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Written by Luke Bull - 09 October 2023

The 8 best bars in Soho

Few areas can boast the pedigree of bars that Soho has. Every raconteur imaginable has called the square mile home. Marc Bolan used to assist his mum on Berwick Street market in the 1960s. Bowie caught his big break in a bar there. Peter O'Toole, Annie Morris and Tracy Emin developed their artistic and alcoholic sensibilities amongst the beer taps and discarded cigarette ends of Dean Street, Greek Street and, of course, Carnaby.

Today things are slightly different. Soho's international reputation proceeds it. The roads and back alleys of the West End still run with beer and blood most Saturday nights, though it's of a distinctly touristic hue. As with every famous London hotspot, Soho often risks becoming a mausoleum to its own heyday.

It's not all gentrified gloom and doom, though. There are plenty of classic Soho bars that honour the time-proven joy of sensory displacement, as well as a few new spots that are valiantly investing the area with new ideas, new drinks, and new characters.

Here's a look at our favourite bars to have a drink at in Soho.

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Cocktail menu at Wun's Tea Room in Soho
Interior, Wun's Tea Room cocktail bar in Soho, London.

1. Hong Kong, in Soho: Wun's Tea Room

Soho, London

Below the hustle and bustle of the lively Soho lies Tea Room - an all-day cocktail lounge and restaurant inspired by 1960's Hong Kong tea houses serving up gourmet Cantonese forgotten favourites.

Spanning two floors, a walk down the speak-easy staircase sends you down to a secret dining spot with neon, velvet, ceramic, rattan, and brass for those seeking a slower pace.

The event Space can cater for private dining, team lunches/dinners, Christmas parties, canapé style events, canto disco, drinks receptions.

They are flexible in terms of service style, menus, seating arrangements, and music choice are all up to you.

2. A New-York loft style bar in Soho: Little Scarlett Door

Soho, London

Resembling a set from Seinfeld, the purveyors of Little Scarlett Door seem to have understood the Londoners' rabid appetite for quotidian memorabilia.

Grabbing your drink, you can descend the stairs before being immersed in idealised metropolitan living space: attractive people gossiping over kitchen counters, reclining on mismatching sofas, a tumble dryer stacked with towels overlooks a Nintendo 64. It's odd but actually results in a really comfortable bar space.

Private hire is available, with 240 guests become admitted into the entire bar. The mix of industrial exposed pillars, denim-washed walls and open-plan living could prove a refreshing backdrop to another after-work drinks.

3. An Italian cafe-cum-bar: Termini

Soho, London

This distinctly Italian spot on the Eastern limit of Old Compton Street is a fantastic little bar that often gets overlooked by its more celebrated neighbours.

By day the cafe churns out excellent, reasonably priced coffees (in fact, order and espresso and you might be treated to a complimentary shot of Grappa, "to help wash the cup") and light bites to eat.

Come dusk the barista turns bartender, with Aperol and Campari heavy cocktails keeping the crowd happy and glassy-eyed. You'll also get a proper Negroni here, which is something the city is calling out for.

Louche soho bar

4. A music focused bar in Soho with private hire and happy hour: Louche

Soho, London

Taking its name from an adjective meaning 'disreputable or sordid in a rakish way', Louche certainly know their surrounding area's history.

With live music most nights, Louche is a great option for those wanting some atmosphere in which to enjoy their happy hour cocktails. On that note, we recommend trying their Picante, a spicy blend of Tequila, agave, lime, cucumber and chilli. Happy hour (well, hours) is a generous Open-8 pm on weekdays, with Saturday reducing the time to a 2-hour slot between 4 and 6 pm. Plan your visit accordingly.

Private hire is available, with multiple spaces accommodating a whole range of numbers. The downstairs vaults can hold 50, whilst the upstairs has its own bar and room for 140. If you really want to push the boat out, you can exclusively hire the entire bar for 260 people.

100 wardour street soho bar
100 wardour soho meeting rooms 2

5. One of the best large bars in Soho: 100 Wardour Street

Soho, London

Holed up on, you guessed it, Wardour Street, 100 WS's ground floor lounge bar is a great after-works drinking spot for those liking vodka-based cocktails. Teaming up with every Love Island contestant's favourite sponsor, Cîroc, 100 WS throw the whole bus as the vodka cocktail scene. Take the Kiwi Kick, a favourite: Vodka and kiwi get to know apple and absinthe before being drowned in ginger beer. It's as delicious as it is irresponsible.

Come night, you can expect live music every Thursday through Saturday, with the bar taking on a more club-like atmosphere. If you don't want to share your space with the general public, the lounge can be hired out for 450 guests and caters to all manner of Soho parties.

The George, pubs for hire in London

6. A pub that we're putting on the list because it's so good: The George, Soho

Soho, London

Yes, it's a pub. Do we care? No.

The George is everything a good Soho bar, sorry pub, should be. It is dimly lit with deep wooden fittings and heavy curtains draped before frosted glass windows. The bar serves cask ales, craft beers, tapped wines and a fantastic selection of whiskey.

With a pedigree of heavy boozing patrons (Dylan Thomas was known to frequent the booths), you're in good company at The George. If you want a private event, the 100-capacity downstairs space can be exclusively hired. They might even let you pour your own pint, if you ask nicely.

7. An underground bar in the heart of Soho: Arts Theatre Club

Soho, London

This being a rational country of alcoholics, we have never actually banned alcohol. There is, however, an underground network of illegal drinking dens that crisscross the backstreets of our fair island.

Take The Arts Theatre Club, for example. The Frith St spot is no longer operating outside the law, but it boasts a recalcitrant history of getting messed up. Claiming to be a favourite haunt of the Kray's, Arts Theatre Club does feel like the kind of place in which the carpet, walls and tassel-dripping lampshades each has a story to tell.

Drinking at Arts Theatre Club means, inevitably, cocktails. They make a decent vesper, and a punchy daiquiri but the star of the show is the wonderfully titled 'Fabulous Eskimo Nell': Fig liqueur, Grey Goose vodka blueberries and Creme de Myrtille served over crushed ice.

arber garden soho bar
arber garden soho bar

8. A hidden Soho gem: The Arber Garden

Soho, London

The Arber Garden is a hidden gem located in the bustling district of Soho. It is an outdoor bar that offers a serene and relaxing atmosphere, with lush greenery and twinkling lights creating a magical ambience. The bar specialises in gin, offering an extensive list of cocktails and other drinks. The menu also features small plates, perfect for sharing with friends while enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

The Arber Garden is a popular spot for after-work drinks, dates, and intimate gatherings. The bar is open year-round and has heaters during colder months, making it a great spot for a cosy night out.

Check out the best bars in Soho

We've put together the best bars in Soho for you to find and book. From activity bars for a corporate day out to cosy pubs to swanky cocktail bars, Soho is full of amazing bars for you to explore. Take a look at all our bar venues in Soho. Alternatively, tell us exactly what you need and we'll make sure the very best Soho bar venues respond to your enquiry.

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Your guide to booking the perfect bar in Soho

Determine your bar needs: Before you start your search, determine the size of your party, the date and time of your event, and your budget. This will help you narrow down your options and find a bar that can accommodate your needs.

Choose your bar style: Soho offers a wide range of bars with different styles and atmospheres. Decide on the type of bar you want to book, whether it's a cocktail bar, a sports bar, a dive bar, or a speakeasy.

Search for a bar: Use online platforms such as HeadBox to find bars in Soho. Filter your search by location, price, and amenities to find a bar that meets your needs. Submit all your requirements for your Soho bar event and we'll match you up with the very best private hire drinking spots in Soho.

Contact the bar: Once you've found a bar that you're interested in, contact the bar to confirm availability and pricing. Be sure to ask any questions you may have and clarify any details about the event.

Visit the bar: Before booking the bar, schedule a visit to see the space in person. This will give you a better idea of the size and layout of the bar and help you visualise how you can decorate and set up the space.

Confirm the booking: Once you've decided on a bar, confirm the booking by paying any required deposits or fees. Make sure to read through the booking agreement carefully to ensure that you understand the terms and conditions.

Coordinate logistics: Before the event, coordinate any logistics with the bar, such as food and beverage options, setup and cleanup, and any additional equipment or services you may need.

Enjoy your event: On the day of your event, arrive at the bar and enjoy your time there. Make sure to follow any rules or guidelines provided by the bar, and have fun with your guests!

Leave a review: After the event, leave a review of the bar to help other event planners in the future. Be sure to mention any highlights or areas for improvement to help the bar provide an even better experience next time.

Frequently asked questions

When choosing a Soho bar, consider the size of your party, the type of event you're hosting, and your budget. Choose a bar that can accommodate your needs and offers the atmosphere and amenities you're looking for.

Soho bars can be hired for a variety of events, including birthday parties, corporate events, weddings, cocktail parties, and more. Many bars in Soho are versatile and can be adapted to meet your specific needs.

The cost of hiring a Soho bar can vary depending on the size of the venue, the date and time of the event, and the type of party. Prices can range from a few hundred to thousands of pounds, with busy days leading towards much hire costs (bars in Soho have to match what they would make form an open door policy, after all).

Be sure to ask about pricing and any additional fees when contacting a bar.

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