I’m often asked by friends visiting London which are the must-go places for a memorable night out on the town. In a city with so many buzzing restaurants, pubs and clubs, it’s hard just to recommend a few options. I’ve told you about some of my favourite spots for a good cocktail, but here are my latest tried and tested top venues for a fun night out sipping on one or five drinks too many whilst letting your hair down.
Bunga Bunga, Battersea
Bunga Bunga immediately became a staple in London nightlife after opening two years ago. Located on a quiet corner on Battersea Bridge Road, you are suddenly whisked away to little Italy on alcoholic steroids as you walk through the front door.
Bunga Bunga is a bustling Italian pizzeria and bar that offers a never ending cocktail list, pastas just like grandma used to make, and hearty Italian pizzas served on overstretched wooden cutting boards. This Battersea hot spot is perfect for a lively dinner with a group of friends for a fun-filled night out. If day drinking is more your thing, then try the Bunga Bunga brunch with unlimited prosecco and brunch bellinis! No matter when you go, make sure to try one of the signature Gruppo boozy beverages, served out of a bowl re-created to resemble an Italian icon like Berlusconi – these are ideal to share with friends who are extra thirsty.
|The man, the legend, the inspiration.|
When you aren’t sipping out of the Tower of Pisa or the Colosseum, join in the cheering and chanting as the waiters dance around the room to the ‘Bunga Bunga’ song, or put your name on the list for a go at karaoke. What can start as a civilised dinner at Bunga Bunga usually ends in a hilarious night where you dance on stage with the Elvis impersonator. Make sure to book a table far in advance if you are with a group.
Bodo’s Schloss, High Street Ken
If you are a die-hard skiing fanatic who counts down the days until the ski season starts again, then Bodo’s Schloss will be your London watering hole of choice. Walk past the skis at the entrance and prepare to be transported into an Austrian themed and decorated chalet right on Kensington High Street. There is usually a £15 cover charge for entry past 9pm, but I’ve been advised that if you dress up then you can get in for free – so grab your lederhosen!
Glide through the busy Alpine decorated bar, pass by the attractive blonde-haired blue-eyed waiters all in lederhosen (obvs) and plop yourself down on one of the wooden tables, which are adorned with red checkered tablecloths. Most Londoners associate Bodo’s, as it is fondly called by the regulars, as a fun place to let loose and get yodelling for crackbaby shots before tearing up the dance floor. It should be noted that the Alpine food at Bodo’s is actually rather good, so why not book a table for dinner to start off your night without the entrance fee? I can recommend the beef goulash and the hearty dumplings, paired with an Austrian wine of course!
At 10pm Bodo’s turns into a disco, as videos of impressive skiers whiz past on the chalet wall. Bodo’s is brilliant for a laugh out loud off piste evening with friends – you might even rub elbows with Bodo’s A-lister fans like Prince Harry, Cameron Diaz or Gwyneth Paltrow.
|Something tells me she didn’t order the wiener schnitzel or cheese fondue!|
Ping, Earl’s Court
I rolled my eyes when I first heard about a new ping pong bar called Ping opening in London, as this trend hit New York ages ago. I immediately questioned the cool factor of ping pong after growing up with a much loved ping pong table in my garden. That said, it’s actually hard not to like Ping’s spacious three bars packed with gorgeous people, performing djs, and a room filled with ping pong tables. I fell in love with Ping the second we stepped in!
I’m a big fan of the Cucumber Mint Martini or Ice Ice Baby drinks, both of which will give your ping pong skills a liquid confidence boost after a mere few sips! I haven’t eaten at Ping, but during my last visit, I spotted a fresh pudding pizza covered with Nutella topped with berries; I’m intrigued to return and try it. Beware the occasional ping pong ball flying at your head!
|Photo credit: www.weloveping.com|
Maggie’s holds a special place in my heart as it is dangerously near to my flat, which makes a late night visit a bit too easy. You could say I am a bit of a regular.
Named in tribute to the late great Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, Maggie’s is an 80’s nightclub filled with neon glowsticks, 80’s paraphernalia, and even Union Flag covered loos, where speeches of Margaret Thatcher are played on repeat. The crowd is quite casual with a really nice and relaxed ‘I just want to dance the night away‘ kinda vibe, all wearing Maggie’s visors or sweatbands of course! You basically won’t fit in at Maggie’s if you aren’t dancing your face off with a glow stick in hand by midnight.
At Maggie’s, the 80’s are back and punchier than ever before, which is what keeps me going back time and time again. Getting a table for a group at Maggie’s is a bit pricey, but it’s well worth it for a big occasion, which made Maggie’s an easy choice of venue for my bachelorette party (called ‘a hen night’ in the UK) the other weekend!
I’m not exactly sure what the ingredients are in the flaming Maggie’s Fishbowl beverage, but it tastes of elderflower, lemon, hints of apple with lots of vodka, and it definitely gets you dancing in no time – or in my case, crowd surfing!
The best way to finish off a hot and sweaty night of dancing at Maggies is a late night or early morning visit to Vingt-Quatre, which is conveniently two doors down the Fulham Road and serves food 24 hours a day.
The Box, Soho
It is hard to know exactly what goes on at The Box, London’s wildest x-rated fetish burlesque club in Soho, as pictures are strictly forbidden and availability is slim. I jumped at the chance to experience The Box when gal pal Tamsin invited me to be her +1 at a ‘company do’. I almost got knocked out by the flamboyant drag queen host for taking the below snap of the stage- like I said, photos are not allowed. What happens at The Box stays at The Box.
I have been to the original Box show in New York, but I can safely say that what I saw at London’s naughty younger sister property, is even more over the top and will leave your head spinning. Make sure you grab a drink or four to calm your nerves before the extra saucy cabaret performances begin!
I’m sure the routine must change every night, but you can expect lots of nudity, contortionists, intriguing but creepy costumes, deformities, and sex toys. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were sitting next to Jude Law or a member of the Royal family either. Yep, it’s not going to be your standard night out! I do not recommend The Box if you are on a tight budget: my end of night memory isn’t the sharpest, but I do recall that the gin and tonics cost about £14 a pop. Book a table way in advance, or if you want to risk a walk-in entrance, make sure you go early and are dressed to impress. Even Mischa Barton couldn’t convince the bouncer to let her in.
Let’s hope she didn’t pull a Reese Witherspoon, “don’t you know who I am?” moment.