With so many different bars in London to choose from, you can’t really go wrong when it comes to picking a venue for a fun night out. However, some of London’s most popular bars can be tourist traps, and can also put a huge dent in your savings if you’re not careful.
But if you want to experience everything London has to offer in one night, sometimes it’s worth it to head to some of London’s most famous bars and clubs, regardless of whether they’re tourist traps or not. However, if you plan on spending more than a few nights in London and want to head out of the touristy areas, there’s also a ton of great finds in the outskirts of the city that offer just as much fun as the bars in central London.
If you’re hoping to party it up in London just like the locals do, or even if you and a group of friends want to hop from bar-to-bar in one of London’s most famous neighbourhoods, here are some tips on discovering the best bars London has to offer:
If it’s your first time in London and you want to hit up as many popular bars as possible, your best bet would be to stick to neighbourhoods like Soho, South Bank and Shoreditch. Although the majority of the bars in these neighbourhoods have become tourist traps in recent years, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have a good time partying up in them.
When it comes down to the best bars in London’s most hip-and-happening neighbourhoods, there are some that should be at the top of anyone’s list. XOYO and Village Underground in Shoreditch have both become popular haunts in recent years, followed by Bar Soho in Soho, and of course, The Ministry of Sound in South Bank.
But South Bank also has more to offer than just The Ministry of Sound (which is known amongst many as being the most famous nightclub in London), as here you can also find everything from classy wine bars and cocktail lounges, to even nightclubs blasting electro music until the early hours of the morning.
Shoreditch has everything from comic book bars, and even circus and cabaret-themed nightclubs; so if you’re looking for a more unique, one-of-a-kind bar experience, then Shoreditch is the place to be. Besides Village Underground and XOYO, some of the best bars in Shoreditch include Trapeze, The Princess of Shoreditch, and The Queen of Hoxton, as well as The Book Club, Cargo, The Horse & Groom, and many, many more.
If you feel like venturing out of the touristy areas, Clapham, Peckham and Islington are becoming more and more popular amongst locals because of their happening party scenes. If you have the time to head to Dalston, then be sure to check out the Railway Tavern and the Dalston Jazz Bar; but if you’re looking for more of a chill night out, Bar Termini and 69 Colebrook Row, have more tight-knit, pub-like atmospheres.
Whether you’re looking for lively club to dance in until the early hours of the morning, or even if you’re looking for a chill night out so you can sit down and chat with friends, London has it all.
Besides the obvious ones like the Ministry of Sound, Bar Soho, XOYO, Village Underground and Plastic People, there’s also a ton of other world-renown bars and clubs scattered all throughout London which shouldn’t be missed by any first-time visitor to the city.
If you happen to be in Camden, then a visit to the historic Jazz Cafe is a much, which was a favourite among the likes of Amy Winehouse, Bobby Womack and D’Angelo. If you’re feeling up to it, you could also head to Ice Bar (which is the UK’s only permanently-frozen cocktail bar), and sip on drinks while sitting at a frozen table in 5°C temperatures.
If you’re looking for a more unique and one-of-a-kind bar in London, The Blind Pig and The Bootlegger both have fascinating Prohibition themes, and The Rabbit Hole has unique Alice In Wonderland-themed decor and drinks. Shoreditch’s London Cocktail Club has a Hells Angels-like atmosphere, while Opium offers seasonal Oriental-themed cocktails in the heart of Soho’s China Town.
Adventure Bar Clapham Junction has fascinating Victorian-style decor, strange art and unique cocktails, while Old Street’s Cirque is packed full of strange zebra taxidermy and rubix cube stools. One of London’s most lesser-known secrets as of late has been none other than Flight Club, which offers its guests a ton of interactive and creative games to keep you entertained during a fun night out.
If you’re looking for a more down-to-earth, chill night out, Milk and Honey in Soho, and the Looking Glass Cocktail Club in Shoreditch are some of the best cocktail lounges in the city.
Music nerds will also appreciate the ton of musically-themed bars and clubs scattered all around London, especially places like Nightjar in Hoxton, Ladies and Gentleman in Kentish Town, and The Bull In A China Town in Shoreditch.
If you want to party it up at a club, The Electric Circus in Camden plays everything from Bon Jovi, Oasis and Bruce Springsteen through its speakers until the early hours of the morning, and they even shoot confetti out of their cannons into the boogying crowds as well. And besides the classic BBQ food, bourbon cocktails and live music, Blues Kitchen even allows its guests to plug-in their iPhones and play their own music!