Swift Soho downstairs

Best Bars in Soho

Food & Drink /


Where to drink in one of the capital's liveliest pockets

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The beating heart of London’s nightlife scene, Soho is jam-packed with bars – but, without prior planning, it’s easy to end up in the wrong one. Busier doesn’t necessarily mean better, though you’ll likely be met with queues at some of the new, buzzier openings. Whether you’re after a party vibe, a venue for date night or stylish drinks with friends, avoid aimless wandering and stay in the know with our guide to the neighbourhood’s best drinking spots. From intimate speakeasies to glitzy Art Deco venues, these Soho bars guarantee a good night out.

Best Bars in Soho

The Little Scarlet Door

There’s a house party in Soho and everyone’s invited. The Little Scarlet Door is the latest bar from The Little Door & Co – the London-born bijou group of bars famed across the city for redefining the House Party genre. You can expect a comfy lounge, kitchen discos, late-night cocktails and nostalgic music, perfect for long overdue catchups and a great time. Party punch that is great for sharing come in the form of unique vases, halved disco balls and mixing bowls, but of course, you can also get a range of premium G&Ts, wine, beers and more just for yourself. If you’re feeling peckish, we highly recommend the Vietnamese Spiced Meatballs and House Toasties. Is this the ultimate flat party? We think so.

12-13 Greek St, London W1D 4DL

thelittlescarletdoor.co.uk

Milk & Honey

Best Jazz Bars: Milk and Honey

Although officially a members’ bar, the London outpost of Manhattan’s Milk & Honey allows non-members – though you’ll have a curfew of 11pm. Despite opening years ago in 2002, it remains one of Soho’s best cocktail bars, perhaps partly because it takes boozing very seriously. There are a set of house rules, which include: no fighting, no hollering, no shouting, no name dropping, no lingering…the list goes on, so watch out. To find it, look for a tiny sign next to a buzzer on Poland Street.

61 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7NU

mlkhny.com

Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel

Bar Americain Brasserie Zedel

It’s an absolute delight to sip classic American cocktails in the Art Deco surroundings of Bar Américain, located downstairs at London landmark Brasserie Zédel. The perfect place for an apéritif before indulging on the restaurant’s French classics, but equally as fabulous after hours for post-dinner drinks with friends before making your way into the sparkly Soho night.

20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED

brasseriezedel.com

Swift Soho

Swift Soho

© Addie Chinn

There’s been lots of hype around Swift Soho recently, particularly since it was named London’s best bar in the 2022 Top 50 Cocktail Bars list. Positioned near the Leicester Square end of Old Compton Street, it’s a dimly lit spot with warm glowing cylinder lamps hanging on the walls, leather booths and dark wood panelling. While all the classics are on offer, the newly launched Legends menu is the real piece-de-resistance. These tipples have been inspired by figures who have had an impact on drinking culture – from Oscar Wilde to Nigella and Snoop Dogg. Our top pick is Hemingway’s silky and rich ‘Eden’ cocktail. You could easily imagine this drink – which incorporates absinthe – being a firm favourite of the American author, who spent much of his time writing his novels while slumped at one end of a Parisian bar. Book ahead – on weekend evenings, it’s near-impossible to get a walk-in.

12 Old Compton St, London W1D 4TQ

barswift.com

Louche

Located on the site where 68 & Boston used to be – a casualty of the pandemic – Greek Street bar Louche was launched last year in a bid to revive the spirit of the untamed ‘old Soho’. The three-storey townhouse in which it’s housed is low-lit, filled with intimate nooks  and cosy alcoves alongside bigger areas for group bookings – with portraits of the area’s notable characters dotted around the walls. Louche comes from the Record Bars team, the name behind venues like Northcote and Old Street Records, so it’s no surprise music plays a big part. Two live stages host everything from burlesque shows to jazz, with livelier DJ sets on weekends. Cocktails are the name of the game here, with highlights including a watermelon margarita, a twist on the Espresso Martini with a hint of banana, and a tequila concoction (‘You’re No Good!’) mixed with raspberry, rosemary and lime.

5 Greek St, London W1D 4DD

louchesoho.com

Cahoots

Cahoots, Control Room

Travel back in time to 1940s London at Cahoots, Carnaby’s worst-kept secret: an underground cocktail bar hidden beneath the streets of Soho. Once used as an air raid shelter, the venue has been transformed into a tube station, complete with vintage adverts, retro-style drinks and sandbags. The group recently opened a sister speakeasy, this one overground and framed as an old ticket hall – think period train schedules, phone booths and ticket machines. Those in the know will venture through here to The Control Room, a hideout which plays host to live entertainment, immersive movie evenings and cocktail masterclasses.

13 Kingly Ct, Soho, London W1B 5PW

cahoots-london.com

The Pink Chihuahua

Sometimes all you need is some good tequila and a fun soundtrack – which is exactly what you’ll get at The Pink Chihuahua, found in the basement of Mexican favourite El Camion. Jazzy décor gives it a fun atmosphere, with psychedelic murals and painted skeletons on the walls – helped, of course, by a huge glass cabinet decked out with hundreds of bottles of tequila. Don’t expect lime and salt here: this is high-quality tequila, designed to be shotted neat – though there’s also an excellent cocktail menu featuring margaritas, daquiris, batidas and gringas. To avoid a killer hangover, line the stomach on tacos and nachos at El Camion beforehand.

25-27 Brewer St, London W1F 0RR

elcamion.co.uk

The Blind Pig

The Blind Pig

A combination of cool speakeasy vibes and fun cocktails makes The Blind Pig, hidden in the upstairs of Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House, a sure-fire hit. The pun-filled drinks menu may sound gimmicky, but rest assured it’s not: drinks here are excellent, playful and inventive, with a vast menu which looks like a notebook, complete with tales of the stories behind the drinks. It feels exclusive yet relaxed at the same time, with lots of cosy corners for drinking the night away in style.

58 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7NR

socialeatinghouse.com

The Vault

Said to be the capital’s oldest whisky specialist retailer, Milroy’s opened its first shop on Greek Street in Soho back in 1964 – which is still going strong today. But Milroy’s is not only a store: savvy Londoners venture through a bookcase to reach its secret bar, The Vault. Inside this candlelit cocktail den, enjoy seasonal whisky cocktails from brands including J&B Rare. 3 Greek St, London W1D 4NX

thevaultsoho.co.uk

The Coral Room

THE BLOOMSBURY, WC1

Perched on the outskirts of Soho sits one of the area’s most stylish bars: The Coral Room, part of The Bloomsbury hotel. Designed in collaboration with maverick Martin Brudnizki, the Jazz Age-inspired hangout has coral-coloured walls, bespoke Murano glass chandeliers and a striking marble bar. Expect slick service and a stellar drinks menu of classic cocktails done well, plus a great selection of English sparkling wines.

16-22 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3NN

thecoralroom.co.uk

Main image: Swift Soho

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Where To Eat in Soho / Best Cocktail Bars in London