There is something special about a hotel bar. When done right (and trust us, many are not) they’re a flagship of laidback but buzzy drinking destinations, where you can dip in for a quick tipple or stay the whole evening – and that’s not to mention the fact they usually serve the best cocktails in town.
With its plethora of five-star establishments, it should come as no surprise the hotel bars in London are some of the best in the world. The city has a long history of glamorous hotel bars, with many of London’s best having played host to presidents, Hollywood stars, singers and even royalty. While the exclusivity may have slipped in recent years, the undeniable allure of a hotel bar remains – and nothing quite beats knowing that your room for the night is a mere elevator ride away.
Whether you’re looking for a pre-dinner tipple before painting the town red, a final nightcap or even a spot to while away a whole evening, these are the very best hotel bars in London.
The American Bar at The Savoy
No list of London’s best hotel bars could ever be complete without a mention of The Savoy’s American Bar. Staking a claim as the city’s longest-running cocktail bar having first opened in 1893, The American Bar has played host to some of the world’s most famous names; if walls could talk, this bar would have a story or two to tell. The boundless history of the bar is evident from the moment you walk in, with a glitzy mirrored bar stacked high with premium bottles, a gentle twinkling soundtrack from the central grand piano and white-suited bartenders ready to whip up your favorite poison.
While The American Bar proudly celebrates its long history, the bar team clearly has eyes on the future too. Its cocktail menu is refreshingly innovative, with plenty of fun twists on everyone’s favorite classic recipes. As well as a good list of champagnes, there are some intriguing English sparkling wines. Soak it all up with a caviar selection, or one of the bar’s generous sharing platters.
The Aubrey at The Mandarin Oriental
Surely one of the glitziest hotels in all of London, The Mandarin Oriental is a must for any discerning traveler. Tucked away beneath the hotel’s ground floor is its uber-cool bar, The Aubrey, which since opening earlier this year, has been welcoming some of the city’s most glamorous dwellers. Taking inspiration from the Japanese izakaya concept, The Aubrey serves up a delectable selection of small plates – ranging from sashimi to Wagyu fried rice – all of which are to be washed down with one (or two, or three) of the bar’s creative cocktails.
The space itself is a design lover’s dream, with a rabbit’s den of different rooms and hidden nooks opening out on to one another. There’s even a hidden six-seater omakase bar offering a truly intimate one-of-a-kind tasting menu, accompanied by a selection of delectable small plates.
Red Room and The Connaught Bar at The Connaught
Guests at The Connaught are spoilt for choice when it comes to first-rate watering holes. The prestigious London hotel is home to four distinct bars and while, if you have the time and the drinking capacity, each is worth a visit, the standouts are The Connaught Bar and the Red Room. The former is routinely named as not just one of the best hotel bars in London, but the best in the world. The menu is awash with seriously good drinks, from classic cocktails to more inventive creations, but don’t miss the signature Martini Trolley, which weaves its way through the tables serving up what just happens to be the perfect martini.
The Red Room, which marks the latest addition to The Connaught having opened last year, puts wine at the forefront of its menu, with plenty of exciting labels available by the glass. Accessed only via a secret curtained doorway from the neighboring Champagne Room, the Red Room is gorgeously intimate, with cozy cushioned seats basking in a rose-hued glow. The space was specifically designed to showcase the works of four female artists, whose red-toned works line the walls.
Artesian at The Langham
Found on the ground floor of the illustrious Langham hotel, Artesian is all at once welcoming, glamorous and confident, with a rotating cocktail menu that continues to push the boundaries of modern mixology. While the contemporary flavor combos are undeniably intriguing, if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, Artesian’s bar team has some killer classics up their sleeves too.
The setting is just as thoughtful as the drinks, with a glitzy silver and blue color scheme imagined by late designer David Collins. During the day, enormous windows flood the space with light, while after sunset, moody lighting creates the perfect atmosphere for a post-dinner tipple. After one too many cocktails, head next door to The Wigmore – The Langham’s posh take on a classic British pub – where the outlandishly indulgent cheese toasties are the perfect choice for soaking up the alcohol. artesian-bar.co.uk
Le Magritte at The Beaumont
Having re-opened last year following an extensive refurbishment, The Beaumont is firmly back on the list of London’s best hotels. The property is home to several bars and restaurants, but guests shouldn’t miss a visit to Le Magritte. Fashioning itself as one of London’s iconic American bars, Le Magritte is awash with flashy yet sophisticated design details, from the back-lit alabaster columns that flank the entrance to the swish red leather bar, behind which sits the namesake Magritte piece.
The Magritte theme isn’t all in aesthetics, however, with the influence of the great artist apparent in the menu. Signature cocktails are listed under ‘Cesi n’est pas’ and classics fall under ‘Cesi est un’ with each tipple named after one of his most celebrated works. Adjoining the bar is a secluded little terrace, perfect for alfresco aperitifs. thebeaumont.com
Lyaness Bar at The Sea Containers
Standing proud on London’s Southbank, The Sea Containers is quickly climbing the ranks to become one of the city’s favorite hotels – and its flagship bar is also garnering a reputation as one of the capital’s best. Sitting at the very front of the hotel, with a front-row view across the Thames, Lyaness is the brainchild of bartender extraordinaire Ryan Chetiyawardana AKA Mr Lyan himself.
Outlandishly inventive cocktails without the naff gimmicks are the signature here, with the bar team searching far and wide to find intriguing flavor combinations and unusual ingredients. Unlike most bars which might categorize cocktails by flavor or spirit, Lyaness divides its menu by core ingredient. Don’t fret if you find this makes it hard to choose – the bar team are exceptionally knowledgeable and will relish in the challenge of helping you find your perfect tipple. There’s a nice selection of small plates, too.
Nobu Bar at Nobu Portman Square
As the world’s most famous brand of restaurant-hotels, it should come as no surprise that Nobu packs a serious punch when it comes to bars. Its Portman Square hotel, found in the heart of London’s upmarket Marylebone neighborhood, is no exception. All jewel-like blues, dark woods and low lighting, Nobu Bar proudly exudes a sultry atmosphere, with an abundance of comfy leather seats just inviting you to take a perch for the evening.
The cocktail list is comprehensive with Japanese flavors and spirits taking center stage, as well as a few more international influences. Accompanying the cocktails is an impressive range of sakes and a huge selection of whiskies – Japanese imports take up the majority of the menu real estate, naturally.