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Written by Mae Bristow - 24 June 2024

The best bars in Covent Garden

Starting out as a fruit and vegetable market in the middle of the city, Covent Garden has grown in stature and size, and figures as one of London’s entertainment and shopping focal points. From the opera house's Neoclassical columns to the indoor market's green steel rafters, Covent Garden is a feast for the eyes.

Whilst the bar scene has traditionally leant towards chain venues and tourist pubs, recent years have seen an influx of high-quality bars in the area. Escaping from the throngs of American tourists, you can now hole up in a surprising array of live music venues, dimly lit dive bars and even a few rooftop spots. Here are some of the very best bars in Covent Garden.

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Gura Gura covent garden bar
Gura Gura covent garden bar

1. A back-street bar with great Asian food: Gura Gura

Covent Garden, London

It may seem impossible to find a less-known gem in the tumult of Covent Garden, but there are a few spots where you can still escape the crowds.

Gura Gura is a two-storey sushi joint and cocktail bar that takes an unapologetically pan-Asian approach to cooking. Upstairs you'll find colourful platters of sushi, sashimi, dim-sum and more, all complemented by bright decor and enough glass Koi to please Hokusai.

The bar is what we're after here, though. Downstairs you can expect an impressively wide variation of stone-cold classics alongside original creations. It gets wonderfully weird with the Avocado Maki Negroni and inspired Unami #3 (which sounds distinctly like an unreleased Aphex Twin track if you ask us). If you're feeling less adventurous, stick to the Japanese Old Fashioned.

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2. Escape to this popular Covent Garden bar: The Escapologist

Covent Garden, London

Tucked away on Covent Garden’s Earlham Street is The Escapologist.

Housed in one of the Victorian era’s most secretive of societies, the self-described “part modern-day Victorian member’s club, part Masonic lodge” is outfitted with just enough interiors to match that vibe. You’re welcomed by a mish-mash of colour-blocked walls, gaudy wallpaper, dramatic red lighting, mirrored ceilings and plush red velvet booths to sink into for any pre-and post-cocktail conversations.

Speaking of cocktails, The Escapologist is whipping up cocktails of all kinds: from specialist, tiki, gin and vodka to seasonal and non-alcoholic ones. Might we suggest the aptly named Hot AF (tequila, triple sec, jalapeno, pineapple, lime, tabasco) or the nostalgic Ab Fab (watermelon vodka, strawberry juice and watermelon).

Open 7 days a week, this Covent Garden bar is available for private hire for events hosting up to 220 guests.

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3. Visit this bar for Covent Garden’s best views: Sushisamba

Covent Garden, London

Sushisamba in Covent Garden brings together fusion food and signature cocktails.

Each location has its aesthetic, and its Covent Garden branch would best be described as a botanical paradise. Think earthy tones, rich pops of colour, hanging plants over the bar, trees by seats and a leafy glass roof.

For drinks, this Covent Garden bar offers a choice of fine wines, mocktails and as expected, cocktails. The Fogoso (tequila, peach liqueur, chillies, cucumber and yuzu) and Wakaba (gin, matcha green tea syrup, pink grapefruit juice and lychee liqueur) are our top picks.

Here’s the best bit - walk out onto the terrace for some of the best views of Covent Garden and The Piazza.

With space for 300 standing guests or 115 seated, you can also hire the entire venue.

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4. A trippy Covent Garden bar: Blame Gloria

Covent Garden, London

Trippy chic. That’s one way to describe this popular Covent Garden bar.

Step into the world of Blame Gloria and set your sights on the turquoise foil fringe curtains, oversized floral patterns atop exposed brick walls, the matching booths and the pink fluorescent lights.

Take your pick of the fruity, sour and sweet cocktails on offer. Perhaps a Pink Panther (rum, whiskey, pineapple, pomegranate and blood orange syrup) or Luna Springs (gin, limoncello, fresh lemon juice, peach syrup, soda), or if cocktails aren’t your thing, then wine, beer or shots.

For private parties and events, full venue hire is available for you and up to 224 guests.

You’ll find them on Bedford Street.

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cache cache covent garden bars 2

5. A not-so-secret Covent Garden bar: Cache Cache

Covent Garden, London

A secret bar hidden in plain sight in one of the busiest areas in London. Once inside, the intimate low lighting is offset by the strips of red, blue, orange and green fluorescent lights. Even though it sounds like something out of a film, Cache Cache is very much a real bar.

Whilst you marvel at your new-found hidden gem, take a look at the drinks menu. From the tea-infused Princess Cache, and hot Spicy Margarita to the interestingly-named Public Enemy No 1, there’s enough tipple for (almost) every mood and taste.

To make things even more exclusive, party in style with full venue hire for up to 60 seated guests and 100 standing.

6. A Spanish tapas bar in Covent Garden: Opera Tavern

Covent Garden, London

Despite sounding like a dingy pub, The Opera Tavern (run by the Salt Yard Group) is actually a more light and Mediterranean affair. Mixing a casual bar experience with Spanish and Italian tapas, Opera Tavern is a refreshingly different take on the Covent Garden bar.

The drinks menu embraces most classic cocktails, and the Italian gins are definitely worth a dabble. Really though, it's the excellently chosen wine list that you'll want to focus on – red, white and rosé have been helpfully classified according to their body, and the staff will be on hand to recommend pairings to match your food.

More bars in Covent Garden, London

Thinking of hiring a bar for your next event? Great idea. Covent Garden 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 Covent Garden 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 Covent Garden 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 Covent Garden venues respond to your enquiry.

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Guide to hiring a bar in Covent Garden

Hiring a bar in Covent Garden, one of London’s most vibrant and historic districts, can be an excellent choice for a variety of events. Whether you are planning a corporate party, birthday celebration, or social gathering, Covent Garden offers a range of stylish and unique bars to suit your needs. This guide will walk you through the process of finding and booking the ideal bar for your event, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Define your event requirements

Before you start looking for a bar in Covent Garden, clearly define your event requirements. Consider the type of event, the number of guests, and specific needs such as seating arrangements, entertainment, and catering. Knowing your requirements will help you narrow down your options and ensure that the chosen venue can accommodate all your needs. For example, a corporate networking event might require a sophisticated setting with a dedicated area for presentations, while a birthday party may benefit from a lively atmosphere with ample space for dancing.

Set a budget

Establishing a budget is crucial when hiring a bar in Covent Garden. Costs can vary significantly depending on the size, location, and amenities of the venue. Include all potential expenses in your budget, such as venue hire, food and drink packages, decorations, and entertainment. Having a clear budget helps you focus on venues within your financial reach and allows for better financial planning and negotiation. Some bars may offer packages that include multiple services, which can provide better value for your money.

Choose the right location within Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a diverse area with many different sections, so choosing the right location within it is important. Consider the convenience for your guests, particularly regarding accessibility by public transport. Venues close to major transport links like Covent Garden and Leicester Square stations are highly desirable. Additionally, think about parking availability for those who might drive. The surrounding amenities, such as hotels, restaurants, and attractions, can also enhance the overall experience for your guests, especially if they are coming from other parts of London or beyond.

Research potential venues

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Evaluate facilities and services

When you have a shortlist of potential bars, evaluate the facilities and services they offer. Check if they provide essential amenities such as high-speed internet, audio-visual equipment, and appropriate seating arrangements. If your event requires catering, determine whether the bar offers in-house catering services or if you need to arrange for external caterers. Also, consider the availability of on-site staff to assist with event coordination and management. A bar that offers comprehensive facilities and services can significantly reduce the stress of planning and ensure a smooth event.

Visit the venues

Visiting the bars in person is a crucial step in the selection process. A site visit allows you to assess the space, layout, and overall ambience, ensuring it matches your expectations. During your visit, take note of the cleanliness, the condition of the facilities, and the professionalism of the staff. Discuss your event requirements in detail with the venue manager, including any specific needs or concerns you might have. A personal visit can provide a clearer picture and help you make an informed decision.

Check availability and confirm booking

After selecting your preferred bar, check its availability for your desired dates. Popular venues in Covent Garden can be booked months in advance, so it’s advisable to confirm your booking as early as possible. Review the booking terms and conditions carefully, including the payment schedule, cancellation policy, and any additional charges that might apply. Ensure all details are clearly outlined in the contract to avoid any misunderstandings. This step is vital to securing the venue and ensuring everything runs smoothly on the day of your event.

Finalise event details

Once the bar is booked, finalise all event details in collaboration with the venue staff. Provide them with a detailed schedule of your event, including setup and breakdown times. Confirm the list of services they will provide and any external vendors you plan to use. Regular communication with the venue team can ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the event. Make sure to address any last-minute changes or concerns to avoid any issues during the event.

Hiring a bar in Covent Garden involves careful planning and attention to detail. By defining your event requirements, setting a realistic budget, and choosing a convenient location, you can find a venue that perfectly suits your needs. Thoroughly researching and evaluating potential bars, visiting them in person, and finalising all details with the venue staff will ensure a successful and enjoyable event. Covent Garden's diverse options and unique settings make it an excellent choice for any occasion.

Frequently asked questions

When choosing a bar in Covent Garden, consider the convenience for your guests. Ensure the venue is easily accessible by public transport, such as being near Covent Garden or Leicester Square stations. Additionally, think about parking availability for those who might drive. The venue's facilities and services, such as audio-visual equipment, seating arrangements, and catering options, should also match your event requirements. Finally, consider the bar’s ambience and style to ensure it aligns with the tone of your event.

Covent Garden offers a diverse range of bars for hire, from cosy and intimate venues to larger, more vibrant spaces. You can find stylish cocktail bars, traditional pubs, modern wine bars, and eclectic themed venues. Each type of bar provides a different atmosphere and amenities, making it possible to find the perfect setting for various events, whether it be a corporate gathering, birthday celebration, or social party.

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 Covent Garden 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 Covent Garden and let you enjoy your free time. Easy.

It is advisable to book a bar in Covent Garden as early as possible, ideally three to six months in advance. Popular bars in this bustling area can be booked quickly, especially during peak times such as weekends and holiday seasons. Early booking ensures you have a wider selection of venues and dates to choose from and allows ample time to plan other aspects of your event, such as catering and entertainment.

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