7 most artistic bars in London

Fancy having a drink and soaking up some London culture? Here is a selection of the best places in London to enjoy a drink and visual arts.

Freud Café-Bar and Gallery

This cafe has been serving cocktails and coffees in the heart of West End for almost thirty years. If you’re ready to take your body to the limit, take a Noah Constrictor: tequila, apricot brandy, apply juice, lemon and mint leaves. This drink is part of a menu of over 70 cocktails developed over the years, many of which were created by the bar staff. You can also try their soups, sandwiches and salads.

Address: 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JL

ICA Bar, Institute of Contemporary Arts

Located in The Mall, the ICA has a nightly private tours program, lectures and events. A drink at the bar lets you become part of a lively and demanding crowd of established and emerging artists and collectors and critics. With the recent integration of outstanding exhibitions, this bar is a good place to enjoy a drink while you absorb everything that the ICA has to offer. The best day to visit is on Tuesday, because if you buy a cocktail between 6 and 7:30pm, you will get another one free.

Address: The Mall, SW1Y 5AH

The Doodle Bar

When the recession took its toll on businesses housed in a Victorian warehouse in Battersea, occupants were imaginative when it came to changing the space. A bar dedicated to creativity sprang up and became official in 2010. Next to TESTBED1 arts space, it hosts a variety of events, exhibitions and live music. If you’re looking for inspiration, try the Doodle beer, brewed especially for this bar in the Huyghe Brewery in Belgium. You can play table tennis and there is a pleasant terrace for when the weather is hot.

Address: 33 Parkgate Road, SW11 4NP


Tucked between the structures of the Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery, Concrete is one of the most important places to drink in South Bank. The industrial walls of this bar are adorned with pieces picked by the Hayward Gallery team. An eclectic mix of emerging artists and international group exhibitions, many of these works are unique projects. The bar also plays a varied mix of music and has a solid DJ program. There is 2×1 in cocktails, beer and wine from 5 to 7 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. They also serve pasta, salads and hot food.

Address: Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX

First Thursdays

If you’ve ever looked out the windows of the cosy Shoreditch galleries on a Thursday night, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Each month, more than 150 galleries in East London are open from 6 to 9 pm to host free events, exhibitions, lectures, workshops and private tours as part of the First Thursdays program. This event is organised by the Whitechapel Gallery. Take the free bus created for it or follow the recommended walking tour and discover some of the best known art galleries in the area. Hopping from one gallery to another, you can enjoy a glass of wine in each of them (sometimes they are free). On the website there is a map with all the galleries and a Top 5 list of the best exhibitions.

Address: Several places, east London

The Proud Archivist

This gem is a gallery, bar, restaurant and cafe, and serves the creative community seven days a week from the banks of the canal. It is a great place to start a conversation while you explore the wide range of gins, cocktails, craft beers and other specialties of the house. Do as some of the most famous absinthe drinkers artists in the world do: try the Sazerac. You’ll feel at home surrounded by some of the best emerging artists from London and talent from around the world.

Address: 2-10 Hertford Road, N1 5ET

Proud Camden Bar & Gallery

proud camden pub london

With its walls adorned with stunning images from the world of rock ‘n’ roll, this former hospital for horses in Camden is a peaceful gallery dedicated to showcasing the work of some of the most famous artists and photographers of the music industry. In the evening, the exhibition becomes a stunning backdrop for the sounds of the next generation of new bands, as this unusual space is transformed into a live music venue. In addition, it also hosts live comedy, cabaret and open mic nights.

Address: The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH
Can you recommend us any other bar?

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