Top 5 (or 7) London cocktail bars with character

At Henry Herbert HQ, we were debating what criteria a bar had to meet to make it on to our list of London cocktail bars – especially when the options are so vast and numerous in the city.  We came to the conclusion that there must have been something unique, just a little bit different and memorable about each of these venues.  Some we spotted ourselves, but many have actually come as recommendations from friends and customers of Henry Herbert.  So the most important criteria for this list has simply been: a Henry Herbert friend, colleague or customer must have enjoyed a cocktail or two at each of these locations and told us about it!  We would love to hear your recommendations too, just drop us a line here.

1) Evans and Peel Detective Agency, Earl’s Court

It’s not a *whispers* table reservation, its an appointment.  Make an appointment to see the Detective at the Evans & Peel Detective Agency, and you may just get a look into the secret room behind the bookcase.  This is a proper Prohibition-era speakeasy with all the trappings.

2) Foggs, Mayfair

Enter another world, the residence of one Phileas Fogg, Esq, of Around the World in 80 Days fame.  You never know what characters you might meet at the London residence of the esteemed M.  Phileas J Fogg.  Don’t forget to look up and around to see souvenirs from his travels.  As a side note, we think this venue has one of the best dressed staff in London, and we are fans of his House rules (stated on the front of the menu).

3)  Montgomery Place, Notting Hill

Elegant intimate cocktail bar with fun (and generously sized) American-style small food (not quite a meal, but more than just a bar snack) to accompany great cocktails.  Dark wood furnishings offset the metal bar, and the walls are adorned with black and white photographic prints.  Go with one friend or many.

4) Beach Blanket Babylon, Westbourne Grove

We haven’t been here for a while, but we’re told its going as strong as ever – an institution in the Notting Hill/Westbourne Grove location.  Go for a fairy grotto-like experience, and for the eccentric and unique interiors as well as the cocktails.

5) The Savoy Beaufort Bar, The Strand

Champagne cocktails are the name of the game.  Enjoy them in 1920s Art Deco black and gold opulence, whilst listening to the live singer accompanied by a pianist.  In a word: luxurious.

And although we said “Top 5”, we couldn’t help but sneak in a couple more close to Savile Row, where our tailors can be found.

6) Cecconi’s, just off Savile Row

They have prosecco on tap, who can argue with that? We particularly like the chic Cecconi interiors – black and white flooring matched with dark green leather upholstery.  Cecconi’s has  a 3 sided bar where you can sit to enjoy and observe the creation of your cocktail, as well as a three course meal of fine and fresh Italian fare.

7) Sketch, Conduit Street

There is a strong art focus here – most of the interiors feature contemporary/modern art in any kind of media (light, sculptural, you name it).  The question is whether a guest will spot it all or not. Once we saw Heston Blumenthal enjoying a cocktail here.  There are at least 3 bars housed in this venue.  Interiors seem to be refreshed every couple of years so the main dining area never stays quite the same.  And they also do a mean Sunday Roast.  Go, not just for the tender beef cooked to pink perfection in the centre, but for the dessert cart after.

Coming soon: the HH style blog’s Top 5 Hotel Bars in London

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