London’s best cabaret clubs

On the hunt for brilliant burlesque, killer comedy and outrage-inducing oddness? Look no further

There’s more to cabaret than lounge-singing crooners. With niches ranging from retro-style burlesque to drag queens, satirical wordsmiths to avant-garde situationists and polished character comedians to spine-stretching circus acts, no two shows are quite the same. Such diversity within the cabaret scene begs one question: where can you find the good stuff?

Think we’ve missed a great cabaret club in London? Let us know in the comment box below.

The best cabaret clubs in London

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

The sticky red carpet and broken lampshades perfectly suit the quirky dress-up parties, cabaret line-ups and prop-themed nights at this cradle of the retro boom. Dancetastic troupe Sink the Pink host off-the-wall shindigs and the club is home to adventurous nights such as the all-female Blue Stocking Society and David Lynch-themed Double R Club. The mood is friendly, the playlist upbeat and the air full of arty playful mischief.

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Bethnal Green

The Box

The scandalously successful New York nightspot established a London branch in early 2011. You won't get in unless you have deep pockets (we’re talking thousands) or know someone but they've remodelled the iconic former Raymond Revue Bar site a treat, if you like decadence. The skills-based turns are very strong; others lean toward the titillating or prioritise production values over originality. Stand-out is the extraordinary transgendered performer Rose Wood.

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Soho

CellarDoor

Some staggeringly clever design means that although there’s room for just 60 in this subterranean converted Victorian loo, CellarDoor never feels claustrophobic. Musical-theatre cabaret crooners, drag queens and snuff parties (as in taking snuff) are the order of the day, giving this sleek establishment a vintage feel. Nearly all shows are free and often great fun – EastEnd Cabaret regularly appear and Champagne Charlie’s Tuesday open-mic night is an institution.

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Aldwych

The Pheasantry

The successor to the institution that was Pizza on the Park, this jazz and cabaret venue is also part of the Pizza Express stable. The bright, spacious basement space has something of a cruise-ship feel (where does that staircase actually go?) and sight-lines aren't always great but it's the city's premier platform for New York-style jazz-singing and musical-theatre-influenced cabaret work, often attracting big names from the West End and across the pond.

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Chelsea

Proud Cabaret City

Tucked away in a corner of the City, this cabaret outpost from the Proud stable is one of the lushest dinner-cabaret spaces in town, with a well-positioned thrust stage nestling below plush, cosy booths. The modern British menu is good too, particularly at special-offer rates, though the shows aim for spectacle rather than substance: often high on technical skills, they tend to be low on character or provocation. A popular choice for hen parties. 

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London

The RVT

This legendary queer performance pub has a star-studded past (the gay Kray used to drink here, Regina Fong held court and Lily Savage got her start behind the bar) and insistently eclectic line-up. On Saturday there’s seminal club night Duckie, with Amy Lamé hosting turns that range from live art to porn puppets; other staples include the raucous Sunday show from the DE Experience and regular runs from the legendary David Hoyle. It's also home to the Hot August Fringe festival.

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Vauxhall

Soho Theatre

A major 2011 refurbishment of this bastion of new theatre included the launch of Downstairs, a dedicated comedy and cabaret space. Its hard lines, low stage and packed table seating arguably favour the former over the latter but it consistently books outstanding talent from the international cabaret circuit, from Justin Vivian Bond, Meow Meow and Caroline Nin to our own David Hoyle, Bourgeois & Maurice and the Tiger Lillies. 

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Soho

Volupté

This louche, intimate basement venue serves up some of the best burlesque in town beneath writhing absinthe-inspired arabesques. The focus is on glam, accessible nights hosted by the likes of Ivy Paige and Agent Lynch, with regular rounds of afternoon tea – what could be better than nipple tassels, Champagne and freshly made scones? Killer cocktails and late-night dancing too. 

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Chancery Lane

Comments

17 comments
Philip H
Philip H

hey there I have news on a new cabaret venue opening east London....strong line up for new season licensed bar intimae setting and table service who can I contact please for listing submission? lee@jackproductions.co.uk


m t
m t

london cabaret club is the worse you can imagine ! no offence but The shows are for old people 60+ or children nothing is organised the food is tribble . is really not worth the money ! very cheaply done  

Naome
Naome

hi I'm new in town looking for work as I have worked in Drag queen barcelona and now seek someone could guide me in London a few places where you agan these Shows My email address is noemilond@gmail.com thank you very much

Ezme Gaze
Ezme Gaze

Sacrebleu!!!! I see I'm not the only one who is surprised to see this great night out not on your list.

AMBER WHITE
AMBER WHITE

I always look forward to The Sacrebleu Cabaret on the first Friday of every month at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon by Nick Miller. Every show is fantastic and you just cry with laugher. You are always guaranteed to have a great night!

Charlie Bennett
Charlie Bennett

I agree with all the comments below. I look forward to The Sacrebleu Cabaret on the first Friday of each month at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. You never know what to expect but once it starts you don't want it to stop!

Pete Cunningham
Pete Cunningham

I know its Croydon but Nick Miller runs a hot cabaret night on the 1st Friday of every month called 'Sacrebleu' at Fairfield Halls and he draws some pretty amazing names from the world of Comedy & Cabaret.

Chris Plumtree
Chris Plumtree

Err - where is Sacrebleu in Croydon on the first Friday of every month ? From showing acts that are spanky brand new to genuine living legends interspersed with the merest splash of jaw dropping burlesque, what more could you want ? Compered by Nick Miller, less of an enigma, more of a crocodile shoe wearing comedy blunderbuss, you really should give this a go as memories are permanent whereas therapy is only temporary....

Roberto Prestoni
Roberto Prestoni

Sacrebleu in Croydon is well worth a look. An unmitigated hoot everytime!!

James Oliver
James Oliver

If you want to see a truly great caberet act then a must see is Sacrebleu at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon on the first Friday of every month. The brilliant and funny Nick Miller hosts a great evening of entertainment. I guarantee that you will not see a show like it and you will be back the following month for more.

Bob Oddy
Bob Oddy

In the real tradition of caberet and variety I would recommend Sacrebleu! at Croydon's Fairfield Halls; on once a month. From the surreal of David Armand, Mister Meredith or Nanny Dora to the sublime of Lezlie Anders and Buddy Grecco, this, along with supporting local talent such as Alison Plant, Scarebleu! harks back to the heady days of Burlesque, Music Hall and traditional entertainment that Reality TV has killed. Simon Cowell, you're looking in the wrong place, try Fairfiled Halls in Croydon.

Claire M
Claire M

Horrified to see that Sacrebleu Cabaret in Croydon is not on your list - shame! They showcase fabulous comedy/music/magic/variety acts. Highly recommended.

Carl Morris
Carl Morris

Sacrebleu! in Croydon's Fairfield Halls is an absolute must. It genuinely has something for everyone. I've been several times and taken friends from 16 - 73 and they have all enjoyed the show. I'm still buzzing from seeing Paul Zennon (childhood hero) and sharing a drink with him afterwards, such is the atmosphere of the show. I've been to a lot of London theatre and I can honestly say that Sacrebleu is the funniest, friendliest and at times the most intriguing night out. And it's cheap (there's even a discount if you get on the mailing list, not just a one off either!). I don't understand why it's not in the above list. Sort it out, Time Out!!

Carl Morris
Carl Morris

Sacrebleu! in Croydon's Fairfield Halls is an absolute must. It genuinely has something for everyone. I've been several times and taken friends from 16 - 73 and they have all enjoyed the show. I'm still buzzing from seeing Paul Zennon (childhood hero) and sharing a drink with him afterwards, such is the atmosphere of the show. I've been to a lot of London theatre and I can honestly say that Sacrebleu is the funniest, friendliest and at times the most intriguing night out. And it's cheap (there's even a discount if you get on the mailing list, not just a one off either!). I don't understand why it's not in the above list. Sort it out, Time Out!!

Sandra Hanson
Sandra Hanson

Try Sacrebleu! It's held once a month on the first friday of each month at the Fairfield Halls Croydon. A brilliant mix of music and comedy with lots of audience participation.

George Egg
George Egg

I would suggest Sacrebleu in Croydon. They present a brilliant variety from comedy to poetry, music, avantgarde performance and more besides. Really very good, and a nice change from endless Burlesque.