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London’s Victoria is famous for a few things, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, The Royal Mews and, of course, Victoria’s grand train station itself. A small district, its bars are often overlooked for its tourist attractions and musicals, but what better way is there to finish off a busy day full of culture than with a delicately crafted cocktail, a tumbler of whiskey or a tall glass of bubbling champagne at one of Victoria’s best bars, try one of these places for a perfect end to the evening.
New to Victoria’s grand Grosvenor Hotel is the sumptuously glamorous Réunion Bar. Indulge in a huge range of cocktails with a big group or simply stop for a glass of champagne whilst waiting for a train, but be warned – the comfortable and elegant setting will mean you may never want to leave. With a dark mahogany bar that sits on sleek black and white marble tiles backing onto a cosy area that has brilliantly tall velvet wingback chairs and round velvet pouf seating, you’ll most certainly find a place to relax and unwind. The champagne glasses hanging above the bar give the impression of hundreds of bright bulb lights, and there is even a grand, yellow-curtained private section that will make anyone feel like royalty. So if you’re in need of some luxury, sit at the window of Réunion with a Jamaican Julep or a Peachy-Chica-Rita and watch the busy world of Victoria Station go by.
Réunion Bar, 101 Buckingham Palace Road, London, UK, +44 20 7895 2044
Feel the warmth of Kerala wash over you at Quilon’s Q Bar, and relax with an intriguingly original cocktail among the glow of flickering tea lights that grace the amber-hued décor. Feel both homely and stylish as you sample creations such as the Whygra (amrut and grappa) or the Q’s signature Qojito while resting in plush armchairs with friends. If you’re in need of refreshment, choose from an extensive list of world beer, British beer or vintage beer – the variety of which is sure to keep you entertained. You’ll be hard-pressed to resist the tantalising smells of the restaurant’s southwest coastal Indian cuisine, but the huge variety of grape at the bar – 135 selected wine bins, to be exact – can keep you going all night.
Q Bar at Quilon, 41 Buckingham Gate, London, UK, +44 20 7821 1899
If you’re looking for a uniquely luxurious yet unpretentious experience, The Goring Hotel’s Bar and Lounge is the perfect warm and cosy setting for an intimate drink. With Victoria Station under a 10-minute walk away, it’s worth missing a train to relax in this elegant bar. There is a vast vintage champagne list and an even more impressive menu of spirits and cocktails, including classics like the mojito (with a Goring twist) and speciality Goring cocktails like the sinfully sweet Strawberries and Cream, which is made with a tantalising blend of Bailey’s Irish Cream, strawberry cream, Chambord, double cream and muddled fresh strawberries. Whiskey lovers will be at home among the reserve malt selection, and guests are even able to choose wines from an extraordinary cellar collection. Even the bar snacks are wonderfully British, with offerings such as devilled eggs or cheese scones. To anyone wishing to escape the day-to-day race of busy London, the bar offers a step back in time with its plush red and gold décor, fine drapery and glistening chandeliers, bringing old-timey grace together with excellent, friendly service.
The Goring Bar and Lounge, 15 Beeston Place, London, UK, +44 20 7396 9000
This fun, South African-inspired bar is praised by all who visit for its cocktails, the list of which seems endless. Choose from classics such as champagne and bellini cocktails, mojitos or caprioskas (all of which are split into sub categories that play creatively with the traditional ingredients), or venture into more exotic territory with South African drinks. The Bushman’s Delight, the Elephants Reverie and the Dark Roast Amarula are three unusual but delicious cocktails, the latter being made of a tempting concoction of Amarula, Illy Double Espresso, Lovoka Caramel and orange zest – the perfect nightcap. B Bar is the place to drink, chat and relax as its warm interior, which is laden with plush leather chairs, marble tables, candles and animal-print furniture, creates an atmosphere of laid-back cheerfulness. After some tasty bar snacks, you can return to Victoria Station, only a short five-minute stroll away, feeling a few cocktails happier.
B Bar, 43 Buckingham Palace Road, London, UK, +44 20 7958 7000
Find your perusal of the drinks menu at Eaton Square Bar punctuated with cheeky quotes from historical and literary greats – all relating to booze, of course. As you search the rum section, you are told to ‘drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.’ This runs alongside G.K. Chesterton and Bette Davis’ wise words that ‘there comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.’ The cocktails are not only boasting in quality but also quantity, and any questions you may have will be answered happily by the drinks masters that stand behind the sleek purple bar. Visit on Thursdays or Fridays for live music, and the Volt espresso martini is a must try if you’re in need of a buzz after work. The cocktails are beautifully presented and are sure to warrant a few carefully taken pictures, and you can even rent the space for a big blowout or a sophisticated get together with friends.
Eaton Square Bar, 17 Hobart Place, London, UK, +44 20 7235 9696
At the uber-quirky Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, you can sip the night away on movie-themed cocktails in a subterranean setting, which come served with a side of popcorn. The Cellar contains antique cast-iron library shelves, vintage marine-style lamps, sexy red leather bar stools, a table tennis room to work up a sweat in and plenty of artwork lining the walls. This is one bar that is certainly Instagram-worthy if you can find it!
52 Cambridge St, Pimlico, London SW1V 4QQ, +4420 3019 8622
So, The Drunken Oyster offers spritzes on tap – yes, you did read that right! This is the bar situated above Jason Atherton’s Italian Hai Cenato and it’s a great place to both start and end your night. The vermouth and tonic menu is delightful, and bar snacks including pizzas are whipped up in the kitchen below so they’re proper good foodie nibbles.
2 Sir Simon Milton Square, Westminster, London SW1E 5DJ, +4420 3816 9320
Move from one end to the other of the longest bar in London at Zander Bar – indulging in cocktails along the way, of course. Whether it’s a short or long drink you’re after, whether it’s pre- or post-theatre, the variety and quality of alcohol available is sure to please any city-goer. Sit under a canopy of large circular lights and gaze out of the wall of windows that makes the bar so open and airy. If you’re looking for a martini – and this is, incidentally, the perfect place for the sophisticated drink – enjoy choosing from a whole dedicated section on the menu. For a pre-dinner palate cleanser, try the refreshing and punchy watermelon martini. If you’re left feeling a bit woozy from the delicious cocktails, move over to the restaurant, where the quality of the food is exceptional and the service is warm and welcoming.
Zander Bar, 45 Buckingham Gate, London, UK, +44 20 7630 6644
A Scottish restaurant that boasts delicious and traditional food, a cigar terrace (complete with cigar list), atmospheric whisky bars and private rooms, Boisdale is a hideout that’s sure to warm you up on a cold winter night. The really exciting thing about visiting for a drink, however, has to be the live jazz that brings in customers Monday to Saturday nights. It is London’s leading establishment for classic jazz, with resident singers and pianists livening up your glass of the finest whisky in the famous styles of those such as Fats Waller and Billie Holiday. The venue even dips into soul, R&B and blues music throughout the week, with performances from sextets, trios and soloists, acting the perfect backdrop to a late-night drink. Check out their music schedule to decide when to visit; this is the perfect place to enjoy an after-dinner tipple, perched on a leather stool whilst surrounded by the warm glow of green tartan.
Boisdale of Belgravia, 15 Eccleston Street, Belgravia, London, UK, +44 20 7730 6922
A wine bar with its own vineyard must be worth a visit. Tiles sources its sparkling wine and brandy from the Montgomeryshire region of Powys in mid-Wales, boasting award-winning wine standards for its customers that match an extremely cosy and inviting interior. This is the perfect quiet hideaway for an intimate drink and a relaxed chat with its wooden barrels, dark red walls, intricately tiled floor and dark wooden bar. You’ll feel at home with the friendly servers, and after all that wine, you might even be tempted by one of Tiles’ delicious pizzas – try the highly recommended Jambalaya.
Tiles, 36 Buckingham Palace Road, London, UK, +44 20 7834 7761