Soho’s Best Pre-Drinking Bars

Before a big night in the city, these are the best bars and drinking spots in Soho...

A night out in London both start and end in a million different ways. From Belaire boys in the west of the city, right the way across the beer-can-clutching clubbers in the east, nights in the capital can be massively varied.

But if you’re looking for consistency, alongside some of the best bars and pre-drinking spots in the whole of the city, Soho is the place to head. With its winding backstreets cutting through some of the busiest parts of London, it’s a world of its own with an unrivalled nightlife scene.

But finding the gems in amongst the bad and the ugly can be a challenge, so we’ve searched far and wide for the very best bars of Soho. 

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DIRTY MARTINI

Known for its bespoke range of martinis and signature cocktails, served up in a glamorous interior, Dirty Martini is one of London’s most famous bars.

With seven locations across the capital, including one on Hanover Square near Oxford Street, Dirty Martini’s dark interior is the perfect setting for the start of a night with friends.

The drinks menu is made up in part by a extensive collection of martinis (hence the name), including a Lavender and Honey Martini, a Spiced Blackberry Martini and a Dragon Fruit and Pomegranate Martini. Asides from Martinis, the menu also includes some incredible cocktails as well as almost any standard drink you could possibly wish for.

If you’re out early, the venue has a 4pm-8pm Happy Hour on weekend, which extends through until 10pm on weekdays. A £5 entry charge applies after 10pm on Friday and Saturdays, with the bar remaining open until 2am.

Mon-Wed: 4pm-12am
Thurs: 4pm-1am
Fri: 4pm-2am
Sun: Closed

10C Hanover Square, London W1S 1JH
Central Oxford Circus

Best-Pre-Drink-Bars-Soho-Gem-Bar
GEM BAR

Gem Bar is a self-confessed Soho party scene venue, spread across two sweeping floors.

Lavish baroque patterns, chandeliers, leather booths and velvet curtains make up the high-end decor, whilst red lighting and big-room speakers set the mood for the night.

The drinks menu has two standout sections; the classic cocktails section – made up of drinks including a Bramble, Tennessee Cooler and Long Island Iced Tea – and the Champagne cocktails section, with drinks including a Champagne Mojito and a Bellini.

Entry is free throughout the week, with entry costing £10 after 10pm on Fridays and Saturday.

Sun-Mon: 12pm-1am
Tues-Sat: 12pm-3am

10 Beak St, London W1F 9RA
Jubilee Green Park

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RUPERT STREET BAR

As one of the key early-evening party spots of Soho, Rupert Street Bar sits on the corner of the street it takes its name from.

With large windows allowing the evening light to pour into the bar as the sun goes down on the city, this funky bar is one of the most reasonably priced in the area. With its own VIP area, the bar sells spirits by the bottle, with Absolut Vodka costing £90 a bottle, Jagermeister at £90 and Grey Goose at £120. If you’re part of a group, it’s a strong contender for one of the best pre-drinking spots in the whole of Soho.

With 2-4-1 cocktails on a Monday, and an extended midday to 8pm Happy Hour every day of the week, Rupert Street is an ideal place to start a summer’s night in the city.

During Happy Hour, any two classic cocktails are £12, with Champagne from £25 a bottle.

Mon-Wed: 12pm-11pm
Thurs-Sat: 12pm-11:45pm
Sun: 12pm-11pm

50 Rupert St, London W1D 6DR
Piccadilly Leicester Square

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THE LOCKHART

A Southern US steak restaurant by day, The Lockhart opens as an early-evening between 6-11pm, serving a selection and wines and cocktails. The bar is famed across the capital for its extensive selection of tequilas.

The Lockhart’s interior design is fresh and classic with furniture from vintage antique markets including old railway benches and antique sideboards.

If you’re dining, you’ll enjoy a selection of dishes known and loved by Mississippi born chef Brad McDonald, who heads up the kitchen.

22-24 Seymour Pl, London W1H 7NL
Central Marble Arch

Best-Pre-Drink-Bars-Soho-Zebarno
ZEBARNO

The Soho branch of Zebrano is a club-esque, party starting cocktail bar set to the soundtrack of a DJ playing classic hits throughout the night.

With a team of highly trained mixologists manning the bar, the drinks selection goes above and beyond classic cocktails, offering a range of world-renowned and signature drinks, which combine fresh and organic ingredients with some of London’s finest spirits.

The menu includes the Miss Collins – fresh raspberries, shaken with Stolichnaya Vodka, peach purée and guava juice – and the classic Cosmopolitan.

Happy Hour is between 5pm and 10pm on Sunday through Wednesday, and until 9pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Mon-Sat: 5pm – 3am

18 Greek St, London W1D 4DS
Piccadilly Covent Garden