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.
West End / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: European
RS Hispaniola is unique bar on the river Thames, which boasts splendid views of the London Eye and Houses of Parliament. RS Hispaniola is perfect for an after-work drink or a cheeky cocktail with friends. We serve these in our restaurant on the Upper Deck and on our outdoor decks.
South Bank & Bankside / Bar /
With combinations created by award-winning bar impresario Ryan Chetiyawardana, A.K.A Mr Lyan, Dandelyan boasts an iconic green marble bar and dramatic views of the Thames. Serving both innovative cocktails and refined interpretations of the classics, it takes inspiration from the botanical wilds of the British countryside and around the world. Ryan and his team draw from their years behind bars and kitchens to concoct drinks that ignite the imagination and excite the palate.
OXO Tower Bar
South Bank & Bankside / Bar / Cuisine: British
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.
The Perkin Reveller
City of London / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
The area around the Tower of London can feel like a manic thoroughfare at most times of the day. So when you find a haven in amongst the chaos, stay there as long as possible. The Perkin Reveller not only boasts a beautiful daytime view of its iconic neighbour, Tower Bridge, but stick around until nightfall and you'll see the stars come out and the lights come on for a truly memorable vista. The Perkin fully embraces its London heritage when it comes to drinks. Gin is the tipple of choice at this rustic retreat, and local London ales have a firm spot on the menu too. During summer, a lovely alfresco section is provided too. Soak it up.
Tom's Kitchen HMS Belfast by Tom Aikens
London Bridge & Bermondsey / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: European
Tom's Kitchen - the group of restaurants and delis founded by chef Tom Aikens - is a quayside deli and bar at the iconic London landmark, HMS Belfast and overlooks Tower Bright and the Tower of London. The deli offers a signature range of sandwiches, fresh salads and platters, bakery and beverages. The bar opens until late, serving wines, craft beers and a selection of nibbles alongside a menu of nautical-themed cocktails. Partial covered and part open air, this al fresco spot is perfect for the spring and summer months.
South Bank & Bankside / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
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.
The Oyster Shed
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
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.
Wandsworth / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Eclectic
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.
Vauxhall & Oval / Bar / Cuisine: Pub
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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