61-63 Beak Street, W1R 3LF, Tel: 020 7439 2190, Website: www.alphabetbar.com, Tube: Oxford Circus, Show Map
Funky, comfortable bar in the heart of Soho with a refreshingly mixed (and relatively down-to-earth) clientele. On weekdays the bar, which is open from midday, serves decent food as well as a wide range of drinks. In the evenings, however, the choice becomes fairly limited, so it may be best to line your stomach elsewhere. A decent enough stopping off point, especially if you plan to hit clubs in the area.
6 Poland Street, W1F 8AA, Tel: 020 7734 3094, Website: www.amberbar.com, Tube: Oxford Circus, Show Map
Soho joint which has become popular for its Latin-American influenced menu and dance floor. Stays open longer than some other bars in the neighbourhood, although an admission charge applies for those arriving after 11pm.
Atlantic Bar and Grill
20 Glasshouse Street, W1B 5DJ, Tel: 020 7734 4888, Website: www.atlanticbarandgrill.com, Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Show Map
Once popular haunt on London's celebrity circuit, although nowadays many of the city's famous faces have moved elsewhere. Decent cocktails and plush décor are the main draw here, although an increasingly aged clientele (over 40s should feel at home) convinced us it's not the place it once was! Drinks and food don't come cheap, so be prepared for an expensive evening. Open to 3am on weekdays and Saturday.
Bar Red and Restaurant
5 Kingly Street, W1B 5PF, Tel: 020 7434 3417, Tube: Oxford Circus, Show Map
No, not just a clever name, but a rather red bar and restaurant! And what a fab place it is too! A sensual, laid back atmosphere, great drinks, pleasant staff and quality modern European cuisine all go towards making Bar Red a real winner. Indeed, not only are we raving about this place, but plenty of bar lovers and birthday party goers have sung its praises too! Recommended.
The Bar at the ICA
The Mall, St James’s, SW1Y 5AH, Tel: 020 7930 2402, Website: www.ica.org.uk Tube: Charing Cross/Piccadilly Circus, Show Map
This bar, housed within the Institute of Contemporary Arts, is very fashionable at the moment. Attracts a predominantly arty, avant-garde crowd, although nobody will feel out of place here. And, although The Bar counts itself as a members only venue, daily membership (at £1.50) is hardly going to break the bank.
18 Greek Street, W1D 5LF, Tel: 020 7287 2051, Website: www.boardwalksoho.co.uk, Tube: Tottenham Court Road, Show Map
Boardwalk opens its doors between 4pm-3am daily (except Sunday), although an admission charge of £5 is made for those arriving after 11pm. A real bargain can be had on Mondays as a 2 for 1 offer (i.e. buy one get one free) extends throughout the evening. A decent selection of food is Mediterranean also available, while DJs are on hand to keep the vibe going until 3am.
6 Air Street, London, W1B 5AA, Tel: 020 7343 0040, Website: www.chinawhite.com, Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Show Map
With a magical and unashamedly decadent setting, A-list celebrities and some of the best cocktails in town, Chinawhite is widely regarded as London's best bar and club. Wednesdays and Saturdays are the nights to party here, although you'll have to have membership or be on the guest list to do so. A stylish chill-out room and fab music further enhance Chinawhite's appeal, whist virtually guaranteeing an unforgettable night out.
53 Brook Street, W1A 2JQ, Tel: 020 7629 8860, Website: www.savoy-group.co.uk, Tube: Bond Street, Show Map
A classic bar in the famous hotel of the same name, offering excellent if pricey cocktails. That said, they're superbly mixed and, without a shadow of a doubt, among the best in London. The stylish Art Deco surroundings make for a memorable visit, especially as service here is first-rate.
35 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LD, Tel: 020 7240 2662, Website: www.detroit-bar.com, Tube: Covent Garden, Show Map
An intimate and highly praised bar/restaurant which, as well as offering great cocktails, makes a genuine effort to keep punters happy (whether for a birthday bash or just ordering drinks at the bar). Food is also reasonably priced, with a well-thought out Modern European menu that's perfectly weighted for a pre-drinks session meal.
10 Beak Street, W1F 9RA, Tel: 020 7437 0239, Website: www.digress.co.uk, Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Show Map
Digress combines a bar and cocktail lounge which spreads out over two floors. A decent selection of food includes burgers, salads and pizzas, ranging in price from £4 to £8. Lining your stomach before hitting the bar's selection of cocktails is a good idea though. Especially as the happy hour (between 5 and 7 pm) offers half-priced cocktails, spirits and wines.
5 Langley Street, WC2H 9JA, Tel: 020 7836 5005, Website: www.thelangley.co.uk, Tube: Covent Garden, Show Map
With a location utilising some of the vaults and tunnels that formed part of the old Covent Garden flower market, The Langley has two bars, a restaurant and private rooms (all of which have been stylishly designed). Open from 4.30pm to 1am Monday-Saturday, The Langley also has a happy hour from 5pm-7pm daily.
Long Bar at the Sanderson Hotel
50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG, Tel: 020 7300 1400, Website: www.sandersonhotel.com, Tube: Goodge Street, Show Map
Having spent a huge amount of money creating this superb bar in downtown Soho, high drinks prices hint at how the Long Bar's owners intend to recoup their investment! However, if you can afford it, this pleasant and likeable club-bar has a real feel-good atmosphere.
19 Dering Street, W1R 9AA, Tel: 020 7493 1003, Tube: Oxford Circus, Show Map
A lively venue for a smarter, slightly older crowd which offers a bar, restaurant and club. The late night drinks licence extends to 3am Monday-Saturday, although there's an admission charge for people arriving after 10pm. An eclectic menu completes what is a stylish, upbeat and enjoyable experience.
The London Pavilion, W1V 9LA, Tel 020 7287 8008, Website: www.onanon.co.uk, Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Show Map
This place takes the bar concept a stage further, offering eight separate bars each with their own theme and décor. Spread over two levels and with a mezzanine area, The London Pavillion overlooks busy Piccadilly Circus. On Anon is open from 5pm-3am Monday-Saturday and offers a happy hour between 5pm and 7.30pm daily.
17-18 Irving Street, WC2H 7AZ, Tel: 020 7930 0907, Website: www.oxygenbar.co.uk, Tube: Leicester Square, Show Map
If for no other reason than to emphasise its name, this popular bar and dance venue sells 2 or 8 litre canisters of Oxygen costing £8 or £12 a throw. So we're told, inhaling a lungful of pure oxygen stimulates and reinvigorates your senses. Better to keep it as a lifesaver on the polluted Tube we think, but still, each to their own. Moreover, quaffing a glass of champagne or one of the many cocktails on offer will supposedly enhance the effect i.e. gets you drunk really quickly. Of course, we'll leave you to work out whether such antics are worthwhile, or simply a costly gimmick.
Oxygen does, however, offer a decent happy hour (all night Monday and between 4pm and 8pm for the remainder of the week) in which to stock up on cocktails. With two floors of bars and a basement club open until 3am (admission charge applies after 10pm) Monday-Sunday and 10.30pm on Sunday, it also offers decent scope for late night drinking in the heart of the capital.
Red Cube Bar and Grill
1 St Anne's House, Leicester Place, WC1H 4BZ, Tel: 020 7287 0101, Website: www.redcubebarandgrill.com, Tube: Leicester Square, Show Map
Large bar, restaurant and dance floor with a total capacity of around 650. The excellent 220 seater restaurant offers a French influenced menu, while late night drinking in the members club (until 3am) is also an option. With decent DJs ensuring that the dancefloor is kept lively throughout, a trip here is well-worth considering. Red Cube is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
75 Venn Street, SW4 0BD, Tel: 020 7622 4222, Tube: Clapham Common, Show Map
A laid back, fashionable hang out in Clapham which, as well as offering relaxing lounge music, offers up some likeable (well-priced) global cuisine. Understated in a positive and thoroughly relaxing way, The Sequel is a decent venue in which to spend time with friends.
5 Little Portland Street, W1N 5AG, Tel: 020 7636 4992, Website: www.thesocial.co.uk, Tube: Oxford Circus, Show Map
Although The Social can get uncomfortably busy at times, you're compensated by reasonably priced drinks, cheap eats and decent tunes. The bar's central location, just off Oxford Street is also a boon.
Great Windmill Street, W1V 7PA, Tel: 020 7851 0800, Website: www.sugarreef.net, Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Show Map
Huge venue incorporating a restaurant, bar, dance floor and members club. In all, Sugar Reef can accommodate up to 1000 people, while the in-house restaurant offers a South American influenced menu at reasonable prices (a three-course meal with a cheaper bottle of wine costs around £35). Alternatively, there's a set price lunch and pre-theatre menu (between 6pm and 7pm), while for less hungry punters, a decent selection of bar food is also available.
29 The Haymarket, SW1Y 4SP, Tel: 020 7930 1885, Website: www.tigertiger.co.uk, Tube: Piccadilly Circus, Show Map
Very much an "all in" venue, offering five bars, a restaurant and nightclub spread over four floors. Tiger Tiger operates an "over 25's" admissions policy along with a smart/casual dress code (nearer to smart than casual), so if you don't fulfil these two criteria seek your entertainment elsewhere. The restaurant offers a decent choice of dishes such as salmon béarnaise, steak frites and swordfish, with a three-course meal setting you back around £30. Bar snacks are a cheaper food option ranging in price from £2-£7, while Happy Hour is between 5 and 7pm. Open daily between 12pm and 3am (nightclub 9pm-3pm Monday-Saturday).
Wicked (Formerly Cynthia's Bridge Bar & Lounge)
4 Tooley Street, SE1 2SY, Tel: 020 7403 6777, Website: www.cynbar.co.uk, Tube: London Bridge, Show Map
Amazingly, the cocktails in two of the three bars at Cynthia's are mixed and served by robots, albeit more slowly than a human bartender. So if you prefer your bar staff without attitude, it's a worthwhile bet. Unfortunately, none resemble Lara Croft or Anna Nova, plus we've heard a couple have chips on their shoulders. Doh!
13-17 Bear Street, WC2H 7AS, Tel: 020 7839 4188, Website: www.zoobar.co.uk, Tube: Leicester Square, Show Map
Perhaps more of a dance venue than a bar, Zoo boasts two dancefloors and some thumping loud music. However, as the Zoo Bar's happy hour stretches from 1pm-7pm daily it's certainly a good option for hen-nights, party bashes or anyone simply wanting to get horribly drunk! Late night alcohol licence to 3am Monday-Saturday, with the bar also open on Sunday from 1pm-10.30pm.