Let’s set the scene. It’s a Wednesday night. You’ve been out for dinner with your mates and shared a few bottles of wine. You know you’ve got work in the morning but, rather than go home to bed like any sensible person would, you find yourself agreeing to stay out for ‘just one more’. Then, before you know it, it’s 1am, you’ve polished off an unknown number of rum and cokes and you’re on a packed night bus, holding a Big Mac and dreading the moment when your alarm goes off in 5 hours time. Outside London, such weeknight drinking is widely frowned upon but, in our glorious capital, it is very much the norm. So, next time you’re out on a school night, why not try one of these fine establishments…
What: Shots on a School Night
Why: The Folly markets itself as a botanically inspired haven. With a garden lounge, private dining rooms, flower shop and deli, it’s quite the weekday retreat from the hustle and bustle of the City. However, with an extensive list of quirky cocktails, reasonably priced spirits and a late license until the early hours, this haven loses its heavenly charm on weeknights when it becomes packed to the rafters with parties of workers from the surrounding offices. With two, long bars and a massive basement area, the Folly is the perfect place to sink a few shots on a school night.
Where: 41 Gracechurch Street, City of London, EC3V 0DN
The Royal Festival Hall
What: Culture With Your Cocktail
Why: If you’re looking for a weeknight venue with a bit more style, taste and refinement than your average bar, then make a beeline for the Royal Festival Hall. With its charmingly vintage interior, this modernist gem is perhaps most famous for its cultural exhibits and incredible live performance spaces. However, with an outdoor terrace offering panoramic views of Westminster, it’s a great spot to grab a pint or a glass of wine after a long Tuesday at the office. Served in plastic glasses, you can wander around the hall with your drink and take in the exhibits or relax to some jazz in the Clore Ballroom – the perfect place to unwind.
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
What: Whisky on a Wednesday
Why: Coq d’Argent is a delight. This rooftop bar and grill is a relaxed meeting spot for friends and workmates alike. Recognised as one of the top ten whisky bars in London, it should be at the very top of your list if you’re fond of the old fire water – with over seventy different blends on offer, you’ll be spoilt for choice! A stone’s throw from the towers of the City, the bar’s outdoor winter garden provides drinkers with truly spectacular views of the London skyline – you’ll feel like a king as you sip your Armagnac while gazing at the bright lights of the Gherkin, Tower 42 and the Walkie Talkie.
Where: No. 1 Poultry, Bank, EC2R 8EJ
What: A Tuesday Tipple
Why: This Kingsland High Street venue has become a firm East London favourite. With an extensive drinks list that includes draught beers, bottled beers, rotating guest beers and classic cocktails, you can see why it’s popular among those of us who enjoy a tipple on a Tuesday. With its basement dance floor that sees mostly local DJs playing sets from Wednesday through to Sunday, Superstore also gives us weeknight party goers a chance to pull some shapes on a school night. Not to be missed!
Where: 117 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2PB
What: A Midweek Rave
Why: For those select few who prefer hardcore weeknight raving to a chilled Thursday night at the pub, KOKO is the place for you. Atmospheric and exciting, this Grade II-listed theatre was transformed in 2004 into a true London megaclub. With a gigantic disco ball as the ceiling centrepiece, revellers can dance the night away in the old auditorium, the dress circle and the theatre’s various tiered balconies. A truly unique venue, KOKO caters for all music tastes, offering everything from indie pop and rock to hip hop and trance. (Fun fact: Charlie Chaplin trod the boards at KOKO when it was known as the Camden Hippodrome in the early 1900s!).
Where: 1a Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7JE
What: Tuesday Table Tennis
Why: Open from 4pm until late, Bounce is a ping-pong bar that offers midweek drinkers some competitive fun in a kooky, 12,000-square foot venue. With 17 bespoke designed ping pong tables, a restaurant that serves fresh pizzas straight from a word-burner and a ‘Gin Palace’-inspired cocktail bar, Bounce has become one of the capital’s whackiest hangouts and has set the bar high in the experience-led London nightlife scene.
Where: 121 Holborn, London, EC1N 2TD
What: A Soho Institution
Why: With a wide selection of beers, wine and cocktails on offer (as well as a 1am license!), weeknights at Bar Soho are always great fun. Hedonistic and loud, this venue revels in its legendary status as one of central London’s go to party pubs. Private functions, wedding receptions and even celebrity after parties are the norm in the themed upstairs bars, while the downstairs main bar is open for all. With several raised areas, wrought-iron railings and vintage TV sets showing old Looney Tunes cartoons, Bar Soho is as eccentric in its design as it is popular among Soho partygoers. Enjoy!
Where: 23-25 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 5JL
Ain’t Nothin’ But
What: Midweek Blues (The Good Kind)
Why: If you’re looking for somewhere that’s a bit more mellow and chilled, look no further than Ain’t Nothin But, London’s very own American-style blues bar. Tucked away on Kingly Street, this small yet gorgeous hidden gem is best enjoyed on a weeknight as it gets far too crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. Its specialist license means Ain’t Nothin But is free to play a very wide range of music, stretching from bar room honky tonk to Chicago beats and even to reggae. Serving up a fine array of beers, this fine establishment is great if you’re looking to chill after yet another ridiculously busy day at the office.
Where: 20 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5PZ
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