London call box absinthe

The 5 Best Places to Drink Absinthe in London

Absinthe is making a big comeback, and London is undoubtedly the best place to enjoy this quirky botanical drink.  Aficionados Allison Crawbuck and Rhys Everett give us their favourite spots to sip the green fairy in the UK capital.

The History of Absinthe 

Absinthe remains a spirit that’s shrouded in mystery, and inextricably linked with decadence and creativity. Its influence has been immortalised in the art and literature of infamous absinthe drinkers such as Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Toulouse Lautrec, and Vincent Van Gogh. 

These legends of the spirit’s past are what draw many people to it, and absinthe has found itself firmly planted within the drinking culture of times gone by.  However, nowadays, there’s a shift away from its hallucinogenic history towards the exciting new possibilities.

Today, some of the world’s best bars and mixologists are experimenting with Absinthe, and alongside it, inspiring a new generation of inquisitive imbibers!

Also check out: Different Types of Alcohol and Liquor Names.

Absinthe has always been an essential part of cocktails, celebrated because of its ability to amplify the nuances of other spirits when mixed in drinks. So, it should be no surprise to people that it’s making its way back onto menus. 

And London is fast becoming the global capital for Absinthe, and here’s our top five absinthe bars that you should try.

1. Green Bar at Hotel Café Royal 

Absinthe bars

There is no more traditional setting in London to sip on a glass of Absinthe than the Green Bar at Hotel Café Royal. 

Opened in 1865, the Café Royal soon became a meeting place in the heart of London for bohemian intellects and bon viveurs to assemble with a glass of Absinthe in hand, as they discussed the world around them. Oscar Wilde, a frequent patron of the bar, is said to have drunk so much Absinthe here one evening that he mistook a stack of chairs for a field of tulips. 

Today, visitors can enjoy an ‘Absinthe at the Bar’ prepared the traditional way with a beautiful art nouveau fountain that echoes the decadence of the venue’s decor and atmosphere. A must-visit.

2. Nightjar

Best Absinthe Bars Nightjar

Nightjar’s intimate setting and live jazz music recall an elegant glamour of years gone by. The bar is also renowned for its award-winning best cocktails with a flair for presentation. 

But direct your gaze to their impressive drinks cupboard filled with a collection of vintage spirits and an impressive array of Absinthes. Their selection includes examples from around the world, all served with the traditional fountain. It’s easy to sit back and imagine you’ve been transported to the days of the speakeasy.

3. Absinthe Parlour

Absinthe bars

The Absinthe Parlour at The Last Tuesday Society is the perfect setting to succumb to your curiosity for the mysterious spirit – and all things weird and wonderful, too, for that matter. 

Pioneering the way for the spirit’s revival with a programme of Absinthe talks, tastings and workshops, The Absinthe Parlour’s menu also offers a selection of serving styles that appeal to the Absinthe drinkers of today. While you can still opt for the traditional Absinthe fountain, why not shake things up with their menu of Absinthe highballs and signature Absinthe serves? 

Every single cocktail on the menu incorporates Absinthe in varying measures to showcase the spirit’s versatility. But if you’re not ready to jump straight into the hard stuff, try their very indulgent Chocolate Absinthe Liqueur! A beautiful blend of full-flavoured chocolate and herbal notes, it’s something to inspire novices to the spirit. 

They also host London’s only Absinthe Hour with special offers every weekday until 6 p.m.—well worth a visit, but we might be biased…

4. Helgi’s

 A room with a skull and other wall decorations, creating a mysterious and eerie ambiance.


London’s favourite rock bar best channels the spirit of occultist, writer, and famous Absinthe drinker, Aleister Crowley. 

Sacred incense permeates the dark, psychedelic bar that’s lit by conjuring candles and blacklights. Manifesting the ethos of hard booze and heavy rock, a night at Helgi’s is not for the faint of heart, which makes it the perfect venue for the iconic rituals of Absinthe. 

The spirit’s delectable powers can be summoned by the traditional fountain or in one of their devilishly delicious cocktails. If you’re still hungry for more, visit their shop, The Moon Temple, to fulfill all your witchcraft and magic needs.

5. The Thin White Duke 

Teapot, cocktail and brass instrument on ornate chairs

Rightfully bringing Absinthe back to the creative corners of Soho, is The Thin White Duke.

Head to this David Bowie-inspired cocktail bar for their Absinthe hour and indulge in their wonderfully curated list of cocktails, just waiting to delight and impress. 

Find yourself feeling inspired by the green fairy, whilst channeling the spirit of Ziggy Stardust in one of their beautifully designed recording studios located in the venue’s basement. 

There’ll be a starman waiting for you down there… 

About the authors

Allison Crawbuck and Rhys Everett are co-founders of The Absinthe Parlour at The Last Tuesday Society in East London, transforming Hackney’s best-kept secret into the city’s favourite alternative cocktail bar. 


Leave a Reply


Related articles

Alternative ingredients classic cocktails

Mix It Up: Alternative Ingredients for Classic Cocktails

Mix It Up: Alternative Ingredients for Classic Cocktails
Japanese Whiskey Cocktails on shelf

Revitalize 5 Classic Cocktails with Japanese Spirits

Revitalize 5 Classic Cocktails with Japanese Spirits
Sotol spirit

Discover Sotol, Mexico’s Unsung Spirit with Agave Expert Kat Stanley-Whyte

Discover Sotol, Mexico’s Unsung Spirit with Agave Expert Kat Stanley-Whyte

Select language

The page you are looking at is also available in the following languages:

Recipe Overview

Explore our recipes by the categories below.

By spirit

By type

By flavour

Spirits Overview

Explore our spirits by the categories below.