Bars near me: The top 20 bars for a night out in Holborn

Posted on Mon Mar 04 2019 by emily

From artisan cocktails to late night karaoke, Holborn is bursting with fab bars!

Over the past few years Holborn has quietly established itself as one of the best nights out in London – the city working elite that fill the office spaces around Chancery Lane and High Holborn are a discerning bunch when it comes to having a good time, and the result is a rich vein of lively London.

One of the core attractions of Holborn is the area’s diversity; there’s something for everyone – from quiet cocktails with friends imbibed over the gently tickled ivory of piano keys, to a 5am rager that’ll have you waking up in a bush covered in peanut butter… in France. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the 15 best bars in Holborn for a night out to remember…

P.S. If you’re after a tasty meal in Holborn to line the stomach before hitting some of these bars, check out our round up of the top 10 restaurants for eating out in Holborn. And if you’re looking for some birthday inspiration, check out our round up of the top 10 places in London for a brilliant birthday bash.

1) Scarfes Bar

A photo of a roaring fire in the fireplace of Scarfes Bar in Holborn with leather chairs, an array of books and whisky on the table

With an interior somewhere between a private members club and Sherlock Holmes’ library, Scarfes Bar oozes class and elegance out of every mahogany pore. The bar gets its name from British artist and caricaturist Gerld Scarfe, whose work adorns the venue’s walls, adding a fun artistic flair to every nook and cranny. Scarfes has live jazz on seven days a week, and specialises in truly unique artisan cocktail creations with a celebrity theme that are light on the tongue, though somewhat heavy on the wallet!

2) Lucky Voice Holborn

Lucky Voice Holborn’s large bar area, dance floor, stunning luxe pop aesthetic and ludicrously late licence – open until 3am Tuesday to Thursday and 4am Friday to Saturday – combined with a live DJ on weekends all guarantee the bombest bash in town for lovers of music, melody and mischief. And, if the mood takes you after a few drinks, there are private karaoke pods for groups of between 6-25 singers to get involved with.

There’s also a world class team of cocktail mixologists that will whip up anything you ask for, though be warned: if you order something with tequila in it, all of the venue’s bartenders will shout Tequila! and throw questionable dance moves as they serve you.

3) Salvador & Amanda Cocktail And Tapas Bar

An image of the bar at Salvador & Amanda Bloomsbury

A fun Spanish cocktail and tapas bar spread across two floors with casual drinking or dining in the bar on the ground floor and a more formal restaurant above, Salvador & Amanda is a must visit for all lovers of sangria and serrano ham. There’s also live DJs until 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday, with a special ‘Fiesta Night’ every Saturday that also features a live Spanish guitar player and flamenco dancers. Magnifico!

4) Fitz’s Bar

Situated in the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel, Fitz’s is a wonderfully flamboyant and debonaire little jazz speakeasy that feels as if it was lifted straight from the pages of The Great Gatsby – the interior decor boasts yards of plush velvet, a set of original stained glass windows and a giant spinning mirror ball. The bar team are made up of former Milk & Honey and Callooh Callay mixologists, so expect some brilliant concoctions from the creme de la creme of London’s thriving cocktail scene.

5) The Fable Cocktail Bar

You certainly don’t get the opportunity to sip cocktails in a bar themed around fairy tales and Aesop’s fables too often! The interior decor of Fable is all vintage typewriters, leather bound books and fairy tale chic, and there’s a magical menu of cocktails to choose from as well as a particularly strong wine list.

6) The Pregnant Man

An image of the interior of the Saatchi & Saatchi pub The Pregnant Man on Chancery Lane

Owned by the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi – and currently in its second iteration after the original was demolished when the agency moved to Holborn from its original home in Goodge Street – The Pregnant Man gets its name from an advertising campaign in 1970 promoting responsible use of contraception amongst men, and is exactly as stylish and off the wall as you’d expect from an advertising firm’s personal bar/pub. A strong beer and wine list is complemented by a quirky industrial decor and high-quality food menu, of which the fruits of a massive in-house pizza oven are a particular highlight.

7) Bunghole Cellars Wine Bar

Bunghole Cellars is a sleek and stylish wood-panelled wine bar located underneath Hand Court just off of High Holborn High Street. The wine selection is drawn from the Greenwich cellars of the very well respected Davy’s Wine Merchant, and there’s an array of fine vintages to suit all palettes and budgets. Definitely worth a snoot for wine aficionados!

8) Temple Brewhouse

The bar at Temple Brewhouse

A fantastic subterranean microbrewery bar with an impressive selection of beers that’s sure to please even the most ardent of hop heads. There’s also some seriously hedonistic food choices to keep you well fuelled – they sell maple chilli bacon by the half pint #JustSaying!

9) Noble Rot Wine Bar

Another great Holborn wine bar, Noble Rot won Wine List Of The Year at the 2018, 2017 and 2016 National Restaurant Awards, and at the 2019 World Restaurant Awards as well, so if you’re an aspiring sommelier of the humble grape there’s no excuse not to visit. There’s also an interesting menu of nibbles and Franglaise fine dining from chef Stephen Harris to help line the stomach.

10) Sway Bar

Sway is a large bar with a gorgeous airy interior that’s ideal for bigger groups. There’s a decent selection of traditional cocktails as well as a decent food menu of which the pizza is a particular highlight. And for bargain hunters, make sure to check out the venue’s Limitless Thursdays – 90 minutes of bottomless pizza and Prosecco for £25 per person. There’s also a very reasonable happy hour Monday – Friday between 5-7pm.

11) Freud Bar

A trendy minimalist café/bar/gallery combo in a concrete cellar, Freud Bar has specialised in serving up potent cocktails and tasty grub since 1986. During the day this is a great spot to relax with an artisan coffee and free newspaper to hand, and there’s a mellow atmosphere come nightfall for those after a few drinks with a chilled out crowd of quirky regulars.

12) Philomena’s Irish Sports Bar

If you’re looking to watch any kind of sporting event in Holborn, you’re guaranteed to find it on the screens at Philomena’s with a buzzing atmosphere to match. There’s also a decent menu of hearty grub to tuck in to and one of the best pints of Guinness in London to wash it all down with.

13) Bar Polski

An image of the interior of Bar Polski in Holborn

As the name suggests, this is a must-visit venue for lovers of vodka and pierogi. A rough and ready spot with strong roots in the Polish community, all of the bar’s impressive selection of vodka is available for between £3-3.50 a shot, and the fridges are well-stocked with plenty of Poland’s best bottled beer for use as a chaser. The food is also excellent – authentically Polski and reasonably priced with hearty dumplings, beetroot soup and potato pancakes just a few stand out items on the menu.

14) Pizza Express Live Holborn

Along with the tasty Italian grub you know and love from its restaurants, Pizza Express also runs a few venues that specialise in live entertainment. Built on a business model that is only aiming at making a small profit/breaking even, the quality and calibre of the acts on offer is often surprising, with past performances from the likes of Amy Winehouse, Van Morrison and Brian May in an intimate setting at rarely more than £30/ticket. The Holborn venue is one of the company’s newest locations, with a chic interior and floor plan perfect for dinner and a show.

15) The Hoxton Hotel

An image of the interior bar of the Hoxton Hotel in Holborn

The Hoxton Hotel is home to a great cocktail bar and pair of restaurants that are an excellent choice for hip late night drinking and dining. The Hubbard & Bell is the main restaurant, offering up large cuts of juicy meat and tasty early morn brunching fare, while the Chicken Shop specialises in – you guessed it – rotisserie chicken; sort of like a posh version of Nandos.

16) Planet Of The Grapes

Worth visiting for the excellent pun alone! As you might have guessed by the name, this is another bar specialising in everything to do with wine and the breadth and depth of different vintages available is superb. As with any wine bar worth their grapes, there’s also a selection of tasty canapés and finger foods to help line the stomach including plenty of scrumptious charcuterie and cheese.

17) London Cocktail Club

The Holborn branch of the London Cocktail Club is a particularly nice rendition of the famous cocktail lounge, with a suave decor that combines old school touches like chesterfield sofas and burgundy rugs with awesome contemporary tattoo artwork from Rose Whittaker. A fab two for £12 happy hour combined with brilliant music and a lively after work crowd make this an excellent choice for those looking to really let their hair down.

18) Bounce Farringdon

The interior of Bounce Farringdon at night with loads of UV ping pong tables and interesting lighting

Located on the same site that ping pong was invented and patented by John Jaques III (great name), Bounce Farringdon is the flagship Bounce venue and where the company launched back in 2012. A large bar and restaurant combined with a hectic area full of ping pong tables that you can hire at an hourly rate creates a unique entertainment space for beers, bats and badinage.

Make sure to check out the venue’s Wonderball tables if you do pop in – they use advanced projection mapping software to turn a normal ping pong table in to an awesome interactive computer game that looks like the love child of Tron and Daft Punk.

19) All Star Lanes Holborn

An image of a couple of the lanes in the interior of All Star Lanes Bowling Alley in Holborn

A fun 4-lane bowling alley and cocktail bar in a retro-American style that’ll have you doing your best Grease impression quicker than you can say ‘Great balls of fire’. Each lane can cater for groups of between 2-7 people, and the menu is made up of exactly the sort of deep fried, greasy goodness you’d expect from an American-themed diner (they do a Brunchtini cocktail that comes with a waffle garnish and shot of maple syrup).

20) Flight Club Bloomsbury

Flight Club Bloomsbury is a circus-themed spectacular with an array of show stopping cocktails to sample – make sure to try out the bar’s signature alcoholic slushies. And if you’re looking for a spot of entertainment while you drink, it doesn’t get much more British than a friendly game of competitive darts at one of the venue’s many electronic darts lanes. 

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