London Restaurants and Bars: The 14 best places to drink and dine
With such a glut of good food and trendy drink, it’s hard to imagine that London was once considered the anti-gastro city. Its trendiest areas are so bursting with flavour, both literally and figuratively, that we found it difficult to narrow it down to just a few of the best restaurants and bars. Alas, that’s what we’re here for. So without further ado, peep our list for the best places to snack, binge, toast and get knackered.
201 Tooley Street, London SE1 2UE
Run by NOMA alum Tom Sellers (so you know it has to be good), Restaurant Story is a total palette pleaser. Tucked away in an unmarked building, this tasting menu only spot serves nouveau British fare that is just so, so delicious. Despite the fancy food, there are no pretentious vibes here; servers, including Sellers, are very dressed down and super chilled out. A little hokey in a sort-of-cute kind of way is the BYOB policy; patrons are encouraged to bring their own book to add to the restaurant’s ongoing…well…story.
Gremio de Brixton
The Crypt Brixton Hill, London SW2 1JF
Any true fashion girl knows appearances are half of it, so duh this Brixton eatery was bound to make our list! Located in the crypt of St. Matthews Church, Gremio de Brixton is a Londoner’s go-to spot for traditional tapas (think: paella and Serrano ham). Delicious food aside, the décor is A++ with 19th century vaulted ceilings, candles abounding, and the restaurant’s very own Marian shrine.
The Toy Shop
32 Putney High St, London SW15 1SQ
There’s only one word to describe The Toy Shop and that is ‘extra’—the décor, the drinks, the alcoholic Lego shaped ice cubes. A stylish crowd packs the place early on, and with good reason; drinks are fun and nostalgic (Play-Doh Milk Punch, anyone?) and the snacks are pretty good. Did we mention they have Prosecco on tap? We know.
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, King’s Cross London N1C 4AB
Grain Store is a must for any London-bound vegetarians. Though some plates do have fish or meat components, veggies and pulses are the absolute star of the show. More adventurous eaters can order a surprise menu dreamed up daily by the chef. And with inventive cocktails and a flawless brunch menu (one meal most of London has yet to perfect), what’s not to love?
Les Trois Garcons
1 Club Row, London E1 6JX
What started as one off the wall converted Victorian pub has turned into a mini chain, complete with a coffee shop/boutique, a lounge and even a chateau in France. If Alice were a hipster, Les Trois Garcons would be her definitive wonderland.
213 Old Street, London EC1V 9NR
Just by Old Street station, Shoreditch Grind is the spot for all things caffeinated. The coffee shop-cum-cocktail bar is a favourite amongst hipsters, who come for the laidback vibes and £2 Americanos—a total steal in London. At night, coffee drinks turn into coffee dranks (read: cocktails). We highly recommend the Flat White Russian.
129 City Road, London EC1V 1JB
Imagine the best drink you have ever tasted. Now multiply it by infinity and you’ll get Nightjar, the atmospheric Hoxton speakeasy where cocktails are arranged by era. With ingredients like plaintain foam and Dutch flowers (yes, flowers!), these drinks are undoubtedly the most delicious/inventive/wow to have ever touched our lips. Having just been dubbed the second best bar in the world, reservations are highly, highly recommended.
1a Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7AE
This place is so gorgeous it hurts. Like a modern day Art Deco palace, its luxe vibes are offset by its imaginative takes on every day food like burgers, fries (they have 5 types!) and brunch.
66-68 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3AY
There’s NOLA the city and then there’s NOLA the bar. Though Rivington St. and Bourbon St. may be very different geographically, in spirit they are one and the same. A wide open space—a total London rarity, we might add—plus jazz, blues, and very, very, very strong drinks (the Nuclear Hurricane has a limit of two per person) make for a rambunctious crowd.
27a Dalston Lane, Dalston E8 3DF
According to those who know, Dalston is the new Shoreditch. Case in point, The Passage, a teensy bar with a devoted local crowd, solid drink menu and good vibes all around.
21-22 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NE
Fans of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks can have the chance to dine straight from the source at one of the chef’s London outposts. Done with his signature eclectic flair, dishes blend lamb with jalapeño sauce as easily as cheesecake and pickled beetroot.
Experimental Cocktail Club
13a Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London W1D 5PS
Blink, and you’ll miss this gem, which hides behind an unmarked door in London’s Chinatown. Up a set of stairs, a prohibition era bar awaits, complete with ruddy mirrors and bearded baristas who know their booze inside and out.
49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG
You’ll recognize this Soho udon bar by the line out the door because just like every ‘it’ spot nowadays, Koya doesn’t take reservations. But if it’s on this list, it’s worth it, natch. Koya’s fare is about as close to Toyko realness as you can get outside of Japan (those noodles!). Bonus points for affordability.
70 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4QG
Nevermind caviar and strawberries, champagne bar Bubbledogs believes hot dogs are the best and only pairing for bubbly. This Fitzrovia spot offers some seriously haute dogs (get it?) like the K-Dawg, a total kimchi konfection, or the Mac Daddy, which is literally mac and cheese amazingness on a hot dog. Champagnes are sourced from smaller champagne houses (so indie!) and broken up into eclectic, interest-piquing categories like “Flowers and Fields” and “So Fresh So Clean”. Yum.