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Five cool new venues to check out this December

By Time Out London contributor

December is a tricky month, cash-wise. Forking out the big bucks for aunty Gloria’s Britney Spears perfume and uncle Graham’s thermal underwear means little is left in the wallet for going out. Get your priorities straight, people – Poundland socks will do just fine. Hold onto your pennies as there's lots of exciting new London venues opening their doors at the mo. We asked venue experts Hire Space for the top new spots to hang out at this month.

1. Victorian Circus at The Gun

Oliver Twist meets Zippo at this quirky pub pop-up at The Gun. Visitors to the Docklands hangout will enter the riverside marquee and be transported back to the days of sideshows and circus freaks, mingling with taxidermy animals, participating in carnival games and snacking on popcorn, candy floss and a range of circus-themed canapés. The venue has teamed up with Scottish gin giants Hendrick’s, who’ll bring a host of warming winter cocktails to the table, such as the hot elderflower toddy and Mr Micawber’s hot gin punch, in exchange for just a couple of your shiniest shillings.

2. The Testing Works at Ugly Duck

The Victorian theme continues with the newest space from the Ugly Duck group, who’ve successfully revitalised warehouse spaces for a variety of uses. Just south of Blackfriars Bridge, The Testing Works is essentially a museum that opens its doors to parties, meetings, photo shoots and other gatherings of up to 50 people, who can mingle among the collection of original nineteenth century machinery that proved critical to the industrial revolution. Whether or not Queen Victoria would finally be amused is hard to say, but we certainly are.

3. Tape London

If you prefer the machinery on your nights out to be less steam engine and more loudspeaker, fast forward into the modern era with a session at Tape London, a brand new Mayfair club, whose eclectic approach to music has already welcomed live artists from Wolf Alice to A$AP Rocky onto its stage. While partygoers burn off steam on HipHop Thursdays and Mixtape Fridays, musicians of all genres, from jazz to rock, are invited to record their latest oeuvres in the onsite studio, surrounded by memorabilia from Kurt Cobain’s jacket to handwritten notes by Elvis.

4. Below & Hidden

For a more intimate experience, the basement of the Bourne & Hollingsworth building in Clerkenwell is certainly worth checking out. There's a night-in feel to this night out, with the clubroom roughly the size of a living room. The room welcomes revellers every Friday and Saturday, showing off its unicorn tapestry-covered walls, sparklers, and LED-lit walls after the clock strikes 12. House cocktails are served bottled to cut out the monotonous spirit-pouring period, leaving more time for dancing and fixating on the mesmerising light show.

5. Birdies Crazy Golf at The Vaults

If your idea of a club is more to do with golf, channel your inner Tiger Woods (circa 2000) and put your putting skills to the test at this new December pop-up hidden in subterranean Waterloo. Nine awkwardly placed holes and purposely misshapen putting greens are ready to disrupt your apparently indestructible golfing game, working in tandem with cocktails from the Caddy Shack bar to stun your senses. All will take place in The Vaults – otherwise a year-round, dedicated arts space – including street food from Hawksmoor’s head chef, for when it’s time to eat away sorrows resulting from those embarrassingly high handicaps.

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