Top 10 bars for a classy London hen do
World Best Bar
Oct 02, 2018
10 January 2019
If you want to push the boat out, you’re in the right city! There are a lot of swish bars out there, but our top pick is Bob Bob Ricard , an eclectic Russian-English-style restaurant, renowned for its ‘push for Champagne’ self-serve booths. Another great option is the lavish Sexy Fish, a celebrity favourite, covered in gold, expensive artwork and serving up opulent, photogenic drinks. But if that’s too many bells and whistles for you, book a table at London’s oldest cocktail bar, American Bar at The Savoy. Being here feels like you’ve stepped into the 1920s, though remember to hold back on the feather boas and go more with the cocktail dress vibe. Order a sharing cocktail, or, if you’re a millionaire, order a round of the bar’s world famous Hanky Panky cocktails at £150 a pop.
Just on the slight off chance it’s going to be sunny, pay a trip to new summer pop up Pergola Paddington. With dangling ivys, this enormous bustling rooftop bar will guarantee for a lively vibe. We say book one of the ‘daybeds’ for your group, which are very handy to sprawl across after one or two Champagnes. Sushi Samba is also a good shout, with one of the highest terraces in the city – those views are second to none! For a low-key affair with epic views, go for Coppa Club by the Thames, with lots of al fresco seating overlooking Tower Bridge. Drinks are also nicely affordable, starting at very reasonable £6.95. Party with London’s prettiest things at The Rumpus Room, featuring sweeping views of the South Bank (and don’t forget to stop off at the award-winning Dandelyan bar on your way up – see the afternoon tea section for more).
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But what would be a hen do without a cheeky theme? Head to Cahoots and drink tea cup cocktails in an old tube carriage, or if you like the bric-a-brac vibe, go for bottomless drinks at Little Nan’s Rio bar, which is like a cross between your granny’s attic and your 16-year-old bedroom. You can also slip through the Smeg fridge at The Breakfast Club in Liverpool Street and visit the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town for some disco drinks. You can’t go wrong with the secret Shoreditch wonderland that is Callooh Callay. Small groups should book a space upstairs in their secret bar, tucked behind a ‘Narnia-style’ wardrobe door. Or keep it subtle, admiring the beautiful art-deco interiors of Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel.
Of course that obligatory cocktail Instagram pic is required so make it a good one with a round of theatrical drinks at Cocktail Trading Company. We recommend the Coquette: served with a wax-sealed hen’s egg, crack it open, and out pours a delicious buttered whiskey cocktail into your glass.
Best for brunch
The leafy Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings greenhouse-style lounge make for a great setting for a bottomless brunch with the gals. Or dress up, look smart at the royals’ favourite hangout, Quaglinos in Mayfair. They do a sophisticated two or three-course brunch, with optional bottomless bubbles. German Gymnasium (which used to be a Victorian gym) is fantastically situated in Kings Cross, and lays claim as one of the ‘most beautiful restaurants in the UK’.
It’s got to be a boozy afternoon tea at the stunning Tom Dixon designed Dandelyan in the Mondrian Hotel, with cocktails from mixology rockstar Mr Lyan. Equally as stunning is the famous Sketch, with its jaw-dropping pink tea parlour and THOSE alien egg toilets.
If you want some structure aside from hopping from one amazing cocktail bar to the next, then you can’t miss out on Drink Shop & Do. They hold all sorts of fun activities, from nipple tassel making workshops to a more conservative ring making class (there’s something for every bride-to-be). Then there’s All Star Lanes for a round of 50s style bowling and a side of kick-ass cocktails and food. Karaoke is in the Brick Lane outpost, so you can basically spend the whole day in here!
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If party is what you’re after, it’s got to be London Cocktail Club. They have a tribe of energetic bartenders that will no doubt help you get the night off to a great start. The cocktails here are also made for nights like this; each deliciously creative, from their heavily Instagrammed Bacon & Egg Martini to their equally renowned Bump & Grind (essentially an espresso martini with a bourbon biscuit garnish). Make a note that it’s 2-4-1 happy hour until 8pm at most LCC venues. Other party pit stops include tiki-tastic Trailer Happiness in Notting Hill for cocktails served out of pineapples, and the new Bunga Bunga in Covent Garden where you can indulge in pizzas upstairs, then slip through the secret door to the party bar below, with lighthearted cabaret performances on weekends. Channel your inner George Michael at 80s style Ray’s Bar in Dalston, with tropical plants and delicious party cocktails. If you’re out west, drop in at Nam Long Le Shaker for a renowned Flaming Ferrari cocktail; traditionally drunk while very much on fire (à la Hugh Grant and Kate & Wills, who have all allegedly partied here back in the day). However, hipster types will love a low key, fun-fuelled night at Bad Sports, a basement bar loosely themed on American Sports (but don’t let that put you off).
That should give you a few ideas, see you and your tribe at the bar!
Photo by Bob Bob Ricard
Bob Bob Ricard
American Bar @ The Savoy Hotel
World's Best Bar
Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
Bar Américain at Brasserie Zedel
Cocktail Trading Company
Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings
All Star Lanes
London Cocktail Club Islington