Pour-fect pints: What are the best bars in Southbank? 

Do you know that in London’s Southbank, an abundance of fabulous bars and cocktail lounges are just awaiting discovery by those with a discerning eye and, well, tongue?

Today, we’ll take you through them so that you can steer clear of lacklustre spirits! Fasten your seatbelt, recalibrate your taste buds, and join us on an expedition through the Southbank’s drink-worthy havens demanding your attention.

12th Knot

Media from seacontainersldn 

Location: 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3747 1063

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday  – 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Sunday – 5:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Website

Perched high above the cityscape, 12th Knot is not only one of the best bars in London, but also boasts panoramic views that could make even the most stoic Londoner weak in the knees. 

This club is known for their classic concoctions to avant-garde creations, their mixologists are alchemists of the highest order. The signature 12th Knot Martini? It’s a revelation. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you later.

But just a tip: reservations are your golden ticket to this exclusive soirée, so plan accordingly.

Primo Bar

Media from primobaruk

Location: 200 Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7UT, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7620 7282

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM

Website

In a city where space is a premium, Primo Bar generously gifts imbibers with a dual-drinking escapade. The larger expanse is for the social butterflies, a haven for idle chats and camaraderie amidst monochrome chic interiors. 

Meanwhile, the smaller enclave is the pulsating heart of live music. Jazz aficionados, samba enthusiasts, and lovers of soulful serenades – the playlist changes, but the suave ambience and creative cocktails remain unwavering.

Speaking of cocktails, the bar’s best sellers include The “London Lagoon”, with its azure allure, which pays homage to the city’s vibrant spirit, while the “Southbank Sour” stands as a testament to timeless indulgence. 

Lyaness 

Media from lyanessbar

Location: 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3747 1063

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday – 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday to Thursday – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Friday – 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Saturday – 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Website

Conceived by the multi-award-winning mixology maestro, Ryan Chetiyawardana, Lyaness fearlessly shreds the rulebook when it comes to crafting unforgettable drinks. 

Let’s start with a fun fact: Chetiyawardana’s previous triumph, Dandelyan, claimed the coveted title of the world’s best bar in 2018. Lyaness, like a phoenix, rises from this legacy, paying homage with lush cocktails and a setting that’s the epitome of swank.

What to get? Try the “Infinite Banana” and the “Silver Pineapple” – you won’t find their like anywhere else!

OXO Tower

Media from oxo_tower 

Location: Barge House St, London SE1 9PH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7803 3888

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday & Sunday – 12:00 PM to 9:30 PM
  • Thursday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 AM

Website

Located among the iconic landmarks on London’s South Bank, OXO Tower’s bar and brasserie is a timeless gem. And what’s the secret sauce? It’s their colossal garden terrace that’s like a sanctuary where you can relax while you sip on your cocktail.

If you’re undecided about what drinks to order here, make sure to try their “Rosemary and Maple Sour” and the “Cucumber & Mint Collins” since those are their best-sellers. But the real standout? An 800-bottle strong wine list that elevates your sipping experience to new heights. 

Gillray’s

Media from gillrayscountyhall

Location: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7902 8000

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday  – 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

With over 100 different gins adorning its shelves, Gillray’s is a gin wonderland waiting to be explored. Each bottle tells a story, and every sip is a journey through the vast and vibrant world of this botanical elixir.

Now, with over 100 gins at your fingertips, the dilemma of choice can be overwhelming. But don’t worry since decision-making becomes an art form here when you’re guided by the wizardry of Head Barman Rui. 

Having sampled gins across the globe, he’ll be your gin sherpa here, ready to navigate you through the gin terrain and help you discover your perfect tipple.

Skylon

Media from skylonrestaurant 

Location: Belvedere Rd, Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7654 7800

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Wednesday to Friday – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Saturday – 12:30 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM

Website

Skylon is a club perched on the third floor, gazing over the Southbank skyline like a libation guardian. Imagine this – the Thames unfolds before you through colossal floor-to-ceiling windows, offering a panorama that rivals the finest in any London bar.

This bar is known for its show-stopping centrepiece which is a stage for the crafty creations that grace Skylon’s cocktail list. The “Enchanted Forest”, a gin-infused treat with the allure of Earl Grey tea, it’s a journey through an enchanted realm. 

And then, there’s the “Audrey Hepburn”, a Chambord-based delight that adds a touch of glamour to your sipping soiree.

The Archduke

Media credit to saturniine

Location: Concert Hall Approach, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7928 1931

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Sunday to Monday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday to Thursday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 11:40 PM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Website

The Archduke is an award-winning icon that has stood the test of time. Since its debut in 1979, it has become a legendary spot on the South Bank, celebrated for both its architecture and its unforgettable presence on the London skyline.

As for the drinks, the cocktail menu is a jazzed-up composition, and the “Bebop Bramble” and “Saxophone Sling” are liquid improvisations that dance on the palate.

Try their menu too, especially dishes like the “Sirloin Steak” – a succulent masterpiece that pairs seamlessly with your cocktails. 

The Understudy at The National Theatre

Media from kerbnationaltheatre

Location: Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7452 3551

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Website

Nestled in the heart of London’s fabulous South Bank and associated with the theatre, this spot pays homage to the artistic spirit that surrounds it, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding scenery.

The cocktail menu has real winners, like the “Dramatic Daiquiri”. This is a zesty mix of rum, lime, and a dash of theatrics. 

And for those craving a Shakespearean twist, the “Shakespearean Sour” with its whiskey, honey, and a dramatic flair is a soliloquy in liquid form.

Las Iguanas

Media from lasiguanassouthbank

Location: Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8629 6921

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday – 11:00 AM to 3:00 AM
  • Tuesday to Thursday – 11:00 AM to 10:30 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

Once you set foot in Las Iguanas, you’re stepping into a tropical fiesta where the air is alive with Latin rhythms and the vibrant hues of South American zest. 

This bar is like a cocktail carnival where their “Mango Collins” takes the spotlight. It’s a fusion of mango, passion fruit, and gin.  And for those with a penchant for the bold, the “Caipirinha” Brazil’s national cocktail, is a citrusy blend that transports you straight to the streets of Rio.

BFI Bar & Kitchen + Riverfront

Media from benugouk

Location: The Riverfront, BFI Southbank, 0 Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7928 0808

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday – 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

BFI Bar & Kitchen + Riverfront is a riverside gem where you can enjoy your libations with a backdrop of the Thames. Be sure to come for the Matinee Mingle Happy Hours! With fantastic drink deals that rival any box office hit, BFI ensures that every hour is a happy one.

Oh, and for the film buffs, the BFI Bar & Kitchen + Riverfront takes a bow with events and screenings that celebrate the art of cinema.

The Green Room 

Media from greenroomlondon

Location: 101 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3034 0991

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday – 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday to Friday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Saturday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Website

With a lovely terrace that’s perfect for al fresco sipping and a dog-friendly policy, The Green Room is a riverside retreat that embraces both nature and your furry friends.

Now, let’s dive into the eco-friendly elixirs – it’s a sip-and-save-the-planet experience. The “Green Goddess G&T”, a mix of local gin and herb-infused tonic, is a sip of sustainable mixology. 

And for those with a penchant for the exotic, the “Bamboo Mojito” with its bamboo straw and tropical freshness is a step into the lush landscapes of eco-friendly indulgence.

Limin Beach Club 

Media from southbank.limin 

Location: 56 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7916 316851

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday – 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Thursday to Saturday  – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Website

If you want your toes in some Caribbean sand then Limin Beach Club is your passport to Thameside bliss – perhaps even a full-fledged Caribbean escape right in the heart of London.

As the day transforms into night, Limin Beach Club becomes a stage for live Limin. With music that echoes the beats of the Caribbean and an ambience that feels like a beachside party, this is the place to hit when you want to bask in rum goodness!

Ping Pong 

Media from pingpongdimsumuk

Location: Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7960 4160

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Sunday to Tuesday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday – 12:00 PM to 10:30 PM
  • Thursday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday  – 12:00 PM to 11:30 PM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Website

At Ping Pong, the focus isn’t just on dim sum, it’s a rendezvous for those seeking the ultimate happy hour extravaganza. 

Your journey begins not just with the menu but with Happy Hour, a dazzling period from 3 pm to 6 pm every weekday when Ping Pong offers a jaw-dropping 50% off on drinks. 

Make sure to try their “Prawn and Chive Dumplings”, it’s a bite-sized delight that’s a perfect accompaniment to your half-priced beverage. 

Mother Kelly’s 

Media from mother_kellys

Location: 76 Albert Embankment, London SE11 5AW, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7091 9779

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Thursday to Friday – 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Saturday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 4:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Website

This cosy spot boasts one of the most extensive selections of craft beers in London, with over 30 beers on tap and hundreds more available by the bottle or can.

Some of their best-selling beers include signature IPAs like Beavertown’s Gamma Ray and Five Points Pale as well as sours from Wild Beer Co and pale ales from Kernel Brewery. But beyond the local beers, they also serve craft selections from across the UK and around the world.

In addition to their stellar beer selection, Mother Kelly’s also offers up some tasty food options to accompany your drinks. Small plates like scotch eggs, chicken skewers, and charcuterie boards are perfect for snacking.

Between the Bridges 

Media from btwthebridges

Location: The Queen’s Walk, London SE1, United Kingdom

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday to Thursday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Saturday – 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Website

Between the Bridges is a collection of drinking outposts scattered across London’s most extensive outdoor imbibing space. It might not fit the traditional bar mould, but it finds its place in our guide for being the perfect spot to unwind with a cold one on the Southbank.

Note that there are often food trucks dishing out pizza and BBQ delights here. It’s a fiesta where every craving is met. And if that’s not enough, Between the Bridges is also strategically located near the Southbank food market (on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays).

Best Banh Mi Places in London

Previous Post

Rolling in flavour: What are the best places to eat Banh mi in London?

Next Post

Bite by bite: What are the best restaurants in Hackney? 

Best Restaurants in Hackney