Christmas is that magical time of year that brings everyone together... whether you like it or not. Luckily for you, booze exists, and they serve it at many of the capital's finest bars and pubs. Here are 20 watering holes that will welcome you in like family, only without the awkward questions, fights, and disappointing presents.
Tucked away in the back of this jaw-dropping hotel, the mood here is festive on a normal day. Add in a little extra liquid cheer and you’ll be good to face the family.
The Savoy literally wrote the book on cocktails back in the day, so a stop here is a strong way to spend Christmas. Both the Beaufort and the American bars will be there waiting for you.
After the Artesian was voted “Best Bar in the World” the last four years running, it’s safe to say a Christmas tipple here is an excellent idea. Call it a present to yourself.
Styled like a NYC open warehouse, H&B lets pretend you actually managed to escape the family this year and hide away in its massive overstuffed sofas.
Bright and buzzy, this high-ceiling number is dramatically laid out with more flowers than you might think is possible -- but really the drinks are what you’re after, and they’re great.
This old-school boozer is will knock off 10% of your bill over £150.
Known for its live jazz gigs, The Bull's Head allows you to escape the family with a solid selection of beer and a lovely view of the river.
Wine and dine yourself at this US import. With posh nosh, cocktails, and plenty of glitz to go around, this is a day that will certainly sparkle.
The Prince Albert Battersea
Cozy up to the resident pugs and lament those terrible presents your aunt gave you.
It’s hard to say what's best here: the astounding views of the river, the strange and great drinks, or the superheros it has for staff. Pretty much the perfect package.
Just down the river from London Bridge, The Anchor is the perfect spot to down a pint of Taylor Walker and and walk along by the Globe when it’s blissfully devoid of tourists.
Having held on to its old man’s pub roots while moving on over the land of gastro, the Abbeville has held on to a cozy charm with pretty jaw-dropping food.
The Spread Eagle Camden
Visiting Camden on Xmas day might be the best time to do so. The normal crushing throngs of tourists are decidedly thinner and more confused and they certainly haven’t found this pub with great food and a solid selection of beer.
Just around the corner from the station, this drinkery is dog-friendly, has free Wi-Fi, and boasts a huge selection of beer to choose from.
While its garden might not be the best attraction in December, this massive rambling pub still has plenty of cozy corners. Grab a pint and settle in for an all-day-er.
Duck & Waffle Liverpool Street
Watching the world spin below you on any day of the year is just fine, but when you’re up on the 40th floor at Christmas... that’s just magical.
If all you wanted for Christmas was lots and lots of beer, then The Dove is your perfect hideaway. It's got over 100 options, so you’ll be in heaven.
While the rather swank Ace Hotel is frequently overrun with Hoxtonites tapping away on their MacBooks, now is the time to go and savor that perfect cocktail.
Hiding in Shoreditch House’s shadow, this pub is known for its roasts, tap selection, and excellent people-watching opps.
1. The Connaught BarCarlos Place, London
2. The Savoy HotelStrand, London
3. The Beaufort BarThe Savoy, London
4. American BarThe Savoy, London
5. Berners Tavern10 Berners St, London
6. Punch Room10 Berners St, London
7. Hubbard & Bell199-206 High Holborn, London
8. The Lobby BarOne Aldwych, London
9. The Swan66 Bayswater Rd, London
10. The Bull's Head373 Lonsdale Rd, London
11. Bar Boulud66 Knightsbridge, London
12. The Prince Albert85 Albert Bridge Rd, London
13. Dandelyan20 Upper Ground, London
14. The Anchor34 Park St, Greater London
15. The Abbeville67-69 Abbeville Rd., London
16. The Spread Eagle141 Albert St., London
17. Flask Tavern77 Highgate West Hill, Highgate
18. The Canonbury21 Canonbury Pl, London
19. Duck & WaffleHeron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London
20. The Dove19 Upper Mall, Hammersmith
21. Hoi PolloiAce Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High St, Shoreditch
22. The Owl and Pussycat34 Redchurch Street, London
Drinking at this elegant hotel bar is a ritzy experience, and though the menu features a unique spin on every classic cocktail, you're here for the martini trolley. All of the bitters and vermouths are made in-house, and once you order your martini, the bartender will wheel the cart over to you and mix it table-side. It's all about details at The Connaught, so take in the mirrors, plush banquettes, and silver accents, and try not to let your tab bring you down.
Some might almost say that the art of cocktails and bartending was created at the Savoy in the ‘20s, when some of America’s best stirrers and shakers came over to a land where booze wasn’t illegal. Loaded with two bars -- the monochromed American Bar, and the dark and sultry Beaufort Bar -- this place is the definition of classic. It's no surprise that legends like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe called the Savoy their local.
Winner of the Best International Hotel Bar at Tales of the Cocktail (2015), this is the place to go when you want to impress someone -- it’s truly a jaw-dropping affair, decked in sultry black and gold. The drinks are the stuff of legends, and pay homage to some of the greats, like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe -- who once propped up the bar. You can also choose from an impressive selection of vintage and non-vintage champagnes by the glass or the bottle. You can enjoy evenings of cabaret and burlesque here, too.
Back when the US did that silly Prohibition thing, most of the top bartenders at the time ditched speakeasies and police raids for the fairer (and, you know, legal) shores of Europe. In London, Harry Craddock -- author of cocktail bible The Savoy Cocktail Book -- took over The American Bar, where he invented now-classic cocktails like the White Lady and the Corpse Reviver #2. These days, the bartenders are just as talented, the decor just as monochrome swank, and the time still seems to fly by. Here, “The American” way means an American style of drinks, or mixed drinks, or cocktails, or ya know, drinks-that-are-not-straight-alcohol.
Located in the lovely Edition hotel, Berners offers ornate surroundings and fine dining with menu items such as chargrilled quail and grass-fed beef.
Hidden in the back of the stunning Edition Hotel, this micro bar is truly sexy as hell. Specializing in punches (they’re in the name, after all), bring some friends, and be ready to share concoctions in every size, shape, and style. Snag a couple seats by the fireplace. With wood panels and huge armchairs, this West End hotel bar is a perfect place to hit when you’re rolling with a small crew and feel like splashing some serious cash.
If you never thought cold cuts could be chic, then you've never been to Hubbard & Bell in the beautiful Hoxton Holborn hotel. This spot takes Italian deli classics like bresaola and oxtail, and dresses them up to the 9s.
The Lobby Bar at this lovely Covent Garden hotel is a great place to catch up with old friends. You'll feel super welcome and taken care of while you sip artisanal cocktails and spirits.
This iconic Kensington pub has to be on your London bucket list. Adjacent to idyllic Hyde Park, stop in for a truly authentic pub experience, complete with fish & chips.
Located within the cozy Geronimo Inn on the Thames, the Bull's Head is a lovely place to cool your heels next time you're in Barnes. Serving British/Thai fusion cuisine, you can nibble on pad thai while you listen to local bands in the restaurant's lounge area.
Bar Boulud is the London outpost of acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud's restaurant empire, and's serving up French cuisine.
Located across from Battersea Park, this well-lit pub has hearty, fresh food, a solid drink selection, and even bowls for any visiting dogs.
With stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, leather and velvet decor, and deliciously refreshing cocktails, Dandelyan offers you a refined experience. Winner of Tales of a Cocktail's Spirited Awards for Best New International Cocktail Bar, Dandelyan boasts an iconic green marble bar and a dramatic view of the Thames River. Its menu is nature-inspired, featuring local botanicals as the ingredients and in the display.
Built in 1615, this historic pub and brew house overlooking the Thames is a South London institution. Full of great British classics and beers a plenty, the Anchor Bankside has to be on your London to-do list.
This quirky, rustic resto in Clapham serves three square meals and has an extensive beer and wine list. It's a great choice to hang with the fam or a large group of friends.
Get cozy at this tiny Camdentown pub that keeps it 100 with elevated British classics like Devonshire crabcakes and British broad bean and leeks mac 'n cheese.
Grab a blanket, a book, and cozy up to the fireplace at The Flask, an inviting pub in Highgate that'll be come your new fave winter place.
Old world charm dominates this 19th century style public house. 21st century gastro pub touches elevate the menu and combines the best of both worlds.
If you're not good with heights, you might want to request a table away from the windows. This classy establishment offers an incredible view of London, 40 stories above the ground in the Heron Tower. And regardless of when your hunger pangs pop up, Duck & Waffle has you covered 24/7.
This historic tavern on the Thames serves classic British fare in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
This trendy resto in the uber stylish Ace Hotel is one of the top breakfast and lunch spots in London, thanks to their popular "Worker's Lunch" option where you can a grab a delicious gourmet dish for 10 quid.
Just re-opened under ambitious new management, this 16th century respite of besottedness has transformed into a split-level "pub downstairs & restaurant upstairs", the latter elegantly spartan, the former re-decked with dark, old-school wood flooring and cracked-paint walls adorned with Victorian silhouettes, copper etchings, and small animal skulls, for a look that's stoatally awesome.