Best for the Artsy Crowd
Mark's Bar (pictured, above)
There's no phone-network coverage and no TV in this basement bar below the Hix restaurant. What's more, your fellow drinkers are more likely to be discussing YBAs (young British artists) than sports statistics. Note: You need to order a snack with your drinks—something to do with the license—but, thankfully, the bar food is as good as the cocktails.
66-70 Brewer St., London; 020-7292-3518
Best for Exotic Intrigue
Walk up a backstreet in the Fitzrovia hood, near Tottenham Court Road, and down the stairs to a basement (sans cellphone coverage) resembling an opium den, and you'll be met by cheongsam-clad waitresses. They will guide you through the maze of screens to the long cocktail bar at the back. Hakkasan may be more than a decade old, but it remains one of the most glamorous bars in London, with an excellent drink list. The attached Chinese restaurant is also good, but pricey.
8 Hanway Place, London; 020-7927-7000
Best for Slackers
The French House (above)
It's possible someone in this bar—once the meeting place of the French Resistance during World War II—might raise a glass of vin rouge if a Frenchman wins a gold medal, but let's face it: How likely is that? It will be business as usual at this Gallic bar, filled, as it always is, with rogues, cads, thespians, and the work-shy. Lager is served in half-pints; most customers drink wine by the glass.
49 Dean St., Soho, London; 020-7437-2477
Best for James Bond Wannabes
Experimental Cocktail Club
There's no chance of bumping into a party of lost tourists here. The door policy at this exclusive cocktail bar is tighter than the grip on the Olympic torch. Your best bet is to make a reservation by e-mailing (firstname.lastname@example.org) before 5 p.m., and then good luck finding the entrance (look for a rough black door with a stern-looking doorman). But once inside you'll be gently stirred, not shaken.
13A Gerrard St., London; 020-7434-3559
Best for Grown-up Cocktails
Hawksmoor Spitalfields Cellar Bar (above)
Hawksmoor is a trio of outstanding British steak houses with first-rate cocktail bars attached. The original Spitalfields branch in East London just experienced a huge makeover, becoming even more of a destination. There's no cellphone coverage in the basement, so you won't be troubled by your neighbor's texts or anyone's Twitter updates on the Games.
157 Commercial St., London; 020-7426-4856