As the nights draw in, it’s tempting to stay in and hibernate. But London’s coolest bars await! From forests on rooftops to cosy bars with roaring fires, there’s plenty of winter magic to be found, if you only know where to look… Read on to discover Clink’s picks of where to head in London on a chilly winter’s night.
1. Woody Bear
Where? 535 Oxford Street
Why is it so cool? With a name that sounds a bit like a trendy baby name, this had to be on the list. Also, it’s a ‘pop up’, which of course gives this winter retreat extra ‘cool’ kudos.
Hidden behind a secret entrance on Oxford Street you’ll find a festive hideaway inspired by an abandoned fairground. Thinking that doesn’t sound all too cheery? Think again. At ‘Woody Bear’ you can cosy up in old tea cup fairground rides with blankets whilst guzzling down boozy eggnog and tucking into grilled cheese sandwiches and melted cheeses by Madame & Monsieur.
2. The Old Queen’s Head
Where? 44 Essex Rd, Islington
Why it’s so cool? Anywhere that does pub quizzes, bingo nights AND Sunday Roasts is more than cool in our books.
On a chilly London weekend, sometimes you just want to hunker down in a great British boozer where you can while away a few hours with a Bloody Mary, and maybe a few pints later on in the day. The Old Queen’s head welcomes you with its quirky interior and comfy chesterfield couches. That’s it, pull up a chair and settle in …
Looking for things to do in London this weekend? Read our guide to the best of what’s on right here.
3. Queen of Hoxton’s Moroccan Medina
Where? 1 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3JX
Why is it so cool? Because if you can’t go to Morocco, Morocco can come to you.
Wishing you could jet off to sunnier climes this winter but can’t afford that plane ticket? Then head along to The Queen of Hoxton where the team behind Secret Garden Party and El Dorado have transformed the rooftop into a lavish Moroccan Medina. With fire pits, a feasting hall, giant lanterns, cacti and fairy lights, is there anywhere else you’d rather be this winter? Make sure to grab a pomegranate Bellini and sample some of the many Middle Eastern foodie delights.
Where? 129 City Road, EC1V1JB
Why is it so cool? Because you just can’t go wrong with a well-made cocktail.
Nightjar is one of Shoreditch’s worst-kept secrets. Once upon a time, you could stumble into this gorgeous, low-lit bar for a spontaneous yet classy evening. These days, you have to make a booking online well in advance. However, it’s well worth doing if the sound of a playful cocktail list inspired by different historical eras and jazz all night long sounds up your street. A perfect escape from the world and the London chill …
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5. The Forest at Pergola on the Roof
Where? Multi Story Car Park, Television Centre, Wood Ln, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 7RJ, UK
Why is it so cool? Because it’s a forest on a rooftop, of course!
If you didn’t make it along to Pergola’s summer pop-up, make sure you head along this winter, when the rooftop is getting a festive makeover! The fully-heated and covered dome contains mystical fairy lights intertwined with the branches. Grab a bunch of mates and gather round one of the many long tables. Street food is available from old favourites like Patty & Bun, DF/Mexico and Made of Dough.
6. Dean Street Townhouse
Where? 69 – 71 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3SE, UK
Why is it so cool? Because no one does cosy sophistication like Soho House.
Seek out Dean Street Townhouse in the heart of Soho and you’ll find a sophisticated yet relaxed bar and lounge with a flickering fire and an incredibly well-stocked bar. For a tipple with a decidedly festive feel, try the Ruby Port, Courvoisier and Calvados heavy ‘Maitre de Maison’ and settle in for the long haul (budget permitting!)
Where? 11-13 Camden High St, Kings Cross, London NW1 7JE, UK
Why is it so cool? Because who wouldn’t want a personal mixologist for a couple of hours?
BYOC takes the speakeasy concept to another level. In the true, er, spirit of prohibition, you have to bring your own bottle of liqueur with you. Before you write this off as a complete con, consider this: professional mixologists wheel their antique trolley to your table. Full of handmade syrups, mixers, bitters, herbs, juices, cordials, fruits, shrubs and salts, your attendant will mix a personal tipple based on your own unique preferences. Hint: bring a bottle of something special to make the most of the experience.
8. Ice Bar
Where? 31-33 Heddon Street, W1B 11-13
Why is it so cool? Because it’s quite literally, freezing …
We couldn’t resist putting this one on our list of ‘coolest’ bars. A bit of a tourist trap it might be, but the Ice Bar is definitely a bit of fun and worth a visit, if only for the novelty factor. With ice walls, ice tables, crazy ice sculptures and cocktails served in chiselled ice blocks, this place is oh so Instagrammable.