It's not about a bed for the night, it's about propping up the bar at one of the country's coolest hotels. Party on...
Best for celeb spotting
The London EDITION
From the dude behind Studio 54, comes the slickest, erm, edition to the London nightlife scene. Everyone from Cara Delevingne to Harry Styles have been spotted at the Lobby Bar and the cocktails aren’t bad either. Order the Clearer Colada (a chicer take on the Pina Colada, it looks just like a martini) before blagging your way into Jason Atherton’s restaurant, Berners Tavern (you might have better luck than booking).
Best for hipsters
Ace Hotel, Shoreditch
It was a bit better-late-than-never when London finally opened an uber Ace Hotel (which started out in Portland before popping up everywhere from NY to Palm Springs) but the top-knots weren’t complaining. Neither were the bands and celebs queuing up to stay there – or just hang out in the late-license Basement Bar. Order craft beers and cocktails at the Lobby Bar before heading to Hoi Polloi for dinner.
Best for flashing the cash
The Langham Hotel
If you’re celebrating or going on a hot date (and not going dutch) get yourself down to The Langham Hotel’s Artesian Bar. It’s been awarded the ‘World’s Best Bar’ on more than one occasion by Drinks International and you’ll totally see why. Exquisite but playful, the drinks menu is off the scale with each tipple having a little story behind it. Try the ‘Forever Young’ (inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray) served in a silver vessel hidden behind a mirror and scented by opium incense.
Best for mad hatters
With a menu from cocktail whiz Tony Coniglario (signature classics include the Flintock: gin, gunpowder tea tincture, dandelion, burdock bitters and Fernet Branca) and a vibe that’s as cosy and bonkers as your eccentric great aunt’s living room, it’s no wonder the ever-eclectic bijou bar in Clerkenwell continues to attract visitors from all over.
Best for vintage glam
Set on the hotel’s former cabaret stage, the Beaufort Bar is seeping in history – not to mention draped in jet-black and gold art deco interiors – and still puts on regular cabaret nights today. A great choice if you love champagne, it also does a good line in ‘character cocktails’ that salute everyone from Frank Sinatra to Charlie Chaplin. Yep, it’s that retro.
Best for bingeing on absinthe
Not that we’re recommending you do that, but ‘Absinthe at The Bar’ does kind of make it hard to resist. And it’s not just the big green fountain that lures us to the Café Royale, the hotel itself is the stuff of legend. Recently revamped and oh-so-glam, let’s not forget The Oscar Wilde Bar (formerly the Grill Room) was where Mick Jagger, The Beatles and Elizabeth Taylor once danced the night away. Do the same.
Best for a country escape
Great Fosters, Surrey
This former hunting lodge is a must for long, cool drinks with a view – the terrace overlooks a Saxon moat and Japanese bridge to an avenue of lime trees and gardens. Perfect for a summer date night – or treat your mum to a stylish afternoon tea. She’ll thank you for it.
Best for a party
South Place Hotel
It’s no secret the South Place Hotel has one of the hippest hotel bars in London. Even the cocktails are called things like ‘The Hoxton’ and ‘The Hackney’. Lesser known, is the specially tucked away Secret Garden Bar. Usually reserved for hotel guests and members, they’ll make exceptions for parties. What are you waiting for?
Best for cosying up
Fans of the Pig hotels will be tickled pink at the news that there’s a new one situated between Bristol and Bath (hence the roll-off-tongue title). OK, not the easiest hotel bar to just casually pop into, but if you’re local you won’t be able to resist the shabby-chic vibe.
Has that whet your appetite? Now check out the 5 best places to enjoy cheese and wine…