If one thing’s for sure, it’s that London isn’t short on places to enjoy a drink or ten. Whether you’re looking for a spot for your next date night or a place to dance well into the early hours, you’ll likely find something apt in Soho. For centuries, Soho has been the place to go in London when you want to indulge in a little much-needed hedonism. From classy drinking haunts and basement bars to themed cocktail bars in weird and wonderful places, here’s our guide to the best bars in Soho for an unforgettable night in the capital.
Guide to the best bars in Soho
In this guide
The best bars in Soho
- Bar Termini – Quintessentially Italian
- Bar Américain – A nod to the Prohibition Era
- Bob Bob Ricard – Champagne at the press of a button
- Disrepute – The former drinking haunt of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn
- Nightjar – The ultimate London speakeasy
- Swift – Two bars in one
- The French House – A classic London pub
- Experimental Cocktail Club – The no.1 date spot
- The Rum Kitchen – Caribbean food, cocktails and music
- Circa – Soho's leading gay bar
- Bar Crispin – Seasonal British plates and European wine
- Comptons – An LGBTQIA+ icon
- The Blind Pig – A hidden speakeasy bar
- The Ship Soho – A musical mainstay
- 100 Wardour Street – A bit of everything
- The Little Scarlet Door – A house party but at a bar
- Cahoots – Keeping the post-war spirit alive
- La Bodega Negra – A slice of Mexico in the heart of Soho
The best bars in Soho
Soho bars you don't want to miss
For classic Italian coffee by day and tantalising cocktails by night, head along to Bar Termini on Old Compton Street. Enjoy classic cocktails like the house negroni, or opt for beer, wine, prosecco or champagne alongside a selection of antipasti, like Italian cheeses, charcuterie, Sicilian caponata, and more. Don't forget to snap a picture of their classic black and white chequered floor before you leave.
A nod to the Prohibition Era
This American-style cocktail bar in the heart of Soho is home to a dimly-lit basement bar kitted out with dark wooden furnishings and leather seating. The cocktails served are a nod to those served before the Prohibition Era in the U.S., like the classic Cosmopolitan, White Lady and Corpse Reviver, all made with their original recipes. The bar has also partnered with the Moulin Rouge musical so that you can enjoy a range of drinks dedicated to the show’s characters.
Champagne at the press of a button
"Press for Champagne" buttons aren't something you see everywhere, as much as we wish they were. This funky bar in Soho lets you press a button for instant-flowing champagne. What a dream. The swanky booths are designed by designer David Collins and are perhaps his most striking creation. As for the food, you can expect British classics, like beef Wellington, and even Russian dishes like vareniki dumplings. Not a fan of champagne? They also have a menu of fine wines and harder liquors, which you, unfortunately, cannot get at the push of a button (which, when you think about it, is probably a good thing).
The former drinking haunt of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn
Although Disrepute is a members-only spot, the bar permits non-members until capacity. It's a nod to the glamorous 1960s when the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe used to drink there. The cocktails are served creatively, featuring short descriptions of fictional characters that leave a little open to the imagination. Pick something that you're most drawn to and you'll likely end up with a drink to suit your taste and temperament.
The ultimate London speakeasy
This swanky London speakeasy is the ideal date spot or place to catch up with friends. The cocktails are playful takes on the classics, inspired by drinks from the pre-prohibition, prohibition, post-war and modern-day periods. Expect drinks topped with candy floss, milk chocolate sculptures, and all of the classics. There’s also a menu of bar snacks and small plates served late into the night.
Two bars in one
Upstairs in Swift, you’ll find an aperitif-focused evening bar which is the perfect spot for a first date drink from their award-winning cocktail menu. Head downstairs, and you’ll come across a speakeasy-style basement ideal for late-night drinking from the special drinks menu. It’s basically two bars in one that caters for two kinds of night.
A classic London pub
The French house in Soho is one of those classic London pubs that you can’t walk past without popping in for a pint or two. Pair that with the exquisite food served in the dimly-lit dining room up a set of squeaky stairs, and you have yourself a recipe for an all-round excellent wine and dine date. Although the food changes, past menus have seen dishes like confit duck leg with warm salad and violet artichoke with parmesan salad take centre stage.
The no.1 date spot
If you can find the front door to The Experimental Cocktail Club (look for a tiny faded black, rusty door), you’re in for a treat. This Chinatown cocktail bar has a carefully crafted menu of cocktails made using hard-to-find spirits from France and beyond. The decor is shabby chic, with a dark and moody interior, making it an ideal spot for a date.
Caribbean food, cocktails and music
For all things rum, head to Rum Kitchen on Carnaby Street. This lively spot is bringing the authentic taste of the Caribbean to London with its varied menu of Caribbean classics and creative cocktails. The music is also a drawing point amongst locals and tourists, with live performances taking place at the bar throughout the week.
Soho's leading gay bar
Circa Soho is Soho’s leading gay bar, having been around for more than a decade. It’s an all-round sensory experience, from tantalising cocktails to disco lights, and promises a night to remember. Swing by for a relaxed mid-week drink or catch a live DJ on the weekend, where you can dance well into the early hours of the morning.
Seasonal British plates and European wine
Wine-lovers rejoice for Bar Crispin on Kingly Street. This all-day natural wine bar and restaurant in buzzy Soho is the place to be for exquisite European wines and a food menu of British seasonal dishes. Sip on low-intervention wines and chow down on delectable sharing plates where sustainability is at the core of Bar Crispin’s ethos.
An LGBTQIA+ icon
Comptons, built on the site of the 200-year-old Swiss Hotel, is one of those bars that’s been around forever; in fact, it’s been at the epicentre of the gay scene since 1986. These days, it’s one of London’s most celebrated LGBTQIA+ venues with events taking place weeklong, like DJ nights, happy hours and more.
A hidden speakeasy bar
The Blind Pig is an award-winning bar above Social Eating House, a contemporary restaurant by Michelin star chefs Jason Atherton and Paul Hood. This classy bar has a speakeasy feel, offering fine wines, creative cocktails, beers and satisfying bar snacks. The interior is dark, with mostly wood furniture and dim lighting; some might say it’s rather romantic.
A musical mainstay
The Ship in Soho is built around excellent beers and rock ’n’ roll. Music has been a focal point for the pub for decades, which is not surprising given its longstanding musical history. Next door used to be the legendary Marquee Club, which saw bands such as The Clash, The Cure, Joy Divison and more take to the stage, and those who played there would often head to The Ship for pre and post-show drinks.
A bit of everything
This relaxed and stylish bar and lounge ticks all boxes for an epic night out in Soho. It’s above the former site of the aforementioned Marquee Club, where the likes of David Bowie, Joy Division and The Cure once played. You can dine on modern European fare in the basement alongside a range of cocktails before dancing well into the night to a live DJ.
A house party but at a bar
The Little Scarlet Door came about when five friends got together and decided to recreate the buzz of a house party inside a bar. This unique bar is inspired by New York’s loft apartments; think exposed brickwork and industrial fittings. You can slink into the night, sipping a range of drinks, before dancing like you would at a friend’s house party. The best bit? There’s no cleaning to do the next day.
Keeping the post-war spirit alive
When two people discovered a disused underground station in the heart of Soho, the first thing they thought was 'aha, let’s build a bar here', so they did just that. The station was formerly used as an air raid shelter throughout the war, and when it was discovered, it was filled with old toys, mismatched crockery, furniture and other trinkets, which are still present in the bar today. The rations and cocktails served here are a nod to the post-war spirit, as are the late-night parties they throw well into the night.
A slice of Mexico in the heart of Soho
La Bodega Negra is one of London’s authentic Mexican spots, right in the hustle and bustle of Soho behind what, in true Soho style, appears to be a sex shop. The menu has all of the street food favourites, like truffle and black mole quesadillas and sea bass ceviche. For drinks, you’ve got a range of cocktails, Mexican spirits, and various soft drinks.