Lager than life: What are the best bars in Waterloo?

Ever considered Waterloo a hotspot for cool bars in London? Spoiler alert: it is! In fact, today, we’re talking about the city’s hidden watering holes with this insider’s guide to the best bars in Waterloo. 

Whether you’re plotting a casual after-work sip or gearing up for a Saturday night extravaganza with the gang, this area’s bar scene has you covered. Say farewell to the ordinary and explore our curated list of the top ones below. 

Skylon Bar

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

Contact: +44 20 7654 7800

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Tuesday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday to Friday – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Saturday – 11:30 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Website

While Skylon is renowned for its delectable dining options, it also takes the art of mixology to soaring heights, solidifying its reputation as a magnificent cocktail bar in Waterloo. 

The centrepiece bar is a testament to this, housing a team of talented mixologists who are masters of their craft. Watch in awe as they effortlessly create liquid symphonies, pushing the boundaries of flavour and presentation to new heights.

For those seeking an immersive experience, seats at the bar offer a front-row view of the mixologists’ wizardry. Take the opportunity to engage in lively conversations, pick up some cocktail-mixing knowledge, and witness the magic unfold before your eyes. 

12th Knot 

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

Contact: +44 20 3747 1063

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday to Saturday – 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM

Website

This refined establishment ensures that every sip is a celebration of refined taste and style.

While the libations at 12th Knot are undoubtedly exceptional, it’s the jaw-dropping views that truly steal the spotlight. Perched atop The Sea Containers, this lounge offers a vantage point that will leave you spellbound. 

Imagine gazing across the river, with the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral as your close companion and the cityscape framing the scene. It’s a visual feast that elevates your drinking experience to new heights.

Lyaness

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

Contact: +44 20 3747 1063

Pricing: £££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday – 5:300 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 11:00 PM

Website

Lyaness follows in the footsteps of its game-changing predecessors, White Lyan and Super Lyan. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it takes the place of the acclaimed Dandelyan, which was hailed as the ‘World’s Best Bar’ a mere six months ago. 

In just ten days, Mr. Lyan, owner of Lyaness, and his team have flipped the glossy space, infusing it with a new identity while preserving the essence of their craft.

For diehard Dandelyan fans, the transition to Lyaness may appear superficial at first glance. Rest assured, though: the spirit of excellence remains unwavering. 

Bar Elba 

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Location: 111 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8SG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3637 8097

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday – 3:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Thursday – 3:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Friday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM

Website

Bar Elba’s design includes shelter over its rooftop seating, making it a delightful destination no matter the weather. Whether you’re basking in the sunshine or seeking refuge from a sudden shower, this versatile space ensures you can enjoy its charms throughout the year. 

The drinks menu is a treasure trove of delights. From timeless classics like wines and beers to whimsical creations like Skittles-infused vodka shots, their extensive selection ensures there’s something for every adventurous spirit.

Tonight Josephine 

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Location: 111 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3637 8089

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday & Sunday – 5:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Thursday – 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Friday – 5:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Website

Tonight Josephine channels the spirit of French Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, inspiring you to embrace your fierce and fabulous self. It’s a place where you can revel in the power of your individuality, all while sipping on a carefully curated cocktail menu that’s fit for royalty. 

With a motto like “Well-behaved women don’t make history”, Tonight Josephine sets the stage for a night infused with fun and a touch of mischief. It’s a place where inhibitions are left at the door, and you’re encouraged to embrace the joy of being your authentic, fabulous self. 

Plus, the decor is a feast for the eyes, boasting a playful and over-the-top aesthetic that sets the stage for capturing special moments.

BFI Riverfront Balcony Bar

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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 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

While the BFI Riverfront Bar may be known for its cinematic proximity, it’s not just a place for popcorn and soda. This restaurant also serves up delicious lunches and dinners, making it a versatile spot for a complete dining experience. 

However, it’s the bar’s relaxed outdoor setting that truly sets it apart. Imagine gathering with friends, sipping a cold, refreshing beverage, and basking in the warmth of the setting sun. It’s the perfect recipe for an unforgettable evening.

Aures London 

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Location: 18 Leake St, London SE1 7NN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7164 6331

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

Aures London is the brainchild of Waterloo’s very own entrepreneurial mastermind, Sam Davis. With unyielding passion and an unwavering vision, Davis transformed a mere space into one of London’s premier event spaces. 

His dedication to creating a captivating environment where guests can lose themselves in the magic of multisensory experiences is what sets this bar apart. The result is a symphony of sound that immerses guests in an auditory wonderland. 

Cubana 

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Location: 48 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7474 968275

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Tuesday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday to Thursday – 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Friday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 3:00 AM
  • Sunday – 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Website

Renowned for their mojitos, this bar takes mixology to new heights. Prepare to have your taste buds tantalised as you sip on their expertly crafted concoctions. Each sip is a symphony of flavours that transport you straight to the streets of Havana. 

Cubana is not just about the drinks, their food is a delicious testament to Cuban cuisine. The great-tasting dishes on offer are a magnet for food enthusiasts. From flavourful tapas to mouthwatering main courses, every bite is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Cuba. 

Fire Station

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Location: 150 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8SB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3727 5938

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday – 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty lunch or a fun-filled dinner with colleagues, the Fire Station is the ultimate destination. This bar caters to all your culinary desires, even serving breakfast to fuel you up for a full day of adventures. 

It also boasts an extensive drinks list that leaves no taste or preference unattended. Whether you’re a fan of classic cocktails, crave a refreshing mocktail, or prefer to dive into a selection of fine wines and craft beers, the bar has something for every palate.

Jack’s Bar

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Location: 96 Isabella St, London SE1 8DD, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7928 0678

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday – 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Thursday – 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM
  • Friday – 11:30 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Saturday – 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM

Website

Originally opened by the legendary Jack himself in 1970s Ireland, this “hole in the wall” bar and kitchen has transcended generations. Today, Jack’s sons, Ryan and John McElhinney, carry the torch, infusing the spot with their own vibrant energy. 

The bar not only delights with its impressive drink selection but also tantalises your taste buds with Thai-inspired culinary creations. They’re great with the drinks.

Vaulty Towers 

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Location: 34 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7928 9042

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Thursday – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Friday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Website

Vaulty Towers, owned by the masterminds behind The Vaults arts company, exudes an unmistakable theatrical charm that sets it apart. As you set foot inside, you’re immediately transported to a world of onstage antics and larger-than-life props. 

From the gigantic replica moon that graces the space, casting a soft glow over the tables, to the dazzling pair of glittery red lips that smile brightly at patrons, every corner of Vaulty Towers whispers of the magic of the theatre. 

While craft beer options may be limited here, fear not! The libations on offer are far from ordinary. Sip on an espresso martini on tap, marvelling at the sight of it being poured from a rope-entwined pump adorned with fairy lights. 

Scootercafe

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Location: ​​132 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7620 1421

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday – 8:30 AM to 11:30 PM
  • Friday to Sunday – 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Website

 The name says it all – Scootercafe pays homage to the iconic Vespa. From the moment you step foot inside, your eyes will be drawn to the delightful nods to this legendary symbol of freedom and style.

The place is also a master of duality, gracefully transitioning from one of the best charming cafes in London during the daylight hours to an enticing bar as the sun sets. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely drink, making it a versatile and enchanting spot for any occasion.

Waterloo Tap

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Location: Sutton Walk, London SE1 8RL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3455 7436

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Tuesday – 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday to Thursday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Website

London’s beer landscape has undergone a transformative journey over the past six years, with the emergence of the Euston Tap as a catalyst for shifting the city’s beer scene. 

Departing from traditional Camra-pleasing alehouses, the Euston Tap has steered the course towards a new-age wave of high-ABV brews, redefining the beer-drinking experience in the process.

The Tap team, ever the trendsetters, have skillfully sidestepped the clichés that have come to define craft beer aesthetics in recent years. Within their new outpost, you won’t find an abundance of filament bulbs or scruffily chalked-up beer lists. 

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