American Bar at The Savoy
Named the World’s Best Bar in 2011, the American Bar at The Savoy is where cocktail legend Harry Craddock perfected his wares. Jamie Cullum and Amy Winehouse used to commandeer the piano to play jazz numbers, and quality musicians still tinkle the ivories every day. Nip next door to the Beaufort Bar for cabaret and burlesque.
The Savoy hotel, 100 Strand, WC2R, 020 7836 4343, www.fairmont.com
Black and Blue, Wigmore Street
This restaurant and bar on Wigmore Street has recently undergone a smart refurbishment, connecting the piano bar downstairs with the rest of the venue. Other Black and Blue restaurants also offer regular jazz, most notably the Waterloo venue, with performances every night and free admission.
90-92 Wigmore Street, Marylebone W1U 3RD; 020 7486 1912; www.blackandbluerestaurants.com
Boisdale of Bishopsgate
Tartan adorns the floor of this fine-dining restaurant, champagne and oyster bar in Bishopsgate. Unsurprisingly, the venue serves high-end Scottish cuisine and offers regular events and live jazz almost every evening. Boisdale of Bishopsgate is a firm favourite of Luxury London.
Swedeland Court, EC2M, Bishopsgate; 020 7283 1763; www.boisdale.co.uk
The second bar in the Piãno empire, after the original in Kensington, is set on the western fringe of the City. The brainchild of Bazz Norton, who plays regular sets in the bar with his Trio band, its sleek interior styling nods to Square Mile sophistication. Things get decidedly more raucous from 11pm onwards.
14 Long Lane, EC1A, Smithfield; 020 7796 9777; www.pianosmithfield.com
The Piano Works
A Victorian warehouse in the heart of Farringdon, The Piano Works bills itself as London’s only non-stop live music venue. Two pianists and accompanying musicians play songs requested by the audience, like a bespoke human jukebox. On Monday evenings, the stage opens to emerging London talent. The food is hearty, the crowd rowdy and the surroundings reminiscent of a well-trodden uni bar. Fun without the frills.
113 Farringdon Road, EC1R, Farringdon, 0207 278 1966, www.pianoworks.bar