Winter’s frost has reached the British capital, making it the perfect time to seek out the best London cocktail bars and their cosy nooks. To help you pinpoint the perfect winter haven, here’s our guide.
Our best London cocktail bars for winter
Louie, Covent Garden
An upstairs accompaniment to Louie restaurant, this New Orleans-inspired bar and terrace in Covent Garden is a bluesy, jazzy fireside highlight. With live music every Wednesday night and DJs at the weekends, the small but lively space can offer buzz or calm. The lounge-style bar, filled by Parisian interior design studio Dion & Arles, houses velvet sofas and fireplace stools, alongside an awning-covered leafy courtyard and finer design details that will lead your eyes about the room. The cocktail menu is regularly altered, and has had a winter overhaul, featuring a chocolate and beer foam ‘stout’ and a warming absinthe frappé, while a baked bread reduction also makes it onto the list.
13-15 West St, London WC2H 9NE, louie-london.com (opens in new tab)
Common Decency at Nomad Hotel, Covent Garden
A sure favourite and recently opened in the basement of NoMad Hotels’ London venture in Covent Garden, Common Decency is an underground haven from the winter air. The building, the former Bow Street magistrates court, hosted the trial of Oscar Wilde for his ‘affront to common decency’ and the bar’s tongue-in-cheek historic reference set a playful tone. The ‘Holiday Spectacular’ menu, running until the end of December, is led by Leo Robitschek, VP of food & beverage at NoMad Hotels. Offering takes on seven Christmas-themed flavours, the menu covers nutty cocktails, mulled twists and gingerbread spices in either a ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ formulation. Elsewhere on the menu, Common Decency brings twists to classic cocktails, such as with salted caramelised quince, fermented cucumber and szechuan oil.
28 Bow St, London WC2E 7AW, thenomadhotel.com (opens in new tab)
Coupette, Bethnal Green
This French-inspired bar made an impression on the world of mixology when it opened in 2017, quickly being listed on an international best bars list and stealing the limelight for its innovations in flavour. The bar’s current, ‘Barely Legal’ inventory pairs paprika and ancho with mango, presents a nutty gin and soda, and cloaks one drink in squid ink, tonka and balsamic. The offerings pair with piano nights twice a week and, focusing on the details of the libatory experience, Coupette has paired each of its 12 cocktails from the new menu with artwork from local artists.
423 Bethnal Grn Rd, London E2 0AN, coupette.co.uk (opens in new tab)
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Originally a passion project born in lockdown, Oranj has recently materialised into a Shoreditch drinking destination and eatery, having opened its doors in November 2022 on a mission to bring natural wine to the top of every aspiring sommelier’s list. While it specialises in wines, its ever-changing kitchen – currently run by guest chefs Decatur with their Creole menu, until 17 December – and cocktail selection make the space accessible to the eclectic needs of any group; it's dubbed ‘a pub for wine drinkers’ by founder Jasper Delamothe.
14 Bacon St, London E1 6LF, oranj.co.uk (opens in new tab)
Cafe Koko, Camden
The emergence of Café Koko was part of a monumental seven-year project which saw owner Olly Bengough recruit architecture studio Archer Humphryes to revamp iconic London music venue, Koko. The renovation included the acquisition and renovation of the Hope and Anchor pub, which now holds both a cosy bar and a casual dining area, with a small selection of cocktails served across the board and live music in the evenings. Its warming twist on an Espresso Martini introduces amaretto to the mix and, with a curtain-clad entrance tucked away in Camden’s side streets, the space is buzzing and welcoming but feels exclusive.
74 Crowndale Rd, London NW1 1TP, koko.co.uk (opens in new tab)
Jurema at The Mandrake, Fitzrovia
A self-described ‘surreal, mystical world of wonder’, the space at The Mandrake hotel in Fitzrovia is adorned with art, abstractions and nature, and the newly revamped terrace, Jurema, has shifted with the seasons into a warmed winter garden with hot toddies, mulled wine and faux fur blankets. This fairy-lit destination offers popcorn-infused Remy Martin alongside caramel orange and cardamom syrup, or a chipotle agave, jalapeño vinegar, grapefruit soda and chilli mix. European-influenced South American dishes from The Mandrake’s restaurant are available to order, making it an easy space in which to cosy down for the evening.
20-21 Newman St, London W1T 1PG, themandrake.com (opens in new tab)
Artists’ Bar at The Dorchester, Mayfair
Opening this month and with its interior design plans newly unveiled as part of The Dorchester hotel revamp, the Artists’ Bar is set to take centre stage among the best London cocktail bars this winter. The overhaul is redefining the iconic hotel, and in exquisite form. Inspired by artworks by British-based artists hanging in the bar space, the hotel’s mixologists have curated a list of signature cocktails that reflect the mediums and themes of the works, alongside a menu focusing on British-caught seafood by culinary director Martyn Nail. Interiors by Pierre-Yves Rochon include stunning Lalique crystal designs and a glimmering, mirrored piano, once owned by Liberace.
53 Park Ln, London W1K 1QA, dorchestercollection.com (opens in new tab)
Martha Elliott is the Junior Digital News Editor at Wallpaper*. After graduating from university she worked in arts-based behavioural therapy, then embarked on a career in journalism, joining Wallpaper* at the start of 2022. She reports on art, design and architecture, as well as covering regular news stories across all channels.
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