We’ve rounded up some of the coolest London bars for a seriously bangin’ night out. We’ve even listed them according to their location – because you know – we want to make things easy for you. Here’s a rundown of the best quirky bars in London:
Table Of Contents
East London bars
1. Callooh Callay
O frabjous day! Named after a line from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’, Callooh Callay has drinks that will make you chortle with joy. The intriguingly titled Gorilla Panic catches the eye, whilst the Saint Hellier looks strong enough to take down a frumious Bandersnatch.
📍You’ll find it at 65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY.
🚇 Nearest station is Old Street.
2. The Last Tuesday Society
Hidden within Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities, this cocktail bar has a magical menu of weird and wonderful drinks, each inspired by a strange artefact that can be found inside the fascinating museum. The Last Tuesday Society is very big on absinthe (yikes!), and you’ll find a relatively large menu of different varieties, all served the original way with a brown sugar cube, an absinthe spoon and an ice fountain.
📍You’ll find it at 11 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 4RP.
🚇 Nearest stations are Cambridge Heath and London Fields.
3. Looking Glass Cocktail Club
Another of the best quirky bars in London that loves a bit of absinthe, the Looking Glass Cocktail Club is Alice in Wonderland-themed and bills itself as a “haven of debauchery”. To enter, you’ll have to step through a looking glass (i.e. a big mirror) and you’re likely to be there until the early hours, cocktail in tow.
📍You’ll find it at 49 Hackney Road, E2 7NX.
🚇 Nearest station is Hoxton.
Make your way to The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane and inform a member of staff that you are “here to see the Mayor”. They will then direct you to the normal-seeming Smeg fridge, which you’ll have to walk through to enter the dingy, candlelit speakeasy. The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is filled with vintage furniture and bizarre wall art, while the cocktail menu is brimming with weird and wonderful drinks.
📍You’ll find it beneath The Breakfast Club, 12-16 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS.
🚇 Nearest station is Liverpool Street.
5. TT Liquor
Nobody wants to end up in jail, but what if we told you you could come and go as you please and drink as much booze as you like? TT Liquor on Kingsland Road is set within an old Victorian police station, converted into a three-storey haven dedicated entirely to high-quality liquor and damn good cocktails.
If you were just walking past, you’d probably mistake it for a humble old liquor store (and we wouldn’t blame you) but, lo and behold, if you had just popped in and made your way downstairs… TT Liquor is more than just a store or a bar, it’s a bit of history and a whole lot of fun.
📍You’ll find it at 17B Kingsland Road, E2 8AA.
🚇 Nearest station is Hoxton.
Central London bars
Hidden beneath Covent Garden is London’s very own Garden of Eden. This bar is full of temptation, indulgence and hedonism. With a huge list of inventive and beautifully presented cocktails, as well as some seriously stunning interiors, Eve is pretty close to being Heaven on Earth.
📍You’ll find it at 34 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HF.
🚇 Nearest station is Charing Cross.
Is there any better combo than dim sum and cocktails? Head to Opium; the oriental themed cocktail bar and dim sum parlour in the heart of Chinatown. Made up of three bars spread across two floors, Opium is inspired by 1920s Shanghai with a twist of modern indulgence. It’s not to be missed.
📍You’ll find it at 15-16, Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE.
🚇 Nearest station is Leicester Square.
8. Blame Gloria
Introducing the incredibly bright, all-vintage nightspot in Covent Garden: Blame Gloria. Inspired by ‘an opulent nana with a groupie past’, the Bedford Street basement cocktail bar aims to offer an eclectic, loose and outrageous vibe. Expect fabrics inspired by Jimi Hendrix outfits and Peter Blake, boho, and Bowie influences; all generating more groovy ‘gram opportunities than you can shake a stiletto at. They also do a great bottomless brunch here too.
📍You’ll find it at 20 Bedford Street, WC2E 9HP.
🚇 Nearest station is Leicester Square.
9. Oriole (Temporarily Closed)
Not only does this bar boast stunning interiors, but its cocktail menu is also a glorious work of art. Arguably made for Instagram, Oriole is inspired by all things tropical. The walls are adorned with palm trees, and the drinks are made with obscure and exotic ingredients that you may not have heard of, let alone be able to pronounce.
*Note that the bar is currently closed but is due to open later this year at The Hoxton Southwark hotel – keep your eyes peeled on their website for more details.
📍You’ll find it at 40 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NY.
🚇 Nearest stations are Southwark and Blackfriars.
10. Basement Sate
Choosing between cocktails and desserts is a thing of the past at Basement Sate, where you can pair your drinks to a decadent dessert. It’s a place where a banoffee pie might come with a bourbon and honey concoction, and diets don’t exist. Intrigued? As are we…
📍You’ll find it at
🚇 Nearest stations are Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road.
11. The Escapologist
Once the actual headquarters of a Victorian Secret Society, The Escapologist in Seven Dials still parties like it’s 1899. Get some friends together for pizza, drinks and some serious skulduggerous behaviour.
📍You’ll find it at 35 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LD.
🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.
12. Reverend JW Simpson
This cosy cocktail bar in Fitzrovia was once a vicarage, and they haven’t made much of an effort to restore it since Reverend JW Simpson was a tenant. But it all adds to its character. The dimly-lit room, with its divine cocktail menu and attentive table service, is the perfect place for an intimate date night or quirky after-work drinks.
📍You’ll find it at 32 Goodge Street, W1T 2QJ.
🚇 Nearest station is Goodge Street.
13. Studio 88
Studio 88 is the late-night spot where the music never stops. A live band will play all night long, and they’re taking requests. Want to hear Ed Sheeran, followed by Eminem, followed by Lionel Richie? It’s an eclectic playlist, sure, but if it’s what you want to hear, they’ll play it. Far out!
📍You’ll find it at 47 Whitcomb Street, WC2H 7DH.
🚇 Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
An air-raid shelter in a previous life, Cahoots pays homage to the Londoners forced to seek shelter underground during the Blitz. As in the 1940s, there’ll be plenty of liquor and sing-a-longs to keep morale high. The bar is modelled on a Bakerloo carriage, but, unlike the real Bakerloo line, drinking is positively encouraged on board.
📍You’ll find it at Kingly Court, Carnaby, W1B 5PG.
🚇 Nearest station is Oxford Circus.
📍You’ll find it at Wellington Street, WC2E 7DN.
🚇 Nearest station is Temple.
16, 17, 18. Mr Fogg’s
Each themed around Phileas Fogg and his adventures around the world, Mr Fogg’s bars and taverns are about as quirky as they come. While Mr Fogg’s Tavern in Covent Garden is filled with beer and various knick-knacks from around the globe, his House of Botanicals is a paradise of greenery and gin. There’s also Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration, where you can drink cocktails in a Victorian train carriage.
📍You’ll find Mr Fogg’s at various different locations in London. You can find out more here.
South London bars
Tonight Josephine is perfect for cocktails and hedonism. It’s a fuchsia temple filled with glitter and neon, and even its toilets are worth Instagramming. Inspired by the first Empress of France, Josephine de Beauharnais, the famed nineteenth-century party animal and wife of Napoleon who narrowly avoided the guillotine – it’s definitely got a party vibe!
📍You’ll find it at 111 Waterloo Road, Lambeth, SE1 8UL, or head to a sister spot in Shoreditch if you’re out east.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
20. Bar Elba
Bar Elba is London’s answer to a blissful party island. Embark on a colourful ascension into paradise, admire the arty witticism along the way, and grab yourself a cocktail. It’s also got some pretty incredible panoramic views of the city too.
📍You’ll find it above Mercury House at 109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
21. Call Me Mr Lucky
Much like The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, this bar is also hidden beneath a Breakfast Club. Only this time you should announce to a waitperson that you’re “here to get lucky” and all embarrassment should be left at the door. You’ll walk downstairs, through a bustling underground kitchen, and into this secret speakeasy, ready to get up to some serious mischief.
Take a date and sit amongst kitschy interiors with a crazy cocktail. And then stay for another.
📍You’ll find it at 11 Southwark Street, SE1 1RQ.
🚇 Nearest station is London Bridge.
22. Vaulty Towers
This wacky boozer is owned by the people behind The Vaults, Waterloo’s incredible hidden arts venue. Adorned with props from previous ventures, this drinkery is about as mad as they come. Think treehouse tables and comically high bar stools, as well as espresso martinis and negronis on tap. You could visit Vaulty Towers a thousand times and still find something new each time you’re there.
📍You’ll find it at 34 Lower Marsh, Lambeth, SE1 7RG.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
23. Little Nan’s
Tucked away in the arches of Deptford Market Yard, Little Nan’s is a super kitsch bar filled with one lad’s grandma’s furniture, ornaments, Pat Butcher portraits and treasured heirlooms. Known best for its off-the-wall cocktails served in various zany vessels – including teapots and vases – Little Nan’s is a firm favourite in South-East London and well-deserving of its place on this roundup of the best quirky bars in London.
📍You’ll find it within Arches 13-15, Deptford Market Yard, SE8 4BX.
🚇 Nearest station is Deptford.
24. The Four Thieves
If you’re done with darts and find pool a pain, then The Four Thieves pub in Clapham Junction is surely home to your new favourite pub sport. This much-loved boozer is home to a thrilling games room, and taking pride of place is its own multiplayer racetrack.
Reminiscent of the old Scalextric, the Moonshine Raceway allows punters to race against each other with a beer in hand. Under the same roof, you’ll find a bunch of classic arcade games, a glow-in-the-dark Plonk crazy golf course, and an in-pub escape room experience they call Lady Chastity’s Reserve.
📍You’ll find it at 51 Lavender Gardens, SW11 1DJ.
🚇 Nearest station is Clapham Junction.
West London bars
25. Trailer Happiness
Rum lovers should make their way to Ladbroke Grove, because this tiki-style bar has a lot of it. Filled with ‘cosmopolitan kitsch’ vibes, Trailer Happiness will amaze you with its cocktail menu and guarantee you have a ruddy good time.
📍You’ll find it at 177 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 2DY.
🚇 Nearest stations are Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill Gate.
26. Evans & Peel Detective Agency
This next addition to this quirky bars in London roundup is another one that isn’t just a simple ‘walk through the door’ affair. You have to make an ‘appointment’ to see a detective, ring the doorbell to enter, and step into their office to present your case. Not for the anxious or shy, but worth it for the cocktails once you get inside.
📍You’ll find it at 310c Earls Court Road, SW5 9BA.
🚇 Nearest station is Earl’s Court.
North London bars
27. Near & Far
Taking the Palm Springs concept to the next level, the latest offshoot of Near & Far is set over four floors and includes a gorgeous covered roof terrace with views over Camden market. The whole venue is filled with pastel colours, hot pink lighting, palm trees and cacti, making it an Instagrammer/TikTokker’s paradise.
The booze list is mighty, and boasts a fantastic selection of cocktails with some pretty silly names (Benedict Cucumberbatch anyone?). Add in the fact that all the grub here is gluten-free – AND they’ve got a great happy hour – and you can see why we love it!
📍You’ll find it at 48 Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm, London, NW1 8AJ.
🚇 Nearest stations are Chalk Farm and Camden Town.
28. Bobby Fitzpatrick
Get ready to feel nostalgic as you step into your nan’s living room, or rather this 70s-inspired cocktail and pizza haunt. The decor of this place – another one of the best quirky bars in London – is so spot on that it’ll have you second guessing what year you’re in. Go for the banana cream pie and stay for the rum cocktails and deep fried pickles.
📍You’ll find it at 273 West End Lane, NW6 1QS.
🚇 Nearest stations are Finchley Road & Frognal and West Hampstead.
29 & 30. Ladies & Gents (Temporarily Closed)
Ladies and Gents is an old bog turned boozer in Kentish Town, and it’s a pretty bloody quirky place to spend a few pennies on a few cocktails. They serve up a fine selection of cocktails created by master mixologists, including the very sophisticated Rhubarb and Custard, presented in a classic Bird’s custard can. Not only do Ladies and Gents boast a fantastic array of drinks, but they also make their own gin in the old water closet. Their Highwayman Gin (or “Kentish Town Gin”) is distilled behind the bar using a 16 litre copper still.
*Note that both bars are temporarily closed but they are due to open sometime later this year. Keep your eyes on their website for further details.
📍You’ll find it at 2 Highgate Road, NW5 1NR, or in Camden.
🚇 Nearest stations are Kentish Town and Camden Town.
BYOC Camden not only gives you the thrill of entering a bar though an inconspicuous, unmarked doorway, it also gives you the opportunity to indulge in all-you-can-drink cocktails made with a spirit of your choice. A slightly different way to drink, this bar asks you bring along a bottle of your favourite spirit and pay a flat fee of £25 on arrival, in exchange for a tailor made cocktail experience.
Once you’ve got yourself settled, you’ll have a series of spirit-specific cocktails whipped up for you by one of their expert mixologists. They’ve also just opened a branch in the City just a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
📍You’ll find it at 11-13 Camden High Street, NW1 7JE.
🚇 Nearest station is Mornington Crescent.
32. Knowhere Special
Knowhere Special is actually somewhere pretty special and one of the best quirky bars in London. Walk along an indistinct corridor just off the high street, down some stairs and through a slightly sleazy I-could-easily-be-walking-into-a-strip-club-right-now red curtain. Behind the curtain you’ll find a cosy living room-esque bar, with casual vibes, former jail cells turned to booths, and an ah-mazing list of cocktails.
📍You’ll find it at 296 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2TG.
🚇 Nearest station is Kentish Town.
So there you have it – 32 of the most quirky bars in London. Whether you’re looking to grab a bevvie in a former bog or are wanting to ‘make an appointment’ to see a detective in order to whet your whistle, then this guide will hopefully have you covered. Cheers!
Also published on Medium.