London Nightlife: The Ultimate Guide for 2024
London’s nightlife scene offers something for everyone, from the indie bars of Camden to the gay clubs of Soho. Every corner of the capital has a different nightlife experience with its easy transport links making club and bar-hopping effortless.
This Tipsy guide contains all the information you need to find the best place to go out drinking or clubbing on your next trip to London.
How is the Nightlife in London?
Most of London’s nightlife is divided across five sections of the city: Camden, East London, Mayfair, Soho, and South Kensington.
London’s pubs start filling up as soon as people finish work and typically close at 11 pm. But the capital’s bars stay open well past midnight. Most of London’s most popular clubs keep going until 4am, absorbing the crowds from closing bars.
How expensive is going out in London?
London is the most expensive city in the UK for going out clubbing.
Sure, there are a few decent clubs that offer free entry during the week, but in general you can expect to pay from £5 - £20 for entry, even if you book in advance.
If you’re on a budget, try heading out on Thursdays when lots of bars and clubs run happy hour promotions to appeal to London’s students. You might also be able to get discounted tickets by going to an associated venue – such as G.A.Y and Heaven.
But in general you can expect to pay twice as much in London than Manchester for food, taxis, and drinks—not to mention the inevitable post-club kebab—and will want to factor this into your budgeting.
Best Bars in London
Fewer do booze better than the Brits, and London is renowned for its cool, innovative bar culture. Cliché though it is, London has something for everyone: from craft beer microbreweries and European-style wine bars to cocktail bars that offer masterclasses in modern mixology.
While London’s West End is most famous for its bars, clubs and restaurants, wherever you go you won’t be disappointed. Here are our tried-and-tested favourites.
Address: 13 Kingly Court, Carnaby
Open: 4pm - 1am (Mon & Tues) 3pm – 2am (Wed & Thurs) 1pm to 2am (Fri & Sat) 2pm – 12am (Sun)
Situated just off Soho's Carnaby Street, Cahoots is a unique, 1940s-themed bar that transports you back to a time of high spirits, scoundrels, and swing.
It spans three locations – the Underground, Ticket Hall, and Signal Station – all of which boasts a playful interior that plays upon the theme.
Cahoots specialises in unique and quirky cocktails inspired by 1940s black market liquor and served in Instagram-worthy bust mugs and porcelain teacups.
Not all three locations are open at the same time. If you have a specific preference, it’s best to book a slot via the website.
Make sure to book online for weekends and peak times.
Address: 14-18 Handyside Street
Open: 5pm – 1am (Thurs - Sat)
Friday nights are the big ones at Supermax, with DJs spinning Italian-influenced disco tracks under a mirror ball until the small hours of the night.
In keeping with the Italian theme, Supermax’s speciality is Vermouth-based cocktails. They’re so good, in fact, that they won Supermax a ranking among Time Out’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars in London.
Start your night with happy hour at Supermax from 5:30pm until 7pm, and grab a plate of cicchetti and a cocktail for less than £10 for a classic Italian aperitivo.
St James Bar
Address: 6 Waterloo Pl
Open: 12pm – 12am (Mon – Sat) 12pm – 11:30pm (Sun)
We would never normally suggest spending time in a hotel bar, but St James Bar is the exception to the rule.
Situated in the affluent central Pall Mall district, St James Bar is a visual feast of art-deco décor, antique mirror tables and mohair velvet banquettes. But what makes it a must-visit for cocktail fans is its ‘A Taste of the World’ menu, which features 18 unique cocktails made from international ingredients.
Make sure to book before visiting as spaces are limited.
Best Clubs in London
London is rivalled only by Berlin as the clubbing capital of Europe.
While its rave heydays of the 90s might be a distant memory, London is home to around 200 clubs, each offering something different from house and techno to cheesy pop and metal (though you’ll be hard pressed to find the latter under the same roof).
Before going clubbing in London, make sure to download the DICE app. This will be your go-to for finding out what’s on and purchasing e-tickets to show on the door.
Address: 77a Charterhouse Street
Open: 11pm – 5:30am (Friday – Sunday)
Fabric hardly needs an introduction as London’s most famous nightclub.
The centrally-situated club boasts three huge spaces, each of which is an independent but interconnected oasis of house, techno, dubstep, drum & bass. Some of electronic music’s most famous international acts honed their craft playing nights at Fabric, including Bonobo, Nina Kravitz, Daniel Avery and Grooverider.
Make sure to check out the ‘bodysonic’ vibrating dance floor in Room One, where sections sync to the music to blast out gut-punching bass.
The venue launched a ‘no photo policy’ in June 2021, but Fabric isn’t a place for Instagrammers anyway. The club encourages a dress-down policy, so dress comfortably and lightly as you’ll be burning some calories.
You can get your tickets online or on the DICE app to avoid the queue.
If booking advance isn’t your thing, around 50% of tickets are sold at the door. But you’ll want to queue early to avoid disappointment.
Address: The Arches, Villiers Street
Open: 11pm – 4am (Thurs – Mon, closed Sun).
Belinda Carslise was right. Heaven is indeed a place on earth. And it’s situated on Villiers Street, the Arches at London’s Charing Cross.
Heaven has been London’s foremost gay club since it first opened its doors in 1979. It’s the only central London venue with a capacity of a thousand people and its audiences flock there to see a range of up-and-coming artists and established acts.
Everyone from Adele to Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga has partied the night away in Heaven in recent years.
Most of Heaven’s hedonists start their evening in G-A-Y in Soho to get a wristband for discounted entry before heading down to the club after 11pm.
Address: 1a Camden High Street
This iconic Camden club offers everything you need for a big night out - from a backstage members club to an iconic theatre, even serving up NYC-style pizza to line your stomach before the onslaught.
KOKO Electronic hosts club nights every Friday and Saturday with a focus on house and disco music. It’s one of the few chances you’ll get to party in an iconic state-of-the-art theatre venue.
You can purchase your tickets ahead of time, including exclusive ‘Koko Experiences’ packages.
What to Wear to Clubs in London
No two cities are ever the same. While London might be a top tourist destination, the nightlife is in the preserve of locals.
A good rule of thumb is to keep in mind that most people dress up when going out clubbing in London or they’re going straight out to a pub or bar after work.
Where is the Best Nightlife in London?
Every London district offers a different nightlife experience.
Soho offers a little of everything and is the heart of London’s LGBT+ night scene. Most of London’s popular nightclubs and bars are located North of the River Thames with a spot on almost every street in Mayfair and Soho.
What should guys wear for London nightlife?
Men’s fashion for London nightlife is similar to smart casual streetwear.
If you want to keep your options open, leave the ripped jeans at home and forget about tracksuits, sportswear and football kits (no matter how much you might support Chelsea).
Shirts and chinos with slacks are the go-to choices for men, but adapt what you wear according to the venue. While a preppy chinos look might work for your classic bar or club, you’re going to look like a polar bear in the Amazon at a grungy metal club.
Some exclusive clubs only allow ‘smart sneakers’ or may have a strict no sneakers policy. Stick to a clean and minimalistic look to fit right in with the Londoners.
What should girls wear for London nightlife?
London’s nightlife typically has a smart or cocktail dress code for women. You’ll see girls in London getting dressed up, whether they’re going to a bar or nightclub.
‘Jeans and a nice top’ is a standard dress code for a laidback night out or if you’re having cocktails with friends. A well-fitting dress with comfortable heels will get you into most nightclubs.
It’s worth double-checking if the nightclub you’re going to operates a strict bag size policy, as some only allow clutch bags.
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