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Written by Mae Bristow - 21 December 2023

6 great Paddington cocktail bars

Two images come to mind when we hear or read the word Paddington. The first is Paddington Bear even though we have neither read the books nor seen the films – the image exists in the London zeitgeist and we can’t shake it.

Second, we think of the Paddington Basin with its canalside barges and Little Venice. We still think East London has more of a hold on canalside bars and nightlife compared to Paddington with its stately homes, and sleek shiny new-build flats and offices. It should be noted, however, that although it's relatively quiet, there is still plenty of nightlife in Paddington with several restaurants and bars serving the locals and the many people passing through Paddington Station.

We went on a mission to suss out the best Paddington cocktail bars and we present to you our findings below…

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cocktail at old marys paddington cocktail bar london
interior of old marys paddington cocktail bar london

1. A Victorian speakeasy in Lancaster Gate: Old Mary’s

Paddington, London

It feels good to describe a cocktail bar as a speakeasy when it actually is one – Old Mary’s is hidden beneath the Mitre, a 19th-century pub just around the corner from Lancaster Gate Station. The Paddington cocktail bar takes its name from the resident ghost – a former mistress of the building’s one-time owner Lord Craven who was found murdered in the scullery – we’re here for the haunted bars.

Old Mary’s is also known for other spirits, the kind shaken and stirred and everything in between. Known for experimental and classic cocktails, the menu is divided into Complex & Robust, Light & Sparkling, Long & Fresh, Sour & Zesty, Sweet & Fruity, and Alcohol Free. We’re big fans of the Sours here, and of the way Old Mary’s has nailed the speakeasy-style bar and celebrates its resident ghost.

exterior of darcie and may green paddington cocktail bar london
cocktail at darcie and may green paddington cocktail bar london

2. Cocktails on the Grand Union Canal: Darcie & May Green

Paddington, London

You can’t miss Darcie & May Green, two canalside barges painted in bright colours and geometric shapes right outside Paddington Station. The barges were designed by pop artist Sir Peter Blake and both shine on the Grand Union Canal in the Paddington Basin come rain or shine.

Darcie & May Green specialises in Australian-style fare, brunch, and cocktails. We’ll never turn down the opportunity to sip cocktails canalside, and its proximity to Paddington Station gives us easy access to and from this corner of central London. It’s bright and wild and exactly the kind of cocktail bar you’d expect a group of Aussies to open. With a capacity of 30 people, it’s one of our top picks for intimate private hire in Paddington.

cocktail at bow bar paddington cocktail bar london
people at bow bar paddington cocktail bar london

3. The obligatory chic hotel cocktail bar: Bow Bar

Paddington, London

Located in Hilton London Metropole right near Edgware Road tube station, Bow Bar takes its name from the East London neighbourhood. If we’re being honest, we’re unsure as to why this Paddington cocktail bar is inspired by East London, but what we are sure about is this is one sleek, chic cocktail bar.

An intimate meeting spot for coffee or a light bite by day, Bow Bar seamlessly transitions into the evening with a buzzy atmosphere where expert mixologists take centre stage. It’s an elegant venue for an elevated celebration, drinks reception, or dinner in some of Paddington’s most stylish surroundings.

interior of ayllu paddington cocktail bar london
interior of ayllu paddington cocktail bar london

4. Peruvian-Japanese flavours make for standout cocktails at Ayllu

Paddington, London

Ayllu is a slightly upscale restaurant and bar near Paddington Station that offers superb Peruvian small plates influenced by Japanese flavours and carries this theme through to its signature cocktail menu. We loved the complexities found in the cocktails and we were a little enamoured with the stylish jewel-green colour palette of the place.

Expect unusual but clever flavours like the slightly peppery Japanese shisho leaves with plum wine, rum, fresh lime, and caramelised sugar as found in the Shinsen cocktail. Or the very Peruvian Flamingo cocktail, a concoction of Pisco, fresh guava, lemon, angostura bitters, and vanilla. With daring flavour combinations such as these, you now understand how Ayllu has made it onto our list of Paddington cocktail bars.

cocktail at smiths bar and grill paddington cocktail bar london
interior of smiths bar and grill paddington cocktail bar london

5. Canalside seating at this modern lounge-style bar: Smith’s Bar & Grill

Paddington, London

Smith’s Bar & Grill is another sweet little spot for cocktails just outside Paddington Station. The canalside building is modern, and spacious, with floor-to-ceiling windows letting in generous amounts of sunlight, and a canalside terrace that’s a sun trap by day and offers mood lighting by night.

With a Cocktail Happy Hour offered the six days a week that it’s open, an all-day menu, and outdoor seating overlooking the Grand Union Canall, Smith’s Bar & Grill is a laid-back and stylish spot for a casual round of cocktails or a celebration. It can accommodate up to 200 standing and 100 seated. And the nearby transport links mean everybody’s taken care of when they’ve had one too many cocktails.

interior of hucksters paddington cocktail bar london
cocktails at hucksters paddington cocktail bar london

6. Karaoke, brunch parties & cocktails at Huckster London

Paddington, London

Huckster is all about offering an immersive New York experience in the heart of Paddington. Equidistant to both Paddington and Royal Oak stations, Huckster specialises in karaoke, cocktails, and some of the best all-day brunches and night brunches – we appreciate breakfast foods at night.

With three karaoke rooms and over 900 songs on offer, expect to knock back Manhattans in Manhattan-themed rooms with plenty of neon signage. The Karaoke Booth can accommodate groups of 6 – 18 people, the Lounge 10 – 25 people, and the Room 15 – 35 people, all for karaoke and cocktails. And if karaoke isn’t your thing, don’t worry, you can still pop along for cocktails and Manhattan street food and have a grand old time.

The best cocktail bars to hire in Paddington

Finding the perfect Paddington cocktail bar shouldn't be a chore. Let us bring you the very best Paddington has to offer in beautiful cocktail bars available to hire. From rooftop bars to underground venues, hidden speakeasies to famous cocktail bars with the best mixologists – hire out your own room, or even the entire venue, without any hassle. Paddington has an unbeatable cocktail scene and a range of stunning venues to enjoy. Take a look at the top selections below, or let us know what you're looking for and we'll make sure the perfect cocktail bar venues reach out to you.

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Your ultimate guide to renting a cocktail bar in Paddington, London

Planning an event in Paddington, London and looking for the perfect venue to impress your guests? Look no further than a cocktail bar! With its chic ambience, creative drinks and vibrant atmosphere, a cocktail bar provides the ideal setting for any occasion, from corporate meetings to social soirees. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about hiring a cocktail bar in Paddington for your event, including pricing considerations and seating options.

1. Research cocktail bars in Paddington:

Start your search by researching cocktail bars in Paddington. Use HeadBox to explore the options available. Consider factors such as location, ambience, menu offerings and reviews to narrow down your choices.

2. Define your event requirements:

Before contacting potential cocktail bars, clearly define your event requirements. Determine the type of event you're hosting, the estimated number of guests, the preferred date and time, budget constraints, and any special amenities or services you require. A clear understanding of your needs will help you find the perfect cocktail bar for your event.

3. Contact cocktail bars for availability and pricing:

Contact shortlisted Paddington cocktail bars to enquire about availability and pricing for your desired date and time. Provide detailed information about your event requirements, including the number of guests and any specific decor requirements. Request a quote for venue hire and enquire about any additional services or amenities offered for events.

4. Understand pricing structures:

Cocktail bar rental fees in Paddington can vary depending on factors such as venue size, location, facilities, day of the week, time of day and duration of hire. Some bars may offer special packages or premium pricing for events. Check pricing structures carefully to ensure they are within your budget.

5. Explore seating options:

Consider the seating arrangement that best suits your event objectives and guest preferences. Cocktail bars in Paddington typically offer a range of seating options including bar stools, lounge seating, high tables and standing room only. Choose a layout that encourages mingling, socialising and enjoying the bar's signature cocktails.

6. Assessing Amenities and Facilities:

Evaluate the amenities and facilities provided by each cocktail bar to ensure they meet your event requirements. Look for features such as a well-stocked bar, professional bartenders, audiovisual equipment, lighting, and restroom facilities. Confirm that the bar can accommodate any special requests or arrangements needed for your event.

7. Checking for Additional Services:

Inquire about any additional services or support offered by the cocktail bar to enhance your event experience. Some bars in Paddington may provide onsite catering, customized drink menus, entertainment options, event planning assistance, and security services. Discuss your specific needs with the bar's management to determine what services are available.

8. Confirming Logistics and Setup Details:

Once you've selected a cocktail bar for your event, finalize logistical details with the venue's management team. Coordinate setup and breakdown times, access for vendors or entertainers, and any specific decor or branding requirements. Ensure that the bar can accommodate any special requests or configurations needed for your event.

9. Reviewing Contracts and Policies:

Before signing a rental agreement with the cocktail bar, carefully review the contract terms and policies to ensure you understand and agree to all the terms and conditions. Pay close attention to details such as the rental fee, deposit requirements, cancellation policy, liability waivers, and any additional fees or charges. Seek clarification from the bar's management regarding any uncertainties or concerns you may have before proceeding with the booking.

10. Planning for a Memorable Event:

On the day of your event, arrive prepared and ready to host a memorable gathering at the chosen cocktail bar in Paddington. Coordinate with the venue's staff, vendors, and guests to ensure everything runs smoothly. Enjoy the ambiance, savor the cocktails, and celebrate with your guests for an unforgettable experience.

Renting a cocktail bar for your event in Paddington, London, offers the perfect blend of style, sophistication, and fun. By following the steps outlined in this guide and working closely with the bar's management team, you can create a memorable event that delights your guests and exceeds your expectations. Cheers to a successful event at a fabulous cocktail bar in Paddington!

Frequently asked questions

It's recommended that you book a cocktail bar for your event in Paddington as early as possible, ideally several weeks or even months in advance. This will allow you to secure your desired date and time, especially during peak event seasons or holidays.

Cocktail bars in Paddington are versatile venues that can host many different types of events including birthday parties, corporate events, networking events, engagement parties and private celebrations. Whether it's an intimate gathering or a larger event, a cocktail bar provides a stylish and vibrant setting.

Some cocktail bars in Paddington may offer food options or catering services for events, such as canapés, small plates or buffet-style menus. Alternatively, you may be able to bring in external caterers or food suppliers to complement the drinks served at the bar.

Many Cocktail Bars in Paddington have a minimum spend requirement for event bookings, which usually applies to the purchase of food and drink during the event. The minimum spend may vary depending on factors such as the date, time and size of the event.

The capacity of a cocktail bar for events in Paddington can vary depending on the size and layout of the venue. Check with HeadBox. Some bars can cater for smaller, intimate gatherings, while others have larger spaces suitable for larger events.

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