Prepare to don an orange jumpsuit as you become an inmate at these immersive cocktail bars in central and east London. Inspired by America's infamous prison and the Hollywood movies surrounding it, Alcotraz creates tailored cocktails based on your liquor and tastes - just make sure the warden doesn't catch you.
Cool and Quirky Bars in London
This beaut of a city is fortunate enough to host several of the most unique, weird and wonderful bars in world, ranging from secret speakeasy dens and bars in toilets to rooftop palaces. Whether it's taxidermy or immersive experiences, fire-spitting bartenders or just the downright outrageous - you're spoiled for choice in the capital. So in no particular order (because hey, what's life without a little surprise), here are the best cool and quirky bars in London.
Throw it back to 1920s Havana and join the fun-loving crew at the notorious Burlock as they churn out rum cocktails in a quirky London setting for the party hardy. Located just moments from Oxford Street, this is one for a fun night out in the West End.
One of Chelsea's most sought after bar experiences, hidden away in the Chelsea Funhouse you'll find The Bletchley - a fully-immersive cocktail bar and a World War Two-inspired escape room. And if that doesn't take your fancy? There's also a stunning journey-inspired restaurant and late-night cocktail lounge paying homage to all things espresso martini.
Sister site to the mighty Nightjar speakeasy, Oriole is a sumptuous space of global influence and exotic design in Smithfield Market. Come for luscious cocktails made up of tastes and flavours from all corners of the globe, equally tasty bites to eat and a live music schedule which spans everything from Cuban Son to West Coast African blues.
Taking residence in Victorian listed basement, The Piano Works is the revival of the loud and vibrant live music bars, where you can dance and party to the sound of a 6 piece band playing your song requests. Taking on a vintage style speakeasy, this House of Song is one of the best hidden gems London has to offer.
With four venues across the city, there's no better NYC-inspired spot to find yourself in than Dirty Bones. From a slick range of delcious American comfort eats, to quirky cocktails to wash them down with, there's a great time guaranteed at any one of these fun London bars.
Inspired by the Wild West, this immersive cocktail bar is one of a kind. Try your hand at card games and solve clues, in the heart of East London. Make sure you've smuggled in your choice of tipple which expert bartenders use to create personalised cocktails based on your own choices and tastes.
One-hundred-and-eiiiiighty! Flight Club breaths a new lease of life into the UK's favourite pub game, welcoming you into their beautifully designed oches to play interactive games. Throw in some real-time scoring (there's not a chalk board in sight) and a dash of competitive spirit and you've got hours of unadulterated fun at one of the most unique bars in London.
So much more than your average bar, this quirky spot in Tottenham houses a full roller skating rink for when you're looking to get a little active on your next night out. Round up your mates and prepare for diner bites and a skating sesh at this cool North London space.
Hidden within Merchant House of Bow Lane, this secret bar can be booked for a few hours, where you'll have your own music, a personal bartender and even be able to make your own drinks. Check out The Brig for a night to rememeber.
Aeronaut's quirk comes in the form of the amazing circus performances they showcase. Hosting a whole host of entertainment including swing dancing classes, live music sets, DJs and themed brunches, Aeronaut definitely satisfies that quest for something cool and quirky in Acton.
This quirky bar in West London is set to be flat party central outside of your own flat, with fantastic drinks, the coolest vibes, and even delicious, international food for you to tuck into. Expect mischievous mayhem when you visit.
Hidden below ground level and coated in Parisian chic, this is the perfect hangout for you and your trendiest of friends. Nestle into plush leather armchairs and admire your sophisticated surroundings as you taste cocktails mixed by the gods and nosh on inventive desserts at Basement Sate.
The Exhibit is Balham's all-in-one social destination. Come for a majestic cocktail or get stuck in at the dinner table, and don't forget they love a big party come Friday Night. There's comedy at the weekends, life drawing classes, art exhibitions and the chance to catch a film in London's smallest independent cinema space.
Opium is a great London speakeasy-style cocktail bar. The bar team deliver themed cocktails, in a discrete and decadent setting. Widely considered one of London's best bars, Opium is a cool and quirky London spot hidden among the bustling streets of Chinatown.
Wacky interiors, pretty cocktails and party tunes are all on the menu at Blame Gloria, a cool South London bar and late-night spot. Whether you fancy some happy hour drinks or a wild night of dancing with mates, this Clapham den is ready and waiting to play ball.
Draped with wicker masks, brass icons and even featuring giant maypoles (Maypole Dancing actively encouraged), Hand of Glory boasts an interior design to behold. Grab one of their rotating 'deadly ciders', sample some home-infused gin and gorge on a plate of fresh, lovingly prepared pub grub.
Hidden away beneath a derelict pub in Shoreditch is The King's Head Members Club, boasting an eclectic array of taxidermy scattered amongst the opulent interiors of its private rooms, secret basement club, lounge bar and restaurant. This quirky spot also has some of the best entertainment drop by, including Basque shows, DJ lead parties, live music and more.
Based on the HQ of the secret society that ran Victorian London, The Escapologist is part Victorian men's club, part Masonic Lodge; a totally unique drinking den based on the shady exploits of the infamous Baron. Head this way for sharing cocktails and cheese-drenched pizzas in one of the most eye-catching basement bars in town.
Boasting a DJ booth tucked inside of a vintage piano, cocktails served out of the finest of China, and luxurious seating arrangements, The Arts Theatre Club is certainly in the upper echelon of cool and quirky bars in London. This members-only Soho speakeasy acts as the perfect, Prohibition-era getaway amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.
Peckham Levels' quirkiest bar is Near & Far, a kitsch retro haven with an import/export theme. Come inside and you'll enjoy cocktails and bar snacks created with both locally sourced ingredients and exotic imports, and you can enjoy all this while soaking up the panoramic views of London.
Megaro is charming and characterful cocktail bar, sitting below the bustling streets of King's Cross. The venue's expert mixologists have really let their creative side shine, curating a menu of signature creations and spirit infusion. If that wasn't enticing enough, the cinema-style seating and portraits add a bit of quirk.
Hop Kingdom is a unique venue in Southwark that acts as a skate park, bar and live music venue. Whether you're looking to book a birthday party, gig, exhibition bands, photo shoots, or anything else that springs to mind, the space is adaptable to any and all occasions.
Prohibition parties... There's plenty going round, but only a select few come out firing on all cylinders like the Candlelight Club. They'll keep details hush-hush for as long as possible, but we're allowed to tell you that there will be bespoke cocktails, vintage DJs and live jazz bands summoning up the spirit of the 20s long into the night.
Ping pong bars are all the rage in London right now, and few do it better than Bounce. A buzzing underground spot made for eating, drinking and playing ping-pong late into the night, the tables here can fit up to 20, and the table service policy means you won't have to ditch your area when ordering in the delicious pizza or a few gin-based cocktails.
The third venue of its kind, Old Street Records brings cutting-edge live music to the masses in the heart of Shoreditch. Head along on any given night and expect to see EP launches, live DJs and new bands taking the stage, with cocktails and authentic Italian pizzas also well worth checking out.
There are multi-sensory drinking experiences, and then there is Purl. A speakeasy-style drinking den located in the heart of Marylebone, the venue's pioneering approach to their cocktails involves utilising aroma, fogs, foams and liquid nitrogen to bring each and every drink to life. Just remember the password for entry (Hair Of The Dog).
This charismatic Angel hangout features a quirky train-carriage theme that takes you on a journey calling at great food central and innovative cocktails parkway. A plethora of shadowy foliage adds to the atmosphere and the friendly bar staff/train conductors make this a venue you won't go forgetting any time soon.
The Alchemist have quickly built up a reputation for being one of the UK's most exciting bars, serving unique creations from the heart of Old Street that fizz, change colour and come to life right before your eyes. Head to East London this summer to experience the theatrics for yourself.
Swingers is a bar like no other, bringing two 9-hole crazy golf courses, alongside three street food vendors, five cocktail bars and a two-storey clubhouse all for you to hang out in. From date nights to activities with mates, you won't go bored here.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat, how I wonder what you're at. Borrowing its name from the Mad Hatter's poem, Little Bat is a quirky neighbourhood cocktail bar featuring plenty of Wonderland-themed influences. Expect a playful and imaginative ambience complemented by superb cocktails at Callooh Callay's sister site.
The Four Thieves in Battersea has everything you need for a trip to the boozer. From more than 70 gins, a microbrewery on site and enough craft beer to keep you drinking the week's woes away, the fun doesn't stop there. Head upstairs for an incredible games room, filled with car racing, ping pong and virtual reality.
BYOC Camden is not your average cocktail den; for starters it has an amazing 1920s theme, complete with vintage blackjack tables and roulette, and secondly, you are expected to bring your own bottle of spirit for bartenders to whip into masterpieces.
A hidden treasure marrying inventive cocktails with an eclectic music programme, you don't go forgetting a trip to Apples & Pears in a hurry. The venue's radiant atmosphere makes it perfect for date night or stopping by after work, and with a medley of live acoustic acts and animated DJ nights, we challenge you not to find yourself tapping those toes deep into the night.
Killer cocktails, a cracking bar team and a thriving Shoreditch location... Yep, LCC is good to go for a memorable night out in East London. Come in, get comfy on the black leather couches and work your way to the bottom of an expertly mixed drink.
Found right around the corner from Tower Bridge, Simmons brings affordable drinks to their small but perfectly formed cocktail bar. Featuring quirky decorations (there's an enormous dinosaur's head, for crying out loud) and a friendly ambience, make sure you're in between 4 and 9pm on weekdays if you want to take full advantage of their famous happy hour discounts.
Powering up in London Bridge is one unique bar concept from the minds behind Flight Club. Electric Shuffle is a unique technological spin on the classic pastime, with cocktails and boozy brunches at the heart of their sites in London Bridge and Canary Wharf.
Winterland's events are bringing you some of the best boozy experiences, including a fabulous cocktail and gin bar at their alpine ski party. Or opt for a endless drinks and brunch option, complete with a live DJ.
Spread across two floors, Bobby Fitzpatrick is a quirky 70s den of vintage wallpaper, kitsch sofas and signed photographs. There's board games and a quirky cocktail list inspired by Fitzpatrick's great loves, as well as brunch and American deep dish pizzas.
Giving it some serious welly in the quirky department is hidden Peckham gem, The Four Quarters. A stand out name on the bars with games scene, not only do they provide top entertainment in the shape of retro games, consoles and arcade machines, there's American bites, cocktails and a secret speakeasy bar in the basement.
We Londoners think we've seen everything, but then a bar like Black Rock comes around and puts an 18ft, 185-year-old oak tree trunk in the middle of the bar and we're shocked all over again. The tree trunk acts as an interactive cocktail ageing system, that you can use on their over 250 bottles of different whiskies on display for your pleasure.