London’s late-night cocktail bars
With the Night Tube now in full swing, there’s never been a better time to indulge in one last tipple. From late-night bourbon sours in Soho to after-midnight jazz out east, London doesn’t disappoint when it comes to nightcaps.
Balans Soho Society60-62 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UG
This (almost) 24-hour Soho brasserie is a classic after-midnight haunt; if you’re ordering food, they keep the drinks coming until late.
Settle into a booth in the designer-wallpapered dining room and order up a lychee gimlet and a burger, or a stack of bacon-topped pancakes.
Open until 5am Mon-Thurs, 6am Fri & Sat, 2am Sun
The Nightjar129 City Road, London EC1V 1JB
Booking is vital for this sophisticated speakeasy, just off Old Street roundabout.
There’s late live jazz with a cover charge, and a cocktail list that packs a few surprises, from obscure ingredients (cactus salt, cornflake smoke) to the chance to sample rare vintage spirits.
Open until 1am Sun-Wed, 2am Thurs, 3am Fri & Sat
Ray’s Bar95 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB
Tucked below Voodoo Ray’s pizzeria, this place keeps late hours.
Expect disco tunes, retro 70s decor and (of course) superb pizzas – which might come in handy after a couple of cocktails. Regulars favour the whisky-fuelled Tunnel Dancer, infused with a kick of chilli.
Open until 1am Tues & Wed, 3am Thurs–Sat
The Beaufort BarThe Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0EU
It’s not the most recent address on our list but, for a blowout final tipple of the night, the Beaufort’s hard to top.
Its black-and-gold decor is a vision of art-deco elegance, while the service and drinks are impeccable. Try the gin-based Embankment Gardens, a fig leaf-spiked house special.
Open until 1am Mon-Sat (last orders 00:30)
Experimental Cocktail Club13a Gerrard Street, W1D 5PS
This Parisian import showed the city how to do speakeasies when it opened in 2010.
A stylish three-floor drinking den, it’s hidden behind a discreet door in Chinatown. Tables are set aside for walk-ins but it’s safest to book ahead – and note the post-11pm cover charge.
Open until 3am Mon–Sat, midnight Sun
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