ELLE's favourite bars

The ELLE team shares its favourite haunts

MOST POPULAR

Rotary Bar& Diner, Old Street

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The countdown has begun… this cool, fun bar/diner - another winner from Jonathan Downey ( Milk & Honey, The Player, Redhook…) and Carl Clarke ( Disco Bistro, Rocklobsta) - is sadly closing its doors just before Christmas. It was only ever intended as a pop up - albeit a ten-month one- but that is half the appeal. Interiors are the group’s signature covetable collection of retro finds - think 60s Nevada diner, with granny sofas and formica tables. It's members only downstairs, but in the main room you can snack on buttermilk chicken wings and rare breed Pig Bombs with your Goose Island or Black Isle Blonde beer. If you're up for a big night go for the pint-sized cocktails at £10 (try the Elderflower Spritz: St Germain, peach puree, grapefruit, prosecco, lemon), or, for the real troopers, the Mezcal flights, six shots for £30 - if your liver can handle it.

MOST POPULAR

70 City Road, London EC1 2BY, 20 7065 6800, Rotarybardiner.com

Susan Ward Davies, Travel & Lifestyle Director

Experimental Cocktail Club, Chinatown, Soho

One of the first of the glut of speakeasies in London, the ECC is also one of the best: behind an unmarked, unassuming doorway, next to a Chinese restaurant, you’ll find three floors of higgledy piggledy rooms, cosy nooks, elegant vintage furniture and a piano. The atmosphere is friendly and the cocktails sublime. It’s better to book, but they always keep half the space free for walk-ins, and there’s a £5 cover charge after 11pm.

13a Gerrard St, Chinatown, London W1D 5PS, 020 7434 3559, chinatownecc.com

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Susan Ward Davies, Travel & Lifestyle Director

Lobby Bar, Edition

With its lofty corniced ceilings, chandeliers, and huge, hanging silver ‘egg’ by Ingo Maurer, this is a very glamorous place to perch your Prada-clad behind and sip a Hoax Martini. The pool table and open fire make for a laid-back vibe: it’s the kind of place you start out with a couple of old friends and end with a crowd of new ones, and the staff are lovely – with none of that too-cool-to- look-after- you attitude you often get in places as hyped as this. It’s a bit of one-stop shop, too, with Jason Atherton’s brilliant Berner’s Tavern next door, and The Basement club downstairs. Love it.

10 Berners St, W1T 3NP, 020 7781 0000, edition-hotels.marriott.com

Susan Ward Davies, Travel & Lifestyle Director

Trader Vic's, London Hilton on Park Lane

This Tiki bar does some of the best rum cocktails in London (don't ask me which one, they're all a similar mix of rum and coconut. Delish), served in amazing receptacles (such as coconuts and skulls). It's great for people watching and you only need about two drinks and you're smashed. Fun times!

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Trader Vic's, London Hilton on Park Lane, W1K 1BE, 020 7208 4113, tradervicslondon.com

Fern Ross, Chief sub-editor

The Bar at Viajante, Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green

MOST POPULAR

On the right-hand side, as you come into this amazing restaurant, the Bar serves cocktails as experimental – and delicious – as the food (they do great bar snacks if you can't get into the much-lauded dining room). The cocktails are seasonal, but ask the barman to make his Hendrick's Gin, cucumber and champagne cocktail. Actual heaven in a glass.

The Bar at Viajante, Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, London E2 9NF, 020 7871 0461, townhallhotel.com

Fern Ross, Chief sub-editor

Off Broadway, Broadway Market

Situated on perhaps the coolest street in London (seriously, I saw Alexander Wang and Zoe Kravitz there during LFW), this bar is within stumbling distance of my house and has – get this – a bar cat called Chairman Miaow. In summer, the Aperol Spritz is a must, but they do a mean whiskey sour too.'

Off Broadway, 63-65 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH, 020 7241 2786, @baroffbroadway

Fern Ross, Chief sub-editor

Duke’s Bar, St James

I’m a very fussy Martini drinker and they do the best here. The bar is cosy in winter and quite small so you don't always get in, but

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the Dirty Martini making at your table is a whole experience which makes it even more special.

Duke’s Hotel, St James Place, London, SW1A 1NY, 02074914840, dukeshotel.com

Natalie Wansbrough-Jones, Senior Fashion Editor

Milk & Honey, Soho

I have never felt more looked after than at Milk & Honey. Their dark interior makes the whole experience so personal - even if it’s extremely busy. An all-male staff (who clearly know their drinks and food menu inside out) are always friendly and willing to explain the list, making sure you have the best cocktail for the mood you're in. My favourite drink (besides their complimentary chilled water with cucumber) is from the 'Fresh and Up' section called the French Pearl (Gin, mint, lime, sugar, absinthe) - I always have it! It is a members’ bar, but non-members can go before 11pm, if they book in advance.

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Milk & Honey, 61 Poland St, London, W1F 7NU, 020 7065 6800, mlkhny.com

Mollie Haylor, Fashion assistant

Big Easy Crabshack, King’s Road

Although not strictly a cocktail bar, the cocktails at the always-busy Big Easy Crabshack are a delicious indulgence. The best one I’ve had so far was a Crème Brûlée Martini, which they cover with sugar and blowtorch in front of you, so it actually cracks with your first sip. A dessert in a cocktail? Yes please!

Big Easy Crabshack, 332-334 Kings Road, SW3 5UR, 020 7352 4071 bigeasy.co.uk

Diana Gavrilina, Digital Photo Intern

Novikov, Mayfair

Another place I love is the bar on the lower ground floor of the Novikov restaurant It’s a very sleek place and full of beautiful people, the service is quick and attentive, and I love how they attach a small torch to the drinks menu so you don’t have to do any strange manoeuvres to find some light to read by. My favourite drink is Zorro Plateado: a mix of Ocho Blanco tequila shaken with fresh pineapple, lime juice and ginger root, dressed with homemade cardamom syrup and Pernod Absinthe, served in a large balloon glass with a bamboo straw – Yum!)'

Novikov, 50A Berkeley street, London W1J 8HA, 020 7399 4330, novikovrestaurant.co.uk

Diana Gavrilina, Digital Photo Intern

Mark's Bar at Hix ,Soho

Downstairs at Hix is great. The bar staff are friendly, create fabulous mojitos and the atmosphere makes me want to stay for longer than I ever intend. There's something very non-pretentious about the décor, too, and it feels more lived-in than other bars in the area.

MOST POPULAR

66-70 Brewer St, London, W1F 9UP, 020 7292 3518, hixsoho.co.uk

Kirsty Dale, Executive Fashion Director

Lounge Lover, Shoreditch

The décor is a wonderful mishmash of antiques, taxidermy and neon lights. It might sound random, but they balance out perfectly for a fun yet relaxed vibe. It’s cool without being pretentious or over-priced: go before 8pm and take advantage of their 2-for-£12 cocktails – some of the best I’ve ever tasted. If you like fruity drinks then go for Happy Endings: muddled fresh strawberries, raspberries and blackberries topped off with vodka.

1 Whitby St, Shoreditch, London, E1 6JU, 020 7012 1234, loungelover.uk.com

Joely Walker, Beauty Assistant

Worship Street Whistling Shop

This place makes its own speciality liquors and mixes them into such delicious potions, it is hard to have just one. The space feels like a secret hiding place, dark and romantic. Best cocktail: Mother's Ruin – gin, grapefruit juice, sage, a frothy egg white and nutmeg.

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63 Worship Street, London, EC2A 2DU, 020 7247 0015, whistlingshop.com

Christina Simone, Workflow Director

Spurstowe Arms, London Fields

This local pub near London Fields is great for everyday of the week but really fun on Saturday evenings and daytime Sundays. It has good food, tasty cocktails and a lovely terrace. It’s always full of young people and it’s the place to go if you live in the area. The wine list is great, but my favourite is the Bloody Mary.

68 Greenwood Rd, London E8 1AB, 020 7923 3115

Espe de La Fuente, Fashion Assistant

Royal Oak, Columbia Road

This has the same feel as the Spurstowe Arms (above). On Sundays it’s packed, because of the Columbia Road flower market, but I love it here on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

73 Columbia Road, London E2 7RG, 020 7729 2220 , royaloaklondon.com

Espe de La Fuente, Fashion Assistant

Rawduck, Hackney

This just-opened small bar near Mare Street is from the family of Ducksoup in Soho. There is nothing like it around that area so it's a great option for a drink and some food before going for a movie at Hackney Picture House. They serve small tapas and platters as there isn't an inside kitchen, and it has a very modern feel and a small terrace.

Rawduck , 5 Amhurst Road, Hackney, E8 1LL, 020 8986 6534, rawduckhackney.co.uk

Espe de La Fuente, Fashion Assistant

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