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4 London Nights Done Right

Before the Night Tube launches next year (24-hour train service on weekends), local Brits reveal the best neighborhoods for spending the wee hours.

Chelsea, Notting Hill, and Soho
Bowling with Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Aerial view of Sloane Square in Belgravia.  

Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

A night out with Jack Fox, actor.

“I start my night with La Famiglia (7 Langton St.; 207-351-0751), man! The Rolling Stones used to go there. Get the mozzarella wrapped in bread crumbs and then cooked in tomato sauce. It’s like the worst stuff for you in the world, but it is just so good. I love a restaurant where you order a steak and they don’t ask how you want it done, they just do it how it should be. It’s quite an arty crowd, which is funny because it’s in a nice part of Chelsea, but it’s not ostentatious. My family always goes here for birthdays. My friend owns this Caribbean restaurant called the Rum Kitchen (6-8 All Saints Rd.; 207-920-6479), which has like 200 different types of rum. It’s dangerous — but in a great way. There’s a steel band there sometimes. You can never get reception because it’s down in the basement. A place I like to go dancing is La Bodega Negra (9 Old Compton St.; 207-758-4100), a Mexican-themed restaurant and bar below a sex shop. People here get dressed for a night out. Everyone drinks a lot of tequila — they’ll recommend that you order a bottle of Patrón for the table. Afterward, I’ll end up at Ham Yard Hotel (1 Ham Yard; 203-642-2000) for some late-night bowling. The bowling alley is in the basement. All these places are in a basement! Apparently, if it’s not in a basement, I’m not into it. They serve burgers and chips and beers. There’s nothing better. We had the after-party for our play Dear Lupin there. Jonathan Rhys Meyers was there and was a really good bowler.”

Where he’d crash: “The Park Lane Hotel (from $341; I had an anniversary there with a girlfriend, and it was quite nice. It’s quintessentially English. The lobby is very grand — lots of gilt everywhere.”

Shoreditch and Peckham
Mid-2000s R&B parties.

Shoreditch at dawn.  

Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

A night with Kareem Reid, artist, writer, and host of Body Party at the Ace Hotel.

“Order the Redneck Candy — bourbon, salted caramel, and lemon juice — at Shutterbug (1 Rivington Pl.; 203-222-0518), which is this hidden-away place in a building that belongs to the Institute of International Visual Arts. It’s very dark with low ceilings, and there’s loads of candlelight, which makes it really romantic, although it seems like it’s usually groups of artist friends hanging — but it’s probably artists on dates with each other! After-hours, we’ll go to Rye Wax (133 Rye Ln.; 207-732-3176), another basement spot, in the Bussey Building in Peckham, that has really cheap drinks. You’ll find South London’s skate scene mixed with young creatives in their 20s. It’s only got a 100-person capacity, so no matter who’s playing, it’s always nice and intimate. It takes me back to the old sweaty basement raves that I used to like when I was younger. Go whenever there’s a Club Rez party, which attracts a low-key crowd and plays slow mid-2000s R&B and club music.”

Where he’d crash: “The Ace Hotel Shoreditch (from $303; has become a central meeting point for East London creatives. And the restaurant, Hoi Polloi, is banging. Their fries are amazing — I can’t stress that enough.”

Sweating to the Spice Girls.


Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

A night out with Charles Jeffrey, fashion designer and host of Loverboy at VFD.

“I’ll get dinner at L’Entrepôt (230 Dalston Ln.; 207-249-1176) for their great roast pigeon. Their crowd is really mixed; you’ll see everyone from artsy couples to yummy mummies. My friends and I will usually end up at VFD, a.k.a. Vogue Fabrics Dalston (66 Stoke Newington Rd.), where I started my party Loverboy a year ago. The space is kind of a dungeon, very small, so it gets packed and sweaty, but that’s the whole vibe of it. VFD also hosts Straight Nasty, which is usually the last Saturday of the month; they cover the whole space in pink tinsel and play Britney Spears and the Spice Girls. It’s kind of a Soho gay crowd — more mainstream, but in a good way. And then there’s Sassitude, which is my friend’s night that happens every two months on the last Friday of that month; it’s a really girlie night with girlie disco. Then I’ll get a chicken doner wrap at Ali Baba (144 Kingsland High St.; 207-249-4618), which is a good place to sit down and have a sobering-up meal.”

Where he’d crash: “Claridge’s (from $1,067; They always have a fabulous Christmas tree, and you might bump into Elton John in the lift.”

Mayfair and Covent Garden
Dickensian wood-fired beef.

The Ham Yard Hotel.   

A night with Lady Astor, co-founder of the OKA furniture line.

“My idea of a perfect evening is a cozy dinner at my son-in-law Tom Mullion’s restaurant Kitty Fisher’s (10 Shepherd Mkt.; 203-302-1661). The specialty is the Galician beef from their wood burner, and the style is reminiscent of a Dickensian cellar; it’s deliciously intimate. I’d follow this up with a nightcap at the Art Deco–style Colony Grill Room (8 Balderton St.; 207-499-9499), where you’re likely to see a few well-known faces. But my real treat is an evening at Royal Opera House in Covent Garden (Bow St.; 207-304-4000). It simply oozes glamour, and you get a sense that you’re part of something that has always been.”

Where she’d crash: “The Ham Yard Hotel (from $465; is a cornucopia of decorative ideas and fancies. The comfort is sublime.”

Plus, A Destination Cocktail: “I Would Fly to Paris Just to … ”

Le Mary Celeste.   

“… Sit at the corner window table at Le Mary Celeste in the Marais and drink their Marseillan cocktail, made with vermouth, Suze, raspberry, cardamom, and pastis. A cocktail doesn’t get much more French than that, and when in Paris, one must drink pastis in some form or another.”
—Natasha David, co-owner of Nitecap on the Lower East Side