Londoners tend to belong to private clubs or to have favorite bars at which they meet their friends. Where should visitors go if they can't get into the Groucho or the Arts Club and yet want to avoid tourist joints or the tedium of venues whose business is built on passing trade -- and whose service reflects the fact that you probably won't be back?
Here are 11 of the 25 establishments reviewed in the article, from pubs to hotel bars. Each features great drinks, good service, an interesting ambience and the kind of customers you'd be happy to be seen drinking with.
The Connaught Bar: The martini cart carries seven home-made bitters: cardamom, coriander seeds, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, licorice and vanilla. Famed barman Agostino Perrone, from Lake Como, constructs your drink while embracing you with charm, which is quite clever as he has only two (white gloved) hands. This elegant venue, designed by David Collins, is at the back of the hotel.
Signature drink: Martini (17 pounds).