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Anya Meyerowitz

Guest Luxury Lifestyle & Travel Writer



The Best Bars in London for After-Work Drinks

During the long, laborious winter months, the after-work hours consist, predominantly, of commuting home in the dark. However, as summer starts to slink into view and the clocks slip forward, we begin to heed the siren call of the balmy post-work tipple. And this is where the wearied capital-dwellers can begin to feel the city come into its own: London is peppered with a wide range of bars perfectly fit for purpose; from sultry riverside sun terraces to upmarket cocktail bars embedded into luxe hotels, a veritable smorgasbord of sundowners awaits. So, don your best day-to-night workwear (a tailored pleated suit, perhaps? Or a breezy woven shirt dress?), a stroke of illuminating lipstick and slink off to soak up time with colleagues, friends or a romantic interest at our handpicked clutch of the best bars in London for after-work drinks.

The bloomsbury cocktail london

Dalloway Terrace, Fitzrovia

Tucked away behind Tottenham Court Road’s various tourist traps, the Bloomsbury Hotel - a handsome, red-brick building which first joined the scene in 1928 - is well-known among discerning circles, yet still somehow manages to feel like a secret. Inside, the interiors are strikingly outlandish (oversized velvet sofas, an entire room painted coral, the sort of thing) while also creating intimate spaces to relax in, but the real star of the show here is outside, in the form of the hotel’s sheltered alfresco bar and restaurant: Dalloway Terrace. The space is adorned with seemingly endless botanical flowers, paired with comfortable wooden seating (so settle in) and comes with an extensive drinks menu and wine list. Blankets are provided in case you stay long past sunset and staff here are well-versed in creating cocktails ‘off-menu’. It's worth noting that Dalloway Terrace is primarily a dining space, be sure to check out their sister bar next door, The Coral Room, if you're just looking to have a couple of drinks.

Dalloway Terrace rooftop bar london
Dalloway Terrrace

Aviary, Finsbury Square

High above the city, the Aviary occupies prime position at the top of the Montcalm Royal House Hotel in Finsbury Square, and plays host to a sartorially-savvy workforce most weekday evenings. Expect low-lounge seating, indoor trees, sweeping views of London and a striking bar jutting through the middle, as well as a vibrant atmosphere all year-round. The terrace is heated, meaning that even some unexpected colder summer weather doesn’t need to stop you soaking up the vistas and setting the world to rights over an array of thoughtfully designed, botanical-themed cocktails. The dress code here is ‘smart and elegant’, ideal for a first outing for that Ombre Silk Floral Maxi Dress or a slick Belted Jumpsuit.

Garden Terrace at The Hari, Knightsbridge

A relatively new addition to the luxury hotel scene in London, The Hari in glittering Knightsbridge is an artistic ode to the dawdling pace of life here, flanked by the great green lungs of the city - the royal parks. Bedrooms are lost-style and the Italian restaurant well-known, and respected, among locals, however it’s the garden terrace that really enchanted us. The interior courtyard is somewhat of a suntrap and offers a sense of solace within the city, a secluded urban retreat, with creative riffs on classic cocktails and artificial plant-clad walls, dotted with warm-hued lights. Though the crowd here is well-heeled, the atmosphere is informal and relaxed, and after-work apéritfs begin early afternoon.

The Hari Garden Terrace London
The Garden Terrace at The Hari

Forza Wine, South Bank

When the cult Peckham-based natural wine bar opened a second location on the South Bank, offering its guests the run of the top floor of the National Theatre, there was much celebration from the local workforce. And this sense of excitement around Forza Wine has yet to dwindle. Beside London’s liquid highway - The Thames - those in search of a post-work drink and an ‘Italian-ish’ meal spill out onto the wraparound roof terrace, tuck into tapas-style dishes and slink into banquette-clad booths or perch at high, communal tables to decompress. There’s no dress code here, and the range of punters is eclectic, to say the least.

Somerset House Terrace Bar, Strand

The Somerset House Terrace Bar, in partnership with San Miguel, opens during the warmer months each year, inviting visitors to enjoy a thoroughly modern, semi open-air experience, against the backdrop of the building’s iconic 18th-century facade. The cosmopolitan terrace has an upbeat feel about it all summer-long, offering a little space of Spain to those desk-bound in the capital, with a Spanish-English menu and plenty of alcohol-free options alongside the classic warm-weather beers and cocktails you’d expect from such a place.

8 at The Londoner, Leicester Square

High above the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square, the Japanese izakaya rooftop bar atop the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel is filled, most night’s of the week, with impeccably-polished guests and office workers enjoying the London skyline. Here, you can expect relaxed house music, minimalistic monochrome furnishings and a statement fire in the suspended Shima garden, all a soothing antidote to the often punishing pace of London life. Cocktails are carefully curated with handpicked spirits and natural ingredients, celebrating the flavours of Japan. The dress code here is ‘fashionably elegant’, so a tailored blazer (like this chic Tailored Belted Tipped Detail version) or a Buckle Pleated Midi Skirt would fit the bill effortlessly.

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