While there might be a plethora of cocktail places throughout the city, the most stunning are usually reserved for the best London hotels in order to cosset their guests and provide a discreet enclave hermetically sealed from the clamour of the capital. Throw in superyacht standards of interior decor, superb service and exquisite cocktails and you’ll want to stay all night.
The Punch Room and The Lobby Bar - London Edition Hotel
As featured in our best cocktail bars, these two inclusions to our list are notable for their sense of mixing the contemporary with vintage flair. In the Lobby Bar’s case, relax in one of its green baize-coloured sofas, a sly nod to the snooker table in the corner, amid the minimalist surroundings.
For a more vivifying bar experience, reserve a table at The Punch Room and segue into a noir-esque film set, all oak panels, seductive banquettes and an innovative cocktail list all poured from serving ware last seen gracing the table of a period drama.
Bassoon Bar - Corinthia Hotel
In keeping with its reputation as a place for the well heeled to congregate, this fabulously elegant bar certainly has l’esprit de vaudeville in spades. One look at its seven-metre bar, and you’ll see it culminates in a piano, that provides the 20s-inspired soundtrack to those after-dinner drinks or intimate dating sessions among a sophisticated Art Deco setting.
With a constantly evolving cocktail menu, staff are also unfalteringly polite with a refreshing desire to fashion up another serve.
Dukes Bar - Dukes Hotel
One minute you’re on dry land in St James’s, the next you’re being ushered into an interior worthy of superyacht decor duo March & White and taking your place among the wood-panelled walls and leather club chairs.
What Dukes’s greatest asset is to just just be itself, with its clientele spilling over from Mayfair in order to luxuriate in its relaxed vibe and satisfy their Vodka Martini crushes. After all, it was here that Ian Fleming gave James Bond his license to invent one of the spy’s signature drinks, and create a cocktail icon all of its own.
Scarfe’s Bar – The Rosewood
Not as intimate as many of the others on this list, Scarfe’s Bar still manages to serve up some of the most moorish of mixers in the capital and possibly the most extensive number of drinks, too.
Named after the histrionic illustrator, Gerald has lent his name and satirical bent to the proceedings, and when there, we tend to oscillate between the Iron Lady (Talisker 10yo Whisky, Porcini, Spiced Malbec Reduction and Galangal) and the Start Me Up (Royal Salute 21yo Whisky, Poppy Seeds, Campari, Peach Wine and Horny Goat Weed). Several times over.
American Bar - The Savoy
Nowhere encapsulates the history of the cocktail quite like the American bar. And having been voted as number one in the world’s 50 best bars this year, it deserves all the accolades and epithets heaped upon it.
From staff that can give you the life story of a cocktail should you wish to hear it, to a themed and extensive drinks list (34 pages at the current count), unwind in this most storied of settings where famous actors, style icons and even prime ministers chose to make it their drinking hole of choice.
Artesian Bar at The Langham
Two years ago, Artesian had cocktail drinkers in a spin with its fresh take on mixology, innovative bar staff and drinks that arrived at your table with a balloon attached, which then had to be popped, the essence inhaled and the drink swallowed.
Supporters of this award-winning cause will still be heartened to hear that creative mixes such as Left Bank (Star of Bombay, St.Germain, White wine, Dry Vermouth) and the Vieux Carre (Remy Martin VSOP, Bulleit Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, Bitters) are still on the menu, among this most urbane of settings.
Now you know where to get a cocktail, here’s the ones you should know how to order.