Four cocktails lined up on a table. Four cocktails lined up on a table.

Guide to quirky bars in London

Sometimes your bog standard bar just doesn’t cut the mustard, and you’ve left yearning for something a little more fun, outlandish or cool. Like a bar decked out in your nan’s old furniture or a drinking den in an old abandoned tube station turned air raid shelter (or something along those lines). Luckily, London is home to several weird, wonderful and wacky bars spanning everything from secret speakeasies and public loos to vintage boltholes and theatre-themed hideaways. Here’s our guide to quirky bars in London for those who prefer to be surrounded by things like taxidermy and retro arcade games while sipping on your cocktails.

Quirky bars in London

Quirky, unusual, cool and fun London bars

The Escapologist

A contemporary take on the Victorian era

This quirky cocktail bar in Covent Garden oozes fun. It's named after Victorian vagabond Baron Von Took, who escaped the death penalty after requesting a final drink in Covent Garden just hours before his sentence. It's a glamorous subterranean playground with a nod to the upper echelons of a late Victorian society, and it's filled with weird and wonderful trinkets and treasures. The cocktails are contemporary and the bar comprises the 'Masonic Lodge', which leads to a smaller vault where you can dance well into the night.

Evans & Peel Detective Agency

A bootlegged bolthole

Evans & Peel Detective Agency is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in Chelsea disguised as a private detective’s office. Upon arrival, convince the detective you have a case worth investigating, and he’ll guide you through a secret door straight into a 1920s bolthole. Relax to the sound of 1920s jazz, swing and blues and enjoy bootlegged cocktails in an atmospheric drinking den away from the eyes of the law.

Tonight Josephine Clapham Tonight Josephine Shoreditch Tonight Josephine Waterloo
Tonight Josephine Clapham
tonightjosephine.co.uk/venue/clapham
Tonight Josephine Shoreditch
tonightjosephine.co.uk/venue/shoreditch
Tonight Josephine Waterloo
tonightjosephine.co.uk/venue/waterloo
Tonight Josephine Clapham Tonight Josephine Shoreditch Tonight Josephine Waterloo

An ode to a hedonistic Empress

It's all about glitz and glam at this swoon-worthy cocktail bar in Clapham, Waterloo and Shoreditch. It's one of the most Instagrammed bars in London and is an ode to Josephine De Beauharnais, a hedonistic icon who became the Empress of the French after marrying Emperor Napoleon I. She carried herself with sass, making her own rules to get what she wanted in life, living by the motto 'c'est la f**king vie'. The specialist cocktails are aptly named and there's also a selection of wines, shooters, beers and ciders to enjoy.

  • 38 Clapham High St, Clapham 39A Hoxton Square, Shoreditch 111 Waterloo Rd, South Bank/Southwark
    Tonight Josephine Clapham
    38 Clapham High St, Clapham
    Tonight Josephine Shoreditch
    39A Hoxton Square, Shoreditch
    Tonight Josephine Waterloo
    111 Waterloo Rd, South Bank/Southwark
  • Tonight Josephine Clapham
    tonightjosephine.co.uk/venue/clapham
    Tonight Josephine Shoreditch
    tonightjosephine.co.uk/venue/shoreditch
    Tonight Josephine Waterloo
    tonightjosephine.co.uk/venue/waterloo
    Tonight Josephine Clapham
    020-819 199 73
    Tonight Josephine Shoreditch
    020-819 188 35
    Tonight Josephine Waterloo
    020-792 849 18
  • Tonight Josephine Clapham Tonight Josephine Shoreditch Tonight Josephine Waterloo

Brilliant Corners

A slice of Japan in the East End

Step into Japan at this quirky bar in the East End, where the food is inspired by izakayas, which are a bit like pubs in Japan, where you can sit in, drink, and enjoy sharing plates. There are regular DJs spinning live tracks, and they serve a range of sushi and sashimi, hot dishes, and set menus, including plant-based vegan alternatives, which can be made gluten-free on request. Choose from a range of small plates and larger dishes to share. The drinks vary from cocktails and beer from Camden Town and Five Points to sake, European natural wines and mezcal.

Callooh Callay Shoreditch Callooh Callay Chelsea
Callooh Callay Shoreditch
calloohcallaybar.com
Callooh Callay Chelsea
calloohcallaybar-chelsea.com
Callooh Callay Shoreditch
@calloohcallaybar
Callooh Callay Chelsea
@calloohcallaychelsea
Callooh Callay Shoreditch Callooh Callay Chelsea

Named after the Jabberwocky's cries

This funky bar, named after the cries of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky character, is fun, playful and synonymously British. You'll find mismatched furniture, a mirrored closet leading to another decked-out drinking den, and a thoughtfully-crafted cocktail menu. There's also a short menu of small plates and nibbles.

  • 65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch 316-318 King's Rd, Chelsea
    Callooh Callay Shoreditch
    65 Rivington Street, Shoreditch
    Callooh Callay Chelsea
    316-318 King's Rd, Chelsea
  • Callooh Callay Shoreditch
    calloohcallaybar.com
    Callooh Callay Chelsea
    calloohcallaybar-chelsea.com
    Callooh Callay Shoreditch
    020-773 947 81
    Callooh Callay Chelsea
    020-773 947 81
  • Callooh Callay Shoreditch Callooh Callay Chelsea
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar – Quirky bars
Little Nan's Bar

Little Nan's Bar

A retro Deptford hideaway

This super kitsch bar in the Grade I-listed Victorian arches of Deptford Market Yard is as quirky as it gets. It's kitted out in old-school, granny-ish furniture, ornaments, trinkets, and treasures. They have a fully stocked bar of cocktails, craft and draft beers and more. As for the food, expect classics.

The Last Tuesday Society

Weird, wacky and wonderful

The Last Tuesday Society is a wacky cocktail bar above The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History on Mare Street. The bar is inspired by the prohibition era, with an entire menu dedicated entirely to absinthe, cocktails crafted with unusual spirits and a selection of beers and wines. The downstairs museum isn't your everyday museum; some might say it's not for the faint-hearted. It's filled with oddities like two-headed kittens, jars of celebrity faeces and a full-sized taxidermied lion sitting at a table.

TT

A jack-of-all-trades

TT is an all-rounder, housed a cosy subterranean cocktail bar, a roof terrace with sweeping city views, and a bottle shop stocking a handpicked range of drinks and specialist mixology equipment. The seasonal drinks menu is divided into different concepts, with each drink crafted with specific ingredients to accentuate their components. They also host cocktail-making classes, live music sessions, and film nights at the vintage 52-seater cinema located behind the liquor store.

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

The cat's pyjamas

If you head into The Breakfast Club in Artillery Lane and ask to speak to the mayor, you'll be led through a Smeg fridge and out into a cosy candlelit cocktail bar, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. The bar is decked out with vintage furniture and quirky wall art, a world away from the seemingly ordinary restaurant upstairs. The cocktails are fun and the food is more-ish. They also run a bottomless brunch on the weekend.

BYOC

Step into a Prohibiton-themed bar

Pitch up at a vintage blackjack table and slink into the Roaring 20s at this Prohibition-themed casino bar. Bring along a bottle of your choice, pay the entrance fee and enjoy two hours of cocktail-making hosted by your own flat-capped bartender. Your choice of spirit will be mixed with a collection of homemade bitters and syrups, spices, herbs and pressed fruits to craft a selection of bespoke cocktails to suit your palette. Hungry? Pick some snacks to go alongside your drinks.

Bobby Fitzpatrick

Retro heaven

You'll feel like you've walked straight into your nan's 70s living room at this retro-themed cocktail bar on West Hampstead High Street. The decor includes outrageous wallpaper, throwback televisions and old-school radios. The drinks menu comprises a range of cocktails, rums, wines, spirits and beers, whilst the food features a selection of mouthwatering pizzas.

Trailer Happiness

Beachside bliss in Notting Hill

Trailer Happiness is an award-winning, tiki-themed bar on Portobello Road with a drinks menu centred primarily around rum; think tropical favourites with a tiki twist. The interior is playful, with exposed brick walls, leather chairs, fun artwork and dim lighting. Enjoy a beachside bite from their 'trailer bites' menu.

Four Thieves

Arcade gaming heaven

This isn’t just your average pub, this neon-lit bar is home to a range of retro arcade games, VR booths, karaoke and a Moonshine Raceway. It’s located on the first floor of an old Victorian Music Hall, where it’s filled with vintage arcade cabinets (which all take contactless payments). They serve a Mediterranean-inspired menu and pub food classics, including small plates and larger plates that are perfect for sharing.

Vaulty Towers

Theatrical, fun and playful

This bar in Waterloo is part pub, part theatre, which is unsurprising as it's owned by The Vaults, London's home for immersive theatre and alternative arts. It's super playful, with theatre-inspired props like a huge moon replica, neon lighting and even a bar stool that's deliberately a foot higher than the bar. The cocktails are classic and they have espresso martinis on tap. There's also a small menu of beers and soft drinks to choose from, too.

Cahoots

A vintage tube-themed bar

This 1940s-themed bar is set inside an abandoned train station used as an emergency air raid shelter during the war. Today, it still houses many of the items that were left behind, like tinned foods and old toys, which helps to maintain the post-war spirit they are trying to keep alive. They also serve rations and cocktails and throw themed parties well into the night.

The Little Yellow Door The Little Blue Door The Little Orange Door The Little Scarlet Door The Little Violet Door
The Little Yellow Door
thelittleyellowdoor.com
The Little Blue Door
thelittlebluedoor.co.uk
The Little Orange Door
thelittleorangedoor.co.uk
The Little Scarlet Door
thelittlescarletdoor.co.uk
The Little Violet Door
thelittlevioletdoor.co.uk
The Little Yellow Door
@the_little_yellow_door
The Little Blue Door
@thelittlebluedoorfulham
The Little Orange Door
@thelittleorangedoor
The Little Scarlet Door
@thelittlescarletdoor
The Little Violet Door
@thelittlevioletdoor
The Little Yellow Door The Little Blue Door The Little Orange Door The Little Scarlet Door The Little Violet Door

A house party vibe

The colourful Little Doors around London are designed as if you’re showing up to a house party – a house party in a pretty hip flat, that is. You can choose your adventure exploring the place, camping out in a single room, drinking, dancing, dining, whatever takes your fancy. Live DJ events and themed cocktail nights are also a regular feature, alongside cocktails and bottomless brunches.

  • 6-8 All Saints Rd, Notting Hill 871 Fulham Rd., Fulham/Hammersmith and Fulham 16A Clapham Common South Side, Clapham 12 Greek St, Soho 9 Kingly St, Soho
    The Little Yellow Door
    6-8 All Saints Rd, Notting Hill
    The Little Blue Door
    871 Fulham Rd., Fulham/Hammersmith and Fulham
    The Little Orange Door
    16A Clapham Common South Side, Clapham
    The Little Scarlet Door
    12 Greek St, Soho
    The Little Violet Door
    9 Kingly St, Soho
  • The Little Yellow Door
    thelittleyellowdoor.com
    The Little Blue Door
    thelittlebluedoor.co.uk
    The Little Orange Door
    thelittleorangedoor.co.uk
    The Little Scarlet Door
    thelittlescarletdoor.co.uk
    The Little Violet Door
    thelittlevioletdoor.co.uk
    The Little Yellow Door
    020-451 324 29
    The Little Blue Door
    020-451 324 29
    The Little Orange Door
    020-451 324 29
    The Little Scarlet Door
    020-451 324 29
    The Little Violet Door
    020-451 324 29
  • The Little Yellow Door The Little Blue Door The Little Orange Door The Little Scarlet Door The Little Violet Door
Four Quarters East Four Quarters Elephant & Castle Four Quarters Peckham
Four Quarters East
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Four Quarters Elephant & Castle
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Four Quarters Peckham
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Four Quarters East Four Quarters Elephant & Castle Four Quarters Peckham

A throwback to the 80s

Four Quarters has an excellent selection of drinks and a vibing atmosphere and is home to an impressive selection of 80s style arcade games. There’s a bar in Peckham, a bar in Elephant and Castle and a more laid-back version of the bar in Hackney Wick, located right along the canal. Come here for the games, console booths, drinks and bar snacks. It’s a great spot to bring your friends and challenge them to a tense Mario Kart tournament.

  • East Bay Lane 20 Ash Ave 187 Rye Lane, Peckham
    Four Quarters East
    East Bay Lane
    Four Quarters Elephant & Castle
    20 Ash Ave
    Four Quarters Peckham
    187 Rye Lane, Peckham
  • Four Quarters East
    fourquarters.bar/location/arcade-bar-east-london
    Four Quarters Elephant & Castle
    fourquarters.bar/location/elephant-castle-arcade-bar
    Four Quarters Peckham
    fourquarters.bar/location/arcade-bar-south-london
    Four Quarters East
    075-911 825 19
    Four Quarters Elephant & Castle
    073-997 720 24
    Four Quarters Peckham
    0794-336 60 02
  • Four Quarters East Four Quarters Elephant & Castle Four Quarters Peckham
Tayēr + Elementary – Quirky bars
Tayēr + Elementary
Tayēr + Elementary – Quirky bars
Tayēr + Elementary
Tayēr + Elementary – Quirky bars
Tayēr + Elementary
Tayēr + Elementary – Quirky bars
Tayēr + Elementary
Tayēr + Elementary – Quirky bars
Tayēr + Elementary
Tayēr + Elementary – Quirky bars
Tayēr + Elementary

Tayēr + Elementary

By two renowned bartenders

Tayēr + Elementary is an innovative bar located a stone's throw away from Old Street station. It's split into different parts. Elementary: an all-day, walk-in bar that caters to a weekday seasonal bite to eat and drink. The second part is Tayēr: a drinking den at the back with a menu crafted by two of the world's most respected bartenders. The cocktail list changes regularly, but each is a miniature work of art. There's a reason this bar came second on the list of the best bars in the world in 2022.

Satan's Whiskers

A neighbourhood favourite

Those in the know will say you'll be hard pressed to find a more chilled-out neighbourhood bar than Satan's Whiskers. This Bethnal Green-based boozer is a local favourite, and from the outside, it looks like a run-down dive bar. But, head inside, you'll be met with a stylish, relaxed ambience, accentuated by French posters pasted on the walls, hip-hop filtering through the sound system and a sleek, dimly-lit interior. The cocktail menu is updated daily, depending on what the bartenders fancy.

Mr Fogg's Residence Mr Fogg's City Tavern Mr Fogg's Hat Tavern and Gin Club Mr Fogg's Pawnbrokers Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour Mr Fogg's Tavern Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals
Mr Fogg's Residence
mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-residence
Mr Fogg's City Tavern
mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-city-tavern
Mr Fogg's Hat Tavern and Gin Club
mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-hat-tavern-gin-club
Mr Fogg's Pawnbrokers
mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-pawnbrokers
Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour
mr-foggs.com/gin-parlour
Mr Fogg's Tavern
mr-foggs.com/tavern
Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals
mr-foggs.com/house-of-botanicals
Mr Fogg's Residence Mr Fogg's City Tavern Mr Fogg's Hat Tavern and Gin Club Mr Fogg's Pawnbrokers Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour Mr Fogg's Tavern Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals

The home of British adventurer Phileas J. Fogg

Mr Fogg's bars are a collection of adventurous bars based on the renowned explorer Phileas J. Fogg, Esq. All of the bars are inspired by Jules Verne's novel "Around the World in 80 Days", and transport you back to the Victorian era. You can expect quirky decor, with things like hanging birdcages and kooky lampshades, although each bar differs slightly. The cocktail menu is just as adventurous as Phileas himself, crafted using rare spirits and ingredients inspired by his worldwide travels. There are Mr Fogg's venues located around the city, from Mayfair and Covent Garden to Soho, Fitzrovia and The City. Some focus on just one drink, like gin, while others serve a menu of outlandish cocktails.

  • 15 Bruton Ln, Mayfair 37 Broadgate, The City/City of London 22 Great Chapel St, Soho 50 Dean St, Soho 1 New Row, Covent Garden 58 St Martin's Ln, Covent Garden 48 Newman Street, Fitzrovia
    Mr Fogg's Residence
    15 Bruton Ln, Mayfair
    Mr Fogg's City Tavern
    37 Broadgate, The City/City of London
    Mr Fogg's Hat Tavern and Gin Club
    22 Great Chapel St, Soho
    Mr Fogg's Pawnbrokers
    50 Dean St, Soho
    Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour
    1 New Row, Covent Garden
    Mr Fogg's Tavern
    58 St Martin's Ln, Covent Garden
    Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals
    48 Newman Street, Fitzrovia
  • Mr Fogg's Residence
    mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-residence
    Mr Fogg's City Tavern
    mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-city-tavern
    Mr Fogg's Hat Tavern and Gin Club
    mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-hat-tavern-gin-club
    Mr Fogg's Pawnbrokers
    mr-foggs.com/mr-foggs-pawnbrokers
    Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour
    mr-foggs.com/gin-parlour
    Mr Fogg's Tavern
    mr-foggs.com/tavern
    Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals
    mr-foggs.com/house-of-botanicals
    Mr Fogg's Residence
    020-703 606 08
    Mr Fogg's City Tavern
    020-759 052 57
    Mr Fogg's Hat Tavern and Gin Club
    020-722 352 00
    Mr Fogg's Pawnbrokers
    020-759 036 09
    Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour
    020-759 036 05
    Mr Fogg's Tavern
    020-758 139 92
    Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals
    020-759 052 56
  • Mr Fogg's Residence Mr Fogg's City Tavern Mr Fogg's Hat Tavern and Gin Club Mr Fogg's Pawnbrokers Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour Mr Fogg's Tavern Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals

Rhum Tavern

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum

Rhum Tavern, inspired by the early days of the rum trade, features a stunning wood-panelled interior designed to resemble the keel of a 17th century ship. It offers one of the most extensive rum selections in the country, alongside a range of rum-based cocktails. The bar's concise menu of grilled delicacies draws inspiration from the food that was commonly found on sailing ships during that period. Additionally, Rhum Tavern operates a shop where customers can purchase from a collection of approximately 400 rums.

Garlic & Shots

No surprises here

A Swedish export to London, Garlic & Shots does what it says on the tin. At this dimly-lit and gothic bar you can sample global dishes rammed with garlic as well as an extensive menu of shots covering the entire spectrum of flavours from fruity to spicy and, indeed, garlicky. Cocktails are available too if shots aren't your thing.

The Chocolate Cocktail Club

There's one key ingredient

The Chocolate Cocktail Club specialises in original cocktails loaded with chocolate. If wine is more your thing but you don't want to miss out, the chocolate-infused red wine is a great alternative. This comfortable venue is full of quirky decor and also serves an afternoon tea just made for chocoholics. Sweet and savoury bar food is served too.

Basement Sate

Cocktails and cake

Basement Sate is a subterranean cocktail bar with a USP. This place serves up decadent desserts with cocktail pairings for a unique drinking experience. Original and classic concoctions are served here. Ideal for those with a sweet tooth, the venue also offers cocktail-making masterclasses. The space has a drawing room style.

Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac
Tabac – Quirky bars
Tabac

Tabac

Transported to the streets of Paris

Tabac is a chic French-inspired bar in Kentish Town with a relaxed, bohemian vibe. Inside, it's all red brick, leather booths, and a mural of the wine regions in France. Classic cocktails, house specials, wines, prosecco, champagne, and craft beers are all on the menu, paired with bar snacks. 

Bandra Bhai

An ode to India's smugglers

Bandra Bhai, located beneath the Pahli Hill Bandra Bhai restaurant, pays homage to India's smugglers' dens in its outlandish decor and vibe. Unlike typical bar fare, it offers bougie snacks like chargrilled asparagus and lamb cutlets. The bar specialises in signature cocktails infused with Indian spices and flavours, such as the Gold Fashioned, which features chat masala.

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At Thatsup, we have extensive experience of guiding our readers to a city’s hidden gems. Since 2008, our editors have been writing insightful guides covering restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and hairdressers, among other things. Our guides consist of carefully selected tips based on our local knowledge and are regularly updated with the help of our focus group, where we collectively discuss selections and content. We are constantly working to inspire and provide you with the best possible experience, no matter where you are or what you are looking for.