Waterloo might not be the first area you think of when you think of cool bars in London, but there are a lot of them… if you know where to look. Discover the best bars in Waterloo with this insider’s guide.
Whether you plan to stop in for an after-work drink or are looking for a great night out with the gals (or guys) on a Saturday night, there are plenty of great bars around Waterloo.
But how do you avoid the aimless wandering around trying to find said bars? Easy – you read this guide first.
Best Bars in Waterloo
Undeniably one of the more popular rooftop bars in London’s Waterloo district, Bar Elba is located within walking distance to Waterloo Station. There is shelter over the rooftop seating, so it’s a great place to visit almost any time of the year.
The drinks menu is extensive, offering everything from your classic wines and beers to frozen cocktails and skittles-infused vodka shots. The bar is a favourite spot for everything from birthdays to hen parties: you name it, and Elba has probably hosted it.
But you don’t have to wait for a big bash to enjoy Bar Elba. Book a table for your group and enjoy a mimosa brunch, afternoon cocktails, or midnight drinks.
There’s also a seasonal ice rink to try out before the shots appear.
Modelled in the spirit of French Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, Tonight Josephine is all about unleashing your fierce and fabulous self – with the help of their cocktail menu, of course. There’s a full menu of cocktails, including rum, gin, and vodka creations, so you can take your pick.
And with a motto like, “Well behaved women don’t make history,” you know that it’s a place infused with fun and a little bit of mischief (but all the best kind).
The decor here is completely OTT, perfect for taking photos to remember special moments (do this first, before the cocktails).
Word from the wise: we’re not the only ones who think this place is exceptional, so be sure to book a table in advance.
One of our favourite bars near Waterloo Bridge, Skylon boasts the perfect spot for Thames River views. You can admire the scenes through the Southbank bar’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
Skylon is known as a restaurant with mouth-watering meals, but no one will disagree that it’s a magnificent cocktail bar in Waterloo too. The centrepiece bar boasts some of the best mixologists in town, and they’re not afraid to show off their skills.
Seats are available at the bar, where you can try to pick up some cocktail-mixing knowledge. Or you can unwind in the River View lounge.
BFI Riverfront Balcony Bar
Those looking for bars near Waterloo’s movie theatre often end up having a drink – and perhaps a pizza – at the BFI Riverfront Bar, before or after a film. However, it’s an excellent place for anyone wanting views of the River Thames as you enjoy a great drink.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, but this serves as one of the relaxing outdoor bars Waterloo has, and it makes for a great spot to sip a cold one with friends at sunset.
This Waterloo music bar is an entirely new concept – an immersive experience, if we take the words right from the creator.
The bar owner and a Waterloo entrepreneur, Sam Davis, decided to turn this spot on Leake Street into one of London’s best-sounding event spaces – the result was Aures London.
Teaming up with London’s top audio professionals, Davis has brought his dream to life. It’s more than just audio, though, as the Aures team plans to immerse guests in tasting, smelling, seeing, and feeling events too.
So check out their next event and book your spot.
Banh Bao Brothers
We’ve always been a fan of Waterloos uber-cool Leake Street – the tunnel that doubles up as London’s largest legal wall and also features a number of the area’s liveliest bars and restaurants (see Aures above). Banh Bao Brothers is another such place – with a dramatic interior and short but sweet cocktail list that ticks all the boxes.
This is the place to come with a few friends and order various Vietnamese dishes off the menu. Share the food, sip on cocktails, and soak up the vibes
You haven’t experienced the top cocktail bars in Waterloo, London if you’ve never been to Cubana.
Known for their mojitos especially, this Cuban restaurant and bar is a solid favourite in the area. The lively music and great-tasting food draw in a large crowd, especially over weekends.
The service here is known for being a bit on the slow side. We’d recommend going with the flow – don’t expect your food or drinks to arrive super-fast and you won’t be disappointed. Once you have your platter and mojito on the table, it’s worth the wait.
This is one of the best bars near Waterloo Road, whether you’re after a hearty lunch or a fun dinner with colleagues. The Fire Station even serves breakfast, so this is a great place to be if you want a full day out.
The restaurant is fire station-themed, creating a unique atmosphere and experience.
You’ll hear no bad words said about the food here, and the drinks list is so extensive that there’s something for every taste and preference.
A family-run bar and business, sharing generations of history and entrepreneurial spirit, Jack’s Bar can be found right behind the Southwark Tube.
This ‘hole in the wall’ bar and kitchen was originally opened by Jack himself in the 1970s in Ireland. Now, his sons Ryan and John McElhinney run the vibey spot in Waterloo while Jack enjoys his (well-deserved) retirement in Spain.
You’ll find Jack’s to be the ideal spot for almost any occasion that pairs well with craft beer, cocktails, and appetising wines. There’s also Thai-inspired food on offer to soak up some of the cocktail jugs.
Handy Tip: Most of these bars get pretty busy, so it’s always a good idea to book a table ahead of time. And, with a lot of them, if you go to their websites and sign up for their newsletter, they’ll send you a free cocktail voucher. You’re welcome.