Clubbing in London
London has one of the most diverse and active nightlife scenes in the world. Not only is there a great range of musical choice, but everyone can find a club or bar to suit their social tastes. Great cathedrals of techno like Fabric and Phonox sit happily alongside smaller, more intimate venues like The Yard and Corsica Studios. Whether you want to stay out till the sunrise or leave after the first act, you’ll find something just right for you in our list below.
This is the big one. The Mother of all London clubs. The one where you go in full of excitement and expectation at 10pm and leave what feels like an eternity later with nothing but a dazed smile on your face. More a monument to clubbing than a venue, Fabric’s promoters live and breathe electronic music so you can always be certain that the lineup will be top class. It’s worth noting that Fabric isn’t cheap, but more or less everyone that has ever been will assure you that it’s worth every penny. Remember, Fabric is rarely open early in the week, so it’s best to plan ahead for a night out there.
Fabric, 77a Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6HJ
Various opening hours. Go to https://www.fabriclondon.com for more info.
Snuggled under mainline railway arches in a once-gritty south London concrete jungle, Corsica Studios (just “Corsica” to its devotees) is the spiritual home of techno in London. It was famed for its debauched all-nighters that had young men and women joining the morning commuters for their journeys home, but it has since become a little more accepting of casual audiences and different genres of music. Recently they have hosted many world music artists who play alongside electronic artists, creating a bizarre and unforgettable musical fusion. Check out their Wednesday and Thursday events for a great value night out.
Corsica Studios, 4/5 Elephant Rd, London SE17 1LB.
Open Monday to Sunday 8pm-3am. Open till 6am on Friday.
This Shoreditch stalwart provides reliably great music and a proper club experience for those who don’t necessarily want to wake up in a golf cart asking themselves why they seem to be covered in new tattoos. Don’t get me wrong, those nights are great, but after too many of them you won’t have enough skin left for new ink. XOYO caters to electronic music aficionados as well as casual drinkers thanks to its sleek bar, rooftop smoking area and consistently impressive roster of artist residencies. If you’re staying in East London, check this place out on a Thursday to join the students for cheap drinks and good-time disco tunes.
XOYO, 32-37 Cowper Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4AP
Various opening hours. Go to https://xoyo.co.uk/whats-on for more info.
The Yard, named after its location in the achingly cool Queen’s Yard, enjoys a reputation for relaxed vibes and unpredictable music. Operating as a theatre in the daytime, this inviting spot decks itself out with fairy lights and a titan sound system on Friday and Saturday nights. What’s nice about The Yard is that you can have a drink in any of the lovely breweries and bars on the nearby canal before sloping down to for a bev and a boogie with all of the other young creatives living in the area, right in the shadow of the Olympic Park. It’s one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a summer night in London.
The Yard, 2A, Queen’s Yard, London E9 5EN
Various opening hours. Go to https://theyardtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/ for more info.
A recent addition to south London’s club scene, Brixton’s Phonox has rapidly cemented itself as one of the best venues in the whole city. The idea with Phonox was to create a world-class venue in terms of bookings and audience experience, so no expense has been spared on sound, light and design. And as fantastic as it is on a Saturday night, the reason that Phonox has so many clubbers excited is the popular day parties on Sundays. Go to one of these and you’ll find yourself vibing to a choice selection of beats from the likes of BBC Radio 6’s Gilles Peterson, mojito in hand, forgetting that the working week is approaching.
Phonox, 418 Brixton Rd, Brixton, London SW9 7AY
Open 9:30pm-4am Friday and Saturday, 4pm-10pm Sunday.
CLF Art Café
If you asked an arty-looking passer-by in south London whether they had heard of the CLF Art Cafe, they would probably give you a blank look. Ask them about Bussey Building and a mischievous smile of instant recognition would appear. Bussey (the name of the actual building rather than the establishment) is home to one of the great London nights out, which, over the years, has provided ecstasy and elation to generations of students and locals alike: the legendary South London Soul Train. The infectious energy of the DJs and crowd aside, its the sheer size of the place that really sticks in the mind, its four floors packed to the rafters with glitter-covered revellers. But do remember to check out Rye Wax, a smaller record store-cum-club in the basement of the building with a far more intimate feel. At either venue, you’re sure to get a true feel for how Londoners like to party, and you’ll have a banging time to boot.
CLF Art Cafe, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST
South London Soul train is on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Saturday of each month.