10 Most Romantic Bars in London this Winter
25th January 2024
What better than a swirl of romance to whisk the frost of winter away? Izzy Schaw Miller picks the ten most romantic bars in London. From some of the hottest new openings shaking up the cocktail scene to old-time favourites, you can be sure to set those sparks flying amongst these atmospheric, candle-lit backdrops over an enticing drink or two. In the cosmopolitan city of London, there is something for all in this seductive list of ideas for an intimate evening.
The creators of KOYN in Mayfair are offering guests a taste of Japan as they have dreamed up an izakaya-style drinking den as an extension of their treasured contemporary Japanese restaurant next door. While the surrounding scenery may not quite take your breath away to the same degree as the snow-topped mountain of which the bar took its inspiration, the immersive décor is flawless. The finishing touches – think rich, moody colours, high oak ceilings, Japanese pottery and a bronze leaf mirror reminiscent of a rising sun – make for a sleek, intimate date setting. Swish cocktails centred around Japanese liquors are complemented with a heavenly array of Japanese snack bites, from succulent seabass skewers accentuated with a sweet miso glaze to tantalising tuna tacos bursting with delicacy and flavour.
KOYN, 38 Grosvenor St, London W1K 4QA
Beaufort Bar at The Savoy
“Celebrations, flirtations, indulgences, seductions; the most thrilling things happen after dark” is the opening statement of Beaufort Bar’s menu Nocturne. At one of London’s most iconic hotels, the Beaufort bar at the Savoy celebrates glitz and opulence and pays homage to its royal roots and historic ties to the French Montmorencey-Beaufort Champagne region. Bringing a lucky someone here will incontestably impress them as you marvel in the magnetic jet gold and black theatrical backdrop, try some of the finest and rarest Champagne blends and oyster or caviar indulgences, and experience a glamorous, sultry night time atmosphere with DJs playing until 1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. What’s more is you can spread the love across the world as for every cocktail enjoyed from the bar’s sustainable offering – including renowned Golden Apple Champagne Cocktail featuring Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut – a tree is planted in an Asian reforestation programme.
Beaufort Bar, The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
The Lounge at Bar des Prés
No place does romance quite like Paris and if you fancy whisking your loved one (or date) away to a 50s French-movie-style bar, then Michelin star Bar des Prés’ recently opened elegant downstairs lounge is just the ticket. Dubbed the ‘French Jamie Oliver’, Cyril Lignac expanded his Parisian repertoire of restaurants and patisseries with Bar des Prés in Mayfair in 2021, his first international venture.
The eatery’s lounge features dim lights, a colourful cubic carpet and intimate velvet arm chairs, all centred around a dark wooden bar, making for a suave rendezvous setting. The wine list is both exquisite and extensive – the French know what they are doing when it comes to choosing a bottle – and a live DJ playing music in the background brings some vibrancy to the evening. Sample delicious entrées, such as the crunchy crab and avocado galette with Madras curry, designed by Lignac as a rebellious marrying of French and Asian cuisines.
Bar des Prés, 16 Albemarle St, London W1S 4HW
If flirty and fun is what you’re after, new to central London is Bar Kinky, a futuristic basement cocktail den illuminated by orange and violet light installations, with clusters of discreet seating for those wanting to keep a low profile. The bar is hidden underneath parent Georgian-inspired restaurant Kinkally, the culmination of founder Diana Militski’s travels in Eurasia and her desire for Londoners to experience the rich culinary culture Georgia has to offer.
Channel your party spirit and groove to the pulsing techno in the background while trying 'Bossy', a take on the classic Margarita hazelnut and beurre noisette or 'Mastery', a Gimlet with gin, sesame and tonka beans. The bar’s menu is crafted by mixologist Andrew Pruts, part of the team behind Insider – which reached number 13 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list – so prepare to be wowed.
Bar Kinky, 43 Charlotte Street London W1T 1RS
Bar Lina at Lina Stores
If pizza, pasta and all the other Italian delights we know and love are the way to your heart, live a night of la dolce vita at a new subterranean aperitivo bar underneath Lina Stores. Having given Londoners a glimpse of the Italian way of life since 1944, this year marks the 80th anniversary of the much-loved restaurant and delicatessen. As well as numerous takes on the staple spritz, cocktails include ‘Brera’ comprising of orange brandy, Chinati Vergano Rosso and cacao nib or an alcohol free ‘Amaretti Sour’ with Lyre’s Amaretti, lemon, sugar and orange bitters. Ignite your passion in Italian style by sharing a spread of hands-on antipasti, from parmesan biscotti accompanied by stracciatella and basil pesto to fried parmesan polenta with mushroom and truffle. Irresistible.
See also Lina Stores in Restaurants with Shops' article.
Bar Lina, 18 Brewer St, London W1F 0SG
The Nest at Treehouse London
Gazing over a beautiful view may be the ultimate romantic’s dream. When Londoners think of rooftop bars overlooking the city, sipping Aperol Spritz or Pimms in the beaming (or not so beaming) sun may spring to mind. NEST, a treehouse-inspired rooftop bar, however, stays very much alive in the wintery season, with cosy, blanketed sofas, wooden tree-like furnishings, low-hanging lanterns and a heated wrap-around outdoor terrace making for a homely, convivial setting to admire the stellar panoramic views of London.
Sitting atop the sustainability-focused Treehouse Hotel, the bar recently introduced zero-waste cocktails to its menu – think ‘Discarded’ Banana Peel Rum or Grape Skin Vodka – so you and your date can enjoy the playful drinks, unparalleled views and tunes from the DJ spinning decks in the lounge, all while knowing you have given would-be-food-waste a second life.
The Nest, 14-15 Langham Pl, London W1B 2QS
The Parlour at Zetter Clerkenwell
Hidden behind an unassuming townhouse in Clerkenwell, Zetter’s cocktail parlour and its colourful cosiness takes you by surprise. Step inside the quaint blue door and you’ll find an eccentric, quintessentially British drawing room, adorned in quirky ornaments, eighteenth-century books, ancient cabinets and taxidermy (that includes an upright cat dressed as a doll). Hence if weird and wonderful is up your – or your date’s – street you will have come to the right place. Centred around exotic ingredients from 16 destinations, the 'Bucket list' cocktail menu is as fun as the surroundings. Creations include the Turkish Tabanka, infused with Gunpowder which upon arrival fires in front of your eyes and a Thai fizz, inspired by the popular mango sticky rice dish for indulgent fruity flavours. To prolong the festive season, the parlour is also offering a brand-new après-ski inspired menu offering three fondue options, which open until the end of February could be the ideal Valentine's treat.
Zetter Clerkenwell, 49-50 St John's Sq, London EC1V 4JJ
The Fumoir at Claridge’s
Home to just twelve seats, a night at The Fumoir at Claridge’s Hotel is a secluded affair. The allure is not just in the exclusivity of this intimate watering hole, but the way it enchants you with its dazzling art-deco extravaganza. Garnished head-to-toe in plum and ruby reds, velvety furnishings and a curved, polished marble bar, you and your other half can wonder at the mixologist whizzing up a twist on classic cocktails or fixing a Macallan's whiskey in spectacular Lalique decanters. A true prohibition-style haven in the heart of Mayfair, it’s walk-ins only at this smoking parlour (though no secret password required), so works for a date that is as spontaneous as it is special.
The Fumoir, Claridge's, Brook St, London W1K 4HR
If you catch yourself dreaming of sunnier climates, Bar Kroketa, a box-sized spot in Soho, offers to transports guests to the ebullient bars of Basque country, with rustic barrels, open wine racks and a frequently-changing blackboard offering innovative takes on the fried potato delicacy croquetas. Created by the masterminds behind beloved Spanish restaurant Tapas Brindisa, the tapas here – popular choices include crab and alioli toastie or lamb neck pintxo moruño marinated in kalimotxo – doesn’t fall short on taste. Croquetas come in twos, ideal for you and your date to delve into different flavours together while sipping on a good old glass of Spanish wine, and just as if you were in the sun-kissed Mediterranean it won’t break the bank either. Whether it’s the deep-fried bites of cheesy goodness melting your heart away, or your date sitting in front of you amidst a richly soulful atmosphere, you can expect to leave feeling the love.
Bar Kroketa, 21 Beak St, Carnaby, London W1F 9RR
Over in the East End, for a more local vibe, High Water’s exposed bricks, dim low-hanging lighting and classy imaginative drinks are all the ingredients of a cocktail bar done right. From ‘Vixen’ featuring gin, violette, fig, lime sugar and egg white to ‘Brigante’ with scotch, amaretto, apricot and lemon, the potions here taste like the work of a true alchemist. Perch at the wooden bar and chat to the friendly barman about what concoction to try next, or if you’re preferring privacy, conceal yourselves away in the intimate, dark seating towards the back. Whether you were feeling the passion or not before you walked in, the sexy, sultry surroundings are sure to ramp up those magic sparks.
High Water, 23 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 8BJ