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London nightlife

London's vibrant and varied nightlife will satisfy both the cultured drinker and hardened partygoer (and most other types of night owl in between). While pub culture and drinking to excess sometime seem a national pastime, there are alternatives: Opt for a glamorous night at the opera or a world-class concert at the Royal Festival Hall (Southbank Centre), followed by a faultlessly mixed cocktail in a stylish bar like Colebrooke Row. Head east to Shoreditch and Spitalfields for a postindustrial backdrop to the capital's coolest bars and clubs, or north from Shoreditch up the Kingsland Road to Dalston for gritty, artsy, alternative venues. Pubs in London used to close at 11 pm, but thanks to a 2005 update to the archaic licensing laws, many of the city's drinking establishments now stay open well into the wee small hours.

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Trafalgar Tavern, London

If you're looking for some history along with your pint, the Trafalgar has plenty of it. Built on the banks of the Thames in South London in 1837—the same...more

Editors' Pick
Norman's Coach & Horses, London

The Coach & Horses won notoriety as the haunt of professional boozer and Spectator columnist Jeffrey Bernard, and was rebuilt as the backdrop for the...more

Editors' Pick
Montgomery Place, London

Beloved by the Notting Hill set as soon as it opened in 2006, this dark and sexy boîte re-creates Rat Pack cool with a serious selection of ritzy cocktails...more

Editors' Pick
Matter, London

Housed in the massive 02 arena in Greenwich (the home of the ill-fated former Millennium Dome) and with a 2,600-person capacity, Matter is more superclub than...more

Editors' Pick
Market Place, London

A favorite post-work hangout for the ad and music execs from the surrounding offices and studios, on weekends this bar gets jam-packed with a mixed-bag crowd,...more

Editors' Pick
Mark's Bar, London

Chef Mark Hix has long championed British ingredients, a passion that also informs his speakeasy-style Mark's Bar, beneath his new Soho restaurant, Hix. Home to...more

Editors' Pick
Loungelover, London

When it comes to decor, the Loungelover has come a long way from its former incarnation as a meatpacking factory. From the same antiques dealers behind disco...more

Editors' Pick
Gay Nightlife, London

London's gay scene is huge and changes often; pick up a free copy of bar rags QX or Boyz for the latest openings. East London, where alty grit meets gay...more

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Friday Late at the V&A, London

Maybe a night in a museum doesn't sound like a wild evening out, but on the last Friday of the month (December excepted) the Victoria & Albert does more...more

Editors' Pick
French House, London

The name is no mere handle: This small and crammed pub in prime Soho is Gallic from the fleurs-de-lis on its signage to its refusal to stock pint...more

Editors' Pick
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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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