25 Of The Best Bars In The UK

The United Kingdom is chockfull of places to drink. From centuries-old alehouses, swanky upscale lounges and subterranean speakeasies, the UK really does have it all. Clink a few glasses at any or all of these UK faves from Edinburgh to Cardiff. Here are the 25 best bars in the United Kingdom for 2020.

Best Bars In The United KingdomHow do these rankings work?

1. Happiness Forgets – London

This vintage speakeasy is the best place to get your kicks in the UK. Housed in a tiny basement with a uniquely authentic Jazz-Age touch and delicious cocktails, it’s no wonder patrons come from near and far to experience Happiness Forgets.

Whether you’re out for an intimate tryst or clinking glasses with some friends, Happiness Forgets is the place to be. Start with their ‘bootlegger’ made with mezcal, chestnut, lime and whiskey barrel bitters.

best bars in the United Kingdom

2. Below The Stairs – Leeds

Whether you’re looking for craft brews, flavourful wines or house cocktails, Below The Stairs has it all and then some. Don’t let the sleek and sophisticated setting fool you, either; the bar is family-owned and is all about genuine service. We strongly recommend their ‘Charred I’m Sure’ made with charcoal whiskey, sake, cinnamon syrup and orange.
best bars in the United Kingdom

3. Original Sin – London

Edgy, vintage and chic are three things that perfectly describe the scene at London’s Original Sin. This underground bar is known for its incredible cocktails and skilled bartenders. The best part? Thanks to its basement location, there’s no phone service meaning you get to really unplug. Start with their Red Hook made up of rye, maraschino and punt e mes for a real treat.
best bars in the United Kingdom

4. The Milk Thistle – Bristol

Tucked away in an old historic building with a secret speakeasy vibe, The Milk Thistle sings a song of prohibition. Four floors of elaborate art deco, parlour style lounges and Gatsby-worthy cocktails are what really bring the place to life. Start with their ‘Journey of Brothers’ made with whiskey, cider, cream, celery, bitters and soda.
best bars in the United Kingdom

5. The Rising Sun – Southampton

The Rising Sun is one of the UK’s most adorable and welcoming pubs. Housed in a building dating back over 200 years, there’s no shortage of charm in this country pub. We recommend a real ale next to their crackling fireplace.

best bars in the United Kingdom

6. The Devil’s Advocate – Edinburgh

The Devil’s Advocate in the heart of Edinburgh is the place to be for whiskey lovers. At this old Victorian home, they offer a large variety of both Scottish and international whiskies to wet your whistle. We suggest starting with their ‘Twist & Sparkle’ made with rye whiskey, amaro, local honey and sparkling wine.
best bars in the United Kingdom

7. The Dead Canary – Cardiff

1920’s glam and unique craft cocktails are what The Dead Canary does best. Take a seat in their speakeasy esque lounge and sip on any one of their zesty handmade cocktails. We recommend starting with their ‘Totoro’ made with Jack Daniels rye, vermouth and apple tea.
best bars in the United Kingdom

8. Opium – London

In the heart of London’s Chinatown, you’ll find the 1920’s Shanghai dream that is Opium. Head to their ‘Apothecary Bar’ for cocktails modelled after Chinese remedies and a feng shui atmosphere that is out of this world. Don’t leave without trying their ‘The Visionary’ made with whiskey, dry sherry, banana, ginger, curry and yoghurt.best bars in the United Kingdom

9. KIN – Edinburgh

Right on the corner of Broughton and Barony, you’ll find Edinburgh’s bumping KIN. Tucked away in an old basement, this cosy pub is known for it’s warm and funky atmosphere that serves up the best Manhattan in town.
best bars in the United Kingdom

10. The Connaught Bar – London

The Connaught Bar is trendy, intimate, sophisticated and a London classic. The bar is full of artsy touches like cubist mirrors and heavy textures in every shade of grey. We recommend starting with any of their gin drinks.
best bars in the United Kingdom

11. Nightjar – London

Slip away to the 1920’s post- Great War mecca inside London’s Nightjar. Here you’ll find a wide range of signature cocktails, live jazz and quirky touches like playing cards and swing dancing. Start with their ‘Toronto’ that perfectly blends Woodford reserve, pecan maple syrup, orange blossom smoke and candyfloss.
best bars in the United Kingdom

12. The Dove – London

The Dove has been a River Thames staple since the 17th century and is famous for its rich history. Drink where the likes of AP Herbert, Nell Gwynne and James Thomson have all been inspired and take in the charm. We recommend starting with any of their delicious wines.
best bars in the United Kingdom

13. Neighbourhood – Manchester

Neighbourhood is a slice of Manhattan in Manchester. It’s vibrant, it’s swanky, and the atmosphere just can’t be beat. You’ll also find a tasty variety of cocktails such as ‘Central Park’ made with sweet cascara vermouth and tonic.

best bars in the United Kingdom

14. Vice & Virtue – Leeds

West Yorkshire’s Vice & Virtue serves up some of the best cocktails, brews and spirits in the United Kingdom. Not only that, you’ll find that the craft cocktail gem also boasts a jazzy-flapper atmosphere that just can’t be beat. Start with their ‘Poppy Flip’ made with orange liquor, poppy, orange flower, orange bitters and egg.
best bars in the United Kingdom

15. Three Sheets – London

This cosy pub boasts an incredible seasonal cocktail list and is known for its laidback neighbourhood atmosphere. With a constantly evolving menu, you’ll always have something new to try. We recommend telling the bartender what you like and having them concoct something special.
best bars in the United Kingdom

16. Lyaness – London

This cocktail bar brings style and atmosphere to life with expertly designed plush furniture, old school marble bar and retro touches. Award-winning and known for its craft cocktails and river views, you can’t go wrong with a few drinks at Lyaness. We recommend starting with their ‘Soy Wax Old Fashioned’ for a unique spin on the classic cocktail.

17. Bramble – Edinburgh

Subtle yet sophisticated perfectly describes this Queen Street fave. This pub is a firecracker for its cocktails, unpretentious atmosphere and let loose music. Start with any of their 40 gin varieties or be bold and go for one of their signature mezcal cocktails.
best bars in the United Kingdom

18. American Bar – London

Constantly making lists for the world’s best cocktails, Savoy Hotel’s American Bar really is one of the best in the business. One of the oldest cocktail bars in Britain and set in a seriously charming space, you’ll find all your fave cocktails and more. Check out their ‘Savoy Songbook’ menu for classic cocktails inspired by iconic songs and musicians.

19. Orchid – Aberdeen

This microdistillery slash bar is famous for its artsy vibes and craft cocktails. Whether you’re out for date night or just looking to clink a few glasses, Orchid is the place to be. Start with their ‘Verdita’ for a citrusy, savoury, zesty kick.

20. Mr Foggs – London

Mr. Foggs can only be described as a firecracker of Victorian-era drinking and adventure. Knick-nacks from hither and yon fill the walls, and the cocktail list sings an old tune of gin parlours and the beloved belle epoque. Start your night off right with their ‘Die Tannenbaum’.

21. The Blue Bar at The Berkley – London

Few places come close to the style and charm that can be found at The Berkeley’s Blue Bar in Knightsbridge. Inside you’ll find a stunning design with 50 shades of blue and an even more impressive cocktail list. Start with any of their 16 carefully curated cocktails and stay awhile.

image: Zoran Peric/Facebook

22. Oriole – London

Oriole describes their cocktail menu as ‘a trip around the world, covering Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Orient’ meaning you have a world full of options – literally. In addition to five-star cocktails, the atmosphere is unique and warm, and there is live music every evening. Start the night with one of their globally-inspired cocktails such as a ‘Cappadocia Julep’ or ‘Blackrock Martini.’

23. Lab 22 – Cardiff

This eclectic Cardiff fave is one of the best in the United Kingdom for its deliciously unique cocktails, good music and cosy atmosphere. Take your pick from their periodic table style menu with unique picks like ‘Crystal Cut Negroni’, ‘Ironbright’ and ‘Manhattan Project’.

image: Yony Photography/Facebook

24. Satan’s Whiskers – London

Satan’s Whiskers is the place to be for whisky cocktail connoisseurs. This understated and quirky taproom is known for its unique atmosphere and incredible music. Even better? Their cocktail menu is updated every day like clockwork, meaning a new drink to try every time. Pop in and request the current fave.

25. Jalou Newcastle – Newcastle

This cocktail bar slash nightclub is the place to be in Newcastle and one of the best bars in the UK. At this bumping party joint, you’ll find disco drinks and a great dancefloor. Start with the White Cosmo made with vodka, elderflower, white grape juice and lime.



Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

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