You haven't “done” London until you've tried these 8 iconic drinks and experiences
1. A Hanky Panky cocktail at the American Bar at The Savoy
Up there at the top of the list has to be London’s first ever cocktail bar. In business since 1904, The American Bar at The Savoy is soaked in London history. A sanctuary for the rich and famous for well over a century, celebrity guests include Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe and Winston Churchill, (who allegedly had his own whiskey locker here as he was such a regular). A must-try is the bar’s signature cocktail, the Hanky Panky, created in-house by head bar lady Ada Coleman at the turn of the 20th Century.
2. A Martini from the trolley at The Connaught Bar
This elegant Mayfair bar, The Connaught, is equally as iconic. Its style has timeless appeal, with decor inspired by English Cubism and 1920s Irish art. The bar is renowned across the globe, especially for its martini trolley – famously wheeled over to your table, with your drink being made right before your eyes.
3. A James Bond Martini at Dukes
Also known for its martini is the legendary Dukes, which basks in global recognition due to its association with one James Bond. It’s known as the place where author Ian Fleming got the inspiration for Bond‘s signature Martini, and coined the phrase “Shaken, not stirred”.
4. A classic cocktail upstairs at Rules
Rules is London’s oldest restaurant, established by Thomas Rule way back in 1798. Lots of shenanigans have gone on here over the centuries; the bar’s worst kept secret being that it was one of the private getaway locations for Edward VII and his mistress Lillie Langtry.
5. A 5AM espresso at Bar Italia
This Italian cafe-bar has been a Soho staple since the 1940s, famous for its 5AM closing time, providing party-goers with their much-needed coffee fix from their Gaggia espresso machine.
6. A minimalist cocktail at Artesian Bar
A fixture in the London cocktail scene, Artesian Bar was voted the world’s best cocktail venue for four years on the trot. Come and try the exquisite “less is more” concoctions, which use only one flavor combination (e.g. Melon & Thai Basil), that this bar is renowned for, whilst sinking back into one of those iconic purple leather chairs.
7. Afternoon tea at The Gallery at Sketch
Many a tourist flocks to this Instagram haven, with its powder puff pink velvet seats and a David Shrigley gallery as a backdrop – afternoon tea sure is something special here at Sketch. Equally as photographed is the venue’s futuristic egg-shaped bathroom stalls. Yes, we agree that sounds crazy – you really do have to see it to believe it. This quirky, 18th-century townhouse tea room turns into a buzzing cocktail lounge every evening.
8. Chic cocktails and dinner with a side of history at Quaglino’s
Founded in 1929, Quaglino’s has been a solid fixture on the London party scene for many years. It has hosted the royals on countless occasions – apparently Princess Diana even used to sneak in through the kitchens. History really was made at these tables: it’s where Judy Garland celebrated her last marriage in 1969, and it was the first public restaurant to be visited by a reigning monarch, when the Queen and Prince Philip came for dinner in 1956.