10 Of London's Best Secret Bars

London is full of secrets and surprises, so to help you uncover its hidden lairs DesignMyNight are here to give us some of their top tips…

Demon, Wise and Partners  – Liverpool Street

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and wander down to Throgmorton Street. There you can descend the stairs of The Arbitrager to find Demon, Wise and Partners, a refined basement bar and real hidden gem.
Reservations are recommended as it fills up pretty quickly. Unleash your wild side with the demon tipple, or opt for the less daring wise cocktail; but be warned, once they serve 100 of them – they’re gone, forever.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

Kansas Smitty’s – Hackney

Hackney is one of East London’s coolest hangouts, and is home to a hidden gem called Kansas Smitty’s. It’s a little tricky to find, as it’s located below a restaurant on Broadway Market, away from prying eyes.
The space is extremely intimate with a broody atmosphere, low ceilings and an impressive roster of live jazz musicians. The members of the house band “Kansas Smitty’s” have played all over the city, so you’re always guaranteed a great show. FYI: If you’re a fan of gin, you can’t go wrong with their Allotment Julep.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

The Light Lounge – Leicester Square

With its central location, right in the heart of Chinatown, we’re not sure how this stylish bar has managed to remain under the radar. The Light Lounge’s obscure entrance adds a touch of glamour to this New York-inspired bar.
Friday and Saturday nights come alive, as DJs are on hand to up the tempo. If you want to save some cash, head down to here during their light hours where cocktails are a tongue-tingling 2-4-1 between 5-8pm.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

Jam Tree – Clapham

Between bottomless boozy brunches, a sunny beer garden and the bizarrely wonderful cocktails, Jam Tree in Clapham has a lot to offer. The venue itself is a colourful, airy, and massively popular South London hangout.
Look hard enough, and you’ll notice an unassuming bookshelf, which leads into the Jam Tree’s legendary private bar! There you’ll find a ping pong table, delicious drinks, and a secret entrance to the venue’s beer garden.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

The Reading Room – Islington

The Reading Room is situated above Library Bar in Islington (North London) and is cherished for its lax neighbourhood vibe. They place their spotlight on good music and have live entertainment lined up most weeks.
If you want to gain entry to this Paris-inspired joint, venture to Laylock Street and ring their electric blue doorbell. Their classic cocktails are guaranteed to blow your mind.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

Basement Sate – Soho

Soho might seem like your usual tourist-trap spot, but don’t overlook it. Beneath Broadwick Street lies Basement Sate, a hush-hush cocktail and dessert bar.
Once you locate it (keep an eye out for the ruby red door), descend the stairs towards the plush mahogany tables, bottle green Chesterfield loungers and cosy booths. Best of all? The venue’s cocktails are specially paired with a gluttonous selection of desserts. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be warned!
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

Belle&Co – Euston

Belle&Co is a hush-hush kind of spot (housed under Shaker&Company), boasting an intimate capacity of only 30. Step back into the Belle Époque era, as the finest spirits and deadliest cocktails take centre stage. Enjoy their live entertainment programme and if you’re a fussy drinker, ask the mixologists to shake you up a tongue-tingling mixture based on your favourite spirit.
If you’re after a bargain, they have a selection of special offers, that range from a burger and fries for £10, to a daily happy hour between 5-7pm. Be a smart cookie and book well in advance to secure your space at this nifty nook.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

BYOC – Camden

If you love trying new things, BYOC is your new best friend. Standing for ‘Bring Your Own Cocktail’, this secret lil’ spot can be found lurking behind Bedfordbury Street Juice Club in Covent Garden.
For a small entry fee, you bring your own spirits and watch as the bartenders create cocktails with loads of different syrups and garnishes. The place has a prohibition-era feel, and each sitting lasts for two hours, giving you plenty of time to sample the different concoctions.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

Ruby’s Bar and Lounge – Dalston

The vibrant atmosphere and unique cocktails are what stand out loud and proud at Ruby’s Bar and Lounge. This 60’s Parisian-inspired bar is the perfect mid-week escape for a few relaxing drinks, (although the Weekend DJs also keep the place buzzing).
These guys have also teamed up with Vietnamese kitchen specialist Hanoi Kitchen, to bring you a scrumptious food menu.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

The Bootlegger – Monument

Ditch London’s chain bars for one night and venture to The Bootlegger. It’s a prohibition era-inspired drinking den, hidden between a Nandos and a dry cleaners near Monument.
This joint will take you back to the underground glamour of the 1920s. Live performances from jazz and blues bands will have you jiving across the floor, so tick it off your bucket list before it becomes London’s worst kept secret.
Price Guide: Happily Affordable ££

For more nightlife inspiration on the best bars in London visit DesignMyNight; and follow them on Twitter @DesignMyNight.

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