Your guide to the best bars in London’s most ritzy neighbourhood.
When it comes to bars, Chelsea could teach the rest of London a thing or two. This affluent area of London may forever be associated with that TV show but it’s also home to dozens of great bars… if you know where to look.
Looking for a sports bar in Chelsea after a match or want some swanky cocktails? Rest assured, you won’t have to go far.
Discover the best bars in Chelsea with our go-to guide.
Best Bars in Chelsea (and Sloane Square)
The Bletchley rounds off the trio of cool bars in Chelsea Funhouse. Inspired by Alan Turing and the code-breakers who broke the German Enigma code, it’s a quirky spot – scratch that – an immersive experience you’re bound to remember.
The 1940s-inspired décor is the perfect spot for cocktails in Chelsea – but that’s not where the 40s vibes end. The mixologists create personalised cocktails based on your responses to various spy protocols. Intrigued? Of course you are.
Of course, you can simply order drinks from the bar or request a meal from the kitchen instead of playing along – but where would be the fun in that?
Venture to The Botanist most evenings and you’re likely to see some of London’s classy crowd congregated inside. It’s one of many bars in Sloane Square London, but its prime location next to the Tube makes it a popular choice for after-work drinks.
They sport a cool little list of classic cocktails, but if you really want to impress, opt for one of their signature drinks. The Great Eastern – complete with Roku gin, enoki and chamomile syrup, Suze liqueur, lemon juice and salt – gets our vote everyday.
If the Botanist is too crowded, we suggest trying other London bars near Sloane Square, including the next recommendation…
Bart’s Bar is a hidden gem among Sloane Square bars – one that you can easily overlook if you don’t know what to look for.
Search for the concealed entrance (hint: it’s tucked away inside the foyer of Chelsea Cloisters) to discover one of the coolest cocktail bars in Chelsea.
Entering Bart’s Bar is like stepping back in time. From the bartender’s attire to the furnishings, everything is modelled after prohibition-era speakeasies.
The interior is covered in kitschy décor, creating a unique backdrop for a fun Chelsea night out with friends or a date. It’s also a stone’s throw away from several other Chelsea Cloisters bars that nearly (but didn’t quite) made our list, including Nam Long and The Cross Keys.
The Chelsea Cellar
In the mood for wine instead of cocktails? The Chelsea Cellar is our preferred Chelsea wine bar. As with Bart’s Bar, it’s another little-known location where you can generally escape the crowds.
Not sure what to expect? The Chelsea Cellar has a menu with fine dishes featuring Italian, Mediterranean, and European cuisine to pair with your favourite wines. You can also find gluten-free and vegetarian menu options with fresh seasonal ingredients.
Still, you’re really here for the stellar wine list – which just so happens to boast an extensive range of wines by the glass (and the bottle of course).
If you’re looking for a gay bar in Chelsea, London (OK, West Kensington if we’re splitting hairs), make a beeline for Ted’s Place. The cornerstone of the gay scene in Chelsea and the rest of West London, it’s a welcoming venue that’s been going since 1990.
The bar is in the basement, below the street-level entrance. Hang your coat in the cloakroom, descend into the basement and discover one of the area’s friendliest crowds.
Rooftop bars in Chelsea aren’t exactly ten a penny, so it’s no surprise that Aqua Spirit has made a bit of a reputation for itself as one of the must-try spots for a drink.
It’s technically two bars in one. Take your pick from Aqua Nueva or Aqua Kyoto, depending on your mood. Aqua Nueva serves Spanish snacks and drinks while Aqua Kyoto offers signature Japanese appetisers.
The terrace bars are open for brunch and stay open late into the night. Whether you want mid-day cocktails and meals with a view of the surrounding area or a late-night drink, Aqua Spirit has you covered.
Callooh Callay Chelsea
You may have heard about Callooh Callay before. We’ve written about the parent venue very favourably in guides on London’s best cocktail bars and the best bars in Shoreditch. Fair to say we totally love it. Some serious awards from big heads in the cocktail industry agree with us.
But we’re here to talk about west London, not east. Thankfully that gives us another chance to sing the bar’s praises. Owner Richard Wynne has opened a second bar in Chelsea under the same concept.
That concept: a quirky space that feels full of mystery and a menu of excellent cocktails. It’s a laid-back bar, or should we say, you’ll feel laid back – the bar staff will be taking your drink very seriously.
Beaufort House is part member’s club, part award-winning brasserie and cocktail lounge. The place also has a ritzy champagne bar for anyone who truly wants to live it up.
You’ll do pretty well whichever one of Beaufort House’s bars you pick. The cocktail bar has a livelier atmosphere to it. You’ll be mixing with diners and hearing the clink of cutlery on plates as you sip cocktails.
The champagne bar, on the other hand, is a moodily lit space of deep red and intimate booth seating – a setting that would seem as at home in a Soho basement as it does here in Chelsea.
Tonteria blends nightclub and bar in a highly interesting way. If you speak Spanish the name might give you a clue: it translates to English as ‘nonsense’. As bars go, you’ll find it in spades here.
Tonteria lay on some truly over-the-top entertainment. Think actual luchador wrestlers going all WWE live in front of you, topless bartenders wild bottle shows, people pouring neon paint all over themselves in fevered dance, and even fire spitting.
This place is known for putting on a good show and when you get there you’ll see what we mean. It does get pretty out of control at times though, so don’t expect to come here for a quiet drink and be in bed by midnight.
Oh, and about those drinks. Of course, Margaritas are the go here (in both frozen and rock forms) but branch out too. Tonteria does great drinks across the board, even the most off-the-wall experimental ones rarely miss the mark.
Best Sloane Square and Chelsea Bars: Practical Tips
- Chelsea is one of London’s most well-to-do areas. That means hanging out here doesn’t come cheap. You should expect that you’ll be paying a bit more than usual to drink and eat your way around this neighbourhood.
- On top of that you’ll be expected to pay a service charge at any place that gives you table service, and often at the bar too. That’s usually 12.5% but can be more. Factor that into your bill if you’re strapped for cash but can’t resist the allure of the highlife.
- If you’re going to one of the nice cocktail bars, you should make yourself a booking. These places are extremely popular and can be hard to get a seat in. The same is true of the Bletchley – you can’t just rock up to that one.
- Chelsea’s restaurants also have some great cocktail bars in them. Some of which you can go to without having to sit down for a full meal. There are too many to reel off here but pick through our Chelsea Restaurant Guide for the best.