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Raise a glass to London, as the UK’s capital boasts five of the world’s finest watering holes, according to the results of the prestigious annual competition World’s 50 Best Bars that took place earlier this week in Singapore. Enjoying a cocktail or two in one (or all) of these world-class establishments can make you feel like a true A-lister. Who knows, you might even rub shoulders with a celebrity while reaching for a signature martini?

Here’s a brief overview of the London bars that made the list:

  • Connaught Bar, London (No. 5)
  • Tayēr + Elementary, London (No. 8)
  • Satan’s Whiskers, London (No. 28)
  • A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London (No. 35)
  • Scarfes Bar, London (No. 41)
  • Connaught Bar, London (No. 5)

The Connaught Bar

The Connaught Bar

The Connaught Bar in Mayfair epitomises London elegance. The atmosphere is relaxed and sophisticated, and their signature drink is the martini (although their Bloody Marys are a sinful pleasure as irresistible as the Devil’s siren song). With martinis as crisp as a Savile Row suit and service as smooth as silk, it’s no wonder this Mayfair institution has been a favourite of the A-list for decades.

Tayēr + Elementary, London (No. 8)

Tayēr + Elementary

Alex Kratena and Monica Berg’s London bar is a cocktail lover’s dream come true. Tayēr + Elementary in East London is doing everything right, from its ingredient-led seasonal cocktails to its modernist, sustainably-minded techniques. Everything about this place is progressive, and the bespoke bar stations are as cool as they are functional. Their Negroni is a must-try, but don’t hesitate to experiment with their other cocktails either. The bartenders here are experts, and they’ll craft something you’ll love.

Satan’s Whiskers, London (No. 28)

Satan’s Whiskers

This classic cocktail bar in Bethnal Green is anything but old-fashioned. The drinks menu is simple but stylish, with all your favourites represented, from Manhattans to French 75s to Jungle Birds. With daily spins on favourite recipes using fresh ingredients, every visit to Satan’s is reliably unique. The signature cocktail to order is The Old Fashioned, but there’s no need to go all Gatsby when stopping by for a drink.. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, with a hip-hop soundtrack that keeps the energy high.

A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London (No. 35)

Shapes

Affectionately known as Shapes, this East London bar is pushing the boundaries of mixology. It’s no surprise, as Shapes is the brainchild of star bartender Remy Savage and his business partner, Paul Lougrat. With its Bauhaus-inspired design, scientific approach, and focus on creativity, Shapes is a must-visit for a simple reason: the drinks menu is concise but every cocktail is a masterpiece, both in terms of taste and visual appeal. The bartenders are masters of their craft and are always eager to discuss cocktails and recommend something new to try. The menu features only 12 cocktails: six classics and six developed by the team. To truly savour the flavours of Shapes, order the Pastel, Loop Light, or Kasimir.

Scarfes Bar, London (No. 41)

Scarfes Bar

Scarfes Bar in the Rosewood hotel in Holborn is a place where cocktails are as glamorous as the clientele. This Art Deco haven is the perfect spot to sip on a martini while listening to live jazz and admiring Gerald Scarfe’s surreal paintings that decorate the walls. The drinks list is a veritable who’s who of the cocktail world, featuring all the classics and a few new surprises for good measure. If you’re in the mood for a classic, try the Espresso Martini, made with the perfect balance of espresso, vodka, and coffee liqueur, guaranteed to give you a caffeine buzz that will last all night. Alternatively, go for El Bandito, a tequila-based cocktail with grapefruit, lime, and agave syrup.. 

The full list of the World’s 50 Best Bars can be found on the event’s website, but here is a list of the top 10 best bars in the world, according to a recent round-up:

  1. Sips, Barcelona
  2. Double Chicken Please, New York
  3. Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City
  4. Paradiso, Barcelona
  5. Connaught Bar, London
  6. Little Red Door, Paris
  7. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
  8. Tayēr + Elementary, London
  9. Alquímico, Cartagena
  10. Himkok, Oslo.

Elena Leo is the Arts & Lifestyle Editor of Ikon London Magazine.