Nocturnal nectar: What are the best late-night bars in London?

Ever found yourself in the clutches of the ticking clock, desperately clinging to the remnants of a night out? Fear not, fellow night owl! We get it – one drink seamlessly evolves into a symphony of laughter, and suddenly, the world is whispering ‘last orders’ in your ear. 

The horror! But worry not, intrepid reveller: for we’ve combed the cityscape for the crème de la crème of late-night sanctuaries in London. No grimy, dimly lit abysses for you, we’re talking about the fine, the suave, and the downright fabulous. 

So, if you’re not quite ready to surrender to the sleep gods, join us on a journey through the stellar after-hours haunts that keep the spirit of the night alive. 

Duck & Waffle

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Location: 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3640 7310

Pricing: £££

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Website

Nestled on the 40th floor within the iconic Heron Tower, Duck & Waffle stands as a beacon of nocturnal sophistication, offering unrivalled vistas of London’s glittering skyline. 

A stalwart on the late-night scene, it’s no wonder that this elevated establishment consistently steals the limelight for those seeking the pinnacle of London’s after-dark experiences, especially around Liverpool Street.

Duck & Waffle’s libation lineup is a symphony of liquid artistry. In particular, our personal plunge into the enchanting depths of the wintery fig sangria is an exploration of taste that defies the ordinary. 

Fox & Anchor 

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Location: 115 Charterhouse St, Barbican, London EC1M 6AA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7250 1300

Pricing: £££

Opening Hours

  • Monday to Friday – 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Saturday – 8:30 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

So, here’s the scoop on Fox & Anchor – it’s not your run-of-the-mill late-night haunt. For the rest of us, it’s more of an early morning rendezvous, catering to those who kickstart their day early or traders from the nearby Smithfield Market looking to cap off their night shift with a cheeky pint. 

What sets Fox & Anchor apart? Well, the bar boasts a diverse wine menu that plays tag with a mix of classic and craft beers and ciders. If you’re in the mood for a no-nonsense, straight-up drink, Fox & Anchor is your watering hole.

Rockwell

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Location: 2 Spring Gardens, St. James’s, London SW1A 2TS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7870 2900

Pricing: £££

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday to Wednesday – 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Thursday to Saturday – 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM

Website

In the realm of London’s cocktail haunts, the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme seems as ubiquitous as the clink of ice in a shaker. It’s almost as if a mystical mandate insists that a new establishment must be a rabbit hole, complete with Mad Hatter mixologists. 

While Rockwell doesn’t fully succumb to whimsy, it does play along with a menu sporting a ‘Curious & Curiouser’ section, a trend that’s starting to feel as common as a classic martini.

But venture a bit deeper and you’ll discover some nice surprises. Situated on the ground floor of the Trafalgar St James Hotel, this venue defies the stereotypical dimly lit cocktail den. Instead, picture lofty windows, tropical drapes, and a lush green landscape.

Nightjar

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Location: 129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB, United Kingdom

Contact: [email protected]

Pricing: £££

Opening Hours

  • Monday to Tuesday – 6:00 PM to 12:30 AM
  • Wednesday to Thursday – 6:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Friday to Saturday – 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Sunday – 6:00 PM to 12:30 AM

Website

When Nightjar first opened its unassuming doors in 2010, no one could have predicted its meteoric rise to cocktail fame. But its vintage aviation-themed interior and inventive drink menu soon turned this Old Street basement bar into one of London’s hottest after-dark destinations.

Nightjar now operates a strictly online booking system, charging no-shows to deter spur-of-the-moment patrons from dropping in. 

While you can always trust their polished updates of old favourites, Nightjar’s real magic lies within its boundary-pushing seasonal menu. Organised into eras like pre-Prohibition and post-war, each section sports an inventive twist on traditional formulas. 

Tinseltown

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Location: 44-46 St John St, London EC1M 4DF, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7689 2424

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 3:00 AM

Website

When the credits roll on your revelry, Tinseltown’s hearty late-night comfort classics can revive your fading buzz.

Under the watchful eye of that 12-foot Godzilla, you can indulge in grease-laden gorgeousness like their signature smashed patties, spiced chicken sandwiches and cheesy, chilli-drenched nachos until the wee hours.

Sure, putting cocktails on the backburner may dim Tinseltown’s beams for some thirsty thespians. But when the night winds down and drinks have run dry, this OG leading spot still takes the prize for best late show with its all-American eats. 

Balans No.60

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Location: 60-62 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7439 2183

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours:  

  • Monday to Tuesday – 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 AM
  • Sunday – 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM

Website

For over 25 years, night owls have flocked to its subterranean refuge of plush red leather, vintage lamp-lit nooks and exotic global small plates available until 5 AM. 

When fun flees elsewhere, squid ink linguine, duck samosas and chilli prawn skewers await night birds tucking into a moveable feast.

And no one pours on the party past midnight quite like Balans. You get an exhaustive wine cellar, bubbly cocktail selection, and sly seasonal surprises. Apple mojitos and spiced Sazeracs fuel lively discourse under pressed tin ceilings as DJ beats drive the pace. 

Bunga Bunga

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Location: 167 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5PG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7590 3602

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours:  

  • Wednesday – 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Thursday – 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Friday – 12:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Saturday – 2:30 PM to 3:00 AM

Website

Where politics meets pleasure past midnight. Few late-night destinations generate the same spirited buzz as London’s infamously raucous Italian hot spot Bunga Bunga. 

Steeped in tongue-in-cheek tributes to controversial former PM Silvio Berlusconi, this place worships all things wonderfully wicked about Bella Italia after dark.

Cocktails fuel the revelry, cheekily named for national treasures like the 6-person Leaning Tower of Pisa overflowing with rum. Party in true Italian style with spritzes, negronis or their vodka-Campari zippy homage to the Fiat 500. 

Aces and Eights

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Location: 156-158 Fortess Rd, London NW5 2HP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7485 4033

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours:  

  • Monday to Thursday – 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Friday to Saturday – 4:00 PM to 2:30 AM
  • Sunday – 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM

Website

What was once a stronghold for pirates’ stolen jewels and cash now guards fuel of a different sort behind a nondescript door near the Old Street roundabout – high-octane drinks at dive bar Aces & Eights.

Far from a tourist trap, this moody red and black basement haunt fosters legit fandom for icons like Chuck Berry rolling to the last call. Vintage band posters plaster concrete walls between relics like vinyl booths and a mic stand beckoning wannabe Elvis crooners on stage nights. 

Nordic Bar

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Location: 25 Newman St, London W1T 1PN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7631 3174

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours:  

  • Monday to Wednesday – 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Thursday to Friday – 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Saturday – 12:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:30 PM to 10:30 PM

Website

Those longing for late-night thrills beyond typical British pub grub and lager need venture no further than the glowing blue vortex behind Regent Street. There, nestled between posh thoroughfares, beats the heart of London’s hottest Nordic transplant for the night owl set.

While Nordic Bar nods to its namesake roots in style and aquavit shots aplenty, make no mistake – Fitzrovia didn’t import just another stuffy Scandinavian cocktail lounge. 

This swanky clubhouse champions the best of hyper-local craft brews and Formula One watch parties into sunrise over Stockholm exports.

Dalston Superstore

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Location: 117 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7254 2273

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours:  

  • Monday to Tuesday – 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday – 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Thursday – 12:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Friday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 3:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Website

For over 15 years, this cavernous bunker-turned-bass-thumping haven under the train tracks holds court over London’s coolest subterranean soiree long after midnight strikes. 

Alluring monikers like the Wh*re’s Handbag cocktail and greasy late-night vegan pizza lure party people inside regardless of label or scene affiliation. 

Oddball regulars simply craving loud music, good times and outrageous eye candy flock here well past reasonable hours too – no judgments. Just come dance, laugh, belt Gloria Gaynor in their graffiti-scrawled loo and debrief over diner-style bacon sandwiches before sunrise.

The Wheatsheaf

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Location: 6 Stoney St, London SE1 9AA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3040 7186

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours:  

  • Monday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Tuesday to Saturday – 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Website

The Wheatsheaf stands legendary for good reason. While industrial chic spots shutter to make way for new Borough ventures, devotees and new visitors alike gravitate towards this eternally buzzing den. 

The Wheatsheaf keeps its edge against flashy competitors by honouring traditions – be it quiz nights for regulars to Beavertown Neck Oil IPAs on draft reliably quenching local thirsts for decades now. 

Four Quarters South

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Location: 187 Rye Ln, London SE15 4TW, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3754 7622

Pricing: ££

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday to Thursday – 5:30 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Friday – 5:00 PM to 3:00 AM
  • Saturday – 1:00 PM to 3:00 AM
  • Sunday – 3:30 PM to 11:00 PM

Website

Since earning its peculiar name from Soho’s original celebrity polo set in 1959, little has changed within this scarlet lounge where globe trotters, royals, and rockstars all came for intimate evening encores of Negronis and Scotch. 

Now financiers unwinding tie knots sink into those same green leather booths overlooking Hertford Street.

Yet today’s newcomers also keep tradition thriving at Polo Bar by ordering off-menu challenges like “Ye Big Breakfast” – a heartstopping stack of two 7-egg omelettes, 12 rashers of bacon, 12 sausages, 6 hash browns, and bubble to devour within 30 minutes for bragging rights.

Troy 22

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Location: 22 Hanway St, London W1T 1UQ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7817 707431

Pricing: £

Opening Hours

  • Monday to Thursday – 9:30 PM to 1:00 AM
  • Friday to Saturday – 9:30 PM to 2:30 AM

Website

Troy 22 takes great pride in its extensive beverage selection. Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or prefer a classic drink, the bar’s expert mixologists are dedicated to crafting libations that tantalise the taste buds. 

What truly elevates Troy 22 to the upper echelons of late-night bars in London is its exceptional live entertainment. Prepare to be enthralled by talented musicians, DJs, and performers who grace the stage with their captivating performances. 

The Tiger

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Location: 18 Camberwell Green, London SE5 7AA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7703 5246

Pricing: £

Opening Hours

  • Monday – 4:00 PM to 10:30 PM
  • Tuesday to Thursday – 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday – 4:00 PM to 3:00 AM
  • Saturday – 12:00 PM to 3:00 AM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:30 PM

Website

The Tiger boasts an ambience that seamlessly blends sophistication with a laid-back vibe. The dim lighting, plush seating, and carefully curated decor create an inviting atmosphere, making it an ideal place to unwind after a long day.

While classics are masterfully prepared here, it’s The Tiger’s signature drinks that steal the show. From the exotic “Tiger’s Tail” to the refreshing “Midnight Mule”, each sip is a journey through a carefully crafted flavour profile that sets The Tiger apart.

Bar Italia

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Location: 22 Frith St, London W1D 4RF, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7437 4520

Pricing: £

Opening Hours

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:00 AM to 4:00 AM

Website

Established in 1949, this bar has witnessed the city’s evolution while retaining its old-world charm. The classic green and white facade beckons patrons into a space where the past seamlessly merges with the present, creating a vibe that is both nostalgic and inviting.

What’s great about this bar is that it’s open until the early hours, making it a go-to spot for those seeking refuge after a night of exploring the city’s streets. Plus, the strategic placement amidst Soho’s energy ensures that the pulse of London’s nightlife beats strongly within its walls.

Beyond its bar offerings, Bar Italia has become synonymous with authentic Italian espresso. For those in search of a caffeine fix during the wee hours, the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee draws them in. 

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