London is a world-class city. There is something here for everyone. For those who like to enjoy a good cocktail now and then, London’s cocktail bar scene is among the best in the world, according to The World’s 50 Best Bars. The 2017 rankings named London home to the two best bars in the world. Last year, half of the top 10 bars were in London. As an aspiring bon vivant now living in London, I had to check out the best bars in London!
We first learned about this list this summer after visiting the Dead Rabbit pop-up at Claridge’s this summer. At the time, Dead Rabbit in New York City was the best bar in the world. Since then, we’ve endeavored to check out London’s best bars to see if they were worth the hype. We are always up for a challenge!
Each bar was an experience and very different from the others. Trying to tackle all of them in a short time period may require a taking out a small loan, as London cocktails are insanely expensive, but I would say each were worth visiting for the experience to enjoy world-class service and inventive libations.
The Best Bars in London
#1 | American Bar at the Savoy
Not to be confused with The American Bar, American Bar at The Savoy was named the best bar in the world for 2017. I had never been to The Savoy before visiting the bar there. As soon as you approach it is clear that your experience here will be special.
The Savoy is beautiful. It is almost like stepping back in time when you enter and the service is impeccable, there is someone at every corner offering to help you.
We had a brief wait before we could be seated at the American Bar, but we arrived around 9pm on a Saturday evening which I imagine is a peak time for them. They had a live pianist with a Sinatra-esque voice and were seated a small table right by the bar. It has a hotel bar vibe, but more like hotel-bar-meets-mid-century-fabulous-cruise-liner?
Though expensive, you can see why this bar has been a fixture on the London scene since the late 1800s. The whole experience is what makes it one of the best bars in London. White-coated servers take your order and deliver their cocktails on specially made coasters. Unfortunately my photos didn’t come out great because it is dark in there, but it added to the ambiance!
#2 | Dandelyan
Located right on the Southbank with views of St Paul’s, Dandelyan has an uberhip, hotel bar vibe to it. Everything on the menu is floral-inspired and fresh flowers are everywhere. The bar has a 70s theme and the tunes were appropriately hip disco-inspired.
Dandelyan was approachably fancy, next to us at the bar was a group of stylish women celebrating a 30th birthday to give you a sense of the crowd. I got the Flower of Five and it was very delicious and served up with a flower on top.
#4 | Connaught Bar
The beautiful Connaught Bar in The Connaught was our overall favorite. Just look at this place 😍
From the fabulous service, to the delicious bar snacks and welcome drink, to the comprehensive drinks menu, the whole experience was nothing short of fabulous. I ordered a twist on the French 75 that had carbon in it, so it was black! Andrew got a whisky drink that had a piece of edible bog in it, which was too cool.
As we left, our server gave us these recipe cards with the bill so that we could recreate our cocktails at home (anyone have any Yuzu juice on hand?). I love that commitment to the craft, it was a nice touch.
#5 | Dead Rabbit
Formerly the best bar in the world, Dead Rabbit came to London during its tenure as best bar in the world. So we went and checked it out.
They even imported the woodshavings to Claridge’s, where the pop-up was based. It was impressive to see the detail both Dead Rabbit and Claridge’s put into recreating the space within the hotel.
It. was. packed. Anyone who was anyone in Mayfair apparently knew about this pop-up and wanted to be there, even on a Wednesday evening! We had booked dinner, but had to wait to be seated. We were held over by the most expensive Guinness and Magner’s ever purchased outside Norway.
Once seated, we were treated to live music on the piano, a delicious menu of burgers and their cocktails. It was a treat and so cool to have a storied NYC bar literally pop up in London.
#12 | Happiness Forgets
Formerly #10 on the list, Happiness Forgets is a lovely little spot hidden under it’s sister restaurant, Petit Pois. Serving up slight twists on classic cocktails, this bar had the most straightforward cocktail menu and the cheapest cocktails of bunch, each going for £9.50.
I went for the Swans Neck while Andrew opted for the Common Man.
The service at Happiness Forgets was the most friendly. The whole bar has a great vibe and very approachable. That said, it didn’t feel quite as unique as the others. It was hipster and felt like you could find a similar spot in any major city.
My cocktails was really delicious despite being strong and was probably my favorite of all of them. This probably sounds really strange, but it tasted like an alcoholic version of getting to the point in a Fourth of July Rocket popsicle where the white meets blue. It was a fabulous martini.
#21 | The Gibson
Even just approaching The Gibson, we could tell this was a special place.
Once inside, that was confirmed. Candlelight, a beautiful bar, lovely little tables and even people decked out in 20s flapper fashion at the table next to us contributed to the ambiance of The Gibson. After a few minutes seated there, we realized that these were not normal cocktails the bartender was mixing up.
They were way more special than just a cocktail! Each drink that came out from behind the bar had something special to it. The ladies (or shall I say flappers?) next to us got drinks served in teddy bear shaped glasses with giant rainbow lollipops. Ours were no different.
Mine was served with a flower on top, wrapped in candy ribbon with a chocolate diamond stuck to the bottom of the glass. Andrew’s was less theatric, but there is plenty of theatre on the menu!
Have you been to any of the best bars in London? Do you think they deserve to be called the best in the world?