The best hotel bars in London

Food & drink

The best hotel bars in London

The capital’s toast-of-the-town drinking spots, just steps from your bed

Kate Weir

BY Kate Weir12 April 2024

The best hotel bars in London make you feel as comfortable as if you were in your room, have barkeeps that keep you going past an apéritif, and often let you stay up way beyond your bedtime (after all, sleep is only a few steps away).

Seductive, sophisticated – often both – with DJs and photo booths, legendary cocktails or some of London’s best scenery, these are the hotel bars where you’ll happily spend the night…


Kettner’s, Soho

This 1867 party pad has lived many lives: a French restaurant, Pizza Express, and now a Soho House with an ardent wink. Kettner’s Vinyl Bar, which has DJ decks, is more sociable; but if you’re hoping to put the vintage romance of the upstairs bedrooms to good use, sit up at the champagne bar and get good and giddy. (NB you’ll need to be a Soho House member or a staying guest to visit the bar.)

Make ours a… It simply must be something sparkling.

Open till midnight Monday to Wednesday, 1am Thursday to Saturday

Dean Street Townhouse, Soho

Just around the corner from Kettner’s is Dean Street Townhouse, another Soho House den with a come-in-and-make-yourself-at-home informality. Cuddle up in a corner, where velvet armchairs invite and candlelight encourages soft-lit lean-ins. Or, if you and your sweetheart aren’t quite there yet, pick a sunny day and revel in London-best people-watching on the terrace. (NB you’ll need to be a Soho House member or a staying guest to visit the bar.)

Make ours a… Refreshing Bramble (gin, lemon and crème de mûre) or classic Pimm’s, please.

Open till noon, Monday to Thursday, 1am Friday to Saturday, 11pm on Sundays

The Zetter Clerkenwell

We’re not sure what’s in the water at the Zetter: there’s a taxidermied cat in a dress and boxing kangaroo, a portrait of the very real, how dare you even ask, Aunt Wilhelmina… But, what goes in your glass are the travel-themed works of a mad genius, specifically cocktail conjuror Anas El Bahhaj, whose ‘Stonehenge’ gimlet combines gin, Eton mess, banoffee and apple pie, somehow.

Make ours a… Embrace the mysterious cocktail of the week. You’re in safe – if shaking and stirring – hands here.

Open till 11.30pm Tuesday and Wednesday, midnight Thursday and Friday, 12.30am on Saturday; closed on Monday

At Sloane Bar, Chelsea

You need to be at an expert level of loved-up-ness to handle At Sloane bar’s romance: hush-hush entrance, Valentine’s-card-hued banquettes, candlelight, spoonfuls of caviar and a duo of private rooms to abscond to. It’s so glamorous that its take on a Tom Collins is called the ‘Joan’. And keep the soigné icon in mind when dressing for drinks – ‘Parisian chic’ is the dress code.

Make ours a… Martini with three olives, spicy marg or flute of Billecart-Salmon.

Open till 11pm daily

The Coral Room at the Bloomsbury

In the Bloomsbury Hotel’s Coral Room bar, designer Martin Brudnizki has created a headily romantic, artist-luring hang-out worthy of Woolf, Forster et al, elegantly dressed with shell chandeliers strung from soaring ceilings, sink-into sofas and seductive lighting. Drinks lean into the literary theme (we liked the picturebook menu), with concoctions such as the Joyceian Finnegan (whiskey, Guinness, licorice) – it goes down easier than the book.

Make ours a… Pick your Irish literary ref: maybe the Seamus Heaney-inspired Summer’s Blood (gin, coconut, lemon, cherry and beetroot wine) or Brendan Kennelly-nodding King Puck (rum, peanut butter, hazelnut, chocolate and cherry).

Open till 11.30pm over the weekend

Claridge’s Fumoir, Mayfair

We can’t condone cigarettes, but this art deco drinkery in Claridge’s hallowed halls feels as chic and timeless as Le Smoking. It has served since 1929, and wears its vintage as well as the pricier wines. Amid black-and-white William Klein portraits, there’s rarefied people-watching and the ritziest comfort food around (Claridge’s fried chicken, anyone?)

Make ours a… A vermouth-slugged Martini or bowl of Chianti Classico to nurse.

Open till noon on Sundays, otherwise 1am


Side Hustle at NoMad London, Covent Garden

A one-time police station probably isn’t where you want to end up after sinking a few, but Side Hustle is a little more lawless these days as the bar of New York transplant NoMad hotel. It’s got a warm amber glow, leather-lined booths and drinks maestro Leo Robitschek laying down the cocktail lore.

Make ours a… Tequila mai tai, with passionfruit, red pepper and orgeat – it comes in a skull with a pineapple sticking out of it. ‘Nuff said.

Open till midnight Monday to Wednesday, 1am Friday to Saturday and 11pm Sunday

Sweeties at the Standard London, King’s Cross

You could drink your way from top to bottom in this seductive outpost of the Standard. Ground-floor Double Standard has its lavish brunches and liquor-spiked sodas, and sexy penthouse spot Decimo has a deadly tequila list. But we’ve a soft spot for Sweeties, the naughty 10th-floor bar that sparkles under a massive disco ball and has a little sugar, a lot of spice and all drinks nice – with views that make even King’s Cross look spectacular, dahling.

Make ours a… Reminiscent-of-retro-sweets sipper Sweet Heart (cachaça, lime, pear and violet) or pucker up for a citrusy Kiss Me, with gin, sour cherry and lime.

Closed Sunday till Tuesday, open till 11pm Wednesday, 3am Thursday to Saturday

Lyaness at Sea Containers, South Bank

Biologist and bar-stormer Ryan Chetiyawardana has a very full awards cabinet, thanks to his mixology mastery and knack for nailing a concept. Formerly ‘best bar in the world’ Dandelyan, Lyaness is a worthy successor, with a scientific approach to drinks, speedy bartenders and avant-garde ingredients: KFC liqueur, shisho absinthe, pie wine…

Make ours a… Context Club (Patrón, cherry-blossom, verjus), which will play with your perception of flavour.

Open till midnight Monday to Thursday, 1am Friday and Saturday, and 11pm Sunday

Thirteen at Chateau Denmark, Soho

As bold as Bowie, flamboyant as Elton and punky enough for the Pistols. Tear it up in iconic rock ‘n’ roll hangout Chateau Denmark’s Thirteen bar, which has backlit gilding, graffitied curtains and a ceiling as studded as Johnny Rotten’s leather jacket. Naturally the DJs are top of their game, the signature drinks are storied, and the sushi (especially the inside-out rolls) and Japanese snacks are perfect to pick at.

Make ours a… Lady Stardust (vodka, vermouth, Cointreau, passionfruit, lychee and sparkling wine), which is really quite out of sight… The Soho is a deep, potent pick, and the Red River (rye, raspberry and blackberry gin, crème de cassis) hits the right smoky-sweet notes.

Open till 11.30pm Monday to Thursday, till midnight Friday and Saturday, closed on Sundays


8 at the Londoner, Soho

Beyond the M&M Store, giant Greggs and Magic Mike gyrating, there’s glamour to be found in Leicester Square – you just have to get above it all, eight floors high at the Londoner. Inspired by Japanese izakaya bars, you’ll find a sake menu, restful Shima Garden and Eastern-inflected cocktails, plus all of London laid out before you.

Make ours a… The Namazake, a mix of sake, vermouth, ylang-ylang syrup and champagne.

Open till midnight Tuesday and Wednesday, till 1am Thursday to Saturday and closed on Sunday and Monday

Ham Yard Hotel, Soho

Soho may be more cottaging than cottagecore (historically, at least), but, four floors up in village-cum-hideaway Ham Yard Hotel, there’s a leafy terrace with a kitchen garden, apiary, wicker sofas and plant pots. This Elysian vision is guests-only, but we suggest checking in for city respite. Or admire Kit Kemp’s design nous in the open-to-all bar downstairs.

Make ours a… The floral notes of the Rose Garden Fizz with a dash of elderflower feel fitting. And the main bar’s Soho Stories menu sprees through the ‘hood’s history with drinks named: Peachy Pride, Nude and Hip Street.

Open till 10.30pm daily

Flute at Broadwick Soho

Named for a 19th-century flute-maker who lived on Broadwick Street, Broadwick Soho‘s maximalist bar is as busy as a jazz solo, with its magpie’s thirst for shiny things, palm-frond carpet and colour here, there and everywhere. But it’s the dual-aspect wraparound terrace that draws gasps, with views that roll out city-wide. A super-central spot that can rightfully toot its own, uh, flute.

Make ours a… Cocktail ringleader Greg Almeida keeps to the classics here – the Blue Hawaiian, featuring natural butterfly-pea colouring, feels suitably flamboyant.

Open till midnight Sunday to Thursday, till 12.30am Friday and Saturday


Le Magritte Bar & Terrace at the Beaumont, Mayfair

The real surrealist Magritte work (Le Maître d’École) hanging here makes us want to order a plum floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat. But Le Magritte – a Twenties, American-style haunt, with Rat Pack swagger – has a straightforward Bourbon-sipping charm to it. There are rich woods and leathers within, and a terrace overlooking Brown Hart Gardens for summer days.

Make ours a… Manhattan. Or a whisk(e)y neat.

Open till 11.45pm Monday to Saturday, 10.45pm Sundays and bank holidays

Blue Bar at the Berkeley, Knightsbridge

The Berkeley’s bar is indeed blue (Lutyens blue, specifically), but it’s a spirit-lifter in all senses. The menu gives oldies but very goodies a lift, muddling up cardamom, rose water and rye; or lime sherbert and bergamot liqueur with gin. It’s international and as monied, but all can enjoy its chic comfort snacks, star-gazing pavilion and cosy corners.

Make ours a… Here’s the place to crack open the champagne, with a side of caviar, naturally.

Open till 1am Tuesday to Saturday, closed Monday and Tuesday

Rivoli Bar at the Ritz, Mayfair

The opulent Rivoli Bar looks like King Midas had a few too many £500 Sazeracs and stumbled into everything. But don’t let the shininess distract you from a drinks list befitting an institution. Named after intentions (oddly, ‘come into a fortune’ isn’t one), signatures aim to surprise while classics hold their own, and you can even ask the bartenders for a custom concoction.

Make ours a… There are few more historic sips than the Negroni, with 1960s gin, 1970s Campari and 1980s Martini.

Open till 11.30pm Monday to Saturday, 10.30pm Sunday

The Connaught Bar, Mayfair

The Connaught Bar is a class-act all round, from its silver and racing-green David Collins decor, to the smoothness of the service, to its Masterpieces menu of favourites that built the bar’s rep. This is hospitality as tightly tailored as the staff’s suits, bolstered by an impressive amount of behind-the-scenes work.

Make ours a… It has to be a Martini, which is wheeled over to you on a trolley and customised to your taste.

Open till 1am, closed on Sundays


The bar at the Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone

Chiltern Firehouse’s bar may be ‘slebby’, but it’s laidback too. Ceilings are greenery-strung, there are chintz-clad corners, the crab doughnuts deserve the fame, and drinks are pricey yet potent, some using rare spirits. You could have a round here and call it a night (you’ll need to get food in during peak times), but blag your way into the VVVIP Laddershed and you’ll have won at London nightlife.

Make ours a… Fruity and fragrant champagne cocktail, with violet syrup, strawberry liqueur or plum jam.

Open till the last guest gets sleepy

The Twenty Two, Mayfair

Guests staying at the Twenty Two should secure their spot at the hotel’s discreet downstairs nightclub early to avoid disappointment. It’s usually members only, but some guests can enter while there’s space. When there’s a chance to – allegedly – see Naomi Campbell take to the decks and other starry goings-on (no phones allowed, of course), it’s worth the wangle.

Make ours a… Shots, shots, shots – there’s a wide selection of tequilas and mezcals.

Open till late

Shoreditch House

We’d pay good money to spend an evening as a shutterbug in a photo booth at Shoreditch House’s fifth-floor bar. But we wouldn’t want to miss the fun – phones down, glasses up, tune into the DJ and challenge creative sorts to ping-pong. Sneak up to the rooftop for serious cityscape lust or see what gig or masterclass is happening in the Library.

Make ours a… Paloma or hibiscus lemonade with gin. But, there’s an excellent ‘no and low’ list too.

Open till midnight Sunday to Tuesday, 1am Wednesday, 3am Thursday to Saturday


The Princess Royal Notting Hill

With a vintage wooden horseshoe bar and leather stools, a serene garden off to one side, and a top selection of taps, the Princess Royal is a convivial sort, with gastro clout. There’s a raw bar and Med eatery with a ravishing menu, but pints in the sunshine are equally lovely here. And if you want to turn it into a crawl, check out our Notting Hill neighbourhood guide.

Make ours a… Grain, grape and distillates are given equal footing here. And we like the novelty of the cocktails on tap.

Open till 11.30pm Monday to Saturday, 11pm Sunday

Bull & Last, Hampstead

Most come to the Bull & Last to tear into buttermilk-fried chicken, Béarnaise-slathered sirloin or the naughtiest of puds after a stroll on Hampstead Heath. But you could easily lose an afternoon here nursing pints of So Solid Brew (an exclusive clink-able collab with the London brewery). It’s informal, friendly and has a great range of seasonal cocktails.

Make ours a… Gimlet (gin and lime cordial), which has garnered column inches.

Open 11pm Monday to Thursday, midnight at weekends, 10.30pm Sunday


For a Negroni

Cecconi’s at the Ned in Bank has ray-of-sunshine Negronis in buzzy surrounds. Or check-in at Kettner’s and you’ll be a stone’s throw from Bar Termini, where cocktail god Tony Conigliaro has cornered the Negroni market.

For a Vesper Martini

Without the Vesper Martini at Duke’s Bar, James Bond might have been a lager guy… Writer Ian Fleming was a regular, and the iconic drink may have inspired the ‘shaken, not stirred’ line.

For a G&T

Prop up the marble counter at Rosewood London’s Holborn Dining Room for a lengthy selection of seasonal and fruity gins, before retiring to Scarfe’s Bar for a cocktail.

For a White Lady or Corpse Reviver

Since 1893, the Savoy’s American Bar has served stiff drinks to Churchill, Hemingway and other strong constitutions, popularising the White Lady (gin, Cointreau, lemon, egg white) and inventing the Corpse Reviver (gin, triple sec, vermouth, lemon and absinthe).

And for more suave bars and good cheers check out the rest of our hotels in London.

Zetter Townhouse image by Jonathan Sharp, Kettner’s image by Hannah Dace, The Beaumont image by Helen Cathcart, Lyaness image by Roman Shabodalov, and Thirteen image by Mel Yates.