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50 best nights out in London

Time Out’s Nightlife and Things To Do editors join forces to pick the best places to spend your precious evenings

By Things To Do Editors, Oliver Keens, Sonya Barber, Nick Levine and Lisa Wright |
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Printworks
Printworks by Carolina Farualo

Get off your sofa and pause Netflix. We've got you covered for nights out for the rest of the year (and then some). From clubbing to craftivism, and kayaking to karaoke, London’s after-dark activities are becoming more diverse than you could ever imagine. So for those who are tired of nightclubs or not really into boozing, don’t panic, there’s something for everyone in this great city. Take your pick of the best of the bunch. 

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artist is Hardton
Christa Holka
Nightlife, Alternative nightlife

The boundary-breaking club that started in a cellar

icon-location-pin Dalston

Formerly (and still commonly) known as Vogue Fabrics, Dalston disco den VFD hosts drag and spoken word events as well as genre-spanning club nights and parties. Look out for the massive penis mural in the loos.

Price: some events free, some £5 and up.

Open past 2am / vfdalston.com 

VFD, 66 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7XB

 

The after-dark river adventure

London by night bus? No thank you. London by night kayak, however? That we can – quite literally – get on board with. Secret Adventures’ Night Kayak tours allow you to see our twinkling landmarks from a whole new angle. The adventure starts at the beach next to St Mary’s Church, Battersea, and finishes in Greenwich

 Price: around £70 

secretadventures.org

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The unofficial institute of cheese

Held every Saturday at the 800-capacity O2 Academy Islington, Club de Fromage is the stuff of London party legend. As its name suggests, the music policy is as cheesy as a quattro formaggi: come for wall-to-wall throwback bangers from the likes of Britney and Bon Jovi.

Price: £6.50 

Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / clubdefromage.com

16 Parkfield St, The Angel, London N1 0PS

Sonya Barber

The epicly square-eyed marathon

Want to stay up all night watching movies and eating sweets? The only place to do it outside of your own gaff is at a Prince Charles Cinema All Nighter. Bring your best pyjamas, plenty of snacks (and maybe some Pro Plus) as you embark on a dreamy night of themed back-to-back films from 9pm until 9am.

Price: £20

Open past 2am / princecharlescinema.com

Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BY

 

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Restaurants, Burgers

The Moonstruck Mermaids meet

icon-location-pin Nunhead

Do you believe in the power of pop’s Auto-Tune-loving goddess? If the answer is ‘YES!’, then you’ll be wanting to book tickets for the next I Need to Cher night at The Old Nun's Head. Featuring queens, wrestling (!) and more, it’s a fitting tribute.

Price: £10

theoldnunshead.co.uk

15 Nunhead Green, Nunhead, London SE15 3QQ

Pipistrelle bat, hyde park bat walk
© Hugh Clark

The vampiric nocturnal excursion

Here’s how to really embrace the night: try something you literally couldn’t do by day at one of the Royal Parks’ bat walks. A chance to see the nocturnal creatures during their working hours, you’ll even get to use a bat detector.

Price: £10

Wheelchair accessible / royalparks.org.uk

Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens

 

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The game-changing LGBT+ party

It’s hard to overstate the influence of Pxssy Palace, which ‘prioritises women and femmes of colour and other queer, intersex and trans POC’. Booking DJs often ignored by the mainstream, PP has shifted the paradigm big time. 

Price: £10

Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / @pxssypalace

It's a pop-up club night, but it's often found at: The Garage, 20-22 Highbury Corner, Highbury East, London N5 1RD

 

The depot-turned-rebel club

Tottenham has become the definitive destination for proper late-nighters. The Cause and its caged DJ booth has led the charge for renegade clubbing. Always meant as an ad-hoc space, the good news is their tenure has been extended to 2020.

Price: Around £15

Open past 2am / facebook.com/thecauselondon

Down Lane Studios, Ashley House, Ashley Road
N17 9LZ

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The hipster bingo hall

Eyes down for a full house… Dabbers Social Bingo has comics as bingo callers and interactive challenges called things like ‘twerk it out’.

Price: from £8 to £15

dabbers.bingo

18 - 22 Houndsditch, London EC3A 7DB

The lit lit sesh

Short, sharp spoken word: that’s what’s on offer at self-declared ‘snappy’ open-mic night Boxedin at Shoreditch’s Boxpark. If you’re feeling brave, sign up on the evening to perform, or settle down for two hours of the quickest lit in town. The best bit? It’s plonked in the middle of all the food you could desire.

Price: Free

boxpark.co.uk

2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, Hackney E1 6GY

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The Pritt Stick appreciation society

If you want to unleash your creative side but pretty much hate putting pen to paper, Collage Club is for you. Recreate your primary school days with a fun night of ripping, cutting, sticking and gluing with silly speed-collaging sessions and collaborative challenges. All materials are provided.

Price: £10

collageclubldn.com

House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, N1C 4BH

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Pics from Jawdance Photo credit: Suzi Corker

The rallying political lit night

One of the UK’s most vibrant poetry organisations, Apples and Snakes is not so much an intimidating gathering in a bookshop as a place for rallying, edge-of-your-seat performance. From poetry readings to Brexit debates, there’s no fruit that’s forbidden here.

Price: free

applesandsnakes.org

Events pop up everywhere from Brighton to Bristol, check out their website for upcoming London nights.

The rudest embroidery class in town

If you’ve ever wanted to keep a record of your bits for posterity, then London Loom Sessions’ ‘Membroidery’ (member embroidery, geddit?) is here to help. Encouraging you to ‘leave your prudishness at the door’, it’s a fun and friendly way to celebrate your body.

Price: £30

thelondonloom.com

Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace, Hackney Downs, E8 2BT

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Eve Wrestling
Photograph: Rob Brazier

The adrenaline-packed fight club

Netflix’s ‘Glow’ might have brought women’s wrestling to the masses, but underground league Eve Wrestling is the real deal. Head to the Resistance Gallery to witness all the sweat, shouting and sick moves, and be ready to get vocal – it might be a spectator sport, but by the end you’ll be a raving super-fan.

Price: £25

evewrestling.com

The Resistance Gallery, 265 Poyser Street, E2 9RF

The concrete playhouse

A true source of Peckham pride, multi-floored concrete hub the Bussey Building continues to thrive as a warehouse-style club at night and a sweet arts venue during the day. Regular weekend parties like The South London Soul Train are joyful affairs, and also rare examples of young and old partying in sync.

Price: from £5

Open past 2am / copelandpark.com

Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, Peckham, SE15 4ST

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The party that gives women a voice

Now seven years old, ‘indie queer dance party’ Debbie loves pop, rock and disco equally, but every song must have a female vocal, which means the DJs will drop everything from Donna Summer to Hole. Wear your sturdiest shoes for this monthly danceathon, held at Eagle London. 

Price: £6, free before 10pm

Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / eaglelondon.com/debbie

Eagle London, 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5QY

101 Things To Do in London: The Globe
© John Tramper

The play that starts after your bedtime

Shakespeare’s been done every which way, but under the night sky is surely the best. Want to add another layer of madness to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’? Book in for a midnight matinee at the Globe. Drama is guaranteed.

Price: £5 to £50 

Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / shakespearesglobe.com

21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT

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Model Frank Le

The life class that looks proper trippy

Neon paint, UV lights and writhing bodies – no, it’s not something X-rated, this is a legit life-drawing class. Spend an evening creating psychedelic sketches of a life model in body paint at Neon Naked Life Drawing.

Price: £15

neonnaked.com

Venues across London, inc Queen of Hoxton and The Doodle Bar - visit their website for upcoming events. 

If you only do one thing ...
Andy Parsons

The iconic N4 fun palace

Rowans Bowling has a deserved legendary rep. There are two floors of lanes, karaoke booths, an arcade, pool tables, boozy slushies and you can even get pizzas at your lane. Plus it’s open until 2am on weekends. Strike!

Price: £5.50

Open past 2am / rowans.co.uk

10 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, N4 2DF

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The lazy way to get wavey

For the best legal high in London, head to The Psychedelic Society’s two-hour sound bath. Drink some ceremonial-grade pu’er tea (to alter your body’s energies), get comfy and let the good vibrations from the gongs and singing bowls send you off on a trippy meditative journey.

Price: £13

Wheelchair accessible / psychedelicsociety.org.uk

The Round Chapel, Lower Clapton Rd, London, E5 0NP

© Photography by Jake Davis (fb.com/hungryvisuals)
© Photography by Jake Davis (fb.com/hungryvisuals)

Brixton’s best sound system

Phonox has the utopian aim of building a welcoming community of likeminded clubbers. No frills, no pretence, just a sound group of people there for the dance. Expect unrivalled DJs and a first-rate sound system.

Price: £5

Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / phonox.co.uk

 418 Brixton Rd, Brixton, SW9 7AY

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The legendary music quiz

Do you tut savagely at anyone who puts ‘The’ in front of ‘Pixies’? You do? Then head to Highgate boozer The Boogaloo for its weekly night Who Killed Bambi? – it’s the longest-running music quiz in London.

Price: £2

Wheelchair accessible / theboogaloo.co.uk/who-killed-bambi-music-quiz

The Boogaloo, 312 Archway Rd, N6 5AT 

The laser-strewn super-club

No nightlife venue has the wow factor like Printworks. This huge post-industrial space provides a playpen for the world’s biggest house and D&B DJs to get epic on yr ass.

Price: around £27

Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / printworkslondon.co.uk

Surrey Quays Rd, Rotherhithe, SE16 7PJ

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The immersive gallery late

RA Lates isn’t free, but it’s well worth the price for the events and installations (supper clubs, robotic displays etc). Plus, when else can you go around exhibitions in fancy dress?

Price: from £25

Wheelchair accessible / royalacademy.org.uk

Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 0BD

The crime-solving sesh

You’ve tried singalongs, now head to a solve-along. At Solve-Along-a-Murder-She-Wrote, the organisers screen an episode of the classic Angela Lansbury detective show, while you try and solve via games, quizzes, participation and more.

Price: £8

outsavvy.com

Various venues. Next night: Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane,  London SE11 5HY

 

 

 

 

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James Bellorini

The LGBT+ icon

East End super-pub The Glory has become an LGBT+ landmark. Open nightly, it’s also hosted everything from queer Jewish night Butt Mitzvah to a George Michael tribute with ‘Club Tropicana’ hot tubs.

Price: free

theglory.co

281 Kingsland Rd, E2 8AS 

Crofton Park Pictures at Rivoli Ballroom
Andy Parsons

The movie pop-up in a ballroom

You won’t find a more glamorous spot to watch a film than under the crystal chandeliers of the Rivoli Ballroom Pop Up Cinema. For a few nights each month, this lavish 1950s-style ballroom screens classic flicks.

Price: £10

Wheelchair accessible / rivoliballroom.com

350 Brockley Rd, Lewisham, SE4 2BY 

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Uniqlo Tate Lates
© Dan Weill

The hip arty party you’re always invited to!

On the last Friday of every month, art lovers head to Tate Modern Lates. These giant free parties are packed with performances, music, films, talks and DJ sets. It’s the perfect place to discover London’s hottest new artists and have a cocktail while checking out those tenth-floor views.

Price: free

Wheelchair accessible / tate.org.uk

Bankside, SE1 9TG 

Eivind Hansen

The karaoke bar hosted by drag queens

If you want to take to the mic at London’s hottest new singing spot Karaoke Hole, you’ll be on the main stage. There’s no other bar in town where you can belt out your favourite tunes accompanied by a crooning drag-queen host.

Price: book a table to secure a spot - £5 pp on Fridays and Saturdays, free on Thursdays. 

Open past 2am / thekaraokehole.com

95 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB 

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The party that revived queer disco

Horse Meat Disco is everything a good weekly club should be: friendly, inclusive, not too pricy and playing music that’s defined yet unpredictable. The four DJs behind this Sunday standout at Eagle London revived disco for queer audiences at a time when such silky sounds were dead.

Price: depends on the night, at the Eagle London it's free till 10pm, £5 after.

Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / @horsemeatdisco

Eagle London, 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5QY 

Jack Latimer

The night club/craft club

Nipple tassle crafting, belly dancing classes, papier mâché making, calligraphy, Lego robot building, hip flask decorating, throw knitting – if you want a weird and wonderful evening, head to King’s Cross café-cum-bar Drink Shop Do where there’s something surprising happening every night of the week, as well as club nights with cheesy tunes until late each weekend.

Price: depends on the night, from free parties to £26 bottomless brunch to £50 workshops 

drinkshopdo.co.uk

9 Caledonian Rd, Islington, N1 9DX

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The most-haunted art group

You’ve heard of life drawing, but would you brave death drawing? Art Macabre’s spooktacular skeletal sketching soirees aren’t as scary as they sound – each inclusive class takes place in a unique venue from cemeteries to museums and has a unique theatrical theme from film noir to folk rituals.

Price: depends on the event, around £15

artmacabre.co.uk

Various venues. 

 

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

If this night's title has you immediately shouting “Ah! Like, from 'Jaws'!” then you're probably the kind of person who'll dig London's premiere movie quiz. Taking place monthly in Brixton, Piccadilly and Brentford, it's been going for more than 15 years now – enough prowess to give even Barry Norman a run for his money.

Price: £7 pp

film-quiz.com

Flamingo Room in O'Neill's33-37 Wardour St, Soho W1D 6PU

Upstairs at the Ritzy, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Ln, Brixton SW2 1JG

The Lord Nelson, 9-11 Enfield Rd, Brentford TW8 9NY

 

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The perfect place to test your jazz vocals

Like the best combination of highbrow spoken word and good old-fashioned karaoke japes, Hoxton night Jazz Verse Jukebox fuses spoken word, improv jazz AND lets you get in on the action yourself. Sign up for their open mic session and, whether you want to test your verbal dexterity or vocal prowess, there's a band ready and waiting to be your back up.

Price: from £8

jumokefashola.com

Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton St, London, United Kingdom

The screenings for proper film buffs

If you like your movie nights a tad more old-school, you need to check out Ciné Reel – the only film club in the UK that exclusively plays 16mm format films. Each month, the wonderful Umit from the legendary Clapton film emporium Umit & Sons projects a favourite classic round the corner at The Castle Cinema for appreciative celluloid enthusiasts.

Price: £10

cine-real.com

The Castle Cinema, 64 - 66 Brooksby's Walk, E9 6DA

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Things to do

The rooftop fun palace

icon-location-pin Stratford

There’s plenty of rooftop bars in London, but where else can you watch a film alfresco or challenge your mates to a game of crazy golf, virtual reality foosball, a spot of curling, jenga or a swing in a batting cage?

Roof East, a complete Stratford stalwart, reopened this year with a load of new street food offerings, drinks menus and playful surprises.

Price: free, with some ticketed pop-up events

roofeast.com

Floors 7-8, Stratford multi-storey car park, Great Eastern Way 

 

The story time for adults

If you miss childhood bedtimes (and frankly, who doesn't?), then join professional storyteller Vanessa for an evening of magical tales. In 'Portals of London', she'll explore the secret history of the City's forgotten corners, while other nights focus on urban legends, ghostly stories and more; you'll meet in a series of different, atmospheric London locations, but you'll be transported back to who knows where...

Price: From £5

londondreamtime.com

Venue locations depend on the event, and some are secret - check the website for more details.  

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Royal Vauxhall Tavern003.jpg
© Jonas Rodin
Nightlife, Clubs

The host of both modern and old-time party royalty

icon-location-pin Vauxhall

This iconic LGBT+ venue has welcomed everyone from Lily Savage (slaying on stage) to Princess Diana (enjoying a sneaky night out in the '80s). Now Grade II listed and reasonably safe from developers, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is open seven nights a week for drinking, dancing and drag shows, and queer cabaret platform Bar Wotever has become a Tuesday institution.

Price: free with ticketed events around £10 

Open past 2am / rvt.org.uk

372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5HY 

 

Venue says THE MUSIC OF JUDY GARLAND. Starring Nolan Sister and West End Leading Lady – Denise Nolan at Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Friday 22nd November.

Time Out says
LUXXXER

The queerest first birthday party going

Soon to celebrate its first birthday, east London's queer Bollywood night Hungama has given the scene a friendly shot in the arm. It's taken place at various venues including The Glory and Dalston Superstore, but every Hungama is a super-inclusive mix of Bollywood imagery, hip hop beats and anything-goes gay abandon. 

Price: from £5

facebook.com/hungamaldn

Venues vary - check the Facebook page for up to date details. 

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The proper old-time party spot

Get yourself down to Bethnal Green Working Men's ClubThis East End destination has been welcoming revellers since Victorian times. Sink the Pink began here around a decade ago, and something about its proper old-school working's men's club vibe seems to lend itself to colourful, chaotic and forward-thinking club nights.

Price: depends on the night, around £15 

workersplaytime.net

42-44 Pollard Row, London E2 6NB

Emma Gutteridge

The fun rave extravaganza

Running in total contrast to dance music's intensely po-faced demeanour sits Bangface, a colossally fun rave extravaganza. It provides a home both for humour and also music on the absurd outer edges of taste and decency! In a good way, natch. 
Price: depends on the event, around £15 +
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The one with the most edgy of locations

A flag-bearer for London nightlife’s independent and community-minded spirit, Andy Blake’s WU parties have become a turning point – thanks to their use of renegade spaces, judicious use of smoke machines and an audio aesthetic that words like ‘chugging’ and ‘throbbing’ were made for.

Price: depends on the event, around £15

Open past 2am / residentadvisor.net/dj/andyblake

Probably the best pop venue in Hackney

A total, bankable PEACH of a venue, located on a quiet Hackney side street, Moth is a former club for ex-servicemen (Memorable Order of Tin Hats). Luckily for those who haven’t seen action, Moth is open to all and it’s retro chic, breezy vibe and pop/indie-centric music policy means it’s never a downer.

Price: depends on the night, around £10

mothclub.co.uk

Valette St, E9 6NU 

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The funky retro rock night

As trends have come and gone, Heavy Load has repped its niche for a staggering 20 years now. And that niche is: funky retro rock you can properly shake your butt too. Downstairs at the Phoenix near Oxford Street is where it all happens – don check shirts and triple-denim, and enjoy the night’s incredible collection of retro lights too.

Price: £4 before 10pm, £6 after

Open past 2am / theheavyloadclub.com

The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square

MORGAN WHITE

The candlelit yoga sesh

So many aspects of living in London aren't the best for your body: tube fatigue, pub culture, all the amazing (but not always healthy) eating out options. Give your body back some vital goodness at Frame's latest yoga offering – with candles for company, no less. Sensual. 

Price: £15

moveyourframe.com

25-33 Berners Street, W1T 3LR

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Photo: Daniel Varga
Daniel Varga

The after-hours fun run

Much more than just a running club, Midnight Runners gives you the chance to do something healthy and invigorating with your evening while escaping the confines of your local gym. They're a worldwide movement as well, with clubs in cities across the world such as LA, Sydney, Barcelona and more. Go for it and join in, your body will thank you later.

Price: 3 month membership £36, annual £120, first two events free.

midnightrunners.com

The perfect chance to pretend you're in Twin Peaks

David Lynch fans, gather around. The Double R Club is an evening of mystery and nightmares inspired by Lynch's films - and it's a dark and twisted treat, often groping into territory where other cabaret nights fear to tread.

Price: £15

workersplaytime.net

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, 42-44 Pollard Row, E2 6NB

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