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Best Bars in South Bank

April 1st, 2019 | by Ella Stern

Best Bars in South Bank

South Bank is often described as London's Cultural playground and is constantly buzzing with activity, whether it's pop-up food markets, outdoor theatre, street performers and lots, lots more from within its many theatres, arts centres and attractions...

Popular with Londoners and visitors the world over, it's also the perfect place spot to enjoy the views with a drink in hand. 

We've rounded up a definitive list of the coolest and quirkiest cocktail bars in South Bank– however, if you don’t require something mixed, muddled and stirred there are plenty of places to relax with a good old-fashioned beer or glass of wine...

  • Spiritland

    Come home to music at Spiritland, a music lover's paradise at the foot of Royal Festival Hall. Its long terrazzo marble bar is a great meeting place for drinks any day of the week, with an inventive cocktail menu boasting the classics with a twist, plus a 110-strong list of wines from some of the world's very best winemakers.

    What's more, Spiritland has one of the latest licenses on the South Bank, running most nights until 2am, with guest selectors playing the cream of their record collections on a custom-built, world-class sound system Thursday–Saturdays in addition to weekend DJ brunches.

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    Spiritland
  • Lyaness at Sea Containers London

    Team Lyan has always had a curiosity to find new ingredients, and an ability to make these unusual, alien and outright weird forms more delicious. In an embrace of the alternative, these key ingredients are at the heart of Lyaness. Some they've worked on with like-minded people within and out with the booze world and others are the result of the research, exploration and experimentation of the team. So the menu is sectioned around ingredients instead of cocktails; it might seem a little odd, but the Lyaness team can connect you to your ideal drink.

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    Sea Containers London
  • BFI Riverfront

    With spectacular views of Waterloo Bridge and the River Thames, the vibrant BFI Riverfront Restaurant & Bar is the hottest spot on the Southbank. Offering an Italian menu ideal for sharing, from homemade pizzettas and pasta to gelato from our Gelato Bar. 

    Upstairs the Balcony Bar offers a unique never seen before view of Waterloo Bridge, whose concrete structure forms the ceiling of the space. Come and enjoy a pre-cinema dinner or a lively DJ set with drinks on Saturday nights. 

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    BFI Southbank
  • OXO Tower Bar

    OXO Tower Bar is the perfect spot for after-work cocktails - the view is simply breath-taking and it is one of London's most iconic buildings. Enjoy your drinks at the Bar terrace, which is often decorated dependent on seasonal themes or to promote new drinks offers - we loved their recent Portuguese themed terrace to celebrate Graham's Port.

    But OXO isn't just a great place for cocktails. OXO has also created its own session IPA, brewed in Hackney, working with the ‘brew crew’ at CRATE Brewery. It's refreshingly light and completely unique India pale ale, preferably paired with a pork scratching or two.

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    OXO Tower Bar
  • Skylon

    Add a little bit of luxury to your evening drinks. Skylon oozes chic sophistication and boasts stunning views across the river Thames – perfect for date night. They are also well known for their stand- out cocktails, mixed with a unique flair and imagination.

    Until the 30 November, Skylon are hosting a "Gin Lover's Experience" - a masterclass led by Skylon’s experienced mixologist. Start with a tasting of 3 gins from Skylon's extensive collection, each paired with the appropriate tonic. Hear all about the history and heritage of gin as well as the nuances and delicacy of tonics and how to enhance flavour with homemade tonics. After learning and sampling a selection of gins at the bar, savour a 3-course lunch from a set menu at the Grill (£50 per person, available Monday to Friday – 12.00 to 4 pm only).

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    Royal Festival Hall
  • Gillray's Bar

    Did you know that Gillray’s at the London Marriott hotel at County Hall has over 100 different gins to sample? Their enigmatically named iconic drinks such as Two Penny Whist, Regardez Moi, Uncorking Old Sherry and Fashionable Contrast make for a deliciously difficult to choose from menu, and what’s more, the bar is now open until 10:30 pm. Gillray’s winning combination of a unique view (a panorama of Big Ben and the House of Parliament, just so you know) with the latest trends in mixology to create one-of-a-kind cocktails make it one of South Bank’s top secret bars.

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    London Marriott Hotel County Hall
  • The Drawing Room

    Step behind a bookcase at BFI Southbank and you'll find yourself in the secret bar known as the Drawing Room - and slip into a different era.

    This intimate, 1920’s jazz-infused speakeasy-style bar can host your pre-dinner aperitifs and late-night cocktails. Need a bar all to yourself and your very own bartender to attend your every whim? You can book the Drawing Room out for your private function. 

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    BFI Southbank
  • Primo Bar

    Boasting exotic cocktails and live music, Primo Bar at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is always alive with evening activity. They've got live music every night, focusing on acoustic international music, whilst also bringing up-and-coming talent into the spotlight. Featuring an exciting monthly programme, the musical selection promises to complement an evening of great company, cocktails and new memories.

    There's also 2 for 1 cocktails every weeknight between 5 pm and 8 pm, Primo is primed to party. (Jaw-dropping views are an added extra).

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    Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
  • 12th Knot

    Sea Containers London’s 12th Knot comes alive as the sun goes down. Inspired by one of the most extraordinary cults of youth and frivolity in history, the Bright Young Things, they specialise in bubbly - serving an extensive list of the world’s best champagne offerings, by the glass, bottle, or in speciality cocktails by resident mixology master Mr Lyan. A magical glittering glass box perched atop Sea Containers London.

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    Sea Containers London
  • The Understudy at National Theatre 

    A relaxed and friendly craft beer pub at the National Theatre. Situated right on London's vibrant South Bank, The Understudy has riverside seating and serves a range of draught beers, wines and cocktails – the laid-back vibe makes it the perfect meeting spot for after work drinks with friends. Love Sunday afternoon in the pub? Love board games? Head to the understudy for Board Stupid Sunday - where every winner will get a free drink!

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    National Theatre
  • Penny at The Old Vic 

    The perfect place to escape the busy hubbub of the street during the day or to grab a drink or delicious bite to eat pre/post performance. This newly refurbished, relaxed all-day café and late night bar serves local food, proper coffee (including speciality coffee from Workshop Coffee, Clerkenwell) and great wines. Unpretentious and stylish, Penny is a must visit.

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    The Old Vic
  • Studio 6 at Gabriel's Wharf

    For something a little more homely, try Studio 6. Based in the oasis-like conclave of Gabriel’s Wharf, Studio 6 serve affordable and tasty tipples from a surprisingly extensive menu. Whether you choose to sit inside and watch the world go by in winter or enjoy the dappled sunshine on their terrace in the summer, Studio 6 is always alive with activity.

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    Gabriel's Wharf
  • City Cruises Evening Cruise

    A floating bar on the River - City Cruises offer the best views of London, right from the river Thames with its fabulous evening cruises. 

    Sail off into the evening while the rest of the world goes by. As you step on board, you're given a welcome glass of fizz, whilst you enjoy some live music before setting off onto the river. On City Cruises boats, there's space to unwind, have a leisurely stroll and tuck into some tasty nibbles. The onboard bar has a wide selection of drinks (soft and otherwise), including more bubbles, Pimms, G&T and more. Evening cruise tickets include sparkling wine or soft drink on arrival, a selection of cold canapés served throughout the evening, live music and a 2 hour River Cruise. 

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    City Cruises
  • London Eye Champagne Experience

    Why not go all out by taking your evening to another level with the London Eye Champagne Experience? It includes a glass of chilled Pommery Brut Royal Chapagne, a personal host and fast track entry. 

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    Coca-Cola London Eye
  • Witness for the Prosecution

    Did you know that Witness for the Prosecution, the play by Agatha Christie set inside the historic County Hall building in South Bank, also has a very atmospheric bar, serving a fantastic "Juror" cocktail? 

    The Juror cocktail: Tarquins Gin, Belsazar Dry White Vermouth & Peter Spanton Grapefruit Tonic poured over ice. £9

    Sip it in the historic, wood panelled chamber of London’s County Hall, before you enter the "courtroom" and watch the award-winning performance. 

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    Witness for the Prosecution
  • Chino Latino

    Chino Latino is a multi-award winning modern Pan-Asian cuisine restaurant with a Latin cocktail bar, located right at the top of Park Plaza London Riverbank. The views are absolutely stunning, and the bar team craft unique Latino-inspired cocktails. 

    We recommend heading there on a Thursday, for their Sundowner Nights - take in the views and riverside sunsets with live music, rum cocktails & plenty of dim sum.

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    Chino Latino

Find The Venues

  • 1 - Spiritland

    Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX

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  • 2 - Sea Containers London

    Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, South Bank London SE1 9PD 

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  • 3 - BFI Southbank

    Belvedere Road
    London
    SE1 8XT 

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  • 4 - OXO Tower Bar

    8th Floor Oxo Tower Wharf Bargehouse Street SE1 9PH

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  • 5 - Royal Festival Hall

    Address 1,
    Address 2,
    Address 3
    Postcode

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  • 6 - London Marriott Hotel County Hall

    London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, Lambeth, South Bank London SE1 7PB

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  • 7 - BFI Southbank

    Belvedere Road
    London
    SE1 8XT 

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  • 8 - Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

    200 Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7UT 

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  • 9 - Sea Containers London

    Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, South Bank London SE1 9PD 

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  • 10 - National Theatre

    Upper Ground, South Bank
    London
    SE1 9PX 

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  • 11 - The Old Vic

    The Old Vic
    The Cut
    London
    SE1 8NB 

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  • 12 - Gabriel's Wharf

    Gabriel’s Wharf,
    56 Upper Ground,
    South Bank,
    London,
    SE1 9PP

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  • 13 - City Cruises

    Westminster Bridge Rd, South Bank, London SE1 7PB

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  • 14 - Coca-Cola London Eye

    County Hall
    Riverside Building
    Westminster Bridge Road
    London SE1 7PB 

     

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  • 15 - Witness for the Prosecution

    London County Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 7PB

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  • 16 - Chino Latino

    Park Plaza London Riverbank, Park Plaza Riverbank, 18 Albert Embankment, Lambeth, London SE1 7TJ

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