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Late-night bars and pubs in London

Now London is getting a 24-hour tube at the weekends, we've gathered up late-night bars and pubs in the capital where you can quench your thirst into the early hours

As the 24-hour tube gets going at weekends, it's time to plan proper nights out in London. Our glorious capital isn't best known for its late-night drinking spots, so to help you avoid the hapless plod around town looking for more liquor, here's our guide to London's late-night bars and pubs. 

Late-night bars in central London

Ain't Nothin' But...

Until 2am

This blue-painted (natch) venue benefits from a late licence (2am on Fridays and Saturdays) and a specialist music policy. Overall, a likeable student-bohemian vibe sets this place apart from the trendier spots along bar-lined Kingly Street.

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Soho

Cahoots

Until 3am

Fancy a bit of late-night role play in Soho? No, you filthbag, not like that! Get your name down at Cahoots, the subterranean cocktail den based around a 1940s tube theme. If you get there late at night, just be sure to mind the gap.

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Soho

Crobar

Until 3am

The Crobar is a modern legend of London's late-night inner-city life. The cramped, dingy split-level premises boast a fine jukebox, an extensive range of bourbons behind a well-stocked bar, and attitude (and amplitude) by the crateload. Its patrons tend to be of the black-clad, tattooed and intensely loyal kind. It's impossible to have a bad night out at this place; long may it rock.

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Soho

El Camion

Until 3am

El Camion is Mexican-themed but, unlike the kitsch Baja Californian restaurant above – where you can corral generous burritos, tortas and tacos – it's more a discerning basement drinking den downstairs where Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) iconography sits above a series of snugs. The drinks are overseen by maestro mixologist Dick Bradsell, there’s swift and smiling table service, and it’s open late. 

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Soho

Experimental Cocktail Club

Until 3am

A buzzing three-floor joint filled with trendy groups and dating couples absorbed in lively chatter. The door policy is a little strict at times, so perhaps it's not best suited for spontaneous trips. But if you're planning a late-night soiree, book a table and sip on outstanding cocktails.   

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Chinatown

Opium

Until 3am

The design of this Chinatown cocktail bar and 'dim sum parlour' is Eastern smoking den meets Western hipster hangout, great for a late-night rendezvous. Come for theatrical cocktails until 3am at the weekend, with quality dim sum served up until 2.30am.

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Chinatown

Troy 22

Until 2.30am

A cheesy soundtrack of dance floor fillers and, um, Queen hits keeps central London party people going until 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and 1.30am during the week. People clamber up the stairs to the first floor for a boogie once other Soho and Fitzrovia joints have long shut up shop for the day.

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Fitzrovia

Balans

Until 6am on Fridays and Saturdays

Balans is famed for moving seamlessly from dinner in the evening to late-night sessions to early-morning imbibing. A good selection of the global wine list is available by the glass, including champagne. But cocktails prove most popular, with frozen daiquiris and various martinis alongside an apple and elderflower collins, a passionfruit and pineapple swizzle and a monkey gland - Broker's Gin, absinthe, orange juice and grenadine.

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Soho

Bar Italia

Open 24 hours

One of London's few famed 24-hour spots, this historic Soho café was established in 1949 by Lou and Caterina Polledri, and quickly became a social hub for the Italian community in London. Despite several upgrades to the decor, much of the original fixtures still remain, from the red and white formica to the Gaggia espresso machine and the flooring.

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Soho

Late-night bars in north London

Bedford Tavern

Until 2am

There are a few beacons of hope along Seven Sisters Road, such as the Bedford Tavern. It attracts a mixed crowd of long-time residents and younger newcomers to Finsbury Park. All seem to be completely at home in the darkly painted room, drinking craft beers into the early hours.

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Holloway

Aces & Eights

Until 2.30am

Tufnell Park has a welcoming dive bar in Aces and Eights, where rock 'n' roll plays on the jukebox, pizzas fly from the oven and whiskeys are served by the dozen. With all that party to be had, it's a ruddy good job Aces and Eights stays open until 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Kentish Town

Big Chill House

Until 3am

Housed in a large building, the King’s Cross branch can feel a little tumbleweedy on quiet nights, but from Thursday to Sunday the bar usually has DJs keeping things lively until 3am. And it becomes quite the raucous joint, as it's one of the few open late these days in such a heaving part of town.

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St Pancras

Big Red

Until 4am

Open until 4am on Saturdays and 3am on Fridays, for many a north Londoner the night comes to an epic sort of end at Big Red. It's got a meaty all-American menu for soaking up those late-night tipples, so what's not to love?

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Holloway

Booking Office

Venue says: Victorian-inspired cocktails and modern-British cuisine in an historic setting.

Until 3am

A little drop of late-night sophistication is to be had at The Booking Office inside St Pancras International Station. The cocktail list, drawn up by Nick Strangeway and the late Henry Besant, gives a prominent place to traditional punches served in mugs. Knock 'em back until 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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St Pancras

Joe's Bar

Until 3am

Its rock 'n' roll theme may be retro, but the late opening hours at Joe's on Chalk Farm Road are nothing but forward-thinking. The joint stays swinging (often quite literally when the Lindy Hop lovers stop by) until 3am every single day of the week. We're thrilled somebody is maintaining Camden's reputation as the place for a late-night knees-up.

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Chalk Farm

Simmons King's Cross

Until 3am

This DJ bar still attracts a studenty, music-savvy crowd to what looks like a cross between an old-style corner newsagents and a Shoreditch-like retro bar. Fantastic Four comic albums, board games in tatty boxes and furniture both wobbly and ratty are juxtaposed with a disco ball and a United Nations of beer cans on display. As for actual liquid nectar, drinks include cocktails and taps of Amstel and Tiger atop a tiny bar, behind which packets of Refreshers and Wizz Fizz offer childhood allure.

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Holloway

The Winchester

Until 3am

The oak panelling and plethora of leather sofas gives The Winchester a country-house-hotel feel, with space to lounge, a dining area on ground level and room to jump around (mind your head!) downstairs. It's open pretty much all day at weekends so manages to surf from lunch to sub-bass driven beats at 2am.

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Islington

Slim Jim's Liquor Store

Until 3am

Few bars stay open late all days of the week the way Slim Jim's Liquor Store does. This Upper Street haunt is alive and kicking until 2am from Monday to Wednesday, and then keeps its doors open until 3am from Thursday to Saturday. This makes a 1am closing time on Sunday look modest (it's really not in Islington!). Drop in for DJs, cocktails and quality whiskeys.

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Barnsbury

The Blues Kitchen Camden

Until 3.30am

This iconic Camden venue has live jazz and DJs until 3am on Fridays and 3.30am on Saturdays. There are around 50 bourbons in a variety of categories, so you probably need all that time to 'explore' the extensive menu.

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Camden Town

The Dolls House Islington

Until 4am

The Dead Dolls House has moved from its supposedly temporary Hoxton base (which actually lasted 18 months) to this sprawling three-storey site, formerly House of Wolf. Expect the same mix of live jazz and resident DJs until 4am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

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Barnsbury

Late-night bars in east London

Ridley Road Market Bar

Until 2am

Open until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Ridley Road Market Bar always has a queue winding down the road as soon as night falls. But it's well worth the wait to get a spot on the dancefloor underneath the mirror ball for a spot of cosmic disco. Grab a ginger mojito and let the good times roll.

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Kingsland

Canvas Bar

Until 2am

Given its location right by Old Street station, Canvas Bar is definitely worth knowing about for fans of spontaneous late-night carousing. You could crawl there from the tube in three minutes and carry on until 2am.

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Hoxton

Worship Street Whistling Shop

Until 2am

Speakeasies sure do suit an after-hours visit. Pop down to Worship Street Whistling Shop for Victorian-styled cocktails and dark goings-on until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Shoreditch

Dalston Superstore

Until 3am

This Kingsland High Street hangout is a bit of a face on the east London party scene. In true Dalston style it's home to all sorts: popular with a large and diverse LGBT crowd, but welcoming to all and everyone. DJs – mostly local, many well-known – keep feet dancing with sets from Wednesday through to Sunday.

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Stoke Newington

George Tavern

Until 3am

The George Tavern is thought to be one of the oldest pubs in London, with the current building dating back to the Georgian era. The historic feel has been meticulously preserved, making it a late-night spot that's full of character (and characters). 

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Shadwell

Indo

Until 3am

This small pub is beloved of east London bohemians for its thrown-together decor (edgy artwork, memorabilia-crammed bar area) and late opening (until 3am at weekends), but it also does surprisingly good 12-inch pizzas. That's good to know at any hour! 

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Whitechapel

Joyeux Bordel

Until 3am

This basement bar on Curtain Road has just extended its opening hours for the summer, so stay for cocktails that are strong, simple and on the sensible side of surprising until 2am during the week and 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Shoreditch

Nightjar

Until 3am

Nightjar opened in 2010 and has become such a huge success that it now operates an online-only booking system, and charges your credit card if you don’t show up. It takes away much of the spontaneity of late-night drinking, but it truly deserves its reputation as one of London's best bars – so book ahead. 

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Hoxton

Shacklewell Arms

Until 3am

The Shacklewell is usually crowded, but generally convivial, welcoming a hipster-ish crowd to gigs seven nights a week. There are also club nights, magazine launches and afterparties, all benefitting from a late licence (the pub stays open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays).

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Shacklewell

NOLA London

Until 3am

The name of this Rivington Street cocktail bar comes from a common abbreviation of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Big Easy influence doesn't stop there though, with a soundtrack of jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll alongside a cocktail list inspired by the southern US city. Drop by for a Sazerac and just you try leaving before 3am.

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Shoreditch

The Passage

Until 3am

A minimalist daytime bar and café that goes all edgy come evening, when other venues in the area have closed for the night. There are quality DJs, winning cocktails and the kind of debauchery Dalston is known for – last time we were here, we left covered in glitter. We're still unsure how or why.

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Kingsland

The Dolphin

Until 4am

Perhaps Mare Street's late-night booze house The Dolphin is notorious for all the wrong reasons, but for many, it's an end-of-the-night institution worth saving (thousands signed a petition to stop its closure). Open until 4am and with the cheesiest tunes in the area, it's always party o'clock here.

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South Hackney

The Horse & Groom

Until 4am

London’s trend for pub-clubbing continues. During the day, The Horse & Groom is a good old East End boozer, but at night, the two-floor space turns into a disco hotspot. Thanks to some quality programming, some of the scene’s best DJs, including the likes of Fabric’s Craig Richards, Secretsundaze’s James Priestley and the legendary Greg Wilson, have played in one of the pub’s three rooms.

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Shoreditch

Duck & Waffle

24 hours

Although a 24-hour restaurant and bar sounds rock 'n' roll, just try rocking up. Duck and Waffle isn't the best place to play it casual, so maybe make a reservation for late-night revelry if you fancy getting high into the wee hours (40 floors high, to be precise).

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Moorgate

Polo 24 Hour Bar

24 hours

Immediately opposite the main entrance to Liverpool Street station, this 24-hour café also serves local craft beers, English ciders and wines. It's probably more convenient for a late-night feed than for getting tanked up, but there's no denying its convenient location.

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Moorgate

Late-night bars in south London

The Blue Eyed Maid

Until 2am

This pub on Borough High Street is one of the few in the area that's still jumping beyond midnight. When you're in a bleary-eyed state, getting up on Blue Eyed's late-night karaoke stage seems like a very good idea indeed.

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The Borough

The Four Quarters

Until 2am

A dedicated classic and retro arcade games bar, The Four Quarters is the place to go if you want to brush up on your 'Street Fighter II' skills or just revel in nostalgia by playing 'Pac Man' until your eyes go square. They certainly will if you're playing until 2am.

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Peckham Rye

Three Eight Four

Until 2am

This bar is so trendy, you're best advised to book a table in advance. A sole bartender mixes creative drinks, and the artfully distressed interior suits late-night liasons. Small plates save the day if you're feeling peckish too.

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Brixton

Tooting Tram & Social

Until 2am

Hard to spot but impressive once you find it, this converted tram shed incorporates a cavernous, chandelier-lit main bar and a smaller mezzanine, filled with decorative quirks. It’s a laid-back bunch that mingles here into the wee hours on Friday and Saturday, either parked on turquoise-topped bar stools or lounging on the banquettes and antique armchairs.

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Tooting

Westow House

Until 2am

Make a late-night trip to this Crystal Palace ale pub with eight pumps, craft beer in the fridge and a 1950s pinball machine you can stay glued to until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, if you're that way inclined.

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Gipsy Hill

Fu Manchu

Until 3am

At around 3am at weekends, rowdy drunks spill onto the pavements of Clapham High Street from scores of bars and clubs. A few are for the discerning drinker; many are not. Fu Manchu raises the bar, even if a themed drinking spot is hardly an original idea. There's Chinese screens, dim sum snacks and cocktails with an Asian bent. DJs take over from 10pm and last until 3am on Saturday.

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Stockwell

Communion Bar

Until 3am

Underneath the revered Angels & Gypsies tapas restaurant in Camberwell’s Church Street Hotel, this cocktail bar looks the part, with enough backlit stained glass to get Richard Dawkins on his knees. The superb drinks show real invention too, with the menu claiming that they take inspiration from local south London. Stay drinking until the very unholy hour of 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Camberwell

The Tiger

Until 3.30am

This Camberwell pub is dear to the hearts of locals, who voted it runner-up in the Time Out Loves London Awards. That's in part thanks to late opening hours come Friday and Saturday, with DJs often providing ample entertainment.

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Camberwell

The Dogstar

Until 4am

A Brixton institution from back when Coldharbour Lane was somewhere people feared to go, Dogstar is a big, three-floor street-corner pub exuding the urban authenticity loved by clubbers. Earning the accolade of being London’s first ever DJ bar, Dogstar has managed to sustain a loyal following over the decades. The atmosphere can be intense, but it’s never less than vibrant. Get down early to avoid a door charge.

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Brixton

Ekcovision

Until 4am

Ekcovision recently opened under the railway arches on Brixton's Atlantic Road, sporting a short cocktail list and a 1920s theme. Likely to be a big draw for Brixton regulars is the bar's late opening hours, with drinks pouring freely until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Brixton

Canavan's Peckham Pool Club

Until 6am

Okay, so you may have to pay a small charge on the door on Fridays and sign up to become a Canavan's club member, but who wouldn't want to join the gang at this pool-hall-turned-disco? It stays open until 6am, plus there's plenty of genuine, scruffy charm, cheaper booze than most and a down-to-earth approach to some superb electronic music.

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Peckham Rye

Late-night bars in west London

Bunga Bunga

Until 2am

A kitsch, tongue-in-cheek bar that pays homage to the playful side of Italy, with party-animal PM Silvio Berlusconi as the poster boy. It seems natural, then, that this bar would stay open until 2am – although if you're expecting an all-night Italian love-in, you're sure to be disappointed.

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Battersea

The Defectors Weld

Until 2am

Although there's no admission to this Shepherd's Bush pub after midnight, find yourself a spot nice and early and you'll be able to stick around until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. That's great news for real ale fans but also for music lovers – the pub prides itself on its taste in tunes.

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Shepherd's Bush

Lost Angel

Until 2am

The mostly twenty-something crowd at Lost Angel revel in the many themed events – Tea Party Saturdays, Bloody Mary Sundays (bombed the Earl Grey too hard the day before?), plus cocktail-making classes. Late weekend openings only seal this venue's deal as a party destination.

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Battersea

Bodo's Schloss

Until 3am

Bodo’s Schloss is there to provide some small comfort for Kensington residents left pining for the slopes of Klosters. An alpine cabin – vibrantly realised in gingham, lederhosen and cowhide – is the setting in which to enjoy traditional Austrian cuisine such as schnitzel and sauerkraut. After dinner, take your piste-weary legs to the dancefloor for ‘Die Diskotheque’, a not-so-après-ski party until 3am from Thursday to Saturday.

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Kensington

VQ

24 hours

This original VQ on Fulham Road – there's another just off Tottenham Court Road, plus more in the offing – brings 24-hour dining to Chelsea. It's been going for nearly 20 years, with its success not just down to all those people popping in after other local spots have kicked out. If you are stopping by later in the night, drinks – ranging from classic and house cocktails to draught beers and wines from a varied list – are available till late.

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Chelsea

Find bars and pubs for all times of day

The 100 best bars and pubs in London

London’s drinking scene is one of the best in the world, with boundary-breaking cocktail bars taking mixed drinks to the next level, while traditional pubs bring you back down to earth in the best possible way. Should you be looking for the perfect pint or a cocktail beyond comprehension, our critics have rounded up their favourite bars and pubs across the capital on Time Out’s list of the 100 best bars and pubs in London. 

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By: Laura Richards

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