Compared to New York and small English coastal towns, there is a sad lack of happy hours in London. This probably comes down to the fact that Londoners can be relied upon to down a bev no matter whether it costs £3 or £30. Such is our heartfelt commitment to the sesh, god bless us, every single one. But the good news is there are some great happy hours out there where you can eat, drink, and be super smug that your margarita only cost you a fiver. Onwards for top bars doing discounted drink deals throughout the week.
The happy hour: 50% off cocktails, beer, wine, and glasses of champagne between 4pm and 5pm everyday
A moody little date bar in Kentish Town, Tabac is the kind of place that screams big third date potential. As well as exposed brick, a faux fireplace, and artisan cheese platters, Tabac is also serving top drink deals with their daily happy hour. Although running off from work at 4pm for a half-price glass of merlot is a bit of a stretch, the weekend is when that 50% really comes in handy. The cocktails here are seriously good and paying five quid for their excellent margarita on a Saturday afternoon makes total sense to us. Don’t skip their spicy cognac and rum ‘Holywater’ cocktail either.
The Happy Hour: 2-4-1 on selected cocktails all day Tuesday
If you’re into happy hours that come with a side of tranquil fish watching, then The Exhibit should be on your radar. This huge three-storey spot in Balham not only has an aquarium that will ignite all those childhood memories of begging for an angelfish at Pets At Home, they also have your early-week drink needs covered with their Tuesday happy hour. Grab a seat on their outdoor terrace and get involved in tarted-up G&Ts, chilli negronis, and our personal favourite, the nutty mai tai.
The happy hour: £5 cocktails 4pm - 7pm Sunday to Friday
Big Easy is one of those places that wants to trick you into believing you’re in a diner in Louisiana where a cowboy once got arrested for starting a fight over the last mouthful of surf ‘n’ turf. We’re talking lobster cages on the ceiling, loud music, a menu packed full of finger-licking barbecue food, and plenty of rum punch. The happy hour cocktail menu here includes £5 caipirinhas, pints for under four quid, or alternatively, a whole pint of mojito slushy for £8. You should know that their happy hour deals only apply to the bar area, but it’s worth hitting up the restaurant for their classic lobster roll afterwards.
The happy hour: 2-4-1 cocktails every Monday from 4 - 10pm
If you’ve been around King’s Cross lately (definitely not visiting platform 9 ¾ because you’re sad) you’ve probably noticed the big trendy hotel opposite the station with the bright red lift on the outside of the building. That hotel is The Standard and it’s home to their aptly-named all-day restaurant Double Standard. On Monday evenings you can come here and lounge out on their terrace under a big black-and-white stripe parasol and pretend you’re totally in Marbella sipping on 2-4-1 palomas. FYI they have Aperol slushies too.
The happy hour: every day from 6 - 7pm
Bar Story is one of those big converted arches with owners who clearly understand that all you really need for a great bar is foliage, fairy lights, and top discounted cocktails throughout the week. A laidback Peckham date spot that’s also a great shout for a big group catch-up, you can get involved in 2-4-1 margaritas, old fashioneds, and their smoky whisky sour. Heads up, they have plenty of outdoor space so it should be at the top of your agenda if you’re reading this whilst attempting to find cheap booze to consume in the sunshine.
The happy hour: selected cocktails for £6.50 at 4pm - 6pm
Three Little Birds is a little Brixton spot serving big flavours, strong cocktails, and some damn good okra. Their small menu of Jamaican classics are served tapas style so you can try everything from their curry goat to the codfish fritters alongside your rum punch. If you can’t think of an imaginative enough excuse for why you need to duck out of work at 4pm, know that they also have seven quid cocktail specials throughout the night.
The happy hour: 4pm - 7pm Monday to Thursday / 4pm - 10pm Friday
A Friday night happy hour is truly a rare find in London, which explains why we all keep trying to make ‘Thursday the new Friday’ and attempt to pass off our Friday morning hangovers as hayfever. But a Friday night happy hour is exactly what you’ll find at this Stoke Newington boozer. A loud and proud corner pub, there’s no creative ‘mixology’ funny business going on here, just classic cocktails priced at 2 for £10 throughout the week.
The happy hour: £6 aperitivos before 7pm Monday - Friday
One of Soho’s best bars, Swift is one-part moody, two-parts glam, and 100% perfect for an excellent 6pm cocktail on a Friday night. Thanks to their early-bird aperitivo deals, their shiny Art Deco-style bar should always be on your radar for a pre-dinner drink in the area. You should also know that this place is renowned for its creative cocktails, so forget a classic G&T and get involved in their blood orange vermouth and passionfruit Solstice number or the Augusta Spritz which includes picpoul, pear, and a pleasant little dose of absinthe. For six quid, you can’t go wrong.
The happy hour: 2 cocktails for £12 before 7pm
If we were to actually sit down and work out how much money we’ve spent on negronis at Goldfinch, we would probably issue ourselves with a restraining order against our own debit card. Luckily for us, we have zero interest in fiscal responsibility, and Goldfinch’s happy hour means that we can at least save on their excellent bevs if we get there early. Their early bird deal includes classic cocktails like mai tais, daiquiris, and pisco sours, plus, on Monday nights the happy hour runs all night long.
The happy hour: reduced cocktails and beers Monday to Friday, 5pm - 8pm
To give you an understanding of Slim Jim’s, let us just tell you that someone once invited us on a date here, we declined, and never ever saw them again. That’s because the ceiling of this rock ‘n’ roll dive bar is covered in discarded bras and the music is very loud, so whilst it might not scream ‘intimate date night’, Slim Jim’s is perfect for when you’re looking to get sensationally drunk on a weeknight. Not only does their 5pm to 8pm happy hour include a range of strong cocktails, you can also get four bottles of beer for £12 or a pint for under four quid. Oh, you can also order double on house spirits for a casual £1.50. See, all your sensationally drunk needs covered.