Hardly overrun with late night venues Notting Hill maintains some top-notch venues for quality drinks. In support of these fine establishments this list is split between bars and resto-bars and we’ve found the best of both for a fine night out.
180 Portobello Road W11 2E
Trailer Happiness offers unbeatable fun alongside top service, skilled bartenders and a crowd that turns the bar in to a house party every weekend. Styled as a Tiki bachelor pad the space is comfortably retro and feels surprisingly spacious thanks to the low furnishings. Happy, helpful, staff generate an upbeat vibe and are always willing to locate elusive seating to accommodate a party. Despite the lack of formal dance floor it is a rare occasion that the entire crowd isn’t throwing down moves by the end of the night. The downside to this venue, open Tuesdays-Saturdays, is that the midnight closing comes too soon.
Under the Westway @ Westbourne Studios
242 Acklam Road, W10 5JJ
There is no place like it in the hood with massive sofas, projected movies, and fantastic beats until the morning hours. Only a stumble away from Portobello Road, the hanger-like building houses creative offices with an enormous central space serving as restaurant by day and club by night. The music is eclectic and the crowd friendly and boisterous. Given the space you’ve got the choice of dancing in the heart of frenzy, shooting pool or foosball, or lounging on the vast curved sofas while watching the hive buzz. UTWW closes early during the week opening until at least 2:30am on Friday and Saturday with later nights going until 4am.
31 Kensington Park Road, W11 2EU
Dark and slick this Manhattan style cocktail bar achieves the elusive blend of sophistication alongside laidback charm. Staff are knowledgeable, martinis are among the best in London and regulars within this atmospheric space are relaxed and convivial. A cosmopolitan venue for early week catch ups Montgomery Place transforms to a surprisingly lively option at weekends. The space is bijou with sidewalk tables out front and we always managed to score a place to sit or perch. Open daily until midnight and 1am on Saturdays.
171 Portobello Road W11 2DY
Since re-launching as a bar in 2008 this former pub maintains the familiar name while radically updating its style. The long thin room is attractive if non-descript save for the pleasantly simple radio motif mural to the back. The menu offers a mix of traditional and creative new cocktails. The crowd is decidedly local regular; Notting Hillbilly types that enjoy their drinks and grooving to the, sometimes very loud, DJ. Open daily until 11pm and 12:30 at the weekend.
Starland Social Club
78 Westbourne Grove, W2 5RT
A boutique members-bar tucked under Tiny Robot that brings the flair of Jonathan Downey’s Milk & Honey template to west London. It is a tiny space with a few booths, a handful of tables and moodily sexy lighting. Staff are professional, wonderfully at ease in their role; talented behind the bar yet relaxed enough to enjoy a chat. With tin speakeasy ceiling, a lived in retro decor, intimate seating and an amiable crowd this is a winner if you gain entry. Starland Social Club is open until 3am.
191 Portobello Road W11 2ED
The Electric is always an excellent option for drinking in the Notting Hill scene. Even if you can’t access the stylish member’s club upstairs – closed this summer for renovations – the Brasserie offers a more than suitable alternative. The place is forever buzzing with fashionable Londoners offering great people watching alongside nibbles and drinks. This is the kind of venue where you come for lunch then stay past sunset to take in the “theatre” of the local set. Open daily until midnight or 1am from Thursday-Saturday.
14 Blenheim Road W11 1NN
The bar attached to the Pan-Asian restaurant is dark and sleekly minimalist. The crowd is achingly hip and on sunny days made be found gracing the window seats outside. The interior is compact with a banquette running the length of the wall. The drawback being when the bar is packed there is literally nowhere to prop up your drinks or your friends as the mid-room rail is just too tight in this narrow space. E&O is always a vibrant choice and the best seat in the bar is, without a doubt, the fireplace nook. E&O closes at Midnight from Monday through Saturday and at 11:30 on Sundays.
48 Lonsdale Road, W11 2DE
A dimly lit lush and shimmering interior waits behind the pale unassuming facade of this bar on the quiet Lonsdale Road. Once mainly a bar, since summer 2010 with the arrival head chef Luke Keating this establishment has become a meat lovers haven as well as a fine drinking establishment. The crowd are changeable from models and artists to corporate types. The Lonsdale is generally busy and efficient staff make all feel welcome creating a cohesive sociable vibe. Open until midnight from Tuesday through Thursday and until 1am on Friday and Saturday.
78 Westbourne Grove, W2 5RT
This restaurant on Westbourne Grove is a destination drinking den by night. The little sister of Clerkenwell’s Giant Robot the interior is industrial retro with tables packed fairly close together in the limited space. Open until midnight from Monday to Wednesday and until 2am from Thursday through Saturday it’s an accommodating choice with a great wine list and outstanding cocktails to stretch out a late night conversation.
12 Acklam Road W10 5QZ
A spin-off from the original and infamous Amsterdam nightclub this venue combines outrageous live acts with a chic sterile all-white decor in the Salle Neige furnished with tables and low beds on which to recline and enjoy the show. As well as the performance/club area there is Bar Rouge towards the entrance and the exclusive Bar Noir with its own private entrance. The bar experience exceeds that of the restaurant so don’t feel bad about turning up to simply drink and make merry until 2:30am.
Honourable Mentions go to the eclectic and buzzing Mau Mau Bar and the inimitable Globe for providing healthy and colourful rivalry to our chosen top 10.
Jennifer Cavanagh – Jennifer@myvillage.co.uk