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Written by Mae Bristow - 20 December 2023

The best bars in Borough

For after-work bars, need to be home by 8 bars. For when you need a bar that’s not your regular bar, but a cool bar. A down-to-earth bar. A bar for mates. A bar for dates. A bar that’s style and substance. A bar that knows its drinks.

Head to Borough, but before you do, we’ve served up a list of the best bars in and around Borough.

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interior of swift borough bar london
interior of swift borough bar london

1. The Borough bar for aperitivo: Bar Swift

Borough, London

Third time’s a charm as they say, and Bar Swift’s Borough location is proof of that. Just around the corner from the Shard, Swift does the intimate cocktail lounge vibe perfectly – booth seating, high bar tables, black and white tiled floor, and mood lighting.

It’s a top-notch spot for apertivo, cocktails, and one of our favourite places to dip into for a nightcap before we make our drunken merry way home via Borough or London Bridge stations. Swift’s proximity to Borough Market influences an ever-changing seasonal cocktail menu and the interiors are – as always – so very Instagram-worthy.

We recommend booking but there’s always a portion of the upstairs bar set aside for walk-ins, and there’s a semi-private area for private hire if you and yours appreciate a little cocktail party as much as we do.

exterior of the royal oak borough bar london
exterior of the royal oak borough bar london

2. A South London Pub of the Year winner: The Royal Oak

Borough, London

A couple of streets over from Borough Station, the Royal Oak is a Victorian corner pub with a pretty facade of burgundy subway tiles and yellow brick. This award-winning neighbourhood pub is well-loved for its laid-back atmosphere, keeping things low-key with good cask ales, beers, and good food.

This Borough bar was the first London pub acquired by Harvey’s Brewery and is known for its well-kept cellar of Harvey’s cask and keg beers. The Royal Oak has a private function room if you like the traditional pub atmosphere for your celebration, but we the reason we rate it is it’s a sweet little casual spot for an afternoon session and a good place to catch up with folk over pints.

interior of tap and bottle london bridge wine bar london
artwork on display at tap and bottle london bridge wine bar london

3. The neighbourhood wine bar: Tap & Bottle

Borough, London

A best bars list is never complete without at least one wine bar. Tap & Bottle is a snug little spot around the corner from Borough Market in a Grade II-listed brick building. The wine bar is spread across two stories and offers a garden terrace that’s equally as snug as the brick and wooden interior decorated in the work of a local artist..

Tap & Bottle is a top private hire pick, offering exclusive hire of the Upstairs Snug with a capacity of 25 - 30 guests standing, or full hire of Tap & Bottle, including the Upstairs Snug and outdoor terrace, with a capacity of 90 standing.

This is the Borough bar we head to for a relaxed night with exceptional wines and British tasting plates, and the laid-back atmosphere you want from a neighbourhood spot.

4. An actual hidden gem next to Borough: Mala Madre

Bermondsey, London

A short walk from Borough, Mala Madre is the jewel in the crown of The Last Talisman.

It is quite literally a bar-within-a-bar that celebrates a fusion of Colombian and Balinese cuisine. This private space offers stylish refuge to those who can find it.

Try a range of exciting cocktails and a creative bespoke menu that compliments the Asian grill of The Last Talisman. Specialities include pisco and tequila mixes so grab your closest and escape the city in this magical spot.

whiskey ginger borough bars 1
whiskey ginger borough bars 2

5. A top Borough bar for cocktails: Whiskey Ginger

Borough, London

Whipping up Smokey Ginger Fashioneds, rainbow cocktails, Aperol Spritz, and martinis is Whiskey Ginger, the popular cocktail bar overlooking Borough Market.

Maybe it’s the exposed brick walls, the shaded outdoor area, the neon sign, the lived-in interiors or the menu that serves up hotdogs and burgers but Whiskey Ginger feels very much like a NY bar you’d stumble across after walking a few blocks.

Stop by any day of the week (but Fridays are live DJ nights), find yourself a seat and enjoy the next few hours. Or better yet, head upstairs for a spot of drinks (and people-watching).

All that’s left to decide is what to drink. With over 50 types of whiskey, we think that might be a good place to start.

inside the London Bridge bar Bar Daskal
cocktail in London Bridge bar Bar Daskal

6. Head to this Borough bar for a glass of Spanish wine: Bar Daskal

Borough, London

Nestled on Park Street, is the Spanish bar, Daskal. Named after the artist (and granddad to the owners) Vladimir Daskaloff, the bar is understated in that Architectural Digest, Vogue 73 Questions kind of way.

Pick from a selection of Spanish tapas, wine and cocktails and be transported to sunnier scenes.

It’s warm and inviting and beckons you to come and sit down for a drink or two. Sounds like a good idea to us.

the rake borough bars 3
the rake borough bars 2

7. The best Borough bar for beers: The Rake

Borough, London

Pull up a stool and grab a pint at this casual Borough bar. One of the things The Rake does well is beer. The self-proclaimed “speciality beer bar” admittedly does have a large range of beers.

From draft to bottled beers, there’s usually a pick of real ale and draught beer to choose from.

While you pick your ale of choice, take note of the walls of words (and check if you can leave your own).

Find them on Winchester Walk (opposite the Franco Manca).

London Bridge Rooftop borough market cocktail bars

8. A rooftop bar near Borough: London Bridge Rooftop

Borough, London

Seated on top of Colechurch House is London Bridge Rooftop. It’s a bit of a maze to find, but once you do, it does prove to be worth the effort.

London Bridge Rooftop delivers on all that matters. Think drinks, food, drinks and vibes front and managing the great feat of being a rooftop venue in London Bridge.

Choose a bite to eat on their Spanish menu or take your pick of a selection of cocktails, wine and draft beer, sit back, take in the city views and enjoy the live DJ sessions.

With a capacity for up to 220 people, it’s a pretty good venue for summer and winter parties (it’s covered and heated). Come summer or winter, rain or shine, hopefully, you now know where to find London Bridge Rooftop.

cocktail at great guns social borough bar london
great guns social borough bars 1

9. A Borough bar for good drinks and good company: Great Guns Social

Borough, London

The chorus of different conversations and laughter. The clinking of glasses and clank of cutlery. Sometimes being in good company makes a bar that much better.

Great Guns Social seem to have caught on to this. What with their warm colours, neighbouring tables and chairs placed closely together, comfy booths and low lighting, everything screams (or rather, whispers) intimate. Conservations are meant to be had.

Choose from a selection of cocktails (Appletini or Candy Crush?), draught beer, wine and champagne – but don’t forget about the food. It matters as much as the drinks do as the bar has been host to many a celebrity chef.

Pop in for tasting dinners, supper clubs, live music, and bar quizzes. It’s all about community over here. Or drop them a line about private hire.

vinegar yard borough bars
vinegar yard borough bars

10. A bar for variety: Vinegar Yard

Borough, London

Located right next to London Bridge station, Vinegar Yard is a great Borough bar, ready to serve you your next drink in style.

This is a versatile venue, featuring a plethora of drinks, food, a flea market and art to enjoy, all in one place. In the Summer, the venue expands outside so that the sunshine accompanies your drinking experience, while in the winter you can nestle into the long-stretching tent, featuring outdoor heating. Or you could even venture indoors and revel between the two bars.

If you're looking to take it one step further and share a drink with your nearest and dearest intimately, outdoor booking and private room hire are available. Whether you decide to spend your time outdoors, with tables for up to 29 guests or have a tailor-made experience inside, for 30 guests or more, it's up to you.

More of the best bars in Borough

Thinking of hiring a bar for your next event? Great idea. Borough is known for its amazing bars. From busy tiki bars and cocktail bars with world-class mixologists, to quiet and cosy garden bars, we've got every type of bar in Borough for you to browse and book. Why not take the team for a corporate day out at an activity bar or have a birthday bash at your own exclusive bar? Have a look at these top Borough bar venues and get some ideas for where to have your next event. Alternatively, tell us exactly what you need and we'll make sure the very best Borough venues respond to your enquiry.

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How to hire a bar in Borough

We know that finding a venue the old-fashioned way (where you trawl the internet, contact 10 venues or set your heart on one, only to find that they're out of your price range and not even available on your dates) is a pain, and there are a few pitfalls between you and booking your perfect bar. Getting the venue finding process down to a professional art is what we’ve made our mission ever since we took on the events industry. We often get asked the same questions, so here's what we recommend to quickly and easily hire a space in Borough.

Frequently asked questions

For bars in Borough, you're spoilt for choice. Here's an extra special one that we vouch for:

Cantina, Santo Remedio – This central bar is a great choice for after-work drinks. Tacos and mezcal anyone?

There really is no one answer to this question: so many variables come into play when understanding the cost of exclusive hire of a bar or a private space in a bar. How many guests are you planning for? Is the venue for the day, an afternoon, or the night? The good news is that you can find a venue for pretty much any budget (okay, almost any budget). Instead of letting the venue dictate the price, our advice is to be proactive and set a budget that you feel comfortable with – this way the right venues can reach out to you through HeadBox.

There are lots of ways to book a Borough bar. You can do the old-fashioned thing and pick up the phone, or email the venue directly. Unfortunately, lots of venues are busy and may not get back to you in time. That's where we come in. Give us your enquiry and we'll reach out to the best bars in Borough and let you enjoy your free time. Easy.

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