You might have heard this before, but London is huge. Not only is it big, but every area has its own distinct personality and vibe. The areas become their own towns or communities, and of course, the nightlife scene follows. That’s why you can’t categorise London’s nightlife – it’s an extremely eclectic mix. But we can present you with the best areas to go to. With thirty-three official neighbourhoods, choosing where to go for a night out is a tough decision, whether you’re a tourist or a local. So, we’ll help you out – here are seven of the best nightlife areas in London.
Best Nightlife Areas in London
Camden was once an unknown, underground area that actually dropped in popularity once it, ironically, became popular. Go figure. However, Camden never stopped being cool, and it’s on the rise again. Located in northwest London, Camden is known for its famous market, edgy bars, traditional pubs, and live music scene. If you love live music, Camden is definitely the place to visit, namely the Electric Ballroom. It’s been going since the 1930s and has solidified itself as a Camden institution. Another historic music spot is KOKO, which first opened as Camden Theatre in 1900.
While Camden has a reputation for its rock and alternative scene, KOKO brings a taste of something different, with performances from grime artists, hosting soul nights, and a hip-hop bonanza every Friday. There are so many more music venues in Camden, but one that we simply can’t miss out on is Jazz Café. It’s one of the area’s most iconic venues. It’s the London home of jazz, disco, and soul, and puts on live performances every night. On the weekend, it becomes a soul-themed club, the perfect place to dance the night away. It’s safe to say that Camden is one of the best nightlife areas in London.
Let’s just say, if you’re coming to Mayfair for a night out, let’s hope you’ve got a few bob. It’s London’s swanky district, frequented by celebrities. The devastatingly exclusive Cirque Le Soir is a particular favourite amongst A-listers, with previous clientele including Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, Mayfair actually had a reputation for drinking, fighting, and general scandalous behaviour. Well, it’s certainly come a long way. It’s home to some of London’s most iconic spots, including Sexy Fish, serving up seafood and sushi, and Sketch, which is an Instagrammer’s dream. When it comes to seeing out the wee hours in a nightclub, Tape is one of the most popular clubs in Mayfair. If you like the idea of rubbing shoulders with celebrities, sultry lights, and live DJs, you’ll like it here.
This east London district is one of the coolest areas in London. The bars in Shoreditch are some of the best in the city, with quirky underground bars, smoky cocktail spots, edgy pubs, and energetic music venues. It’s become the trendiest hotspot of London, with places like BOXPARK being a total trailblazer in the pop-up food scene. Plus, there are just so many cool bars to choose from, it’s near impossible to visit them all. Places like Found, Happiness Forgets, Ever After, Old Street Records, and so much more, all serve up incredible cocktails with even better vibes. And when you’re walking the packed streets, on to the next bar, you might even see some original Banksys around.
Brixton is a hub of diversity and artistic innovation, which is reflected in its diverse nightlife. Whether you want to catch a world-famous live band, spend the night in a relaxed jazz bar, or just nurse a few craft pints in a cosy pub, there’s something for you here. Of course, one of the most popular spots is the O2 Brixton Academy. It’s hosted incredible acts over its time, and it earnt its place as a Brixton institution. A place that’s slightly newer on the block is Phonox. It’s a mix between a club and a live music venue, with performances every weekend.
There are many other brilliant places to have a drink and a dance in Brixton, including the Prince of Wales, Brixton Jamm, Dogstar, and Electric Brixton. There are countless more bars and pubs to list, placing Brixton firmly as one of the best nightlife areas in London.
Soho, in the West End, is an energetic mixed bag. It tends to be a late-night destination, popular with people of all ages. And like the clientele, the nightlife is as diverse as they come. It’s got it all – underground speakeasies, small pubs, bars in abandoned stations, VIP clubs, historical live entertainment venues, and so much more. It’s also the hub of the city’s gay nightlife with iconic clubs such as Compton’s, Kings Arms, Admiral Duncan, and more. As if there was anything more to add to Soho’s ever-growing list of why it’s one of the best places to go for nightlife in London, it’s also got a ridiculously fun cabaret scene. London’s entertainment centre knows how to put on a show. There are several spots to catch an old-school cabaret and burlesque show, including Late Night at the Midnight Lounge.
Another ultra-cool East End neighbourhood, Dalston is creeping up in popularity. Some of the city’s, nay, the country’s best gay bars are right here in Dalston. Dalston Superstore has been hugely important for the LGBTQ+ community and has become an institution. There are so many backstreet bars, hip jazz bars, trendy natural wine spots, and live DJs that categorising Dalston’s nightlife is near impossible. One of the most popular live music venues is Dalston Roof Park, and if you’re in the market for a bar specialising in cocktails made with mezcal, you should make a beeline for Hacha. And really, what’s a trendy area without a gimmicky speakeasy? Hidden behind a yellow phone booth, you’ll find La Cabina where you can dial in for tapas and cocktails.
Clapham is one of the best nights out in London, with a range of cosy pubs, cocktail bars, rooftop bars, underground bars, and basement clubs. It’s primarily known for Clapham Common, a sprawling park surrounded by flats. It’s a popular place to live among young people, which has resulted in a great nightlife scene. One of the most popular bars in Clapham is Fu Manchu. The cool spot serves dim-sum and cocktails during the day and evening, and by night, becomes a bouncing bar that goes until 3am. Another effortlessly cool spot is Venn Street Records. With live music, DJ sets, and music-themed decor, it’s become a Clapham hotspot. Oh, and they do a happy hour every day between 5 and 8pm – 2-4-1 cocktails, anyone?