London’s 10 best bars for winter

From a champagne terrace to a Belle Époque-inspired rooftop

Winter is coming, so switch your Aperol spritzes and al fresco boozing for London’s cosy watering holes, perfect for hot toddies, mulled wines and festive snuggles.

Moet & Chandon Winter Terrace

The Hari, Belgravia
Fondue for two? Treat yourself to a gluttonous feast oat The Hari’s wonderfully festive winter terrace. In partnership with Moet & Chandon, the team at The Hari have created a winter wonderland worthy of the best Swizz ski chalets. Chefs Claudio Covino and Riccardo Zanotti have concocted an indulgent menu; with decadent sweet and savoury fondues to accompany your champagne and the festive cocktail selection sees an imaginative take on an old fashioned as well as the mysterious ‘Santa’s midnight Tipple.’ For non-boozers (or, you know, children) there’s homemade winter cocoa. Open from November 12. www.thehari.com

Lady Celeste’s Rooftop Bar

Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch
The Queen of Hoxton knows how to give good roof. Its summer pop up was a fun and dizzy spin on Las Vegas, now their winter offering is transporting guests to Belle Epoque Paris. Inspired by Montmartre’s most famous music hall, the rooftop is a heady blend of velvet drapes, mood lighting, an absinthe bar and illuminated red windmills. Huddle around the fire pits and warm up with great seasonal cocktails, including the Hot Buttered Tarte Tatin Rum, which is as artery-cloggingly brilliant as it sounds, or the Parisian Hot Forest Gateau – not a cake but in fact a spiked hot chocolate. queenofhoxton.com

The Hari’s Winter Terrace

The Winter Forest

Broadgate Circle, Liverpool Street
Stroll through a stunning, snow-covered alpine forest in the middle of London, at Broadgate Circle’s Winter Forest pop up. Warming food and mulled drinks are served throughout, you can pop into Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club and Distillery winter terrace and you might even bump into Father Christmas. If all this festivity isn’t enough, a large portion of your money will go to Centrepoint, the charity which supports the homeless in London. www.broadgate.co.uk/winter

Skate Lounge

Somerset House, The Strand
It’s my personal opinion, that the most festive place on earth, outside of Santa’s grotto in Lapland, is the Somerset House ice rink. It has fast become a staple of the Christmas season in London, and for good reason. There’s a mammoth 40ft Christmas tree, an entire shopping arcade and alpine lodge from festive-junkies Fortnum & Mason and polar bear-shaped skating aides for children which, this year, come clothed in Charlie Brown sweaters and scarves, courtesy of Somerset House’s Peanuts exhibition. This Christmas the rink-side Skate Lodge bar is a Bailey’s wonderland, serving up Bailey’s Hot Chocolate, as well as vegan and dairy free options made with Bailey’s Almande. www.somersethouse.org.uk

Miracle Pop Up

Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden
The team behind the legendary experimental cocktail club are bringing their famous festive pop up; Miracle, to the UK for the very first time. The mezzanine floor of Covent Garden’s chic Henrietta hotel will be transformed into a kitsch, retro Christmas – think a 1960s living room in December. Running from November 23 until Christmas Eve, it has a dazzling display of cocktails, all made with the brand’s signature imagination and punning zeal. There’s a Christmapolitan (see what they did there) injected with some spiced cranberry sauce and A Partridge in a Pear Tree; a seasonal spin on a margarita with tequila and pear brandy. www.henriettahotel.com/miracle

The Library Bar at The Ned

The Library Bar

The Ned, Bank
Have you discovered the Library Bar at The Ned yet? I hadn’t either, but once you know, you know. I’m almost reluctant to tell you all about it, but this best kept London secret is the ideal winter watering hole. Opened last month, it is an intimate spot within The Ned’s palatial ground floor dining mecca, couched behind velvet drapes, with only room for 18 guests. Restored old-world club chairs in deliciously tactile plum and bronze velvet and antique bar backs make for a snug, escapist retreat, which only gets better once you sample from its groaning champagne bar and martini trolley. Staffed by expert mixologists in white tie, they’ll whip up whatever you fancy, or you can choose from their brilliant house or vintage collection cocktails, including Breakfast at Emily’s, made with marmalade and buttered Star of Bombay. www.thened.com

45 Jermyn St

St James’s
This sleek Mayfair bar and restaurant has always exuded a relaxed glamour. Plus, it is the ideal spot for a post-Christmas shopping tipple. The winter cocktail selection is inspired (try the spiced Elephant Sloe Gin) and, this season, they have introduced the truffle toastie. Yes, you read that right: a truffle toastie. Made with raclette, truffle, homemade sourdough and whipped butter. The most wonderfully self-indulgent bar snack we ever did see. www.45jermynst.com

Skate Lounge at Somerset House (David Jensen)

Nobu Café

Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch
Nobu café, nestled in the Nobu Hotel lobby, is a prime location for an evening drink – in full view of the hotel’s illuminated Christmas tree, designed by Studio Moritz Waldemeyer. Plus, the café has just launched its festive afternoon tea – a Nobu twist on both Christmas classics and traditional tea (hi there Santa Claus whisky macaroon!) all washed down with a glass of prosecco. www.nobuhotelshoreditch.com

Donovan Bar

Browns Hotel, Mayfair
Donovan Bar in Brown’s Hotel comes into its own in the winter months. Log fires, plush seats and even saucy portraiture by the eponymous Terence Donovan hidden in the aptly named ‘naughty corner.’ Vintage cocktails are served up by Maestro Salvatore Calabrese from his own collection of rare spirits or sample the bar’s martini – lauded as the best in the world. Amp up the snug atmosphere and visit on a Thursday or Friday night when there is live jazz. www.roccofortehotels.com

St Germain Winter Bloom Pop Up

Covent Garden
Fancy some activity with your cocktails? Then get yourself to the St Germain winter floral pop up which is, fittingly, located on 33 Floral Street, Covent Garden from November 22 to 22 December 22. The Christmas floral boutique will house a banquet of winter flowers to purchase for your seasonal decorating as well as a series of craft workshops led by cook and food writer Anna Barnett, florist Emily Baylis of June in March, and cocktail expert Camille Vidal – aka Madame St-Germain. Alongside it all are, of course, a plethora of St Germain festive cocktails. www.stgermain.fr


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