAldgate

Former Nightjar mixologist Serena Carrino has added a floral twist to the cocktail menu at the recently opened Florattica on the top floor of the Hilton’s brand new Canopy hotel in Aldgate. Flower-infused cocktails include the Rose Mule with Rose Petal Vodka and the Alma, a spicy sour concoction with Casamigos Blanco, hibiscus and lavender syrup. Delicious cocktails aside, this bar has an outdoor terrace with some of the best landmark views in London. The interior is also stunning with an impressive floral ceiling installation with still-drying flowers and flower-patterned chairs.

8.The LibertineCity of London

The vaults of London’s historic Royal Exchange have been transformed into The Libertine, the first venue to serve alcohol in London under royal licence. The bar was under construction so it’s great that it’s finally open. The Old Royal Exchange, built in 1571, attracted traders gathered at the end of the working day who took part in noisy ’tilting’ in the vaults beneath the Exchange. The Libertine is a modern revival of those free-spirited times.

9.Control room B, Battersea Power Station

Control Room B is a bustling new bar inside the recently refurbished Battersea Power Station. Control Room A and Control Room B, which helped run London’s electricity distribution when the power station was operational, have been fully restored to their former glory. Control Room B is part of a 1950s style bar, serving cocktails inspired by the iconic architecture and history of the Grade II* listed building. Drinks include a vodka-based high voltage, a Battery Licker with rum, or non-alcoholic renewable energy.

ten.Small BarThe King’s Cross

The Little Bar upstairs at the Great Northern Hotel at King’s Cross Station used to be the excellent Plum + Spilled Milk. The cozy French-inspired cocktail bar serves up digestifs, cocktails, and wines in homage to the nearby Eurostar terminal.

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