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Top 10 Best Bars on the River Thames in London

Picture of Top 10 Best Bars on the River Thames in London

London’s great River Thames is its life source, its centre, and sometimes its mode of transport or place for public urination. A walk along the famous Southbank is one of the most romantic things to do in London; whilst on the north side of the river, the tree lined Embankment offers ideal conditions for joggers and tourists. Dotted along our famous river, Londoners will also find a variety of bars that serve great ales, worldly wines, inventive cocktails, and shareable snacks. Some of these bars are particularly well known for their views of London’s iconic backdrop, and alfresco terraces become just as popular as pub beer gardens when the sun shines. Here are the 10 best bars along the River Thames for meeting up with mates and generally soaking up the London vibe.

Image of OXO Tower Bar

South Bank & Bankside

For unbeatable views and a classic venue, the OXO Tower bar has it all. A true destination in itself; the signature Harvey Nichols white leather greets you in all its glory, before giving way to a backdrop of glass that offers breathtaking views of the capital, looking north towards St Paul's Cathedral. The drinks list is extensive and cocktails are the house speciality: embrace your surroundings with the Big Smoke, with smoked vodka, agave syrup and smoked pineapple, or maybe a Good Queen Bess for an indulgent champagne topped gin combination.

Image of Lyaness at Sea Containers London

South Bank & Bankside

In a vibrant space overlooking the Thames, Lyaness bar is one of the latest endeavours from the award-winning Mr Lyan and team. Harking back to the glamour of the most opulent homes with an energy befitting of the best house parties, the menu steps away from traditional cocktails and is sectioned around seven core ingredients. Comfortable and fun, Lyaness is suitable from early afternoon, serving cocktail-based Fancy Tea, through to late night tipples, and with house DJs on the weekend.

Image of The Riverfront

South Bank & Bankside
Bar / Restaurant

This is one of the most popular bars on the Southbank with a consistent stream of customers who are either strolling by or catching artistic performances and exhibitions nearby. Its popularity is partly due to its funky outdoor space overlooking the river Thames (although the bar itself is actually positioned underneath Waterloo Bridge. They specialise in British ales and have their own take on classics such as sausage rolls and burgers. It's a great way of meeting up with friends for a quick drink or bite whilst people-watching on the Southbank and enjoying the sights and sounds along the Thames.

Image of The Oyster Shed

City of London
Bar / Restaurant

Another riverside bar that exists on the north bank of London's Thames. Well, those hard working City of London boys and girls shouldn't have to cross the river to enjoy it. This large, double decker, glass-fronted bar has a nautically themed interior, as the name might suggest, and Fluid London can safely say, they do a damn fine oyster or two, brought in fresh that morning. They also have a wine list created by a Master of Wine and a few interesting ales (being ultimately owned by Young's pubs). There's a modicum of space outside so log off your computer early and get down here quick sharp if you want an alfresco spot in the late sunshine. Great views of The Shard too.

Image of The Waterfront

Bar / Restaurant

This bar-restaurant-pub from Youngs is largely unremarkable at first glance: stylishly new, but in situ at the base of a new apartment complex in Wandsworth, miles from the nearest tube station, and with hardly a beating pulse in terms of atmosphere. And these are exactly the reasons why I love it. Hardly anybody knows it's there so it's fantastic for grabbing a good book, the Sunday newspapers, or a secret lover and heading for some proper peace and quiet right on the banks of the River Thames.

Image of The Riverside

Vauxhall & Oval

The Riverside Bar & Restaurant; there's a clue in the name there. This bar is right on the bank of the Thames and an ideal spot to catch some of those precious sun rays. When the sun is shining, its just got to be alfresco. Hidden away in St George Wharf in Vauxhall, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor seating which is spread between two terraces. And for those colder evenings, the heating is turned up to keep the chill away.

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