10 best bars in Kensington

Best Bars in Kensington

Party like a princess in Kensington – you’ll be sure of a fabulous night out. Kensington is known as the ‘Royal Borough’, making this exclusive area of London the go-to place for a memorable night on the town. You’ll rub shoulders with the rich and famous and have a taste of luxury everywhere you go.

From fine eateries and wine bars to cocktail hot spots, these are the trendiest places to be seen on Kensington High Street.

Read on for our Secret Spa guide to the best Kensington bars, including some hidden gems and super-sophisticated drinking destinations.

1. ESQ


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ESQ is located at Queen’s Gate and provides the perfect ambience for guests to unwind and take a break from the outside world. 

The talented mixologists at ESQ specialise in creative cocktails using home-infused spirits, which are best enjoyed with some indulgent nibbles – think Chicken Karaage Bao Buns, Smoked Almonds and Salmon Tataki platters. 

ESQ is the place to be for music lovers, with live tunes from Cuban guitarists and pianists to ease you into the weekend every Friday night.

2. Ricco Lounge


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Liven up the weekend with an unforgettable night out at the Ricco Lounge. The cream of London’s blues and soul artists regularly perform at this eclectic Kensington bar alongside live DJs and sizzling swing bands.

With a choice of exotically named cocktails, including the tequila-based ‘It’s A Tangy Wallop’ and the coffee-infused ‘It’s Not Hickory, It’s Chicory Doc’, we suggest getting the girls together and hitting the Roaring 20s-inspired Ricco Lounge for an unforgettable evening.

3. Nocturne Prohibition Bar

Styled in the image of a 1920s speakeasy, the Nocturne Bar opened in 2021 and is a network of interconnected rooms that feel private yet luxurious and full of charm. 

Just like a real prohibition bar, this hidden gem relies on word of mouth advertising and is discreetly located beneath a cheesemonger shop. 

For a special occasion, parties can book a private blackjack and poker room, or a VIP dining area where the resident mixologists will keep your glass topped up with a selection of vintage cocktails while you dine. Be naughty, take on prohibition.

4. Hereford Arms


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Located close to Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, and Knightsbridge, The Hereford Arms offer a wide drinks menu covering everything from grape to grain. Diners can indulge in dishes including pan-roasted trout and a vegan butternut squash risotto. 

It’s the ideal destination to take a pit stop between viewing the sights. The bar is a popular place with families as little ones are also well-catered for with their own children’s menu and mini-mocktails. All in all, The Hereford Arms is a crowd-pleaser with style.

5. The K Bar

This discreet cocktail bar is designed with all the elegance of a modern ‘gentleman’s club’ with oak panels, super-comfortable leather wingback chairs and mirrored walls. But ladies are more than welcome here!

Sink into one of the sumptuous velvet sofas and enjoy a relaxing evening with an artisan gin or a special cuvée, and a selection of small plates including an indulgent Paxton and Whitefield cheese board. It’s certainly delicious!

6. Percy’s


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Just a stone’s throw from the bustle of Kensington High Street is Percy’s, a late-night cocktail bar where you can dance the night away with resident DJ Alfie Howes every Friday night. 

Playing the best in Disco and House, we suggest grabbing your dancing shoes and arriving early to take advantage of the £5 classic cocktails (Strawberry Daiquiri, anyone?) served between 5pm and 8pm. Make sure you’ve got enough energy to keep going as you won’t want to leave.

7. Piano Kensington

Get your soiree swinging with a trip to Piano Kensington, where talented artists entertain guests with an eclectic mix of piano-led tunes, while you sip your cocktail and tap your toes in the lounge.

The ambience is laid-back, and the musicians encourage the audience to sing along, shout out requests and hit the dance floor. It’s the ideal hangout to get the weekend started in style – or to enjoy a lively after-work drink.

8. Balans Kensington


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Half price Champagne? Count us in! Head down to Balans every Thursday for half price fizz and plenty of fun. Choose from Moët & Chandon, or Bolé Rosé Spumante for the best-value happy hour in West London. Happy hour doesn’t have to be classless!

The bar has a homely vibe with rustic tables and a huge wooden bar, blurring the lines between bistro, bar, and café, serving brunch, lunch, and dinner to hungry guests. We recommend heading to Balans for a lazy Sunday treat of Lobster Benedict!

9. The Builders Arms

The terrace outside this handsome looking Kensington pub is the perfect place to relax with a cocktail or an artisan spirit. 

The mixologists craft contemporary cocktails and seasonal spritzers from a classic Mojito to the zingy and refreshing French 75, a gin-based drink topped up with Prosecco and lemon. Everything looks beautiful too.

10. Dirty Bones

Our last bar is currently closed for a funky refurb – but Dirty Bones is simply too good not to give it a mention. The bar is a gourmet hot-dog stand by day – and a top party destination by night. 

The Brooklyn-inspired interior, complete with pinball machines in the lobby, pairs perfectly with quirky cocktails and a playlist of hip-hop and funk from some of the best DJs and bartenders in town. 

Dirty Bones is set to reopen in autumn, so add it to your list of places to visit and have a new favourite bar to look forward to once summer is over.

Ready to hit the town?

We’re here to help you get prepared for a big night out – and you won’t even have to leave the comfort or privacy of your home to enjoy a pre-party treatment from our mobile therapists. 

From spray tans to show-stopping glamorous makeup applications, let us help you look and feel your best before you hit the town and visit one (or a few) of the best bars in Kensington.