London's weirdest nights out
Swap your wardrobe, hop around in the buff or just enjoy a civilised cup of tea - here's Time Out's guide to some weird nights out in London
Teatime frolicsTea dances are all the rage among the boho squad. There’s an array of ballroom ’n’ biscuit affairs to choose from but nowhere does it better than Viva Cake. Hosted by three rock ’n’ roll-loving ’50s nostalgics – otherwise known as the Viva Cake Bitches – this is one seriously swinging soirée. There’s jivin’ sounds, a beauty bar, the knitting circle, roller tea girls and lots and lots of brightly coloured cakes. Who needs the modern world?Venues and times vary – check www.myspace.com/vivacakebitches for latest info.
Rock ’n’ rollerWith the roller revival well under way, it was only a matter of time before the fashion set got in on the action. Skate Bitch takes place on the first Wednesday of the month and is a hip alternative to the hugely popular Rollerdisco. Aimed at all levels, it attracts everyone from sexy rollergirls to rudeboy spinners and the odd wobbly beginner. Sounds come courtesy of Skate Bitch resident DJs Rita Ray, DJ Pogo, Wilber Wilberforce and Baby Clyde, who deliver dirty disco, old-school funk, deep soul and ska, electro and punk to roll to. Forget two legs – try eight wheels.Skate Bitch, Renaissance Rooms, off Miles St, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 (0844 736 5375/www.skatebitch.co.uk). Monthly Wednesdays.
Get some satisfactionOne for serious sex kittens. Dedicated to taking the seediness out of swingers’ soirées, these raunchy parties are strictly for the beautiful people. Everyone sends in a photo beforehand and if you’re deemed too old or ugly, you’re out. Female pleasure is the focus with men banned from sleazing on the ladies. If you want to dress kinky you can, but costumes must be chic – think corsets and cocktail frocks. Bubbly flows freely and as the evening progresses couples gravitate towards the huge upstairs bed. The result is an adventurous evening where the sexual elite can fulfil their fantasies. Killing Kittens. Parties held monthly Fridays at a secret London location (www.killing-kittens.co.uk).
Have a natter at Stitch and Bitch
Stitch and Bitch
Pull the woolLondon’s trendy types are lining up to learn to cross stitch, pearl and generally get down ’n’ wooly. Leading this ‘knit fast, purl young’ revolution are a group of five quirky ladies on a mission to take over London ‘one new knitter’ at a time. Meetings are free, although cake contributions are welcomed, and take place in pubs, parks and cafés. Past activities include stitching a scarf for a Trafalgar Square Lion, a Breast Cancer Care Blanket and the annual London Knit Crawl. Stitch and Bitch. Times and venues vary – check website (www.stitchandbitchlondon.co.uk).
Hot Breath Karaoke
One for wannabesKaraoke’s been cool for a while and this is probably London’s funniest singalong session. Every Tuesday the Shoreditch masses flock to this ‘Wheel of Fortune’-style party, where wannabes can choose from a whopping 7,000 classic tracks. There’s bargain-bin prizes for all who are brave, or misguided, enough to enter, and the whole evening is based around throwing inhibitions to the winds.Hot Breath Karaoke, The Legion, 348 Old Street, London, EC1 (020 7729 4441/ www.myspace.com/hotbreathkaraoke) Old Street tube/rail. Weekly Tuesdays.
Dare to bareCome on, admit it. Most of us might secretly enjoy a quick boogie in the buff but few of us would actually dare to bare all in a crowded club. If you’re looking to shed a few inhibitions then why not check out Starkers. London’s popular naturist club night is a carefree, clothes-free affair based around the concept of having fun, not having it off. Yes, there are supposedly saucy games like ‘Pass the Balloon’, eye-opening naked yoga demos and even the odd stray erection but the atmosphere remains defiantly, and somewhat comfortingly, asexual. With naturism on the rise, Starkers is the place to let it all hang out.Starkers!, The Factory, 65 Goding Street, SE11 (020 8386 7421/www.starkersclub.co.uk) Vauxhall tube/rail. Monthly Fridays.
Colourful cabaretAn essential stop on the London party circuit, this decadent soirée is hosted by everyone’s favourite diva – Ms Jodie Harsh. A mecca for fashion junkies, nu-rave kids and various celebs, it’s a colourful mix of cabaret, toe-tapping sounds and audio-visual madness. Previous highlights include impromptu performances from the likes of alternative acrobat Empress Stah and New York transsexual fashion icon Amanda Lepore. The only downside is enduring the sight of various celebs prancing around behind the decks. Circus, Soho Revue Bar, 11 Walkers Court, Brewer Street, London, W1 (020 7734 0377/www.sohorevuebar.com) Leicester Square tube. Weekly Fridays.
Fashion frenzyTime out has been championing this offbeat event, where clubbers swap clothes, since the early days when it first migrated across the Channel from Europe’s fashion capital (Paris, duh!). For the friendly fee of 99p you are free to grab whatever items take your fancy. But be warned – there is no guarantee you’ll get back as much as you are forced to give. Over-enthusiastic swappers have been known to end the night with little more than a furry waistcoat protecting their modesty. Everyone looks ridiculous – and not in the usual Shoreditch manner, necessitating hours of preparation. Your outfit is dictated by chance – along with a little sartorial bartering. Swap-A-Rama Razzmatazz, Favela Chic, 91-93 Great Eastern Street EC2 (020 7613 5228/www.favelachic.com) Old Street tube.
Speed hating at Down With Dating
Down With Dating
Discover speed hating!Brought to us by those clever bods behind miserablist club night Feeling Gloomy, this ‘speed hating’ event is perfect for those who rate conventional dating events up there with pulling out nasal hairs. To help daters really let go, everyone's rechristened on entry – Cyril, Percy, Ethel… – before a Blind Hate round with questions like 'Which tropical disease would you most liken yourself to?' A misfortune teller will be on hand to forecast doom and gloom for any budding relationships and there’s the obligatory game of Twister with the Grim Reaper. Down with Dating, The Albion, 121 Hammersmith Rd, London, W14 0QL (020 7603 2826/www.downwithdating.com) Hammersmith tube. Monthly Thursdays.
Kit Kat Kabaret
Make like Liza MinnelliNamed after Berlin’s infamous Kit Kat Club, which featured in the classic musical ‘Cabaret’, this weekly club is awash with decadent delights. Tucked away beneath the bustling central London streets, Cellar Door is a suitably leftfield setting for an evening of sexy swing duos, cabaret curiosities, burlesque babes and more. Add to that the fact it’s free and that happy hour on cocktails extend to 8pm and you have the perfect Thursday night package.Kit Kat Cabaret, CellarDoor, Zero Aldwych, London, WC2 (020 7240 8848/www.cellardoor.biz) Charing Cross tube/rail. Weekly Thursdays.
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