Five Favourite Bars for a Late Night in London

Tis the season to be jolly, so if you’re three sheets to the wind or not so keen to call it a day it’s always a unique challenge choosing the best late night watering hole. To ease your life we’ve chosen five of our favourites (open later than 1am) from the ever-growing selection of late-night spots London has to offer.

The Arts Theatre Club

The infamous Kray twins used to own, hang out and get royally blitzed in this joint. Frith Street itself has quite a few links to the notorious twins, one in particular was Ronnie Scots, who the two brothers apparently tried to muscle out and move him over to Knightsbridge (fortunately for Ronnie… mission failed). The Arts Theatre Club was recently renovated by prize-winning designer Lee Broom and safe to say not is somewhat detached from the decor of a seedy gangland dive. This place is definitely one of our favourite spots for a drink after dark in Soho, especially considering it’s open until 3am Monday – Saturday.

Address: 50 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SQ
Contact: 020 7287 9236
Website: The Arts Theatre Club

Slim Jim’s Liquor Store

This Islington hang lays on DJs, live music and a slamming collection of whiskey. If you decide to make the journey just remember one thing – no suits. Not an outlandish editorial suggestion from us but Slim Jim’s very own door policy. We’ve seen it action on countless occasions and there really is no rule bending here. For bending of other sorts be it of the mind, money or moves Slim Jim’s is a belting spot to carry on. Bras adorn the ceiling (free drinks for daring suppliers), classic posters don the walls and the charmingly offensive staff keep your glass full until 3am at the weekends.

Address: 112 Upper St, London N1 1QN
Contact: 020 7354 4364

Polo Bar

This Bishopsgate stalwart has a 24-hour booze license. Polo opened in 1953 but it’s probably fair to say it’s had quite a number of new incarnations. Nowadays it’s got the welcoming vibe of modern day diner, the ground floor is full of white brick tiles and booths while upstairs features exposed brick, retro signs and studded leather seats. Given the lack of time restraint here we usually recommend heading here for a spot of brekkie and one last dram on your way home – you can even upgrade your hung over fry-up to a ‘Royal’ version with some bubbles to boot. Spiffing.

Address: 176 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4NQ
Contact: 020 7283 4889

Bar Italia

Bar Italia was opened as a cafe in 1949 by the Polledri family and is still owned by Veronica and Anthony Polledri today. We all know a 24-hour place in London is few and far between but this historic Soho cafe has much more going for it than the sought after licensing hours. This was, and to some degree still is, a magnet for bohemians and creative types in Central London. In fact, Bar Italia inspired Pulp’s song coincidentally named (you guessed it)…. ‘Bar Italia’. Despite a few renovations here and there this spot still features a lot of original fixtures from 1949.

Address: 22 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4RF
Contact: 020 7437 4520


This East London haunt has been a heavy hitter in this category (among others) since 2010. With up to 250 covers and a sh*t hot cocktail menu, it’s a failsafe destination for a tipple after 1am. Hidden between two cafés, head down the stairs for some pre-prohibition fun, complete with old school glamour, live music, table service and seriously banging cocktails. Although the necessity to pre-book with your credit card is a bit of a ‘let’s see where we end up’ killer, we would be fools not to recommend this late night drinking den. During the week you can carry on until 1am while at the weekend things wrap up at 3am.

Address: 129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB
Contact: 020 7253 4101