I popped into this bar, part of the Great Northern Hotel, for a drink before I got my train home. I was very impressed with the interior art deco furnishings and soft lighting where I could relax with a glass of wine before a getting my train home! Such a contrast to the busy railway station concourse!
The bar is renowned for its signature cocktails but I opted for a glass of white wine. On a future visit I plan to try one of their cocktails. The drinks are more expensive than average but worth it for the ambiance and calm surroundings. Light snacks are also offered.
I purchased a medium glass of white wine which cost 5.50 gbp (June 2013).
Dress Code: Usually smart casual
This place really is a legendary music venue. I must admit, I haven't been for a while, but I must get back. Over the years (40 plus now) just about everybody has played there, from Kate Bush to U2 by way of Billy Connolly and Nick Cave.
I remember one wonderful afternoon sitting drinking with the late and much missed Alan Hull from the escellent Lindisfarne, one of the great folk rock bands of all time. We had a few, well more than a few really, and then he went onstage and played an absolute blinder. He was playing solo, just him and the guitar and he was superb. I spent another similar afternoon with Dave Pegg from Fairport convention and Jethro Tull amongst others. Right, that is probably enough name-dropping from me, you really should get down there, it is a really laid back atmosphere and who knows who you might meet?
Check the website for forthcoming gigs.
Dress Code: Anything, no problem.
This place is an absolute classic of the British music scene and has been going for years. Some of the famous acts who played regularly here were Madness and Blur. There is even a huge signed Madness poster on the wall. It is so famous, it has almost become a place of pilgrimage for Britpop fans. I once spent a very surreal afternoon drinking in there with about 20 French Damon Albarn clones - very wierd.
The front part of the building is an ordinary (in fact, very ordinary) pub, but it's in the back room where the place really scores with live music every night.
The musical policy is completely eclectic, and quite often has three acts a night on rangng from poets to thrash metal via just about everything in between.
The music room isn't huge, and more popular bands sell out early, so book in advance.
Dress Code: The only people with ties are record company executives!
Wear what you want.
I have been drinking in this place for over 20 years now and it has certainly changed a lot. If you are wondering about the name LHT Urban Bar, the LHT stands for London Hospital Tavern, it's former name and a long-time watering hole for doctors, nurses and hospital staff from the eponymous adjoining premises. It used to be a fairly typical East End pub with the exception that the roof was completely covered with framed prints all over the ceiling. I could tell you a funny a story about that, but I don't want to embarrass my mate.
Fast forward to know and the place has much changed. Firstly, the paintjob as mentioned in the title of this tip. It is painted in the most garish orange and black tigerstripes over the entire three storey exterior. You certainly won't miss it is a hurry. Inside, it is a comfy and friendly pub with a superb jukebox and reasonable pub grub during the day and evening but it is the upstairs function room that this tip refers to. Whilst previously it was only hired out for private functions but, like the exterior paintjob, it is all changed now.
You can choose from bands of various genres at the weekend (some gigs are free and some have a cover charge, usually not more than £3), there are occasional poker nights and a regular salsa class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning at 1930. Here is a link specific to the class.
An added advantage of "the Urban" as it is locally referred to is that it stays open (legally) longer than most other bars on this stretch of the Whitechapel Road, typically 0100 weekday and 0200 Friday and Saturday. Sunday closing can vary dependent on how busy it is, it can be a little quiet. In an area where live music and indeed pubs themselves seem to be dying out, the Urban seems to be flying the flag. You may even meet me propping up the end of the bar. If you are wearing any VT promo gear, I'll buy you a drink!
Update June 2013.
Well, they really have gone and done it now, haven't they? I should really re-write this whole tip as it is largely about the appalling paintjob but as of a few weeks ago they have decided to re-paint the outside. It is now a much more sober looking place if that is not an oxymoron. A sober pub? Perhaps they read my tip and took the hint. Otherwise, things continue much as normal. I'll try to get an up to date image soon and add it asap. In fact, it is a while since I was in there so going to take photos is as good an excuse as any!
Dress Code: Casual.
The Primo Bar is located at the premises of the Park Plaza Westminster, not a cheap place for sure, and sometimes the bartenders can be pretty rudes, but I can deal with these kind of jerks with a glass of a good red wine in my hands and a good band of music playing in front of me. Every nights here you can enjoy a different band or singers, with different styles, rock, jazz, blues and more, but always with very high quality standards. I was there three consecutive nights, hearing rock and roll, reggae and jazz-blues. Believe me, great musicians, unknown most of them but great indeed. So, get your wallet in touch, be prepared to spend some big pounds, and be ready to enjoy because it worths.
BTW, live music is for free, this detail can explain why drinks are so expensive.
Dress Code: Dress as you like.
This is one of my favourite pubs in London. Located not far from the Paddington station it is usually the first place I will get to when arriving to this city from that direction :)
It is classic traditional English pub with some interesting history, they served excellent food with good beers including some of the famous Fuller brewery and add to this that it was summer, there is a nice terrace outside as well.
This is a lovely traditional English pub Founded in 1858 located in Noting Hill close to Hyde Park
This place is open from morning to night serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have nice collections of Badger cask ales on the tap which making this place good for anyone who want to experience English pub culture, food and drinks a bit away from the tourist centres.
Hammersmith Apollo is one of London’s major live entertainment venues. It is located in Hammersmith, West London and is one of the UK’s largest and best-preserved original theatres.
I have been upstairs, in the comfy seats, and downstairs amongst the standing. It's an excellent concert venue, large enouigh to attract the tops bands but small enough to still make it personal.
My last there gig was to catch Joe Bonammasa.
Set in the heart of London’s fashionable Mayfair, The Dover Street Restaurant & Bar offers a combination of fine French/European cuisine and nightly live music ranging from Jazz & Blues to Latin & Soul with dancing to a resident DJ until 3.00 am. With a unique atmosphere the restaurant offers good value, live entertainment and a resident DJ spinning a great mix of dance tracks.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
London has fantastic nightlife and the days of pubs closing at 11pm are now gone, allbeit that some still close a little early, but you will always find a bar or club open until the early hours somewhere!
My favourite areas for going out are:
Old street, shoreditch
I try to avoid the West End as its just too busy, too expensive, too touristy.
Some of my favourites places are:
The big chill - Kings cross - dj bar at night or chill out bar after work
Lincoln Lounge - Kings cross - great little pub on york way, small and cozy
Simmons - King cross - tiny tiny place but funky music and funky surroundings
Wax O connors - Just off Leics square (Rupert St) - a huge labarinth of a pub with big crowds.
Vibe bar - Brick lane - nice place to chill out with some funky dj vibes
Chill out cafes for the day include: Joes Jazz cafe at Foyles bookshop on Tottenham court road, and Joe and the Juice, on Regent Street.
There are few 'super' clubs in London, gone are the days of SW1, Bagleys, Home, The End, Club UK, The Cross - all thats left is Egg, Fabric and the Ministry. Other clubs come and go located around the west end.
Whilst i must have been in hundreds of pubs over the years, and most i couldnt tell you the names, im now trying to log them all in the list below;
Kings cross - The Canal (Nice bar on the canal), The Cross Kings (live music bar), Ruby lounge (DJ bar not far from station)
Angel - The Swan (Islington end of upper street - good for a warm up - Wetherspoons), O'Neills (roudy at weekends with dancefloor), Slug and Lettuce (Chain, used to be ok in here but quiet of late - small with nice vibe), The York (more traditional but nothing special), Albert & Pearl (Cocktail bar, good crowd, good music), Hope & Anchor (Bit more rough, plays rock music but serves a good pint), The Angel (Wehterspoons opposite angel tube - nothing special just cheap beer before the crawl up upper st), The cock (Highbury & Islington tube - not great, few dody characters), The Living Room (just off upper st behind slug and lettuce on essex road - trendy cocktail bar with sit down booths, nice place), the new rose (big pub open til 2am), the bull on upper st (funky place with a posher crowd, a bit crowded and expensive beer but nice vibe), the winchester on essex rd (open til 4am, nice place, quite small bar upstairs, dancefloor downstairs), keston louge (big bar with dancefloor at back, gets busy)
Camden - World End (Huge pub with rock music, and serves snakebite!), Belushis (Part of St Christophers hostel - nice place with screens and good food), Lock 17 (Right on the lock, cool place in the summer, not so great when not much going on), Dublin Castle (HEading towards London zoo, nothing special, has live music out the back), The Monarch (Small dance floor, packed at weekend, pretty lively, sometimes a cover charge), The Cuban (Cuban bar/restaurant - expensive cocktails, good food, salsa dancing at night, lively), plus plenty of others i cant remember the name of!
West End -plenty i just dont know the name of plus - Moon under the water (Leics sq - wetherspoons), Yates (Leics sq - cover chg at weekends, lively), Waxy o connor(Club downstairs, cover chg late on, nice place), The Glassblower (Opposite the warwick, nothing special, typical boozer), Sports cafe (Haymarket - huge sports bar), 101 (At centre point - nice bar for social evening), Salsa bar (Salsa classes most nights, Brazil theme on Tottenham court road), O'Neils (Up from Waxys-3 levels of music, late night venue), Waxys little sister (Opposite Waxys - small pub but good alternative), Spice of Life (Cambridge circus, traditional pub) - many more just think of the names.
-old Cheshire cheese, fleet street, claims to be one of Londonderry oldest. Good beer (all Sam smiths brewery) and a labirynth of bars. Food not that great though.
- the ranlagh, bounds green, my local, good pub, great food, nice clientele. More of a sitting pub not standing though.
-maid of muswell, muswell hill, cozy place, quite small, probably better in summer than winter. Food menu is same as the ranlagh in bounds green (assume same owner). Again, a sitting pub so if you get in late you'll have to stand
- the village, muswell hill, younger crowd in this large pub with pool tables at the back, friendly staff, live music, big pizza oven, open til 1am.
- John baird pub, muswell hill, boring as hell, don't go.
- the Garrick, charging cross road, nice pub from outside and in, next to Garrick theatre
- Spouters corner, wood green, wetherspoons, big and cheap but pretty rough. This is wood green after all
- lord nelson, wood green, pretty dull and rough, although probably one of wood greens better but that's not hard to achieve
- The chandos, trafalgar square, opposite entrance to portrait gallery, nice pub if passing to have a pint n catch up with someone
- Yates on Leicester square, brash place, fine for a big night out in west end but am getting too old for it now
- moon under the water, Leicester square, long narrow pub, cheaper beer, always busy, not much of atmosphere, good place to meet people if going out in area
- the Sussex, covent garden, an ok pub for a few beers if on a pub crawl but lacks any great atmosphere
- punch and judy, covent garden, it's got a few floors, location is great especially if you can find a spot on the balcony, expensive though and nothing too great
-The Ship tavern, just hidden round the back of Holborn tube,nice little pub with nice easy going atmosphere with restaurant upstairs although one of the staff upstairs was rude, its a nice place
-Square Pig, Holborn - good pub to meet and soialise, just a 2min walk from the tube, with a small outside section
- Three compasses in hornsey. Nice local pub that is good to chat with friends. I had a couch surf meet here and it was a perfect venue to chat to new people.
-The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park - great pub, 4 different rooms and a large garden. Godo atmosphere. Highly recommended.
-The Goose, Wood Green - home of our regular couch surf meet but certainly not the best put in town. Its in Wood Green for a start which is a hole and the pub is quite rough, but it has lots of space, so good for meeting people and drinks are well priced.
-The Worlds End, Finsbury Park - nice big pub with a square style bar, with kind of two sides to it. It had live music sometimes in one of the sections. Not the tidiest pub but decent enough.
-duke of Wellington, dalston, nice boozer, quite small with a square style bar, packed on a saturday, decent crowd and decent selection of beer
-alibi, dalston, this a club really, very 'dalston' , arty types and rough around the edges but nice raw atmosphere. Low ceilings, dance floors, lots of seating, bla bla
- voodoo rays, dalston, nightclub just two doors down from alibi. 9 quid to get in. Music spot on for my liking, deep house with a touch of funk and some 80s mix thrown in for good measure. Low ceiling small venue, good crowd.
- the finsbury, manor house- just 5min walk or so from manor house on green lanes, this is a bar/pub club with low lighting, an area out the back for live music or dj and seating out the front. I didn't like bar staff and it was a big soulless
- Salisbury hotel, green lanes near turnpike lane, great pub with an oldy feel, with little coves at the back for seating, and friendly staff
-red lion, kingly st, just off regent st, old mans pub which is a Sam smiths. Traditional, small but not a bad place to start
-jam bar/club-at the southern end of carnaby st. Packed, no room to move, typical west end club full of ***s
-two floors, cocktail bar on kingly road, a themed tiki bar downstairs and beer bar with louder music upstairs. Decent place if can get a seat. Bar staff a bit slow.
- claddagh ring, hendon, great Irish boozer with good food and big screens
- the hendon, hendon, massive pub on the busy A41. Nothing special although often busy. Loads of pool tables
- railway tavern, kew bridge station, very traditional pub and so quiet you can hear a pin drop, feels like you're in a village local than a London pub
-o bar, soho, packed pub in soho on the busy area. Kind of a bar pub style.
- The three greyhounds, soho, tiny classic pub on the corner, incredibly busy but decent enough
- walkabout chain- plenty of them around London although some slowly closing down. Been to the one in covent garden most which is ok with a mix of Londoners and travellers but nothing amazing
- the porterhouse, great massive pub in covent garden with several levels and a massive selection of beers, one of my favourites
- maple leaf, Canadian pub in covent garden, decent pub with screens and a fair amount of space
- Montagu pyke on charring cross road, a wetherspoons, cheap drink and food, say no more
- any pub on upper street, angel/idling ton-I've been in all of them several times, can't remember the name of many (the York, the garden, The angel, earl of Essex, the swan, the cock), some better than others but a great night out
- Camden high street, as above, I've been in most all the way from morning ton crescent up to chalk farm, a good night out, can't remember the names of many (lock tavern, belusshis, Cuban, worlds end)
- Salisbury arms, winchmore hill, a young ish affluent crowd in here. Nice pub with outdoor area, plenty of parking and a decent food menu located in the lively village part of winchmore.
- kings head, winchmore hill, on the village green just over from the Salisbury, this place also does food which looks good. The crowd is similar to the Salisbury although probably younger. Pub seems nice enough as we only stopped for a quick one
The Anchor pub , situated near London Bridge station has stunning views of the Thames , St Pauls and The new Shard building. The pub itself was originally built in 1615. Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London from here and Doctor Johnston wrote part of his dictionary! We had a friends meet up recently and had a great nights entertainment.
The Penthouse is a big building. The whole Building is a big party. There are 3 Dancefloors and 3 sorts of music. On the top of the building there's a rooftop and you can smoke on the balcony. On the first dancefloor is just Hiphop. I loved the DJ's there cause they know what good music does mean. On the second floor is just RnB. Its also really great. On the rooftop is House Music. If you like to dance and if you want to have a great view, you have to go there...
Trust me :)
Dress Code: Just Elegant.. No Sneakers...
At this venue you will find concerts, comedy and live music. check what is on at this link.http://www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk/
The Empire is only a two minute walk from Shepherds Bush Tube Station.
Heaven knows what it is called these days, it has changed names more times than Cher changes outfits in a standard show, but to true rockers this venue will always be known as the Hammy O, or more properly the Hammersmith Odeon. A quick internet check reveals it is the Hammersmith Apollo these days.
The place really deserves the description legendary, although I know the term is much overused nowadays. Bowie did his iconic and briliantly filmed last Ziggy and the Spiders gig here way back in the 70's. I have seen Carlos Santana, Jethro Tull and various other world class acts there. Other than that the Irish dance show "Riverdance" packed them in here for a long, long time, it was their London home. I actually used to hang about with a few of the dancers in a long demised bar not far from the venue.
As the original name suggests, it is a converted cinema and therefore all seated, which is not my preferred way to watch bands but it is a good size and comfortable enough. If you like your rock, this is the place in London you are most likely to see it.
The photos here are all from a wonderful gig in November 2009, which was a Mott the Hoople reunion tour, and will probably be their last due to the drummers health problems. I had always loved Mott and had never managed to see them live, so this really was a special night for me. To see Ian Hunter, Mick Raplphs and the rest of the original line up reunited after over 30 years was simply magic, and I got a front row seat! The fact that Ian Hunter was in his seventies (although he would not admit it) quite gave me hope for my limited musical career. Another Hammy O special,
The venue is not specifically rock, they do all sorts of shows (comedy, MOR, kids shows etc.), which is great. My only gripe with the place is that they are owned by the Mean Fiddler group, whom I detest for reasons probably best not gone into here. You, dear reader, need not worry about that, just check the website for a gig that might suit you.
On a practical level, allow yourself about ten to fifteen minutes to get to or from either Hammersmith Tube station as it is a bit of a hike and I would not want you to miss your connection.
Dress Code: none enforced, it depends on the gig.
On Saturday and Sunday nights, the Stage Door is an excellent place to go and watch live music. The licensee Dave (himself no mean musician) organises live gigs on certain Saturdays, and an open mic night on a Sunday, both starting at 2000.
The musical policy is very much slanted towards singer / songwriters and the standard is very good. If you fancy playing on the Sunday, turn up in good time as floor spots fill up early (PA is provided). Just speak to Dave the owner or whoever is MCing and they'll try and fit you in. On the odd occasion, your humble narrator may evenbe found in the MC slot.
There is sometimes a small cover charge on Saturday but Sunday is free.
Apart from the music nights, it's a great, lively pub which does excellent food throughout the day. Most major sporting events are shown on big screen and usually attract a good crowd. Sadly the pinball machine is long gone, to my great regret, but there is still a very retro table-style video games table
Dress Code: Casual.
Well, what do you want in the way of nightlife? Whatever it is, I can guarantee you will be able to find it in London. From internationally acclaimed West End shows to intimate music...