Mayfair has come a long way since its debaucherous beginnings during the 16th and 17th centuries, with the infamous May Fair earning the area a reputation for drinking, fighting and scandalous behaviour.
Nowadays you’re more like to find fine dining and sushi lunches than riotous drunkenness – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place for a few drinks. Culture Trip has put together the hottest spots that all but guarantee a great night out in Mayfair.
Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, British, $$$
Mayfair might have more than its fair share of glitzy cocktails, but it can get down with a pint and a pie as well as the rest of them. The Audley, a stunningly restored Victorian pub dating from 1127, proves that. It sits off the tourist trail and is filled mostly by regulars, a welcome sight when all you want is a beer and a table to put it on. Choose from an impressive array of handpumped ales, sit at a leather banquette and order a burger if you get hungry.
This luxury hotel needs little introduction. Wedged between the glitzy hangouts of Bond Street, Green Park, Covent Garden and Buckingham Palace, Claridge’s is just the place for an after-work pick-me-up or a glass of champagne before a night out.
Mr Fogg’s Residence
Bar, Cocktail Bar, British, Tea , $$$
Situated roughly five minutes’ walk from Green Park station, Mr Fogg’s Residence
on Burton Lane sells itself as the home of the eccentric British adventurer Phileas J Fogg, whose tale of traversing the world in 80 days has travelled just as far as the fictional man himself. The classy cocktail bar is littered with exotic ornaments that give the bar a worldly vibe with all the style and sophistication of Victorian England.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, British, French, $$$
Winner of the Best Bar Award at the 2017 London Club & Bar Awards, Hush boasts a 1930s-style restaurant and a lavish cocktail bar, as well as a courtyard for enjoying a refreshing drink on a summer’s evening. Found just a three-minute walk from Bond Street station, this is a great spot to stop for a bite to eat, or to head to for casual after-work drinks.
Bar, Contemporary, $$$
Part of the upmarket Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, The Connaught Bar can be a bit intimidating when you first walk in, as the decor is inspired by Cubism
and 1920s art. There is nothing frosty about the enthusiastic staff and bartenders who ensure your evening of cocktails is perfectly facilitated, however. The cocktail menu is internationally renowned and strives to fuse traditional drinks and flavourings with fresh and pioneering new approaches to mixology, featuring exclusive vintages and limited edition champagnes, spirits and liqueurs. People in the know always order a martini, which will be mixed in front of you on a special martini trolley reserved for the purpose. The Connaught Bar operates a no reservation policy, so stop by early to ensure you get the best seat in the house.
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Tea , $$$
A five-minute walk from Oxford Circus station, Conduit Street’s sketch dwells inside an 18th-century townhouse that is home to a host of fine restaurants and bars, as well as an array of artistic influences. Winner of the Best Design Award at the 2017 London Club & Bar Awards, this fine establishment serves up a stylishly suave atmosphere alongside delectable cocktails and some deliciously groundbreaking fare.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Sushi, Asian, Seafood, $$$
While the food and drink at this upmarket Asian fusion restaurant are great, what customers are really there for is the lavish, over-the-top decor. Where else can you drink punnily named cocktails surrounded by marble, a wall of running water and enormous sculptures of fish and mermaids? The bar is small but lively and equipped with a DJ, so you can throw some shapes if you’re keen. Whisky fans will rejoice, as it has Europe’s largest collection of Japanese whiskies, at 358 bottles and counting. The scene is a feast for the eyes as much as the tastebuds – just don’t take it too seriously.
Bar, Chinese, $$$
Set within the basement of The Dorchester on Park Lane, China Tang is so much more than a hotel bar. This art-deco venue has a cocktail menu offering Asian-inspired recipes as well as the ‘classics and forgotten’, all mixed by the expert bar staff. And if you’re in the mood for music, there is live jazz every Tuesday.
Bar, Nightclub, Contemporary, $$$
Winner of the Best Club Award at the 2017 London Club & Bar Awards, Tape can be found on Hanover Square, near Oxford Circus station. Tape’s focus is music, offering members a bespoke art and music collectables service. The venue regularly hosts A-list performers and boasts its own recording studio where budding musicians can find a place to flourish.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Contemporary, $$$
Just a two minute-walk from Green Park station, Dover Street’s Mahiki is a cocktail bar and club serving tropical-themed drinks and snacks. Opened in 2005, the bar has grown to become an internationally renowned chain, with venues in a number of prestigious locations scattered around the globe. With no VIP rooms, visitors always stand a chance of brushing shoulders with a celebrity or two.
This article was originally written by Ruaidhrí Carroll and has been updated.