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While London has plenty of exciting things to see and do in the daytime, whether that be stopping off at Buckingham Palace or taking in the sights on the London Eye, the evening is when the capital really comes alive. From sophisticated wine bars to wild club nights, the ‘Big Smoke’ has it all.
London is a big place with lots of different districts, all offering something a little different from the rest, but where are the best places for a night out? We’ve compiled a list of our favourite London nightlife areas.
Brixton has recently become a popular area for London nightlife, offering a mixed bag of bars, pubs and clubs, many of which offer drinks at very reasonable prices for the capital.
Camden is known for being a particularly quirky part of London, so you can expect a unique experience when you visit this district for a night out. You can expect a bohemian style evening with plenty of live music to keep you entertained.
If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket, Chelsea is the place to go. Filled with sophisticated cocktail bars and classy pubs, this is an area that attracts the rich and famous of London due to its exclusivity, so be prepared for a pricey night.
Elephant and Castle may not be the most obvious area in London for great nightlife, but as the home of world-famous Ministry of Sound, it has to get a mention. This area is particularly focused on students, so there are plenty of bars and clubs to choose from.
If you have cash to splash, Mayfair will not disappoint on a night out. As this is an area often frequented by celebrities, and even royalty, some venues can be rather exclusive, so it’s worth planning your evening in advance.
Shoreditch offers something a little bit different with a touch of creativity in the way they do nightlife. You can expect one of the coolest places in London with plenty of quirky, edgy and truly creative venues.
Soho is a particularly popular area with the LGBT+ community, so there are plenty of gay bars and clubs to choose from. You can also find a variety of different venues, from basement clubs to colourful cocktail bars. Check out our full London LGBT Guide here.
When in London, you will be spoilt for choice in terms of bars and clubs. Whether you’re looking for somewhere with a relaxed and friendly vibe, or somewhere a little more sophisticated, you’ll be able to find the perfect venue or venues for your evening. View or top picks of London Bars here or if you are still not sure where to go take inspiration from these 30 London bars with the most mentions on Instagram.
The Prince of Wales is a firm favourite of Brixton locals, as it really has a bit of everything. With a restaurant and roof terrace as well, you could spend all day and evening in this friendly and relaxed venue.
Ridley Road Market Bar is a unique venue that throws together the aesthetic of a tropical bar with a ski lodge. Their relaxed vibe means that you don’t need to worry too much about dress codes, and as a cash-free venue, they keep their prices reasonable.
This classy bar offers a glamorous venue with live music, fabulous cocktails and a cool speakeasy vibe. Nightjar uses chic decor and an expertly tended bar to create a truly special atmosphere for their patrons.
If you’re looking for plenty of fun with friends in London, Fight Club is the bar for you. Despite what the name may suggest, this is a friendly venue, home of the innovative game, social darts.
After a few drinks at the bar, who wouldn’t want to find somewhere a little more lively for some dancing? London is home to a huge number of venues that offer the best in live music and DJ sets, so whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find somewhere to dance the night away.
Inside a huge former bus depot, you can find the UK’s best-known clubbing venue, Ministry of Sound. With multiple dance floors, all playing the best in dance music from DJ royalty.
Fabric is world famous and was even voted as the World Number 1 Club in DJ Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Clubs Poll’ in 2007 and 2008. There’s plenty of different music genres on the dance floors, so whether you love drum & bass or grime, you’ll love a night at Fabric.
Situated in two railway arches, Corsica Studios provides a night out to be remembered. If you’re a fan of disco, this is the venue for you as they host a fantastic lineup of DJs and artists every weekend and throughout the week.
Village Underground is homed in a turn-of-the-century warehouse, making it the perfect venue for incredible club nights. The edgy location mixes flawlessly with the atmosphere, creating a truly unique experience.
There is just so much choice when it comes to nightlife in London, so alongside lively nightclubs and stylish pubs, you’ll also be able to find a diverse range of wine bars where you can enjoy a truly fabulous glass or two of wine.
Sager + Wilde really has it all, from the sleek, stylish surroundings, to the fantastic selection of wines. This is a venue that you could easily spend your whole evening in, trying out the different wines while enjoying a night with friends.
Set in the charming area of Covent Garden, The 10 Cases is a lovely Bistrot which puts a focus on wine. You can dine in the bistro or have a drink or two in the wine bar, ‘Cave á Vin’. By only ordering 10 cases of each wine, they ensure that there is always something new to try.
With a name like Compagnie des vins Surnaturels, you expect something pretty special from this wine bar, and thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. Alongside a selection of great wines, you’ll be treated to a chic and stylish location with a fantastic atmosphere.
The venue of The Winemakers Club provides the perfect atmosphere and experience for drinking some of the best wines available. You can enjoy a glass of fine wine under the arches of the Holborn Viaduct, with a charcuterie and cheese board to accompany.
If you’ve got a love for jazz, you won’t be disappointed when you visit London. There are plenty of jazz bars to choose from, each with a different atmosphere and vibe, so no matter whether you want something stylish yet relaxed or exciting and lively, you’ll be able to find the perfect jazz bar to spend an evening.
Ronnie Scott’s is an almost iconic venue, having been established by saxophonist, Ronnie Scott in 1959. Now, it is renowned for hosting the big names of jazz as well as providing a stage for rising stars. This venue has a sense of exclusivity in its cosy location, and you will need to book in advance as shows are often sold out.
Known as one of London’s best music venues, Vortex is known for its relaxed vibe and fantastic music. The venue has been key in the careers of bands such as Portico Quartet and Polar Bear.
The Wellesley is a hotel, so you might not think of it as your typical jazz bar, but the jazz lounge they have is excellent and worth a mention. As the former home of Pizza on the Park, the venue hosted jazz greats such as Jamie Cullum and Amy Winehouse, so you get a real sense of their jazz roots at this lounge.
The 606 Club has been running since the mid-70s and it is now home to a whole range of music and artists, playing genres such as latin, funk, groove, soul and, of course, jazz.
Comedy is important to the makeup of London, and with so many comedy clubs and theatres in the city, it’s clear that comedy is still very much a part of the identity of London. Across the city, you will be able to find household comedy names performing alongside up and coming comedians in a variety of venues.
The Comedy Store in Soho has humble beginnings, having been established in 1979 and homed above a strip club, but it is now one of the most popular venues in London and will often host some of the top names in comedy.
This is a unique venue which offers a place for up and coming comics to meet and collaborate with one another, giving the audience a fantastic experience every night. While The Bill Murray may be a fairly new venue, it was established by the brains behind Angel Comedy Club, so you can be sure you’ll have a great night here.
After a night at Monkey Business Comedy Club, you’re sure to feel like it was worth coming out for. With up to 12 acts in a night, you really do get treated to a colossus of a show.
Based across the city, Laugh Out London is known for bringing some of the best new names in comedy to the city as they often give a platform for unknown comics to perform, so watch out for the next Michael McIntyre or Sarah Millican.
London is a particularly popular destination for the LGBT+ scene and has a long and rich history with gay culture, so there are plenty of places to visit for a great night out in the capital. You can also explore our full LGBT guide to London here.
G-A-Y Bar is one of the best known gay bars in London, and it is often popular with the young clientele because of its fun and exciting atmosphere. There is a dedicated room just for girls as well as cheap drink deals and cheesy music.
As the name suggests, it’s ladies only at She Soho, the only exclusively lesbian club in London. This is a great venue for a night out in London as they host everything from comedy, karaoke and drag king contests.
Taking down the atmosphere to something a little more relaxed and friendly, Comptons is a great venue if you want to have a drink with friends. You get a real feel for the history of this bar which is known as the grand dame of Old Compton Street.
As London’s first gay superclub, Heaven is one of the world’s most famous gay nightclubs. It has played host to a number of gay celebrities over the years and is incredibly popular with the London LGBT+ community.
Dalston Superstore is a unique venue which serves burgers and brunch by day but transforms into a stylish bar by night. It has even been named as ‘London’s best pansexual party spot’.
So, if you’re thinking of booking a trip to London, be sure to check out our: