New York might be the city that never sleeps, but late-night London is pretty bustling too – especially since the launch of the Night Tube. The Resident picks out some of the capital’s top night clubs and late-open bars for discerning night owls
Words: Andrew Zuccala, Alexandra Cronin & Victoria Purcell
1 Upstairs @ Ronnie’s, Soho
Open till 3am Mon-Sat and midnight Sun
Ronnie Scott’s needs no introduction, but perhaps its upstairs bar does. Ronnie Scott’s has always offered great live jazz, but as well as the main club, there’s Upstairs @ Ronnie’s, a relaxed, 50s speakeasy-style bar serving an extensive list of whiskies, classic cocktails and house specialties like the Sipsmith Spritzer. The bar also runs its own programme of events, separate to that in the main club downstairs.
2 Duck & Waffle, The City
Open 24 hours
For those who like to eat as much as they like to drink, Duck & Waffle is unmatched day and night. For views out over London, champagne cocktails, slow-cooked lamb sloppy Joes, bacon wrapped dates or Bananas Brûlée Belgian waffles, they’re sure to have whatever you’re seeking, served up 24/7.
110 Bishopsgate, the City EC2N 4AY; 020 3640 7310; duckandwaffle.com
3 Proud Embankment
Open till 3am
As one Proud closes, another Proud opens… Proud Camden sadly closed its doors recently, but Proud Embankment has opened with aplomb! Bringing cabaret back to the fore, this fun, glitzy venue serves great food and cocktails, with a little burlesque – even some bearlesque – some booming singing voices and glitzy gals performing impressive acrobatic routines.
8 Victoria Embankment WC2R 2AB; proudcabaretembankment.com
4 The London Cabaret Club, Bloomsbury
Open till 3am
Speaking of cabaret… the art form seems to be having a bit of a revival in London. The London Cabaret Club in Bloomsbury offers high-end dining and an innovative live cabaret show. Set around distinctly British themes, the shows celebrate the rich heritage of British culture, featuring stars from London’s West-End and original choreography. After the show there’s a Late Night Lounge and DJ till 3am.
Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square WC1B 4DA; thelondoncabaretclub.com
5 Studio 88, Leicester Square
Live music venue
Open till 1am Mon-Tues, 2am Weds and 3am Thurs-Sat
Studio 88, by the team behind The Piano Works in Farringdon, provides a unique immersive experience, with non-stop live music that the audience controls, so you can sing your heart out (and dance) to all your favourite tunes. Studio 88’s six-piece house band has no set playlist, and no set band (over 50 musicians are employed by Studio 88) so no two nights are never the same. There’s food and a creative cocktail list, so once you’re in, there’s no reason to leave!
47 Whitcomb Street (next to Leicester Square) WC2H 7DH; studio88.bar
6 Cahoots, Carnaby
Open till 1am Mon-Tues, 2am Thurs, 3am Fri-Sat and midnight Sun
What better way to celebrate the 24-hour tube by visiting a bar set out in the theme of a tube station. This somewhat secret speakeasy may be the most difficult on the list to find, especially if you’ve already had a few sneaky bevs but it’s worth the hassle. The awkwardly aloof Train Guard actor at the door won’t confirm the existence of the bar or break character so it’s best to play along and immerse yourself into the experience. Indulge in some extraordinarily extravagant cocktails within this quirky 1940’s styled swing and jazz bar. And it’s best you book this one in advance as they tend to reach capacity early on.
Kingly Court, 13 Kingly Street, Carnaby W1B 5PG; cahoots-london.com
7 Bar Italia, Soho
Open until 5am
Bar Italia is a no brainer for late night Londoners. It has been a family-owned, Soho institution for over sixty years. The staff is friendly and their coffee is top tier, their own secret blend. Only closing for two hours every day, you can grab an espresso while you move from one dance floor to another or stay up all night and grab some much needed caffeine with a side of breakfast before heading to work.
22 Frith Street, Soho W1D 4RF; baritaliasoho.co.uk
8 Dogstar, Brixton
Open till 11pm Mon-Sun, 1am Tues-Weds, 2am Thurs and 4am Fri-Sat
This enormous three-story Brixton institution has maintained its hold on devoted locals while reaching out to the ever-gentrifying masses that flood down south for big nights out. Head down early for some pool and pizza without having to pay an entry fee and prepare yourselves for an intense night of fun. You’ll never be in for a dull night at the Dogstar with R&b, hip hop, funk and drum ‘n’ bass music bringing in an eclectic mix of people.
Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LQ; dogstarbrixton.com
9 Charlie Wright’s International Bar, Hoxton
Open until 4am
Refreshingly laid back for Shoreditch, this local haunt is far more fun than it may look from the outside. It’s a bar that doesn’t quite know what it is during the day, mostly resembling a Thai eatery meshed with the look of a British pub showing sports events to old geezers at the bar. But a the sun sets, the hipsters come out of hiding and join the locals to create a truly eclectic crowd dancing to anything from reggae to hard rock. It’s a small and quirky venue full of people who just want to have some unfiltered fun well beyond 4am throughout the second half of the week.
45 Pitfield Street, Hoxton N1 6DA; charliewrights.co.uk
10 Village Underground, Shoreditch
Club and late night performance venue
Open until 6am
Village Underground in Shoreditch is a FOMO’s paradise. Or hell. There is just so much going on here you’ll want all night to experience it. The building topped with tube carriages and coated in street art, hosts countless late night club parties, live gigs and uniquely interactive art installations. Take part in some still life drawing classes with models, actors and dancers or stay up all night dancing to an eclectic mix of music. Browse their impressive events calendar – you won’t be disappointed.
54 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch EC2A 3PQ; villageunderground.co.uk
11 The Hide Bar, London Bridge
Bar and Restaurant
Open until 2am
Late night cocktail connoisseurs have found their haven at The Hide Bar on Bermondsey Street. The area is quickly becoming known for its food and drink culture with businesses hoping the night tube will only help it grow. Cocktails are the name of the game at this late night bar. They are expertly crafted with a strong focus on quality, paying homage to the history and development of each drink. They even have their own library of cocktail books for those interested to learning more about the art of cocktail making. So sink into one of their luxe sofas, nurse your cocktail while reading up on your next drink choice up until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.
39-45 Bermondsey Street, London Bridge SE1 3XF; thehidebar.com
12 Bethnal Green Working Mens Club
Club and late night performance venue
Open until 3am
This is an authentic sticky-floored, plastic pints club full of eccentric party goers who just want to have some pure unfiltered fun. Come for the fabulous pop parties and 80’s nights and stay for the out-there drag and cabaret shows and themed dress up events. The infamous Sink the Pink nights took inspiration for BGWMC which continues to host outrageously silly gatherings.
42 Pollard Row, Bethnal Green E2 6NB; workersplaytime.net
13 Phonox, Brixton
Open until 4am
Brixton is fast becoming one of the best places in London to spend a big night out partying with Phonox being one of the best new additions. Hosting world renowned DJ’s, this enormous dance venue is the perfect place to find quality underground house, techno, disco and bass music. Sadly, there’s no Taylor Swift or 80’s tunes for the sing-along crowd but Phonox won’t disappoint the more modern club goers.
418 Brixton Road SW9 7AY; phonox.co.uk
14 XOYO, Shoreditch
Open until 4am
XOYO has quickly become one of the best spots in Shoreditch to spend a long night out dancing to house, disco and techno music. Being a 21+ venue on weekends, this East London club also ensures no obnoxious teens will be ruining your night. Take the 5 minute walk from Old Street Station to hear their resident DJ Heidi smash out some much loved tunes or look at their impressive line-up of international and local artists scheduled well into the next year to find someone who will surely keep you on your feet all night!
32-37 Cowper Street, Shoreditch EC2A 4AP; xoyo.co.uk
15 The Ladybird Bar, Islington
Bar and Club
Open until 4.30am
A five minute walk from the Angel Tube Station lies this little gem of a cocktail bar. Open till 4:30am on weekends, revellers can drink to their hearts content upstairs while mingling with a stylish crowd of Londoners or head down to the basement to find a more eclectic mix of people dancing to funk, electro, disco, Latin and commercial music. This spot is for those who love just about every style of music and can’t say no to oversized martini glasses full of delectable cocktails.
70 Upper Street, Islington N1 0NY; ladybirdbar.co.uk
16 The Booking Office, King’s Cross
Open until 3am
The unstoppable growth of the King’s Cross area brings new late-night hot spots to the area on a weekly basis, but the Booking Office remains the ultimate place to go for cocktails. But it’s also a great place to simply sit at the enormous 29-metre-long bar and admire the architecture of the former booking office of St Pancras Station. Be sure to try their signature punches, served from copper bowls alongside a range of cocktails inspired by great Victorian writers such as Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and Arthur Conan Doyle. Office hours last until 3am from Thursday to Saturday so you’ll have plenty of time to soak up the good vibes at one of King’s Cross’ best cocktail bars.
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road NW1 2AR; stpancras.com
17 Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club, Peckham
Open till 4am every night
Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club has become one of the area’s go-to places for great music with underground DJs and producers playing intimate gigs to an edgy crowd. This isn’t a glamorous location, it’s more about authentic, down-to-earth charm. The bar stays open all night and if music isn’t your thing, there are plenty of pool tables.
188 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4NF; facebook.com/CanavansPeckhamPoolClub
18 All Star Lanes, various
Open till 2am
While bowling may be good clean fun, it needn’t be played at wholesome hours. All Star Lane’s all-American bowling lanes (in Holborn, Bayswater, Westfield Stratford and Brick Lane) cater brilliantly to parties and small groups and stays open until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Along with the vintage-style bowling lanes, All Star Lanes serves up classic diner food to keep the energy up when knocking down pins and does excellent cocktails too.
19 Casinos, various
London’s casinos are open 24-hours a day and if you’re after just one more drink or a quick bar snack then they’re the place to head to. But be warned, the bright lights and lack of windows make it very difficult to know what time of night it really is, so you could spend days in there. There are plenty to pick from, choose from the smarter end, such as the members’ casino Aspinall in Mayfair or the Palm Beach casino in The May Fair Hotel, or go for a super-sized version, like The Hippodrome in Leicester Square.
20 Infernos, Clapham
Open until 4am Fri-Sat
So bad it’s good, is probably the best way to describe Infernos. Practically an institution, this Clapham nightspot is known for its cheesy tracks and just-graduated-from-uni crowd, although Margot Robbie professed to be a fan before she moved stateside. Their weekend club nights provide the chance to relive those glory days of university, attracting a mid-to-late 20s crowd with DJs playing everything from Beyonce to the Baywatch theme tune and One Direction. You can even hire out a private karaoke suite or just lose your voice singing along to all the prime pop picks.
146 Clapham High Street, Clapham SW4 7UH; infernos.co.uk