In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea.
- John Osborne
The always packed, old-fashioned Italian caffe is one of the rare 24-hour spots in town. It's family-run and reliably attracts actual Italians and an anti-Starbucks crowd.
Upstairs is an impossibly grand restaurant sumptuously decorated to evoke bygone train travel. The menu is classic Russian and English cuisine, and every booth has a Champagne call button. Downstairs, Bobby's Bar is a great evening hideaway. The big copper ship is a model of the one owner Bob once worked on.
The ultimate place to have a glass of Champagne, for the impossibly large selection of bottles and for the glamorous surroundings. Also lovely for afternoon tea.
Is cool new East London cool or insufferable? You decide. The action at the funky corner bar spills out onto the street, which makes for more or less fun, depending on your attitude. As the Polaroids covering the interior suggest, this is a see-and-be-seen crowd.
That James Bond's favorite drink is a martini may have something to do with the fact that Ian Fleming drank his here. The bar is old-fashioned, grand, and very, very swank. If you're impressed with the martinis (some say they're the world's best), you can learn the secret recipe in a martini maste rclass.
A classic English pub made modern, where speciality local ales accompany incredible food. For added privacy and charm, try to snag one of the cozy nooks known as "snugs."
A basement parlor in Soho evoking bygone speakeasies with red wallpaper and plush sofas. The cocktail menu has playful themes ("the guest that never leaves," "big boy drinks"). If you can't get a reservation, try the new outpost on Shaftesbury Avenue.