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 Society

    60-62 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 Nightjar

    129 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 Bar

    95 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 Bar

    The 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 Club

    13a 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