here’s never a bad time for good champagne – but don’t take our word for it. Oscar Wilde was of the opinion that “only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason for drinking champagne”. Coco Chanel famously professed to drinking champagne on only two occasions: when she was in love, and when she wasn’t. And as far as celebrated wine author Willie Gluckstern is concerned, “in a perfect world, everyone would have a glass of champagne every evening.”
We don't know about you, but we tend to find that the world’s finest fizz seems to taste better in suitably sumptuous surroundins. So, should the occasion for spontaneous champagne arise, you’ll thank us for providing the below guide to the best champagne bars in London.
116 Pall Mall, St James’s
The newest addition to London’s champagne scene is an underground bar situated beneath the Grade I-listed 116 Pall Mall. Located in what were once the wine cellars of the Prince of Wales, the space has been transformed by hospitality experts Searcys into a unique spot from which to sip from one of the largest selections of champagnes in London. Expect bottles from the likes of Moët et Chandon, Drappier and Dom Pérignon, alongside champagne cocktails and a menu of bar snacks and canapés devised to pair perfectly with your tipple of choice.
Cakes & Bubbles at the Hotel Café Royal, Piccadilly Circus
There’s a reason that pretty much every afternoon tea in London comes with champagne as an optional extra. There’s just something about blending the sugar and fat in pastry with the palate-cleansing carbonation of champagne that really works. The opulent Hotel Café Royal has taken this combination to its most exquisite conclusion by enlisting Michelin-starred chef Albert Adrià, formerly of El Bulli and previously voted World’s Best Pastry Chef by Restaurant magazine, to create a selection of sweet treats to accompany the hotel’s finest bubbles. Choose from a range of a la carte pastries and champagnes or opt instead for the set menu, which features three courses of delicate desserts served alongside a glass of Veuve Clicquot. Savoury options are available but that would rather be missing the point.
Ginger Lily at Pan Pacific London, The City
Looking for an impressive spot for a post-work date? Taking its inspiration from Singapore’s world-class bar culture, the Ginger Lily champagne bar at the recently-opened Pan Pacific London is sophisticated, intimate and a refreshing change to the City’s bland chain bars and rowdy pubs. It also happens to be home to the largest menu of champagnes by the glass in the area, with an extensive menu that features bottles from more than 200 houses, as well as an innovative range of cocktails.
The Stage at The Londoner, Leicester Square
More likely to find yourself in the West End? Another new hotel opening on Leicester Square has also brought with it an elegant champagne bar ideally located for pre-show libations. An all-day affair where bubbles are served alongside breakfast, afternoon tea and a selection of oysters, charcuterie and bar snacks in the evening, the drinks menu has been carefully curated to offer vintage and non-vintage wines by both big-name houses and small producers, such as Ayala and Veuve Fourny.
Much to the chagrin of former Kettner’s stalwarts, much of this West End institution, which has stood at its prime spot on Greek Street since 1867, is now open only to those with a Soho House membership. The happy exception? Its brilliant champagne bar. As one might expect from a venue founded by Napoleon III’s chef, the cellar here is top-notch, with bottles by Ruinart featuring heavily. Pull up a stool at the famed horseshoe bar and soak up the convivial atmosphere over a glass of something refreshingly chilled.
Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, The Strand
Decked out in a dramatic black-and-gold colour scheme that makes it one of the most recognisable bars in the capital, there are few venues better suited to a decadent night out than the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy. Taking its cues from the hedonism of the Roaring Twenties, champagne takes prime position on the menu, with bottles from lesser-known growers, such as Tarlant, Benoit Lehaye and Roger Coulon, sitting alongside the grande marques. You’ll also find an interesting selection of English sparkling wines from vineyards including Chapel Down, Rathfinny and Hush Heath.
The Champagne Room at The Connaught, Mayfair
Looking to make up for lost time with a no-expense-spared get-together? The Champagne Room at The Connaught could be just the venue you’ve been searching for. Designed by Guy Oliver, this intimate space can host up to 20 people in surrounds that are flooded with natural light by day, and candlelit by night. While a full menu of wines, spirits and cocktails are available, as the name suggests, it’s the champagne that takes centre stage. Cuvées by Laurent-Perrier, Krug and Billecart-Salmon are available by the glass, while vintages from Dom Pérignon, Louis Roederer and Bollinger can be bought by the bottle. There’s also a concise menu of bar snacks and small plates, including an entire section dedicated to caviar.
St Pancras by Searcys, St Pancras
One of the capital’s busiest transport hubs might not sound like the ideal place from which to enjoy a glass of champagne, but, housed under the domed glass roof of St Pancras International and taking its inspiration from the Golden Age of Travel, somehow Searcys has made this most mundane of environments into something special. If you’re looking for more than just a toast to your imminent Eurostar departure, settle yourself into a leather banquette and indulge in a lavish bottomless brunch, afternoon tea or pairing menu. Pressed for time? Fizz from Veuve Clicquot, Lanson and Drappier are all available by the glass.