Poncey: pretentious (Source: Oxford Dictionary)
These are the places with no ‘attitude alert’. Not many places in the West. For a more relaxed atmosphere you need to head mainly East or South.
Sports Bar|127 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch|£|Have a look!
This is the bar that makes football pleasant! Great place to watch sports, especially football games as it draws an international crowd and builds up a great atmosphere.
Perfect for: Euro/World Cup
The Big Chill Bar
Bar|Dray Walk, 91 Brick Lane|Have a look!
Dray Walk is a surreal little street, off Brick Lane which comes into life in the weekends after 7pm. Full of indie little bars, this is best for outdoor drinking where crowds from the different bars are ‘merged’. The Big Chill is my favourite one on this Walk, offering also an enclosed court yard. Usual East London industrial style, perfect for warm evening where you can enjoy the outside spaces. DJs are playing all the time from techno, house to disco and soul.
Perfect for: East London vibe, music
Nightclub|83 Rivington St, Shoreditch|££|Have a look!
At an ever changing Shoreditch, Cargo is one of those refuges where you know the vibe hasn’t been influenced by the commercialism of the hipster scene. Offers shows from big name to underground artists and performances.
Perfect for: live music & performances
Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Bar|2-4 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch|££|Have a look!
A Hoxton institution, this brick layered space has been a point of attraction for the East crowds for a long long time. It offers a bar, a gig area and a restaurant and you can roam all three in one evening with no restrictions. I used to be in Love with this bar but it has significantly changed its vibe over the last few years, with Friday nights dominated with suited city workers after work. Nothing wrong with suits but Hoxton used to be an indie space and lost this appeal.
Go during the week to enjoy the indie vibe which is more prominent. Avoid Fridays and Saturdays where crowds are nothing but indie.
Perfect for: weekdays, music
Jazz After Dark
Jazz Bar|9 Greek Street, Soho|££|Have a look!
Intimate jazz venue and a Soho institution. Full of Amy Winehouse artwork (bar claims she was a regular, I never saw her there though). This is not the most tasteful of venues deco wise. But there is something about Jazz After Dark. Based in one of the most busiest roads (and areas) of London it still feels like an undiscovered secret. Extra bonus the late license; the venue stays open until 2am on weekdays and 3 am on weekends. Opt to go during the week as the music is better. Don’t order food and stick with uncomplicated drinks!
Perfect for: live jazz
Bar|11 East Yard, Camden|£|Have a look!
On a sunny day I honestly can’t think of a better place in North London. Overlooking Camden Lock, the place is jamming with music and people creating a party atmosphere.
Perfect for: sunny days
Club|697 Wandsworth Rd, Clapham|£££|Have a look!
I am not crazy about Clapham, but it does have a number of good places popping up the last few years. This is one of my favourite clubs. A two storey house, art deco lavish, offers a multi dimensional space to enjoy cocktails (downstairs and at the court yard) or head for dancing (at the club upstairs). DJ on Fridays are particularly good. Shame it lost its late license as it used to be open until 3am in the weekends.
Best for: birthdays, Fridays
Bar|171 Portobello Road, Notting Hill|££|Have a look!
This is a ‘rough’ looking bar but with a polished attitude and drinks menu; a ‘cocktail tavern’ as it brands itself. The roughness is part of the design but this is as far as it gets. Attitude free and welcoming, this little Notting Hill boozer is a great place to relax with friends.
Best for: during the week, date nights
Bar|177 Portobello Road, Notting Hill|££|Have a look!
This is not a cocktail bar in the traditional type of sense. With a purposely tacky 60s deco offers its own interpretation of classic cocktails (with a tiki twist) and a whole range of tropical ones with obscene names and combinations. Overall if you are looking for a more relaxed Saturday night venue in Notting Hill would recommend.
Try: too many tacky names options!
Best for: buddy catch ups
Club|The Horse Hospital, Stables Market, Camden|££|Have a look!
I wasn’t sure whether to list this place under Club or Stables. This is unique multi space venue one of them having seven original horse stable available for hire which makes it perfect for a very different birthday celebration. Other than that, it offers concert spaces, gallery spaces, the horse stable club and all can be experience in one evening.
Perfect for: buddy catch ups, birthdays
Zigfrid von Underbelly
Bar|11 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch|££|Have a look!
Zigfrid’s is one of those quirky bars with the crazy juxtaposition of elements from tiki deco to leather chairs and deco elements. Completely random but somehow it works. ‘Underbelly’, situated downstairs, is the live gig venue.
Perfect for: buddy catch ups, music