The top spots to find London’s financial world—hedge funders, bankers, brokers, accountants, underwriters—cracking open the Champagne or crying into their beer.Less
Who's there: Bankers. What they're drinking: Classic cocktails martinins and Manhattans. About: A classic and spacious American-style bar in the heart of the City. The former Midland Bank headquarters is now packed with bars and restaurants, including the late night Vault bar. Bankers flock to the Nickel whose drinks are named for currencies—the Yen features barrel-aged whisky—and dirty martinis are always popular.
Who's there: A mix of bankers and brokers What they’re drinking: Deutz Champagne and Jensen's gin. About: This is the City's destination pleasure dome, literally. The focal point of this lofty former banking hall, owned by ex-Goldman Sachs banker Soren Jessen, is the grand, circular Dome Bar at the restaurant’s center, where Champagne is always being poured. The Lombard Members Club is a subterranean speakeasy with velvet booths and rotating art from the likes of Michael Craig-Martin.
Who's there: Young hedge funders. What they’re drinking: Pints of Youngs and bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal. About: This hideout of a pub, one of the oldest in London, is located on Mayfair's cobbled Bruton Place. The Guinea's vintage atmospheric décor, with dark wood-paneled walls and creaking staircases, is matched with beers and award-winning dry-aged steak and kidney pies.
Who's there: Older hedge funders. What they’re drinking: Classic cocktails to wash down the caviar. About: A few doors down from the Guinea on Burton Place is the bar at ex-caviar dealer Gavin Rankin's smart French bistro. The clubby, convivial bar is a perfect and discreet spot for a French 75 with sage-green banquettes and walls decorated with vintage European posters.
Who's there: Hedge funders and their best clients. What they’re drinking: Martinis from the trolley, Louis XIII cognac. About: Here’s an institution among the Mayfair crowd whether it’s been a good day or a bad one. At the Connaught's opulent bar, where the service is as smooth as the castors of the drinks trolley, the signature martini is made with Tanquerey 10 and a blend of vermouths. If it’s been a very good day, the vintage cocktails, made with aged spirits, start at £100 ($118).
Who's there: Brash bankers. What they’re drinking: Champagne with ostentatious labels. About: For the younger banking crowd, a see-and-be-seen rooftop bar attached to the New York-styled steakhouse restaurant. The terrace has panoramic views of the City, a DJ-fueled backbeat and conspicuous consumption of Dom Pérignon.
Who's there: Insurance brokers from a clutch of nearby firms. What they’re drinking: Bespoke cocktails. About: The steak restaurant Hawksmoor has become a favorite haunt for Canary Wharf's insurance crowd. Head downstairs to the vast art deco-inspired lounge. The jade-green marble floor and nine-meter (10-yard) bar might evoke the sense of a glamorous 1930’s cruise ship. Cocktails, such as the Japanese Delmonico, a gin martini with yuzu bitters, are terrific.
Who's there: Hedge funders. What they’re drinking: Craft beer and Veuve Clicquot. About: This classic Mayfair pub lies a few steps from what’s left of the tailoring hub of Savile Row. Appropriately, it’s filled every evening with besuited workers knocking back craft-brewed pints. Get there early if you want to snag an outside table, and definitely order a Scotch egg or two.
Who’s there: Wealth-management crowd. What they’re drinking: Martinis, of course. About: At this cocktail institution presided over by the legendary Alessandro Palazzi, queues form after very big days on the market. In the homey bar, the martini is as proper as it gets—made tableside in glasses rinsed with house vermouth. Duke’s maintains a nominal two-drink limit on those very potent martinis; regulars report breaking the rule as necessary.
Who's there: Discerning bankers and their clients. What they’re drinking: House cocktails. About: Hidden beneath the Arbitrager pub in the heart of the Square Mile, this tiny, seated-only cocktail bar attracts the more discriminating City drinker. The two house cocktails change regularly, but always offer a choice between wickedness (the Demon comprises a double shot of mezcal with a shot of sangrita) and maturity (the Wise is a sherry and vermouth concoction).