Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Favourite London Bars

London is awash with bars, obviously. However, it's always a good idea to have a plan (and probably a back-up plan) with you, as for all the awesome ones there are some less-so ones as well. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the great ones, but here are some of my faves that I have made many return visits to.

I have mentioned Bedford and Strand on my blog before, but it will continually be mentioned by me as it is probably the bar I would choose as my favourite. I have taken friends here, dates here, my parents here and had a birthday here, and each time it has been a worthwhile venue choice. I love the selection of wines, I love the cocktails, I love the deli counter, and I love sitting at the bar. I love that it is hidden down some stairs and that you have no mobile reception. I love the old-school 'french wine bar' feel to it, and I love that it is super close to both my favourite restaurant and my station home. A winner in every sense of the word.

Centre Point is one of those weird buildings that looks unbelievably ordinary from the outside - a boring building slap-bang outside the permanent building site that is Tottenham Court Road station - yet the Paramount Bar on the 32nd floor seems like a world away. From this height you get a great view of London and, probably because of my earlier statement, it never seems so busy that you can't get a seat by the window for at least a portion of the night. Although the cocktails aren't cheap, the wines and bar snacks are actually not too outrageously-priced, so this would be a great option to take an out-of-towner before dinner.
UPDATE: As of January 2015, Paramount Bar is now closed. Sads!

I love love love the Red Bar on the top floor of Bam-Bou. I have listed Bam-Bou as one of my favourite London restaurants, and a visit is never complete without a visit to the bar at the end of the night. Last time I was there they made me an off-menu cocktail that I love, but even if they hadn't I would still have been able to find at least enough other cocktails on the menu to choose before it was definitely time for me to go home to bed. This feels like a nice and cosy bar choice, that is a bit decadent without being over the top. Another choice that makes you look like you know all of London's hidden gems! 

There are a few Searcy's bars dotted around now, but the one I have visited the most is the Champagne Bar at One New Change in St Paul's. It feels pretty fancy to sit at the round bar in the middle of the room sipping champagne (or usually for me a champagne cocktail) - you feel as though you are in the heart of the city without having to deal with the people that come with it. There are some good deals to be had if you look online, and you can also hire the whole place out for parties and events.

I mean, what is there to say? I don't think anyone who has visited here would be unhappy to visit again, especially in the summer when you can stand outside by the massive tree (I think this might literally be called the Tree Bar??) and take in the views. Obviously this isn't the cheapest option on the list, but is a great place for some special occasion drinks - my friend had her engagement drinks here and it was such a lovely venue for the occasion. It can get busy though - if you're visiting in the evening I would advise to ring ahead.

Special Mentions:
Bar Américain at Brasserie Zedel; The Experimental Cocktail Club (Soho); Kensington Wine Rooms; Topolski (Waterloo); Oxo Tower Bar

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