World's Best Bar Crawls

by Darrell Hartman

London

What's on tap: Tippling and tapping your happy feet with London's hipster set

Why it's worth a shot: You're probably tired of hearing about how once-gritty East London is now international scenester ground zero. But for every "Nathan Barley"—British slang for the neighborhood's legions of casually employed, fashion-conscious youth—there's a Bacchanalian dance club that's way ahead of the curve. The challenge, of course, is getting in: Many are hard to find, and the big-spender shtick that lowers velvet ropes in Soho doesn't impress anyone here. The right vintage piece and a credible air of disaffection work much better.

Booze route: Grease the pre-clubbing wheels at Cargo, a Shoreditch standby with a beer garden that is—amazingly—still cool more than five years after it opened. Next up is Bethnal Green Workingmen's Club (pictured). Half Moulin Rouge, half bingo hall, it's earned a loyal following for its burlesque and polka-dot tea party theme nights. Do your homework, pack an appropriately cheeky costume, and look for the yellow-flower tag by graffiti artist Banksy outside—the ultimate hipster seal of approval. For late-night debauchery, head north to Dalston, the new hipster frontier and home to Barden's Boudoir, an unmarked club sandwiched between a kebab joint and a discount shop. The pretty, artsy young things will be dancing up a storm in the basement. Extra points if you lure one of them onto a ratty couch.

Hangover cure: A pack of cigarettes, naturally. How else are you going to keep yourself looking svelte for the next party?

Cargo
Tel: 44 20 7749 7844

Bethnal Green Workingmen's Club
Tel: 44 20 7739 7170

Barden's Boudoir
Tel: 44 20 7249 9557

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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