Five of the Best: Cocktail Bars in London

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We’re not going to let the blustery wind and the onset of autumn dampen our spirits. Instead, we’ll be dressing to the nines and heading to our pick of the best cocktail bars in London.

Nightjar

Open seven days a week, Nightjar is a little slice of glamour, sandwiched between two cafes on City Road. Inside, it’s all prohibition-style dark wood panelled walls, low-pressed tin ceilings and some very strong liquor. Pitch up on the low-slung seating or along the bar in your best vintage gear, to listen to the live jazz and swing, with a well-shaken French 75 in hand.

Address: 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB

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Lost Society

Housed within a barn in Clapham that dates right back to the 16th-century (it even appears on some of the earliest maps of the area), Lost Society is divided over two floors and still retains many of its original features, including some gorgeous structural beams. Inside it has a bit of a 20s feel, Art Deco wallpaper, an enormous crystal bead lampshade hanging over the bar and a couple of elegant chaise longues. There are DJs from Thursday to Saturday, and a secret garden to escape to if you’ve had enough of dancing. Get there early if you’re heading there over a weekend - not only to grab a seat, but to make your way through the seriously lengthy cocktail list...

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Address: 697 Wandsworth Road, SW8 3JF

Viva

Is it Dalston or Stoke Newington? We’re not quite sure, but what we are sure about is that teeny tiny Viva is one of the very best cocktail bars in London. It’s all a bit shabby-chic inside - with its exposed brick walls, vintage furniture and all manner of knick knacks, it’s sort of grungy cool (but in a good way). Classic indie and old-school rock is the sound, and they serve up a mean Amaretto Sour. Cocktails and taquitos - what could be better?

Address: 2 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7XN

Bourne & Hollingsworth

Another prohibition-style London speakeasy comes in the form of the Bourne & Hollingsworth. Reached down a set of metal steps just off Charlotte Street, this basement bar is a bit like stepping into someone’s living room, albeit one from the 40s. There's quirky floral print wallpaper, neat white tablecloths and mis-matched chairs, as well as plenty of cocktails (which come served in a china cup and saucer) and cucumber sandwiches. Don’t expect tea here, though, unless it comes in the form of an Earl-Grey martini...

Address: 28 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JF

Arts Theatre Club Soho

One of the original speakeasies in London, this one-time illegal drinking den is steeped in history and used to be the hang out of the Kray brothers. Now a member’s club (so call ahead before you go), decor-wise, it’s pretty cool (think tiled brickwork, period lighting and a hefty dose of deep red velvet) while cocktails come in teapots and the DJs spin such brilliant music, don’t blame us if the sun is coming up as you leave...

Address: 50 Frith Street, W1D 4SQ

Like our pick of the best cocktail bars in London but looking to make the most of the last of the summer sunshine? Check out the best alfresco drinking spots in London or the best rooftop bars in London.

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