Have you been to Victoria lately? No, really been to it – catching the delayed Southern service to East Croydon doesn’t count. The area that used to be home to a few banker-stuffed wine bars, a lonely House of Fraser and the Apollo Theatre is suddenly all shiny and new. There’s life beyond Wetherspoons and that one branch of Yo! Sushi over WH Smith’s! Over at 11 Palmer Street, the Westminster branch of Pall Mall Barbers has had a front row seat to the action, so we’re well placed to fill you in on the best spots to quench your thirst while you wait for your train. Here’s a rundown of our favourites, the best bars in Victoria.

Pall Mall Barbers’ Guide to the Best Bars in Victoria

Boisdale

15 Eccleston Street, SW1W 9LX
Boisdale best bars in Victoria
Ever found yourself relaxing in the basement of your local jazz venue, having a perfectly nice time when out of nowhere you think, “You know what would make the timeless voice of Charlie Parker even better? An enormous plate of roast haggis”? No, of course you haven’t. But you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you? Head to Boisdale’s of Belgravia if you really must find out. The Scottish-themed restaurant and jazz bar shifts five tonnes of haggis every single year, boasts over 160 whiskeys on its shelves and even has a cigar terrace if that’s not enough debauchery for one night. Basically, Boisdale’s is whatever the opposite of the “wellness” movement is and it’s bloody proud of it.

Vagabond

Unit 77, Nova Building, 77 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 0AJ
best bars in Victoria Vagabond
What if you could have an Oyster Card…but for booze? Transport for London aren’t answering our letters, so Vagabond has kindly stepped up to the plate in the meantime. Here’s how it works: you pay a refundable deposit of £5 for a card and top it up with an amount of your choosing, and after that, the world is your…well, never mind. Dotted around the room are 140 wine taps – just place your smartcard in the machine to dispense either a sample or a glass of whatever sounds nice. It’s a clever, non-intimidating way to try something new, but without the added stress of mispronouncing “Susumaniello” to a waistcoated sommelier.

Drunken Oyster

2 Sir Simon Milton Square, Buckingham Palace Rd, SW1E 5DJ
Drunken Oyster best bars in Victoria
Yet more booze on tap! This time it’s Prosecco cocktails, or “taptails” as they’re known at the Drunken Oyster, a New York – Italian hybrid bar and restaurant in the aesthetically-dubious Nova Complex. There’s probably a story behind it, but here’s the digested read: Happy Hour. Every day from 3pm to 6pm. Three magical hours of £5 taptails or an extra £4 if you want a sourdough pizza to soak them up. What else do you need to know?

Greenwood

170 Victoria Street, SW1E 5LB
best bars in Victoria Greenwood
Greenwood is huge. Massive. Immense. And a bunch of other words that mean big. It’s entirely possible to get lost on your way back from the bar. The cavernous space is cleverly punctuated with cosy alcoves if you’re planning to stick around for a few glasses of merlot, or you can pop in for a quick pint and catch up on the football/rugby/snooker (check the schedule on their website) in the sports lounge upstairs.

Munich Cricket Club

61-71 Victoria Street, SW1H 0HW
best bars in Victoria Munch Cricket Club

The deceptively-named Munich Cricket Club is the sort of place one suspects was designed with office Christmas parties in mind. In this case, that’s not a bad thing – you probably don’t want to come here on your own, anyway. Between the hefty steins of German beer, hearty schnitzel platters and twice-weekly oompah band, it oozes the sort of shouty merriment that’s best enjoyed with a crowd of mates. Of course, brass bands and Bratwurst will never be everyone’s cup of tea, so here’s a good litmus test: if you’ve ever deliberately attended or hosted a Eurovision party, you’ll love the unapologetic cheesy charm.

So, what do you make of our selection of the best bars in Victoria? They are all just a short stroll from Pall Mall Barbers in Westminster, just next to St James’ Park tube station.

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