Although to the residents there is no finer place, Pimlico hasn’t exactly been top of most Londoners must-visit list (sans Tate Britain, obviously) — often merely seen as a potential destination for a night out. However, nowadays this unspoiled, oft over looked corner of central London boasts some great bars, from basement cellars to wine bars, to cocktail lounges in world renowned hotels. Here we take you through our top 10 of the coolest, most opulent, or simply the best Pimlico bars.
Clarendon Cocktail Cellar
Bar, Restaurant, British, Pub Grub, $$$
Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, London | Image courtesy of the Clarendon Cocktail Club
Hidden away beneath the hugely popular restaurant, Cambridge Street Kitchen, this lovely, hard to find cocktail bar occupies its own niche in the nightlife of Pimlico. The building itself is a former Victorian pub with a sordid reputation, transformed by the Artist Residence group. There’s a great range of drinks on offer in an intimate, low key setting that also hosts a monthly-changing selection of artwork — courtesy of a partnership with Soho’s Lawrence Alkin Gallery. Head down on Tuesday night for Test Tuesday’s, to see bar manager Steven and his team experiment with cocktails created using seasonal produce from the restaurant’s fresh fruit and veg supplier — and they’re cheaper than normal.
The Ebury Restaurant and Wine Bar has been quenching the thirsts and filling the bellies of Pimlico and Belgravia residents for over 40 years. The small bar in the front boasts an extensive wine list (more than 20 available by the glass) with helpful tasting notes for amateurs, and a bloody Mary they claim to be the best in town; while a bar menu is available for brunch and lunch.
Tozi Restaurant and Bar is just off the main road by Victoria Station, surrounded by chain restaurants and attached to the Park Plaza Hotel. The restaurant serves Italian food but specialises in Venetian, particularly cicchetti (small plates), and is available in full from the bar. The drinks menu shares the theme: all Italian wines, home made, barrel-aged negroni, Italian beers, Prosecco and Franciacorta sparkling wines on tap and plenty of cocktails, both contemporary and classic.
Boisdale of Belgravia, Eccleston Street | Courtesy of Boisdale
Just the other side of Victoria station is this traditional Scottish restaurant and bar, housed in a Regency townhouse complete with a cigar terrace. This place oozes class, with gleaming mahogany and red tones dominating the colour scheme, emulating the feel of an old-fashioned gentlemen’s club. There are multiple separate restaurants and bars within the building, with elegant private dining rooms to hire. As is only fitting, whisky is the order of the night, with Boisdale boasting a collection of rare Scottish malts, alongside a host of enticing cocktails and wines. The cherry on the top of each room is the nightly tunes of live jazz. Courtesy of Boisdale
No 11 is a gorgeous open plan space with a great sweeping bar, decorated in crisp, clean colours and kept light and airy by the many large, arched windows around its perimeter. The carefully put together menu makes this a great spot to grab a drink or three at any time of day. The classic cocktails, which feature home made syrups and sherbets, range from light and fresh and perfect for brunch, through to more adventurous choices for the evening — if you’ve got a spare day, why not sit and work your way through the list?
Situated just off Vincent Square, the Rochester Wine Bar is attached to the charming Grange Rochester Hotel. The bar is small yet well stocked with a range of drinks — including expertly prepared cocktails to be enjoyed in a laid back but elegant lounge environment with luxurious furnishings. While popular with locals, Rochester Wine Bar’s location on an off the beaten track make it perfect for a slightly quieter, relaxing evening.
Situated on the first floor of the swanky Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, the Millbank Lounge is a luxurious space, recently refurbished in an opulent style with deep red tones countered by soft cream. The bar itself highlights its Whisky Library, an extensive collection of malts and scotch whiskies, as a standout feature, but there are also almost 40 cocktails on offer, with a mix of classics, Millbank signatures and sparkling concoctions. Alongside the great drinks menu is a lauded Mezze menu and DJs on Thursday and Friday nights.
The Marquis of Westminster may be described as Pimlico’s village pub, but since its refurbishment it has gone more cool than country. Although there’s still a lovely rustic pub on the ground floor, the first floor dining room serves up gastropub cuisine, while the basement is now home to a cocktail bar with dancefloor, filled with exposed brickwork and snug booths cut into the wall which are available for bookings.
Drink in style in the lavish surroundings of the in-house bar at this famous and historic London hotel, built in 1862 to usher in an era of luxury rail travel. The Réunion bar was created as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment, and is housed in a former first class railway lounge. The drinks served are creative, with a great selection of signature cocktails and Martini’s, though champagne is its real strongpoint. Order a drink from the lush bar beneath a canopy of glass baubles, sit in a velvet chair-cum-throne, watch people struggling with their bags on the railway concourse below, and try not to feel too smug.
Situated on a lovely old London-style street, The Thomas Cubitt is a popular local gastropub with elegant dining room upstairs and a more relaxed, buzzing bar area downstairs that hosts open fireplaces and lashings of solid oak, where drinkers can choose from a 30-strong wine menu, fine ales or some classic and quirky cocktails — fancy a Basil Fawlty, anyone? In summer months, the floor to ceiling glass doors along the front open up, making The Thomas Cubitt ideal for relaxed after work drinks.