The people's 101: nights out

Discover the best things to do in the capital as recommended by real Londoners



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After creating our own list of 101 things to do in London we decided to let you have your say. We asked Time Out readers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers to tell us their top things to do in the capital. Kayak tours, daytime clubbing, rooftop cinema and candlelit gigs – Time Outers named them all. Check out the people's 101 and explore this city like a true Londoner.

What's missing from the list? Have your say: on Facebook | on Twitter using #BestofLondon or in the comments form below

Nightlife, theatre and clubbing in London

See saucy cabaret in Bethnal Green

Downstairs the BGWMC is the same working men’s club – with many of the same working men – that it’s been for 50 years. Upstairs it’s a retro-tinted home to cutting-edge entertainment including comedy, cabaret, magic and, if Diane Evans is to be believed, ‘nights of shameless and spontaneous decadence and debauchery’. Ooh Diane!
Read more about Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

  1. 42-46 Pollard Row, E2 6NB
More info

Enjoy charity-conscious cinema

A much-loved gem is The Lexi, in suburban Kensal Rise, a tiny digital cinema with a wonderfully eclectic schedule and a pledge to donate all profits to a township in South Africa.
See what's showing at The Lexi

  1. 194, Chamberlayne Road, NW10 3JU
Book online

Go country dancing at Cecil Sharp House

The home of the English Folk Dance and Song society is every bit as eccentric as you’d expect. As well as promoting barn-dancing, quadrille, ceilidh and country dancing, the venue hosts less active and more contemporary entertainment and, accordingly to folkie Jane Newburgh, ‘a bar where men with major facial hair consume more beer than darts players do’.
Read more about Cecil Sharp House

  1. 2 Regent's Park Rd, NW1 7AY
More info

Sip cocktails at the Experimental Cocktail Club

  • Rated as: 3/5

A speakeasy-style hoochmonger behind a secret door, the ECC garnered votes for what Janet Gaumer summarised as its ‘orgasmic cocktails and brilliantly barking decor.’ Booking in advance is advised.
Read more about Experimental Cocktail Club

  1. 13A Gerrard Street, W1D 5PS
More info
Rooftop Cinema Club

View films alfresco-style

The Rooftop Film Club hosts al fresco screenings of classic movies (the likes of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and ‘Some Like it Hot’) atop buildings in Kensington, Shoreditch and London Fields.
See latest Rooftop Film Club events

Experience the unexpected at Café Oto

For those who like their live music challenging, unpredictable, improvised or just plain weird, Dalston’s Cafe Oto is the nuts. With ‘an intimate vibe, spot-on acoustics and beers from the Kernal microbrewery,’ says Jonathan Douglass, ‘it’s every muso’s dream venue.’
Read more about Café Oto

  1. 18-22 Ashwin St, E8 3DL
More info

Catch a secret movie screening

If Secret Cinema (motto: ‘tell no one’) hoped to remain a cult concern, they’ve failed miserably. Readers L Hesks and Stephanie Haywood are among many thousands of fans of this monthly gathering that once drew 15,000 cinephiles to Alexandra Palace to watch Lawrence of Arabia. Visit for details of screenings.

Bag bargain tickets to the Royal Court Theatre

The Royal Court Theatre remains hugely popular with Time Out readers, who highlighted the £10 Monday tickets as a major bargain.
Read more about Royal Court Theatre

  1. Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
More info

See cutting edge theatre at Southwark Playhouse

Southwark Playhouse has established itself as the go-to place for exciting, inventive theatre, and its dark and musty space in the vaults beneath London Bridge station offers bags of character. With its pay-as-you-go pass – five plays for £37.50 – Southwark Playhouse also proves to be fantastic theatre at fantastic value.
Read more about Southwark Playhouse

  1. Shipwright Yard, Corner of Tooley St and Bermondsey St, SE1 2TF
More info

Music by night, and by day, at the Union Chapel

Recently voted London’s best music venue by Time Out readers, this Grade-I listed gothic masterpiece hosts the free Daylight Music series most Saturday lunchtimes where, says Tim Britton, ‘you can see a lot of people introducing their children to music’. Nice.
Read more about Union Chapel

  1. Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
More info

See a gig by candlelight

On the third Monday of each month there’s a candlelit gig at Blacks on Dean Street, run by the enigmatically-titled Society of the Golden Slippers. Entry is free but it’s tough to get on the guest list - email them via their Facebook page and keep your fingers crossed. Previous shows have included The Civil Wars, Ed Harcourt and Jesca Hoop.
Visit Society of the Golden Slippers' Facebook page for more details

Be entertained in stunning surroundings

A definite crowd-pleaser is the magnificent nineteenth-century auditorium at Wilton’s Music Hall, home to an eclectic schedule of cabaret, comedy, theatre and live music.
Read more about Wilton's Music Hall

  1. 1-4 Graces Alley, off Ensign St, E1 8JB
More info

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