‘I had a great night out at Walthamstow’s Mirth, Marvel and Maud, a beautiful converted cinema stuffed full of antiques and bric-a-brac. It does a really good selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Then there’s the industrial estate with Wild Card Brewery. I love Brixton too – I lived there for 12 years. Its small, independent venues are doing really well: the same couple have been running Club 414 for 20-odd years. If you want a bit of Brixton realness, that’s where to go. It’s proper old school.’
‘The idea of going out at night and seeing shows, music and cabaret originated at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in 1661. It was knocked down in the 1850s and they built the church and the tavern from the recycled materials. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is built on the original artists’ entrance. No matter how often people try to redevelop it or knock it down, the ghosts of all performers past are our guiding spirits of nightlife – that’s why I think Vauxhall is still thriving. There’s Horsemeat Disco on a Sunday and Fire for the proper hardcore clubbers.’
‘Great places that help music thrive exist in every corner of the capital. The 100 Club has been going for 75 years. This place is not in aspic – it’s a piece of London history that’s still living. Everybody from The Beatles to The Clash to The Fall to The Libertines have played on that stage and you can probably see the next big band there on any given night of the week. It’s a family-run business and you feel that passion when you go in there. And London has so many grassroots venues too. The Oval Tavern on a little residential street in Croydon has the warmest atmosphere. Esther who runs the pub is so passionate about music – mostly folk. It’s one of those places that you could just not know it existed, but it’s worth making a special trip.’
‘I remember in the old days when you couldn’t even get a night bus unless you went to Trafalgar Square – wherever you were, you had to get to Trafalgar Square. The night tube has helped open up nightlife in different places across town, and I love the atmosphere on public transport at night. It really is – just like everywhere in London – a mix of different people going to different places. And at night people talk to each other!’
‘London beats every city in the world for our diversity and for our culture – the mix of people and places in London gives us an edge. Pretty much every country in the world is represented here. Difference and diversity is celebrated in our public spaces. Trafalgar Square is home to Pride, Chinese New Year, Malaysia Fest, St Patrick’s Day and Divali. Everyone is represented, and that feels joyous.’
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