Student Nightlife Guide: London

London Nightlife Guide

By Haley Patricia and Sarah Grace WalkerMay 16, 2018


If you find yourself in London while traveling abroad, consider yourself lucky. With an endless selection of late-night clubs, classic British pubs, and unique bars, boredom is not an option in this lively city. Because London’s thriving nightlife can sometimes feel overwhelming, we’re here to help! Look no further than the neighborhood of Shoreditch for an authentic and eventful night out. With its young and edgy crowd, Shoreditch offers a range of hip pubs, late-night clubs, live music venues, and unique bars. On top of that, this guide will highlight the best nightlife in Piccadilly Circus, one of London’s most happening hotspots. Whether you choose to spend your night in Shoreditch or Piccadilly, we’ve got you covered from your pre-game cocktails to your late night munchies. Cheers!



1. Simmons Bar, Liverpool Street (Shoreditch): For a cheap drink, head over to Simmons. Resembling a cross between a classic British pub and a hip young bar, you can’t go wrong with its FIVE-hour-long happy hour, which starts at 4pm and ends at 9pm. With its interactive DJ and loyal crowd of young Brits, Simmons is the perfect spot to kick off your night in Shoreditch.


2. Bounce, Old Street (Shoreditch): If you’re looking for an unconventional way to pregame your night, head on over to Bounce. This underground bar offers food, drinks, and neon ping pong tables. Each table can hold up to 20 people, making it the perfect location for large groups. With authentic Italian pizzas, an extensive drink menu, table service, and cheap prices, Bounce is always a good decision.


3. London Cocktail Club (Piccadilly): To start off the night, head over to the London Cocktail Club on Goodge street for unique cocktails and an authentic, hipster London vibe. This place has some character- it lies underground to give it a speak-easy feel and has a “phone booth” you can sit with your crew at in the back that’s covered in writing from tipsy bar goers. Not to mention Happy Hour all night on Mondays (because Europeans tend to get drunk every night of the week). From LCC, you can head over to the Goodge tube station and connect over to the Piccadilly Line to exit right in the heart of Piccadilly Circus (FYI- the Piccadilly line runs 24 hours Friday and Saturday).


4. Be At One (Piccadilly): Be At One is a bar chain known for its excellent cocktails, friendly staff, and great atmosphere. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail and want something close to Piccadilly Circus’ best clubs, Be At One’s Windmill Street Location is the perfect spot for you. Keep in mind, early bird gets the worm - get there before 7:30 and you’ll receive 2 cocktails for the price of 1.



1. XOYO (Shoreditch): XOYO is one of London’s top clubs for music lovers. Not only is the club equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, but it also books its talent based on quality rather than genre. If you opt to go to XOYO, prepare for a late night of non-stop dancing and singing as London’s best DJ’s and producers take over the club’s 2 floors.


2. Cargo (Shoreditch): Located in an abandoned railway yard a short distance from both Shoreditch High Street station and Old Street station, Cargo is a hip club known for its international and local DJs along with its energetic and young crowd. Not only does this club have a dance floor and lounge-bar area, but it also offers a large outdoor terrace, perfect for taking a break from the dancing crowds.


3. The Zoo Bar & Club (Piccadilly): Once you arrive at Piccadilly, you’ll be overwhelmed with bouncers offering free shots and deals to come into their clubs, but be warned: all clubs are NOT the same. If bouncers are begging you to come into the club, there’s probably a reason- nobody is in there. And your “free shot” is likely a sketchy mixed drink in a shot glass that tastes like snow cone syrup. If you want a cheap cover, reasonably sized lines, and a packed party atmosphere check out The Zoo Bar & Club. It’s a huge mix of people from all over the world, with a top floor that has a more chill bar vibe and a basement for clubbing.


4. Piccadilly Institute (Piccadilly): Another good bet in the area which has similar vibes to The Zoo and allows you to mingle with people from all over. The Institute has several different levels to it, making it a pretty fun place to get lost in. Each area of the club has a different vibe, and the place as a whole is an absolute blast. Like at most clubs in London, drinks are not cheap here, so remember the first rule of nightlife abroad - PREGAME, PREGAME, PREGAME.


5. O’Neill’s (Piccadilly): If you’re not feeling the intense club scene and want a little taste of good ole’ America, head over to O’Neils for a huge crowd of study abroad students. You’ll meet a ton of college kids and can bond over how much you miss Chick-Fil-A. O’Neils is also a three story bar that gets more lit the more stories you go up, so it’s a good place if you aren’t sure how crazy you want to get that night (although you will probably decide on hitting the top floor at some point, cause hey- you’re abroad)


6. Fabric: Huge nightclub among the most renowned in London. Fabric is known for booking high-quality DJs and is a popular spot among EDM fans. While it is not located in the Shoreditch or Piccadilly neighborhoods, Fabric is definitely worth the Tube ride if you plan on spending the rest of your night there.



1. Polo Bar (Shoreditch): After a long night of dancing and exploring, there is only one place you should end up – Polo Bar. Located near Liverpool Station and only a 15-minute walk from XOYO and Cargo, this restaurant is one of Shoreditch’s hidden gems. From its juicy burgers to its traditional English breakfast, Polo Bar serves the perfect foods to end a night out. The restaurant is open 24 hours and is packed with Londoners at all hours of the night.


2. McDonald’s (Piccadilly): If you have made it through the night to this point, you should probably reward yourself with some late night food. And the recommendation I am going to make may shock some of you: McDonalds. Yup, it’s your best bet in the area that late at night. McDonalds is 10x nicer in London, and at this point you’re probably drunk enough to want to shove a McFlurry and fries down anyways.



1. Wombat City Hostel: Located near the Shoreditch area, Wombat is THE hostel I would recommend for your stay in London. With a huge in-house bar, comfortable common areas, and clean rooms, you won’t find a better hostel for the price. Additionally, the atmosphere as a whole is great. You’ll find it is easy to meet fellow backpackers and young travelers at Wombat. Another perk: the hostel offers a delicious continental breakfast on the cheap.

Wombat City Hostel


2. Clink78: Clink78 is a little bit cheaper than Wombat City Hostel, and is centrally located in between the Shoreditch and Piccadilly neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a party hostel and a fun place to meet fellow travelers, look no further than Clink78. The courthouse - turned - hostel boasts an awesome entertainment basement offering cheap drinks, live music, pool tables, and much more.



3. Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage: If you’re looking for a Victorian, luxury feel during your stay in London, Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage has an old mansion look to it that will make you feel way more boujee than the £25 price tag should. While it is located a good bit away from both Shoreditch and Piccadilly, its a short walk to the nearest Tube station. Palmers Lodge is also near Camden and Abbey Road, which are fun areas to explore during the daytime. Don’t fret - while this hostel is a little more refined, there is still a fun pub downstairs where you can mingle with other travelers.

Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage


So there ya have it! There are TONS of areas to go out in London, with Shoreditch and Piccadilly Circus topping the charts. When you finally make it out of bed, Piccadilly Circus is lined with theaters and lit up by play marquees to give it an energetic “London” vibe. I highly recommend watching a play the next day if you aren’t too hungover.

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