With Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament nearby, Westminster’s bars and pubs are great places to overhear the latest political gossip or to take a much-needed rest while visiting London’s major attractions.
Feast on fish and chips in historic surroundings at The Albert
Pub, British, $$$
This Greene King pub is just a short walk away from the Houses of Parliament and is named after Queen Victoria’s royal consort, her beloved Prince Albert. Over 150 years old, this Grade-II listed establishment is best known for its striking Victorian interior. It is also the only building that remains from the original Victoria Street development of 1862. Patrons can enjoy traditional pub fare – think bangers and mash, fish and chips, and savoury pies – from 8am to 10pm, as well as number of vegan-friendly dishes. A trip to this charming public house is a perfectly British way to round off a day of sightseeing.
For those who prefer to hobnob at the top, pop into The Ritz for caviar and champagne at The Rivoli Bar. With its plush furnishings and Art Deco design, it’s no surprise The Rivoli Bar bills itself as “the gold standard”. After a short stroll from Buckingham Palace through Green Park – decked out in the requisite Sunday best, of course – a stiff martini or two at The Rivoli will make any London visitor feel like a member of the royal family.
The Rooftop St James offers first-class food and incredible views
For those who haven’t had enough sightseeing, Rooftop St James offers a stellar view of the city over Trafalgar Square. In the summer months, visitors enjoy London’s late-night sunsets while dining on Asian fusion dishes. As the days shorten and temperatures drop, complimentary blankets and heaters will keep guests warm as they sip on speciality cocktails inspired by the iconic view. Whether topping up before a show at the Theatre Royal Haymarket or taking a moment to rest after strolling through The National Gallery, this rooftop bar is a great spot to savour the London skyline.
Included in The 2019 Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland, this book-lined establishment – a nod to the building’s history as the Westminster Library – offers incredible modern Indian food and bespoke drinks. Cocktails like the apricot and cardamon smash draw on chef Vivek Singh’s Indian heritage while also featuring ingredients sourced from small-batch producers throughout the UK, making a visit to The Cinnamon Club a distinctly London experience. While reservations are recommended for the dining room, bar patrons can stroll in after enjoying a tour at nearby Westminster Abbey.
Don’t be deterred by A. Wong’s reservation waiting list. Its Michelin-star dim sum can be enjoyed in the restaurant’s underground speakeasy, Forbidden City. Walk through the back of the restaurant’s dining room to find a hidden staircase adorned with cherry blossoms that leads to the 25-seat bar. Like the food at A. Wong, the drink selection at Forbidden City draws from regional Chinese cuisine and ingredients.