Northern line bars and clubs
Gone are the days when the Gallagher brothers drank (and drank) at The Sir Richard Steele – also gone is its dodgy rep. Now the focus is on food, cute cubby holes, and a convivial atmosphere. Look to The Washington whose original 1865 bar is a thing of beauty or head to The Roebuck where you might catch a few post-shift tales from Royal Free Hospital staff.
Things heat up considerably as we get to the edge of Camden. There’s the excellent Camden Assembly, which hosts live music and ace club nights and runs to 3am. Retro rock boozers The Monarch and Joe’s also go till 3am, while The Lock Tavern’s upstairs disco room is still one of London’s finest tiny dancefloors.
The World’s End is one of the first sights when you exit the tube and it – plus The Underworld beneath – continues to serve as a rite of passage for generations of teenagers clasping tenuous proof of ID. The brilliant thing about the World’s End (aside from that bizarre wall of fake shops) is you can chat with everybody and anybody but also be left completely alone if you choose. Around the corner is the comfortably dark and moody Black Heart –a goth-lite option to The Devonshire Arms – or The Dev, one of the last bastions of metal and punk. If you want to carry on until past 3am and stay close to the tube there’s the revived Jazz Café, Electric Ballroom, The Camden Head, The Camden Eye and The Blues Kitchen. Alternatively, britpop stalwarts The Good Mixer, Dingwalls and The Hawley Arms are always worth a visit too.
Directly opposite the tube is beautiful Victorian music hall Koko that just keeps booking an impressive roster of bands and DJs often going through until 4am or 5am on weekends. For a proper Camdenite drinking spot, seek out Sheephaven Bay or head towards Euston for The Pack & Carriage, where DJs play until 3am.
Though it’s lost a few late-night venues over the last few years, Soho isn’t short of nightlife – from famous places like 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 in the basement at St Moritz Club 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.
Do not go to Leicester Square. Seriously, don’t do it. Nope.
The big beast here of course is Heaven – the cavernous club that pioneered the notion of a British gay club in the ’80s and still bumps hard and late most of the week. Pop-gasmic GAY events are a mainstay, while other indie nights and gigs flourish midweek. You could also leave dry land entirely and head for a drink on moored boat the Tattershall Castle, on Victoria Embankment, which keeps its flag flying until 3am on weekends.
Clapham is home to not one but two divisively skeezy clubs, so if you’re determined to have a good time and can ignore the tacky carpeting and cheesy music then head to Infernos Disco until 3.30am or Mosquito Bar until 6am. There are alternatives: either golden gay club Two Brewers or mix with the well-groomed clientele dancing to house tracks at the sleek SO.UK, both open well past 3am.
The steady spill of DJs and an up-for-it crowd mean that Gigalum is pretty rowdy until midnight. If cocktails are your thing and don’t mind a bit of a walk to Battersea there’s The King of Ladies Man, a sorta-secret bar hidden behind a fake launderette (yes, really) within The Breakfast Club, Polynesian-themed Sugar Cane Bar, the seriously attractive Walrus Room and Southsider Cocktail Club on Battersea Rise that keeps shaking and pouring until 2am.
You’re spoilt for choice in Balham, what with The Bedford’s regular club nights and monthly ceilidhs, independent wine bar The Balham Lounge, and live music and real ale at Hagan & Hyde – all open until 2am. There’s also the multi-purpose arts space The Exhibit or nostalgic chintz and guest ales at Balham Bowls Club.
Enjoy a sanitised yet boozy re-interpretation of Raj-era India at plush cocktail bar The Imperial Durbar. If you fancy a non-alcoholic drink they also serve a selection of coffees and chais. Across the road is the very elegant Wheatsheaf where you can work your way through their extensive wine list until 1am on the weekend.
It’s worth staying out in Tooting after midnight. Whether it’s live bands at Tooting Tram and Social, DJs at popular brunch spot Graveney and Meadow, taxidermy haven The Antelope on Mitcham Road, or the latest addition to the area – ’20s-themed Ekcovision. Resident-run Craft Tooting opens until midnight on Saturdays so you can sip, and stock up on, a wide range of craft beers. Late night foodie options come from lively Spanish tapas bar The Little Taperia and communism-themed pizza joint Guerrilla that blends politics, pizza and UKG at regular night Club ’90s on Saturdays.
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