As part of our 2015 reader takeover issue, which saw our beloved, awesome readers take the reins of the magazine and website, we chose four eloquent and dedicated London night-owls to wax lyrical about their favourite place to go out after-hours in the city. Turns out that sticky floors, sweaty bodies and dingy basements are what pushed their party buttons hardest.
‘Walking out of the cold and into Fabric is like entering your best nightmare. Reality falls by the wayside and you don’t have a care in the world, especially not the hot sweaty bodies enveloping you or the sticky floors. Instead, you feel the energy from the masses and your muscles pulsate with the beat. The overwhelming experience is simply people from all over the globe partying until the early hours.
It can get a little crowded, but you know you can always be and do whatever you want in Fabric. It’s a shared experience: the music, the space, the people – it’s about bringing everyone together, but also being an individual and having a complete sense of anonymity.
Although I mix it up between the club’s various rooms, as I’m a dedicated fan of drum and bass the majority of my eight, physically exhausting, dancing hours are usually spent in Room Two, where the music stays in your bones. Fabric is somewhere that you can dance for hours and feel like it’ll never end. The buzzing atmosphere remains with you, even when you leave.’
Alana Ramler, 28, management accountant
‘I’ve been going to NHAC for a good few years now. What really appeals about this dingy, brilliant basement is its intimacy, and the diversity of both the crowd and the nights that take place. There’s nothing too exuberant about the decor – projectors beam out images that sit over quotes painted on the walls – but the small stage and big speaker set-up are perfect for nights out where the music remains the focus. Said music ranges from live indie bands trying to break through to full-on club nights.
The crowd are always appreciative and the vibe is based on having a good time – rather than any west London pretensions – and the drinks flow constantly, thanks to a perfectly sized bar. NHAC never fails me when I’m looking for a night that’s free of the rigours of some London clubs, and somewhere that I can dance like no one's watching and shamelessly have a good time. What's not to love?’
Jack Collins, 22, writer and editor
‘I’m going to say it so you don’t have to. Infernos in Clapham is everyone’s guilty pleasure. It’s a Mecca for us twenty-somethings of south west London, where we can gather in mutual appreciation of musical fromage.
In this city of ours, there are few clubs left where the DJ won’t turn his nose up when we request Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’. And when he dutifully obliges, it’s perfectly okay to engage in a badass dance-off with your best mate, pulling moves Channing Tatum wouldn’t dare attempt. Yes, your feet stick to the floor. Yes, you’ll probably get hit on by an 18-year-old in a snapback. But if you’re upstairs with your clan when Vengaboys comes on, there’s no way you won’t be throwing every shape in your repertoire.
As the night draws to a close and you’ve lost at least 25% of your pals, the music subtly fades from ‘Get Ur Freak on’ to ‘Wonderwall’. Then we all leave and head to an infamous chicken shop, arguing about who’s turn it is to order the Uber. Perfect.’
Kirsty Boswell, 24, social media specialist
‘If you’ve ever passed a line of excited-looking drunk people opposite Peckham Rye Station after about 10pm, odds are it’s a queue for the Bussey. Although officially titled the CLF Art Café, no one actually calls it that, and it’s instead known by pretty much everyone as the Bussey Building. A multi-storey warehouse dedicated to the local arts, this place is an absolute gem of London clubbing. It’s resisted the gentrification trend, it’s not too edgy, it’s not too pricy and there’s zero pretension.
My favourite night is the South London Soul Train: DJs spin vinyl until 5am and music ranges from heavyweight Motown classics and disco bangers to deeper funk and soul cuts. You may have no clue what floor you’re on. But you can’t help but get your groove on.’
Luke Purwar, 21, medical student
Find a Halloween club night
Playboy Club London
An exclusive club, casino and restaurant in Mayfair - from Hugh Hefner's iconic brand. Members can enjoy table games such as American roulette, three card poker, blackjack and punto banco in one very swanky setting, with Playboy Bunnies dealing the cards and serving the drinks. The dining room is a similarly swish affair. Its menu ranges from Mediterranean dips and Middle Eastern mezze to beef fillet carpaccio, oysters, caviar, wagyu steaks, Cotswold lamb cutlets and the 'Hef Burger' - a wagyu patty with truffle ketchup, skinny fries and a bespoke poker chip redeemable for a glass of champagne. Set menus are available, too. Non-members can visit Salvatore's Bar, a chic drinking spot from Salvatore Calabrese, one of the world's most famous bartenders. Expect a large collection of vintage Cognacs (some of which date back to the 18th century), classic cocktails, rare spirits and concoctions created by Salvatore himself. For those looking for a little aural titillation, Baroque offers live music and special events with the entertainment complemented by champagne towers, canapés, cocktails and gourmet food. This area is available for private hire, too.