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Secret London

Ben Norum gives you the run down on London’s underbelly of late night venues

Published on October 20th 2011.

Secret London

IT’S a common adage that New York City never sleeps. The same can’t be said about London. On weekdays, finding a spot for a swift drink past midnight can be a struggle, even in hotspots such as Soho. And if you don’t want to commit to a full-on club, then even Friday and Saturday nights can be tricky if you don’t know where to go.

Wander the streets and raid the off licenses no more, with our handy guide to London’s secret underbelly of late night venues that are strictly for insiders only.

New Evaristo ClubNew Evaristo Club

New Evaristo Club, W1
Better known for its unofficial name of Trisha’s, after the woman who ran this one-time brothel, the best thing about the place is that it really isn’t very well-known at all. There’s a vaguely mafia-esque theme going on, and the dance floor merges with tables and standing room in true dive bar style – but there’s certainly no roughness. Drinks are cheap and uncomplicated, and it’s a rare thing for it to close before 4am, though exact timings are fairly sporadic. You may occasionally be asked to show proof of membership, or to sign up as a member before entering. Don’t worry, though – it’s free. It’s just a way of keeping the Westminster Council licensing folk happy.
Best Bit:
The pleasant surprise at how much change you get when buying a round.
57 Greek St, W1D 3DX

Marathon Kebab House, NW1
What two things could go better together than kebabs and late night drinking? This genius of a place in Chalk Farm offers a few post-closing time beers along with some very good Turkish style kebabs. There’s also just about enough space between the tables to pass as a dance floor, if desperate. And it frequently does.
Best Bit: The eclectic group of Camden rockers you’re likely to meet and befriend here.
87 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AR

Costa DoradaCosta Dorada

Costa Dorada, W1
The first of a couple of late night spots on Hanway Street (just off Oxford Street near Tottenham Court Road) Costa Dorada’s USP is it’s regular live flamenco shows. Plus the fact that it’s open until 3am each night Monday through to Saturday. If you’re not too late, there’s also fairly decent tapas and paella on offer, but failing that there’s always a reasonably priced Corona.
Best Bit: Late night food, booze and entertainment rolled into one.
47 – 55 Hanway Street, W1T 1UX

The Bar, W1
A bar as to-the-point as its name, this is spit and sawdust, without the sawdust. ’60s and ’70s soul, funk and anything a little bit cheesy is the music of choice at this second Hanway Street joint. Drink until early, dance with a group of merry strangers and try not to embarrass yourself by banging into the floor to ceiling mirrors.
Best Bit: You can be as silly as you like, and you still won’t be the silliest person in the room.
36 Hanway Street, W1T 1UX

The Dogstar, SW9
Less of a hidden gem amongst Brixton locals, this pub serves pizzas and a good range of ales until 2am most weeknights, and right through until 4am at weekends. With prices that are more than reasonable, it’s well worth the trip down south for those more familiar with the West End.
 Best Bit: Being able to get decent ales late into the night. Or the morning, rather.
389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LQ

The Cock TavernThe Cock Tavern

The Cock Tavern, EC1
Not so much a late night spot as an early morning one, this is a stop-off worth knowing about if you’re traversing the City after a night on the town. Drop in from 6am and this place will be buzzing on a weekday as overnight workers from Smithfield’s Market and Barts Hospital converge for some after work pints. There’s a jukebox and – unsurprisingly, given the location – a good bit of grilled meat on offer, too.  
Best Bit: Pints at 6am. Need we say more?
East Poultry Avenue (no pun intended!), EC1A 9LH

The Princess Alice, E1
A refreshingly quirky and laidback pub, this is a breath of fresh air from the louder, clubbier joints of the East End, yet still boasts 3am opening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And that’s when there isn’t a lock-in. There’s a jukebox, pool table and pinball, which along with with a hefty wine list and reasonable prices, pleases most late nighters.
Best Bit: Pub games!  
40 – 42 Commercial Street, E1 6LP

Experimental Cocktail ClubExperimental Cocktail Club

Experimental Cocktail Club, W1
Well-known amongst cocktail connoisseurs but still hidden away from the rest of us, this bar is accessible only through a unmarked door on a Chinatown street, and is open until 3am each night. In theory you need to pre-book via email, but you can usually get in so long as you’re cool enough to know what it’s all about.
Best Bit: As the name suggests, these are cocktails of the kind you won’t find in many other venues around town. 
13A Gerrard Street, W1D 5PS


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