Can’t get into Chiltern Firehouse? Well, it’s hardly the only ‘after hours’ spot...
The smell of hot dogs percolating in murky brine; the clack-clack of pub chairs being wearily stacked. These are, traditionally, the signs that a great night out is officially ‘over’. But what happened to that romantic notion of partying till dawn and swinging roguishly on to the back of a milk float? As London’s Chiltern Firehouse leads the charge for after-hours revelry, we decided to put together a network of late-night establishments for the discerning drinker. So bring on the heated cigar terraces, barbecue martinis and artisanal Mexican doughnuts. Oh, and forget about the milk train and call an Uber. Getting banged up for trespass isn’t actually that romantic…
The Scotch Of St James
Masons Yard, SW1
A popular meeting place for the rock’n’roll fraternity since the Sixties, it is now a luxury members’ club. The live music in the basement will put hairs on your chest.
Signature AM drink: The St James – a gin lightning bolt with cherry liqueur.
25-27 Brewer St, Soho, W1
Not ‘late’ by London standards but has a knock-out selection of mezcal (smoky tequila), plus serves tacos and churros until closing. Your salt/fat/tequila worm cravings will thank you.
Signature AM drink: A shot of Olmeca Altos – a citrusy, hand-crafted tequila from Los Altos.
First Floor, 68 Rivington St, EC2
Inspired by New Orleans, this is the first bar outside of the US to be awarded the Seal Of The Sazerac. But before you down a cocktail on the heated cigar terrace, remember to fill out a free membership form.
Signature AM drink: The Sazerac – whisky, brandy, absinthe.
Red Light Bar
1 Unity St, BS1
Once a sweaty club owned by Massive Attack, the Red Light is now a (sweat-free) speakeasy themed like a Fifties brothel. There’s no sign above the door – look for a flicker of neon.
Signature AM drink: The Bullseye, Red Light’s turbo-charged twist on a Bloody Mary.
1 Park Street Ave, BS1
Boasts a 50-strong ‘malt menu’ guaranteed to cure husky voices. A magnet for bon vivants (if you can’t hold forth on a red Chesterfield, where can you?) its bohemian vibe is accented by the framed insects on the walls. A classier take on ‘bugged out’.
Signature AM drink: The New York Flip (circa 1862) – a mix of bourbon, port, egg and cream.
6-8 Barlows Croft, Salford, M3
This is where local bartenders wind down each night.
Signature AM drink: The stomach-settling Cuckoo Clock (dry gin, lemon, egg white and orange bitters).
45 Hardman St, Merseyside, L1
This legendary cabaret venue was returned to its former glory in April with a Seventies Vegas-inspired revamp, and it holds a 24-hour drinking licence.
Signature AM drink: Jack & Coke is what it’s all about.
186 Bath St, Glasgow, G2
A four-floor fanatasia with everything from iPod docks and dressing-up kits to Wii rooms, karaoke booths, private fridges and secret party pods.
Signature AM drink: The Maple Syrup Old Fashioned.
The Tippling House
4 Belmont St, Aberdeen, AB10
Suitably-subterranean, it serves boutique spirits to match the all-night ‘plates’, such as poutine (fries, cheese curds and gravy).
Signature AM drink: Irish Goodbye – whisky, orange bitters and rhubarb squash.
Jake’s Bar & Still Room
29 Call Lane, LS1
This isn’t just a bar – it’s a distillery. In the back, you’ll find a 30-litre copper still (‘Tabitha’) cooking up homemade liqueurs, used in many of Jake’s cocktails.
Signature AM drink: The Large Hadron Colada contains overproof Wray & Nephew rum with pineapple.
Level 6 Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, LS1
The panoramic terrace that wraps around this bar-restaurant serves up spectacular views of the city. Try not to choke on the BBQ Martini, which comes infused with smoked paprika.
Signature AM drink: Diplomatic Immunity – an elixir comprising rum and espresso.
The Black Dove
74 St James’s St, Brighton, BN2
This folksy ‘elevated boozer’ serves up champion everything from British brews to Belgian Trappist beers – non-profit ales made within the walls of one of 10 monasteries in Europe.
Signature AM drink: St Austell Proper Black, a chocolaty IPA.
17 Jubilee St, BN1
This is the after-hours joint of choice for the bleary-eyed oligarch. Marvel at its 10m long gold bar or eye-shaped aquarium – and yes, they will run you a bath of champagne if you’ve lost your mind.
Signature AM drink: An £8 Polish vodka martini – or a £6,500 bath of champagne.