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Added: March 3, 2022
During the day, the streets of London are packed full of tourists and shoppers admiring the many famous buildings, attractions and shops; but it’s during the night when the streets of London truly come to life.
As a matter of fact, nightlife and London pretty much go hand-in-hand with each other; and with so many different clubs, bars, pubs and music venues to choose from, one could easily spend months upon months in London and still not experience London’s nightlife in its entirety.
While some areas in London offer some of the best clubs and bars in the city, in recent years other neighbourhoods have become home to countless unique and niche bars that you certainly won’t find anywhere else in the world.
If you’re hoping to dive right into London’s nightlife scene, here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you plan on partying it up in London:
Nightlife in London: Where to party
Each and every neighbourhood in London offers a little something when it comes to London’s thriving nightlife scene. Whether it be a circus-themed bar in Camden, the world-famous Ministry of Sound in South Bank, or even a classy cocktail bar in Soho, there’s no telling what kind of experience you’ll get during a night out in London.
However, some areas are more popular than others when it comes to choosing a place to party in London: While tourists and celebrities tend to stick to Soho’s world-famous bars and clubs, locals usually flock to London’s East End for a more alternative bar and nightclub scene.
Although some touristy areas may be more expensive, it’s well worth the money if you only have one night out in London. There are a ton of popular bars in the streets surrounding Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Covent Garden, and Soho is always a guaranteed fun night out thanks to the variety of gay and lesbian-friendly clubs in the area.
But if you want to avoid the touristy areas and party it up like the London locals do, or even if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path kind of night at a cutting-edge bar you won’t find anywhere else in the world, you certainly can’t go wrong with a fun night out in Shoreditch; (which has become the alternative epicentre of London’s nightlife scene over the past decade or so).
Other neighbourhoods like Clapham (especially around High Street) offer a ton of bars and clubs that are popular among young professionals and expats, while Peckham has more laid-back, bohemian-style clubs (especially along Rye Lane), with a ton of different cocktail bars and low-key clubs to choose from.
If you happen to be in London on a Friday night, then Hoxton is certainly the place to be (especially in any of the bars or clubs located along Old Street), and Islington has everything from gastro pubs, late-night wine bars and classy cocktail lounges.
In recent years, Dalston has become a party hub for university students partying it up on any night of the week, especially around Stoke Newington and Dalston Kingsland. The area also offers some of the most unique and diverse clubs and bars in London, with everything from jazzy clubs, live music venues with dance floors, and much, much more.
Nightlife in London: When to party
Much like New York City, London is a city that never sleeps; so you can expect a night out in London to last well into the wee hours of the morning. Usually party-goers start trickling into the streets as early as 6 p.m. on the weekends, although pubs tend to be at their busiest between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.
Generally speaking, bars, clubs and pubs in London tend to stay open much later on the weekends (normally until around 3:30 a.m.), but during the week venues usually close around 1 a.m. You can also count on the majority of bars opening as early as 4 p.m. during the week, or perhaps even as early as 12 p.m. on weekends, but don’t expect any place to be buzzing until later into the night.
And perhaps it may go without saying, but if you have a specific bar, club or pub in mind, it may be a good idea to check their opening and closing times on their official website before your visit, especially if you plan on going out on a weekday.
How to save money during a night out in London
We all know that a fun night out in London can put a huge dent in your wallet, but there are certain steps and precautions you can take in order to save some of your hard-earned cash during a fun night out in London.
First of all, the weekends tend to be the most expensive, while Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be the cheapest (even in expensive areas like Soho). However, if you’re truly desperate to spend a night out in Soho on a weekend, you could try to enter a club or bar before 10 p.m., or even before 9 p.m. in order to avoid expensive cover charges.
You could also try to hit up some bars during Happy Hour (which is usually between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.), and take advantage of cheap jugs of cocktails or two-for-one drinks on any night of the week. Some bars may have a small entry charge between 8:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. which could cost anywhere from £2 to £5; while other clubs and bars offer great Happy Hour deals like two-for-one drinks or cocktails for under £5.
On the whole, pubs tend to be much cheaper than bars and clubs; so if you’re desperate to save some money you could always head to a Sam Smith pub (which has over 40 different locations around London), or even have a pre-drink at a Wetherspoons before you head out to a club or bar.
How to get to the best bars and clubs in London
Luckily with the recent addition of the night tube, getting to and from some of the best bars and nightclubs in London has never been easier. So if you’re really worried about getting home after a fun night out at a bar, or even if you don’t feel like dishing out money on an expensive cab ride, you could organize your night so you end up at a bar or club along London’s night tube line, or any of London’s night bus routes.
Partying it up in Soho tends to be the most convenient, as many of the neighbourhood’s most popular bars and clubs are within walking distance to some of the many hotel districts in London (or at the very least, a cheap taxi ride away).
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