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Once upon a time, tipples in London didn’t get much more complex than a gin and tonic. This classic drink may never go out of style, but the mixology scene has blossomed in recent years, with top-notch cocktail bars opening across town. For happy hour devotees, this means a standout Manhattan or Clover Club now comes with a rather palatable price tag. From Dalston boltholes to Borough cafés, drinks connoisseur Amy Matthews rounds up her favourite spots for expertly mixed cocktails under £10.

The best cocktail bars in London – on a budget

  • Peckham Springs

    22A Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QN

    A railway arch in Peckham may not scream cocktail heritage, but the drinks certainly do. Every clean, classic glass costs less than £10; quaff a negroni or standout whiskey sour.

  • Super Lyan

    155 Hoxton Street, N1 6PJ

    Award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana’s behind this pared-back East London address. Cocktails are a steal; try a citrusy Dog’s Nose Clover Club .

  • Bar Termini Centrale

    31 Duke Street, W1U 1LG

    This Marylebone bar is a larger follow-up to the tiny Soho original – so you might just score a table. Cocktails cost just over £10, but the excellent bottle-aged negronis are a mere £7.

  • Three Sheets

    510B Kingsland Road, E8 4AB

    Dalston is awash with intimate cocktail spots, but this place is among the very best. From nine house cocktails, sample the Shiso Miso, an artful twist on a savoury Manhattan.

  • Upstairs at Swift

    12 Old Compton Street, W1D 4TQ

    Swift by name… The upstairs bar at this Soho hangout is just the place for a stylish pit stop, and a frothy Sgroppino made with prosecco and lemon sorbet is just the sharpener you need.

  • London Grind

    2 London Bridge, SE1 9RA

    Just a few steps from Borough Market, this espresso bar and brunch favourite has five cocktails for under £10. Fuel up with an espresso martini, made using their Shoreditch-roasted house blend of coffee.

Image credits: © Grind; © Grind; © Peckham Springs; © Super Lyan; © Bar Termini Centrale; © Three Sheets; © Upstairs at Swift; © Grind