Where To Find London's Smallest Bars

By Londonist Staff Last edited 66 months ago
Where To Find London's Smallest Bars

We've already found some of London's smallest pubs. Next we're in search of the city's smallest wine and cocktail bars. Here's what we came up with.

Bradley's Spanish Bar

Photo by stugee in the Londonist Flickr pool

It's easy to walk straight past the bright flash of red slotted into Hanway Street, but if you do, you've missed out on a snug pocket of Spanish hospitality. Not only does Bradley's Spanish Bar boast one of London's last standing vinyl jukeboxes, they've got an excellent selection of Spanish lagers on draught and London-brewed ales too. Be prepared to make new amigos in this West End hidey-hole.

Bradley's Spanish Bar, 42-44 Hanway Street, W1T 1UT

Bourne and Hollingsworth

Bourne and Hollingsworth in Fitzrovia

A 1940s time warp of a bar, Bourne and Hollingsworth in Fitzrovia smacks of an elderly person's living room — what with its floral wallpaper and woven tapestries — and it has the same dimensions, too. It's particularly satisfying to descend the stairs into this warren of cosiness when it starts to pour outside, and warm the cockles with a Blood, Smoke & Sand, made with single malt scotch, orange juice, cherry liqueur and vermouth. Complete the effect and invite your nan here for her birthday.

Bourne and Hollingsworth, Rathbone Place, W1T 1JF

The Gibson

A relative newcomer to east London, The Gibson is a ravishing beauty inside and out, what with its bottle green glazed tiles and copper-topped bar. A Gibson, by the way, is a martini with the olive switched for a pickled onion, created for the artist Charles Dana Gibson in 1908. It's the speciality of this Old Street bar, so make like Cary Grant in North By Northwest and order one before dinner.

The Gibson, 44 Old Street, EC1V 9AQ


About 10 minutes stumble from The Gibson is an even tinier cocktail joint — Found, which is presumably what you cry out when you eventually locate it (it's currently hidden away among a mass of building construction on Ravey Street). The cocktail list is fun and decently priced; a great place for eavesdropping, once people have had a few and dropped their guard. To continue the theme, nearby Nightjar and Happiness Forgets aren't exactly huge either.

Found, 5 Ravey Steet, Shoreditch, EC2A 4QW

Wine Pantry

The clue's in the name — this Borough Market wine bar is so diddy, it fits exactly zero people inside it. We're still counting it as a bar, because you can order plonk by the glass and slurp it at one of a few tables scattered out on the pavement. Especially good with lumps of comté cheese, bought just across the street.

Wine Pantry, 1 Stoney Street, Borough Market, SE1 9AA

The Little Bar

They're not fibbing; The Little Bar is a minute spot on Mitcham Road that's much-loved by locals. Though it's billed as a wine bar, the cocktails also do the trick, and the SW17 in particular (prosecco, Somerset apple brandy, bitters and a sugar lump) is mighty fine. They've also got a cracking selection of craft beers and wine, plus live jazz. Arrive early, and spend a few hours here.

The Little Bar, 145 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PE


WC stands for wine and charcuterie, which you'll soon be scoffing in this properly snug bolt hole, next to Clapham Common station. By snug we mean there are only three booths, plus a handful of tables and chairs, so yes — you will need to book. Like the venue, the wine list is compact but well turned out (10 reds, 10 whites and just the one rose). Plates come laden with hazelnut salami, deer speck, Lincolnshire poacher cheese and stuffed vine leaves. Oh, the toilets are great too.

We should also mention the numerous other London bars that now inhabit former lavs, including Cellar Door (properly tiny, properly good fun), Bermondsey Arts Club and Ladies & Gents.

WC, Clapham Common South Side, SW4 7AA

We haven't included pop-ups here, due to their ephemeral nature.

We're bound to have missed some places out, so feel free to add your own favourite small bars in the comments below.

You may also want to check out: Are These London's Smallest Pubs?

Last Updated 09 October 2018