There’s no question that some of the capital’s best nightlife can be be found in East London, with more pubs, bars, and clubs than we can count. Choosing the top bars in East London is certainly tricky with so many buzzy spaces open, catering to a broad array of interests. If you’re not sure where to begin with the multitude of drinking destinations in the area, have a look at our guide to the best bars in East London.
Guide to the best bars in East London
In this guide
The best bars in East London
- Apples & Pears – Cheeky cocktail bar
- The Boundary – Dreamy rooftop views
- Lounge Bohemia – Cocktail theatrics
- Coupette – French-inspired award winner
- Hackney Church Brew Co. – Locally-brewed beers
- Three Sheets – Compact, concise, sophisticated
- Crate Brewery & Pizzeria – Riverside beer hotspot
- Hacha – Unique Mexican bar
- Nikki's Bar – Riotous party spot
- Nightjar – Uncover cocktail heritage
- The Book Club – Bustling parties in Shoreditch
- The Natural Philosopher – Inspired by nature
- TT Liquor – Multi-purpose drinking venue
- Bar 161 – Sustainable cocktails plus karaoke
- Behind This Wall – Only custom cocktails
- Satan's Whiskers – Edgy and inclusive
- Found – Discreet speakeasy bar
- Map Maison – Timeless tapas and cocktail bar
- Tonight Josephine – Non-stop energy
- Black Rock – Leading specialist whisky bar
- Sager + Wilde – Traditionally-styled wine bar
- 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name – Ultra-modern cocktail bar
- Happiness Forgets – Polished basement venue
- Seed Library – Bar from a cocktail legend
- Mikkeller Bar – Cosy craft beer
- Callooh Callay – Inspiring Shoreditch bar space
- The Cocktail Trading Co – Friendly and welcoming bar
- Howling Hops – UK's first tank bar
- Looking Glass Cocktail Club – Quirky visuals and fun atmosphere
- Jin Bo Law – Sophisticated rooftop bar
The best bars in East London
Cheeky cocktail bar
Fun cocktail bar Apples & Pears has a lively atmosphere, eclectic decor, diverse music, and inventive drinks. In other words, all the makings of a top night out. The imaginative cocktails put stylish twists on the classics, like a raspberry espresso martini or an elevated version of a Long Island Iced Tea.
Dreamy rooftop views
Check out the rooftop bar at Boundary London for fab views of East London whilst you enjoy a variety of tempting drinks. The space is heated and comfortable, open throughout the whole year. Drop by just for drinks - there are cocktails, wine, and champagne - or sample the seasonal European food menu.
Lounge Bohemia is a secretive cocktail bar with tons of character. You’ll have to make an appointment to enter the intimate space with Soviet-era decor, but once in you can relax on sofas and recliners. The cocktails are theatrical, blending molecular mixology, flamboyant presentation and bold flavours to create a unique drinking experience.
French-inspired award winner
Considered one of the world’s best bars, award-winning venue Coupette is based in Bethnal Green. This moodily-lit space is full of French influences, whilst still maintaining its London identity. Expect sophisticated cocktails, crafted with care, plus live music and special events including masterclasses and guest shifts from world-leading mixologists.
Hackney Church Brew Co. might be worth a visit if you're a fan of craft beer. Local brews are available at this welcoming taproom, which has a spacious beer garden. The beer selection changes regularly, and snacks and larger meals are also available. Pop in on a Sunday for a traditional roast.
Compact, concise, sophisticated
Three Sheets might be understated but it’s a major name on the London cocktail scene. Menus are deliberately concise – three sheets of three drinks, hence the name. The options change weekly, delivering fresh tastes and sophisticated combinations of ingredients. The venue is compact but the drinks undoubtedly have the wow-factor.
Riverside beer hotspot
Crate Brewery gives craft beer fans a relaxing riverside space in East London. Seated at picnic tables alongside the River Lea, at this buzzy spot you can enjoy peaceful views in addition to a changing selection of Crate Brewery’s beers. Freshly-prepared pizza is available too, including a number of vegetarian options.
Unique Mexican bar
Visit Hacha to discover London’s first bar specialising in tequila and mezcal. This warm and homey setting has been voted one of the best bars in the country. You can enjoy a variety of fine spirits and cocktails, including the Mirror Margarita, voted as one of the best cocktails in the world.
Riotous party spot
If you’re looking for carefree hedonism, Nikki’s Bar is where to be. It’s colourful, fun, and a top place for a party. The drinks list kicks off with every student’s favourite, Skittles vodka shots, before moving on to a range of pop-inspired cocktails. Events like bottomless brunches and karaoke are on regularly too.
Uncover cocktail heritage
Get a piece of cocktail history at Nightjar. At this refined venue you can dive into trying cocktails from throughout the ages, plus vintage spirits dating back to the 1930s. Unique sharing cocktails add to the fun here. Relax and listen to live jazz and blues at this late-night venue.
Bustling parties in Shoreditch
Shoreditch's The Book Club has earned a reputation as a buzzing place for a party. This laid-back café-bar becomes a lively destination with DJs and moody lighting until the late hours. It's all about cocktails, draft beer, and tempting pizzas, plus art on the walls and an eclectic music programme.
Inspired by nature
Enter through a nondescript shop to discover The Natural Philosopher, a lush and comfortable hidden cocktail bar. The natural world inspires both the interiors and the menu, with seasonal lists using intriguing botanicals, including foraged ingredients. The drinks options change weekly but the bar is also particularly well-known for its picklebacks.
Multi-purpose drinking venue
Shoreditch’s TT Liquor is an exciting and multi-dimensional venue. Explore a variety of spaces from the moody basement cocktail bar to the roof terrace, or the intimate cinema where you can enjoy a special themed cocktail whilst you watch a film. Other events like tastings and cocktail masterclasses are held regularly.
Sustainable cocktails plus karaoke
Bar 161 is a smart destination combining sustainable cocktails and a varied menu with the added fun of a private karaoke room. The cocktails are seasonal specials that change regularly, as well as classic mixes, wine, beer, and shots. These are creative drinks served with eye-catching presentation in a welcoming environment.
Only custom cocktails
Hackney’s Behind This Wall is certainly hip but is also relaxed and without pretentions. This chilled basement cocktail bar has a custom-built vintage sound system and no fixed menu. Just tell the skilled bar staff what you fancy and they’ll either make it or suggest an alternative to tickle your tastebuds.
Edgy and inclusive
Satan’s Whiskers isn’t a space for smooth jazz and exclusivity – it’s actually well-known for its hip hop playlist and inclusive feel, making it one of London’s leading bars. This neighbourhood venue has a unique interior with taxidermy, exposed brick, and retro posters, as well as a stylish drinks list that’s sure to impress.
Discreet speakeasy bar
Found has a speakeasy style and might be difficult to locate. Once you’re there you’ll find a basement cocktail den across four rooms. Decor is sparse and feels humble. Guests can sample a concise choice of classic cocktails with interesting twists, but you can also request a drink that’s off the list.
Timeless tapas and cocktail bar
At Map Maison you can enjoy chic tapas and afternoon tea by day, and sophisticated cocktails by night. Decked out with wood panelling, jewel tones, and vibrant flowers, this venue has a timeless feel. Every evening you can sample refined cocktails, including special bottled blends to-go. Intimate private cabins are also available.
The Tonight Josephine location in Shoreditch is themed on a glitter ball, which shows you this is a place for a serious party. Expect buzzy nights, neon lighting, and mouthwatering cocktails at this youthful and lively destination. Themed brunches and special offers on drinks add to the energetic atmosphere here.
Leading specialist whisky bar
Repeatedly named as the best specialist bar in the country, Black Rock is a destination for whisky aficionados and beginners. Aimed at making the drink accessible, you can sample whisky cocktails and a variety of grain spirits by the dram. This slick and cosy venue also hosts experiences like a blending masterclass.
Traditionally-styled wine bar
For wine connoisseurs and novices alike, Sager + Wilde is popular. Set in a converted pub, it retains a traditional East End feel. Bottles are a big part of the aesthetic. The wines vary, but organic and natural vintages are the focus. There are snacks and toasties to go with your wine.
Ultra-modern cocktail bar
Minimalist and utilitarian, A Bar with Shapes for a Name redefines what a bar can be and is considered a world-leader. The Bauhaus-inspired venue serves a limited cocktail selection, mixing drinks up in just 60 seconds. Ingredients are selected through blind tasting and it works – some of these mixes are award winners.
Polished basement venue
Often touted as one of the world’s best bars, Happiness Forgets is a compact basement venue that’s sleek and polished. Despite this, it still has a warm and casual ambience. Mixology is taken seriously here, with new takes on the classics and staff who’ll mix up something unique according to your preferences.
Bar from a cocktail legend
Dandelyan and Lyaness are considered some of the world’s best cocktail bars, and Seed Library is another venture from the man behind these venues. Both the setting and drinks list are pared-back, with a changing selection that puts a signature twist on classic cocktails. DJ sets keep things going at weekends.
Cosy craft beer
Get a taste for Danish beer that’s got plenty of character at Mikkeller Bar. This intimate venue in Shoreditch is a hip and cosy drinking spot that is co-owned by Rick Astley. It’s a pet-friendly venue with indoor and outdoor seating, serving a variety of Mikkeller’s brews, as well as wine.
Inspiring Shoreditch bar space
Literary-themed bar Calooh Callay has a distinctive character and brings something different to Shoreditch. Surround yourself with rich colours, cosy booths, and plenty of books on the shelves whilst you enjoy an innovative cocktail list. The award-winning bar also offers beer, wine, and champagne, plus a simple food menu.
Friendly and welcoming bar
If you want cocktails with warm and welcoming service, you’ll enjoy The Cocktail Trading Co. The team here go the extra mile to show customers a good time. At this cosy spot you can order a classic mix, a signature concoction, or an off-the-menu favourite and the staff will whip it up.
UK's first tank bar
Howling Hops Tank Bar and Kitchen is lively, down-to-earth, and authentic. Sit outside and sample unfiltered, freshly-brewed beer, poured straight from the tank. In fact, it’s the UK’s first dedicated tank bar, serving beers in several measures, as well as takeaway beer. Flavour-packed street food is available to soak up the booze.
Quirky visuals and fun atmosphere
Take inspiration from Alice in Wonderland at Looking Glass Cocktail Club. This quirky venue is snug, packed with retro furniture and unusual decorating touches. There’s a diverse variety of cocktails to try here, and fun events like drag bingo add to the lively feel. It’s stylish, modern and full of character.
Sophisticated rooftop bar
With views of some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks, Jin Bo Law is a glamorous rooftop destination for a drink. Themed events and parties take place here regularly, creating a space for indulgence. Think sophisticated champagne parties, inventive cocktails, and authentic spirits from Asia, paired with unbeatable views.