1. Mark's Bar, Hix, Soho.
2. The Lyceum Tavern, Covent Garden
3. The French House, Soho
The French House gets a bit lairy most evenings, but go there early on, sit at bench along the massive main window and watch the world go by with a wine or a lovely Breton cider.
4. Peckham Refreshment Rooms, Peckham
5. The Carpenter's Arms, Shoreditch
6. Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar, Shoreditch
7. The Palmerston, East Dulwich
8. The Salusbury, Queen's Park
The perfect quiet spot complete with good dogs, nice Italian food, sometimes even decent eavesdropping.
9. The Peckham Pelican, Peckham
10. The Talbot, De Beauvoir
11. 69 Colebrooke Row, Angel
12. The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping
13. Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel, Soho
Walking down the stairs at Brasserie Zédel is like stepping back in time into some sultry, '30s novel about glamorous people who sit at bars with an old fashioned or a martini, the weight of the world on their shoulders and Film Noir looks on their faces. Be one of those people for an hour at Bar Américain, and then scoot into the brasserie next door for a prixe fix steak haché and fries, if you're feeling wild.