Discerning drinker's Monopoly bar tour

Words by Ian Cameron

Discerning drinker's Monopoly bar tour image 1

The Monopoly Pub Crawl: an infamous stag party staple that typically sees groups of novelty clothed bucks gather at an unfeasibly early hour on a grim south London street as they embark on a marathon tour of up to 28 of the capital's, frankly, less salubrious pubs and hostelries. A 10am start on the Old Kent Road is never going to end well, is it?

So on the centenary of the British publication of a precursor to the epic property game of chance, we present the diffordsguide Monopoly Better Bar Tour: a list of watering holes for discerning drinkers that takes in every named square of the board game but avoids ropey boozers, hostile locals and brassy barmaids who've seen it all. In their place, a collection of more sophisticated cocktail lounges and top-end bars.

In our list we expect bars to know their Bloody Marys from their bar towels, Rob Roys from real ales, and shakers from soda guns. Where possible, we've chosen venues directly on the streets named on the London edition of Monopoly - you'll find the few exceptions as close as possible to their named square.

Before you begin, a health warning: it would be ill-advised to attempt to visit every bar on this list in one visit.

All that's left to do then is roll the dice, collect £200 as you pass Go and stay out of jail. Novelty clothing optional (though not recommended).

Old Kent Road

Your starting point is the Thomas A Beckett. It might be across the road from a big Tesco, but this former boxing gym where Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray all sparred has now been transformed into an aspirational bar, restaurant and club, and you can order everything from a Breakfast Martini to Negronis and fruity little numbers.

Thomas A Beckett
Address: 320 Old Kent Rd, London SE1 5UE
Tel: +44 (0)207 740 6839
Hours: Hours here in format of Mon-Sun 12pm-Late
Type: Cocktail bar
Nearest tube: Elephant and Castle


The Blind Beggar is on the original Monopoly pub tour, but in the absence of a nascent cocktail culture in the immediate area we're retaining this former haunt of the notorious Kray twins - 'fun' fact: Ronnie Kray, the younger of the twin gangsters, shot a rival in the head here in 1966. It wasn't the first murder in the Blind Beggar - someone had their eye gouged out by an umbrella in 1904. Today its beer might be generic but it has a good wine list and a kick-ass beer garden.

Blind Beggar
Address: 337 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1BU
Tel: +44 (0)207 247 6195
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-11pm; Sun 12pm-10:30pm
Type: Pub
Nearest tube: Whitechapel

King's Cross Station

Look carefully from the station concourse and you'll find the GNH cocktail bar secreted on the ground floor of a revamped hotel. This mirrored jewel box of a bar offers well-made cocktails and slick table service and articulates the best of regeneration.

Address: Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross Station, London, N1C 4TB, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)203 388 0818
Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-Late
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: King's Cross St Pancras

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The Angel Islington

Walk up Upper Street for ten minutes and you'll find Hoxley & Porter, purportedly named after two Victorian explorers. This charming, colonial-style cocktail lounge, part luxury rail carriage, part palm-fronded parlour, has a nice line in original cocktails presented in an embossed, leather-bound menu.

Hoxley & Porter
Address: 153 Upper Street, London, N1 1RA
Tel: +44 (0)207 226 1375
Hours: Mon-Wed: 12pm-12am, Thurs: 12pm-2am, Fri: 12pm-3am, Sat: 10am-3am, Sun: 10am-11pm
Type: Cocktail bar/Restaurant Bar
Nearest tube: Angel
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Euston Road

The name of the Gilbert Scott Bar references the architect responsible for the neo-gothic splendour of St Pancras station, now saved for the nation and offering a maximalist interior in which to drink complex original cocktails.

Gilbert Scott Bar
Address: St. Pancras Renaissance, Euston Road, London, NW1 2AR, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 841 3540
Hours: Open from 10am daily
Type: Cocktail bar
Nearest tube: King's Cross St Pancras
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Pentonville Road

Located in a pedestrianized square just off Pentonville Road as part of the newly created Regent Quarter, Pepito is a tiny hole-in-the-wall specialising in sherry and serving a nice line in authentic tapas.

Bar Pepito
Address: 3 Varnishers Yard, City of London, N1 9DF, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 841 7331
Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm-12am; Sat 6pm-12am; Sun: closed
Type: Sherry bar
Nearest tube: King's Cross St Pancras

Pall Mall

Inside the Sofitel St James hotel, which sits on the corner of Pall Mall and Waterloo Place, you'll find the St James Bar at Balcon, a beautiful and bijou boudoir, where drinks are served from an underlit crystal bar.

St James Bar
Address: 6 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AN , United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 747 2200
Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-1am; Sun: 9am-12am
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Charing Cross

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Electric Company

Part of the Soho House group, Electric House is its Portobello Road outpost with several places to drink inside and an impressive smoking terrace where the building's domed roof provides shelter for seating. Note: members only.

Electric House
Address: 191 Portobello Road, London, W11 2ED, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 908 9696
Hours: Mon-Thu 8am-1am; Fri-Sat 8am-2am; Sun 8am-11pm
Type: Private Members Bar
Nearest tube: Ladbroke Grove

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You'll find Bassoon in the Corinthia hotel on Whitehall Place, a music-themed bar with live music six nights a week and a piano built into the bar, known for its extravagant garnishes.

Address: Corinthia Hotel, 10 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD
Tel: +44 (0)207 321 3200
Hours: Mon-Sun: 4pm-1am
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Embankment
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Northumberland Avenue

This extravagant lobby bar at Boyd's Brasserie Bar & Lounge is to be found inside the Grand at Trafalgar Square Hotel, recently reopened following a 60-year dormancy.

Boyds Brasserie
Address: 8 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5BY
Tel: +44 (0)207 808 3344
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-12am; Sat 8am-11am, 5pm-12am; Sun: 8am-11am
Type: Restaurant Bar
Nearest tube: Embankment

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Marylebone Station

Marylebone Station itself has yet to be pimped up, but Old Mary's Bar is a short walk away. The basement of The Mitre Townhouse is now a rabbit warren of cosy nooks in which to drink classic cocktails - plus there's a ghost.

Old Mary's Bar
Address: 24 Craven Terrace, Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3QH, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 262 5240
Hours: Wed-Thu 5pm-11:30pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-12am; Sun-Tue: Closed
Type: Cocktail bar
Nearest tube: Lancaster Gate

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Bow Street

Not technically on Bow Street, head upstairs to the bar at Brasserie Blanc for cocktails overlooking Covent Garden market.

Brasserie Blanc
Address: 35 The Market, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RF
Tel: +44 (0)207 379 0666
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-12am
Type: Restaurant Bar
Nearest tube: Covent Garden

Marlborough Street

& Co. is located in the basement of Central, and its USP is every spirit served has been poured into anonymous bottles and there are no labels - here it's all about the nose and palate of what you're drinking rather than brand-calling.

& Co
Address: 22 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HU, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 437 4106
Hours: Mon-Sun 5pm-midnight
Type: Cocktail bar
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus
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Vine Street

Vine Street is a short offshoot from Swallow Street, on which you'll find the cowhide chic of upscale restaurant chain Gaucho, with a ground floor wine boutique specialising in bottlings from Argentina and a lounge bar inside for South American riffs on classic cocktails.

Address: 25 Swallow St, London W1B 4QR
Tel: +44 (0)207 734 4040
Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-12am; Sun 12pm-11pm
Type: Restaurant Bar
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus

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Stuck for a drink on the Strand? Drink in the history at the Savoy hotel's famed American Bar or head to its Beaufort Bar, a former theatre space where Gershwin premiered Rhapsody in Blue.

American Bar
Address: The Savoy, Strand, London, WC2R 0EU, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 836 4343
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-12am; Sun 12pm-12am
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Embankment

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Fleet Street

In the heart of the capital's former newspaper district, Lutyens takes up the ground floor of the former HQ of Reuters, where you'll find a bar that pays tribute to its role in the City, with a stock ticker in the floor mosaic.

Address: 85 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AE
Tel: +44 (0)207 583 8385
Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm-12am; Sat-Sun: closed
Type: Restaurant Bar
Nearest tube: London Blackfriars

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Trafalgar Square

Overlooking Trafalgar Square is Vista at the Trafalgar, a boutique hotel slap-bang on one of the capital's most iconic tourist sights - on the sixth floor you're still some way below Nelson atop his column, but it's a brilliant vantage point. A cover charge applies at some times.

Vista at the Trafalgar
Address: The Trafalgar, 2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London SW1A 2TS
Tel: +44 (0)207 870 2900
Hours: Mon - Sat 12.00pm - Midnight; Sun 12.00pm - 23.00pm
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Charing Cross

Fenchurch Street Station

Head to the nearby Hilton Doubletree and up to its rooftop bar, SkyLounge, for a fantastic view of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, a large outdoor terrace and classic cocktails.

Address: 7 Pepys St, London, EC3N 4AF, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 709 1044
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-2am; Sun 11am-1am
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Tower Hill

Leicester Square

The W hotel on Leicester Square boasts two cocktail bars - one dressed all in white, called the W Lounge and open to all, the other, called Wyld, all black leather and glitter balls often used for film premiere after-parties.

W Lounge
Address: 10 Wardour Street, Leicester Square, London, W1D 6QF
Tel: +44 (0)207 758 1000
Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-2am
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Leicester Square

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Coventry Street

The gilded restaurant bar of Criterion is slap-bang on Piccadilly Circus but its cocktail roots go back to the 19th century when it was famous for its American drinks.

Address: 224 Piccadilly, Piccadilly, London W1J 9HP
Tel: +44 (0)207 930 0488
Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-11:30pm
Type: Restaurant Bar
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus

Water Works

What better than a classic London pub overlooking the great arterial waterway that runs through London? The Prospect of Whitby sits on the banks of The Thames on a site that has had a pub there since 1520.

The Prospect of Whitby
Address: 57 Wapping Wall (opp. Wapping Hydraulic), Wapping, London, E1W 3SH, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 481 1095
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm & 5:30pm-11pm, Sat 11:30pm-11pm, Sun noon-10:30pm
Type: Pub
Nearest tube: Wapping Overground

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Forget tea at the Ritz, go for cocktails at the Rivoli bar, where silver service comes with a smile.

Rivoli Bar
Address: 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR
Tel: +44 (0)207 300 2340
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-12am; Sun Noon-10pm
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Green Park

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Regent Street

Café Royal reopened after a five-year revamp in 2013 boasting an industrial-looking cocktail bar and a rococo-styled champagne bar.

Café Royal
Address: 68 Regent St, London W1B 4DY
Tel: +44 (0)207 406 3310
Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-12am
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus

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Oxford Street

In the basement of Selfridge's department store is Harry Gordon's Bar, named after the iconic shop's founder and offering wine and cocktails in a refined atmosphere.

Harry Gordon's Bar
Address: Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1AB, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 0800 123 400
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-9pm; Sat 9:30am-9pm; Sun 11:30-6pm
Type: Cocktail bar
Nearest tube: Bond Street

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Bond Street

The Polo Lounge at the luxurious Westbury Hotel on New Bond Street is the perfect spot for weary shoppers and Mayfair's money-makers to sup up.

Polo Bar
Address: The Westbury Hotel, Bond Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2YF, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)208 382 5006
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-1am; Sat 11am-1am; Sun 12pm-12am
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

Liverpool Street Station

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town may not be directly inside the station, but it's just over the road, hidden in the basement of the Breakfast Club on Artillery Row, its entrance disguised as a Smeg fridge.

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
Address: 12-16 Artillery Lane, London, E1 7LS, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 078 9633
Hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat noon-11:30pm; Sun noon-10:30pm
Type: Cocktail bar
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street Station

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Park Lane

The bar at the Dorchester hotel's Chinese restaurant China Tang has its own entrance right off the street, though you may prefer to sashay through the lobby and try and glimpse some A-listers.

China Tang
Address: The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1QA, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)207 629 9988
Hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-11:30pm
Type: Hotel bar
Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner


There isn't a street called 'Mayfair', so we're spoiled for choice with this one. We've settled on Salvatore at Playboy, home to a huge collection of vintage spirits, The Maestro himself and those Playboy bunnies.

Salvatore at Playboy
Address: 14 Old Park Lane , Mayfair, London W1K 1ND
Tel: +44 20 7514 9045
Hours: Daily 4pm-late
Type: Cocktail Bar
Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner

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