Get Ready for 24-Hour London!

Before the end of 2015, London Underground will run 24 hours through the weekend. Here are some cool haunts open all hours

When Frank Sinatra sang that he wanted to ‘wake up in a city that never sleeps’ he was singing about New York. But now that the world’s oldest underground network opens 24 hours a day on Fridays and Saturdays, his line can be applied to London. Five Underground lines will start a 24-hour service later 2015, so to mark the arrival, here’s our pick of some of London’s top nightspots for all you night owls. 

Beigel Bake

Knocking out some 7,000 bagels a day, London’s oldest bagel shop – which was established in 1977 – is an East End institution. It never shuts and offers fillings such as hot salt beef and mustard or smoked salmon and cream cheese. Spot the clientele, ranging from party revellers to early-morning commuters. 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB. www.beigelbake.com

Hippodrome Casino, London, UK
Have a flutter, dinner and a cocktail at any hour of day or night at the Hippodrome (©Hippodrome London)

Hippodrome Casino

Slap-bang in the heart of the West End, the Hippodrome is more than just a casino – it has everything from a steak house to a theatre. The main attraction, however, is the casino, which has three floors of gaming offering everything from roulette, blackjack and baccarat to dice and slots. Hippodrome Live shows jazz, swing, soul and cabaret every night. It’s also home to the Heliot Steak House, offering delicious 28 day-aged prime steak. Cranbourn Street, Leicester Sq, WC2H 7JH. www.hippodromecasino.com

Tinseltown

In the early hours, this American-style diner takes off. Open between noon and 4am on Monday to Saturday, it is at clubs’ closing time that the Farringdon branch is at its busiest. It serves everything from classic burgers, hot dogs and New York-style buffalo wings to thick milkshakes and a range of sundaes and cheesecakes. Ask to be seated in one of the comfy booths! 44-46 St. John St., EC1M 4DF. www.tinseltown.co.uk

Neil Cornelius Salon

Forget about bad hair days, as the Neil Cornelius Salon has introduced a service where you can get your hair done day or night. The idea of 24-hour hair salons is popular in cities like New York, particularly with shift workers and jet-lag sufferers. Appointments are essential. Floor 1, 109 New Bond St, W1S 1EG. www.nc1stfloor.com

VQ, London, UK
Breakfast at 3am? Certainly madame! VQ has a 24-hour menu (courtesy VQ)

VQ Bloomsbury

This is London’s second VQ (which stands for Vingt-Quatre), the first branch being in Chelsea of the 24-hour cafe. The illegal dives of yesteryear had darkened rooms and curtained windows, but VQ is light and bright and screams out a welcoming ‘come on in’. Other late-night eateries can sometimes mean steep prices, but here it's competitive and the night menu includes simple favourites such as an all-night breakfast, burgers and pasta. It also offers a cocktail menu. 111A Great Russell St, WC1B 3NQ. www.vq24hours.com

Bar Italia

It’s not quite 24 hours (it closes 5am-7am), but this stalwart of London’s late-night scene has been serving coffee, paninis, pasta and other Italian delights since it opened in 1949. British indie band Pulp wrote a song about it, and it was recreated for the 1986 movie Absolute Beginners, starring David Bowie. 22 Frith St., W1D 4RF., www.baritaliasoho.co.uk

 

The gym Group, London, UK
Whether you've got jet lag or just a gym bunny, use the bike machines all night long (courtesy the Gym Group)

The Gym Group

With branches all across the capital, The Gym Group’s unique selling point is flexibility. As there is no contract to sign, visitors to London can use the gyms throughout their stay. These are no-frills spaces: don’t expect pools, but do expect a wide range of equipment. Various locations. www.thegymgroup.co.uk

Shakespeare’s Globe

During the warmer months, rhis landmark theatre plays host to Midnight Matinees. On Friday, 11 September, "Much Ado About Nothing" will be performed at precisely 11.59pm. The venue is itself is exciting to visit - built in 1997, it as a replica of the Bard’s original Globe that burnt down in 1613, and has London’s only thatched roof. 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT. www.shakespeareglobe.com