Best Cocktail Bars In London & What To Wear To Them

Best Cocktail Bars In London What To Wear Alexie
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From the daiquiri to the espresso martini: you may know what you like to drink, but choosing a venue from amongst London’s best cocktail bars can be just as much of a minefield as choosing what to wear. But don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. Discover the best cocktail bars in London and what to wear to them in our handy guide.

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Top Cocktail Bars, London

London has a whole range of cocktail bars to choose from. There’s cheap and cheerful, posh and flashy, edgy and alternative… whatever mood you’re in, there’s a guaranteed bar to suit.

Follow our guide below to find the best cocktail bars London has to offer along with what to wear to a cocktail bar depending on the vibe.

Cheap Cocktail Bars In London

Ray’s Bar

Set in the heart of Dalston, Ray’s is one of the best bars for cheap cocktails in London. Choose from a menu of starters, mains and desserts and enjoy an eclectic atmosphere of 70s disco balls and mirrored walls.

It’s the best bar in London for a liquid dinner.

What To Wear

It may be cheap but it looks fancy. Go for a slightly dressy look with an injection fun. Play with your style, and if you really want to fit in, try prints and patterns with a 70s vibe.

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Barsmith

If you’re a fan of Happy Hour, Barsmith is one of the top bars in London for 2-4-1 drinks. On until 10pm during the week and all day on Saturdays, it’s a great night out that doesn’t break the bank.

What To Wear

A relaxed atmosphere means you can wear something cool and casual. Anything from a nice top with jeans and boots to a dress with flats.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Cheap Cool Casual
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Fun Cocktail Bars In London

ABQ

Based on hit series, Breaking Bad, ABQ is one of the best cocktail bars in Soho. When booking a table here, you can look forward to an immersive experience where you get to mix your own drinks in an RV – just like the television show. Except in the TV series, they’re obviously mixing harder stuff than cocktails. But you get the jist.

A great place to go if you’re looking for cool bars in London that are as much about the experience as they are the drinks.

What To Wear

When it comes to bar outfits, there’s only one choice for ABQ, and that’s the yellow Breaking Bad style overalls you get given on arrival. Wear a comfortable outfit underneath like t-shirt and jeans.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Fun ABQ Casual
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Nordic Bar

A Scandinavian bar in Fitzrovia, Nordic Bar, is known for its ‘Wheel of Misfortune’. Spin the wheel and drink whatever shot it lands on. But these aren’t just any shots. With names such as Golden Rain and Crushed Skull, you won’t know quite what you’re getting.

What To Wear

With a super laidback atmosphere, you should go for casual bar attire here. It’s got a slight edge to it though, so think leather jackets and effortless cool.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Fun Nordic Bar
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Posh Cocktail Bars In London

Aqua Shard

For breath-taking views of the city, take your drinks sky high at the Aqua Shard. Located on level 31, you get a 360 degree view of London’s skyline with posh cocktails in hand. Can it get any swankier than that? No need for a reservation, just head on up.

What To Wear

Definitely dress up for an evening at The Shard. Think formal, sophisticated and classy – whether that’s a smart dress or chic trouser suit.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Posh Shard
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Beaufort Bar

For an evening of opulence, head to the Savoy Hotel’s Beaufort Bar. Each drink is unique to the bar and made to intrigue and excite guests. In a theatrical art deco setting, with cocktails served in era-specific glassware, every detail is accounted for. Escape the hustle and bustle of real life and immerse yourself in all the glitz and glamour.

What To Wear

Heading here is the perfect excuse to get glammed up. Beautifully embellished gowns and dresses with heels won’t go amiss. A stunning venue for a cocktail party.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Posh Beaufort
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Alternative Cocktail Bars In London

B.Y.O.C.

B.Y.O.C. works in a slightly different way to the norm and is one of the best bars in Soho, Camden and Liverpool Street. Simply bring along a bottle of your favourite spirit and the bartenders will make you cocktails based on your choice.

The idea dates back to the 1920s when there was an alcohol ban in America, which led to the opening of lots of hidden underground bars.

What To Wear

Wear a sophisticated blouse or a cocktail dress to this 20s themed bar. Not too casual but not too smart.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Alternative BYOC
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Oriole

Described as an “oasis of warmth, mystery and magic,” this London cocktail bar is an underground cabinet of curiosities and the sister bar to Nightjar. Oriole uses ingredients from all over the world – taste from a menu of Old World, New World or Orient whilst listening to jazz, swing and blues tunes.

What To Wear

What you wear to Oriole completely depends on what kind of night you’re having. If you’re popping in for a few drinks then casual clothing is perfectly acceptable. But if you want to make a night of it, feel free to dress up too.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Alternative Oriole
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Date Night Cocktail Bars In London

The Piano Bar

The Piano Bar has to be the poshest cocktail bar Soho has to offer. Set inside a quaint room with mood lighting and a piano, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic date. Sip your cocktails to the soulful tunes of live jazz just metres away from your seat.

Because of its small size, you need to get yourself on the guest list by making a reservation or becoming a private member. But its size also makes it ideal date material because it prevents the place from filling up and becoming rowdy. You and your date can actually have a conversation here.

What To Wear

Make sure you’re looking smart for The Piano Bar. Go for elegance and glamour but not too over the top. Classy cocktail dresses or shirts with smart skirts or trousers will fit right in.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Date Night Piano Bar
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Bart’s

If you’re looking for cool bars in London to impress your date, Bart’s is the place to go. With a hidden entrance inside Chelsea Cloisters apartments, it’s got a speakeasy feel. The walls are decorated in quirky ornaments and there’s live music some nights.

With a comic book menu that takes you through the story that led to the first ever Bart’s bar (that of Uncle Bart and his gangsters), you’ll have plenty to talk about.

What To Wear

Bart’s has a relaxed atmosphere so don’t dress up too much. The interior is quirky with a hint of vintage style. Smart casual is the way to go here.

Best Cocktail Bars London What To Wear Date Night Barts
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Best London Cocktail Bars And What To Wear To Them

  • For the best cocktails in London that are as affordable as they are fun, try Ray’s in Dalston or Barsmith in Farringdon. Experiment with style at Ray’s and go casual at Barsmith.
  • If you’re looking for fun and cool cocktail bars, London’s ABQ is the one to try. Dress in the bright yellow Breaking Bad overalls they provide and have fun mixing your own drinks.
  • For a fun bar Soho-way, give the ‘Wheel of Misfortune’ at Nordic a try. Think edgy-casual for this Scandinavian find.
  • Posh bars in London don’t come much more chic than the Aqua Shard or Beaufort at The Savoy. Dress to impress, just like the venue.
  • B.Y.O.C. is one of the alternative cocktail bars in Soho. Bring your own bottle of spirit and the bartenders create drinks to match. A sophisticated yet relaxed spot that works well with smart-casual attire.
  • Visit Oriole, the cabinet of curiosities, to try drinks using ingredients from all over the globe. No real dress code here, so it’s up to the kind of night you’re having.
  • One of the top bars in London for live jazz, The Piano Bar is perfect for date night. Dress up and sip cocktails to soothing, mellow sounds.
  • A cocktail bar with a difference, Bart’s menu comes in the form of a comic book and is accessed through a hidden entrance – a great conversation starter for a fun first date.

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