Central line bars and clubs
If you’ve just come in from Essex you might be tempted by the bars at Aspers Casino in Westfield shopping centre (open 24/7). But if you can face the trek across the Olympic Park then head to Hackney Wick for parties at The Yard, Bloc and occasionally Stour Space, or drinks till 1am at The Plough at Swan Wharf.
There isn’t actually much open past midnight in this bit of the East End, but if you meet their strict leather-and-rubber dress code then you’re welcome at The Backstreet, London’s longest established gay fetish club.
It’s just a hop from here to two of London’s best clubs: Oval Space and The Pickle Factory. If heads-down raving isn’t your style then try Sink The Pink’s Savage night at Metropolis or the quirky parties at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Or just get the drinks in at The Sun Tavern or Peg & Patriot, both open until 1am, or the Star of Bethnal Green or The Old George till 2.
Dedicated ravers, alight here and head north for Shoreditch – home to XOYO, The Horse & Groom, Village Underground and more of London’s best clubs. Everyone else, pile off for sophisticated cocktails from Worship Street Whistling Shop, Joyeux Bordel and Discount Suit Company. And don’t forget to line your stomach at Duck & Waffle or Polo 24 Hour Bar, both serving food around the clock.
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City slickers flock to Forge and Agenda Bar, both open till 3am on Fridays but closed on Saturdays when the bankers aren’t around. Steam & Rye is open late both nights (go for the cocktails, stay for the mechanical bull), as is Core Bar, and if you like ’80s music, check out The London Stone’s regular Electric Dreams club.
Try the Beduin bar (open till 5am), Grand Union Farringdon (open until 3am), speakeasy-style Oriole (till 2) and The Hope, a market porters’ pub that opens at 6am (in case you’re up really late). Closer to Chancery Lane tube you’ll find Kanaloa tiki bar (open till 3am) and Bounce ping pong bar (till 1am).
Though it’s lost a few late-night venues over the last few years, Soho isn’t short of nightlife – from famous places like Café Boheme (3am) and Bar Italia (5am) to newer arrivals such as Balans (6am) and El Camion (3am). Try your luck at exclusive and raunchy nightclub The Box, dance to indie music at St Moritz or headbang at metalhead hang-out Crobar. Let’s hope the night tube helps London’s other square mile keep the party going for decades to come.
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After a dry stretch alongside Hyde Park, Notting Hill offers west London’s best range of late-night destinations. For cocktails head to the tiki-tacky (but surprisingly excellent) Trailer Happiness or faux-flatshare The Little Yellow Door – both close at 1am – or Rum Kitchen till 2. Then descend and dance with the shabby chic set at Notting Hill Arts Club or bashment pit The Globe (event end times vary).
Overlooking Shepherd’s Bush Green you’ll find the oddly named Defector’s Weld, which stays open until 2am at weekends (though there’s no admission after midnight). Head south from the tube station however and you’ll hit Blagclub, a plush place to dance till 2am. Well, it beats heading out into the wilds of Ealing.
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