The pace with which London bars and clubs go in and out of fashion is mind-boggling. New trends, likewise, emerge all time. In one somewhat recent development, the dreaded velvet rope has been usurped by the doorbell-ringing mystique of members-only drinking clubs. Some of the city's most talked-about nightlife spots these days are those attached to some of the best restaurants and hotels—no wonder, when you consider the increased popularity of London cuisine in international circles. Moreover, the gay scene in London is still going strong. One constant of the nightlife here is variety. The understated glamour of north London's Primrose Hill, which makes movie stars feel so at ease, might be considered dull by the übertrendy club goers of London's East End. Likewise, the price of a pint in Chelsea would be considered blasphemous by the musicians and poets of multicultural Peckham.

Whatever your pleasure, however your whim turns come evening, chances are you'll find what you're looking for in London's ever-changing arena of activity and invention.

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  • 1. Prospect of Whitby

    East End

    Named after a collier ship, this is one of London's oldest riverside pubs, dating to around 1520. Although a regular for Dickens, Pepys, Samuel Johnson,...Read More

  • 2. The Blackfriar

    City of London

    A step from Blackfriars Tube station, this spectacular pub has an Arts and Crafts interior that is entertainingly, satirically ecclesiastical, with inlaid mother-of-pearl, wood carvings,...Read More

  • 3. The Coach & Horses


    On the corner of Greek Street, Soho's most famous pub is as authentic as they come, complete with light oak screens and fittings, spittoon troughs,...Read More

  • 4. The Dove


    Read the list of famous ex-regulars, from Charles II and Nell Gwyn to Ernest Hemingway and Dylan Thomas, as you wait for a beer at...Read More

  • 5. The Lamb & Flag

    Covent Garden

    This refreshingly ungentrified 17th-century pub was once known as "The Bucket of Blood" because the upstairs room and front yard were used as a ring...Read More

  • 6. Bloomsbury Tavern


    Located between the British Museum and the West End, this pretty Victorian-era pub and its stained-glass windows and varnished wooden floors and paneling is the...Read More

  • 7. Museum Tavern


    Across the street from the British Museum in Bloomsbury, this friendly and classy Victorian pub makes an ideal resting place after the rigors of the...Read More

  • 8. Princess Louise


    This fine pub, popular with academics from the nearby British Museum and King's College London, is an exquisite museum piece of a Victorian interior, with...Read More

  • 9. The Anglesea Arms


    The front patio and wood-paneled bar of this traditional pub next door to Charles Dickens's former residence is invariably crowded, especially after work, but the...Read More

  • 10. The Betjeman Arms

    King's Cross

    Inside St. Pancras International's renovated Victorian station, this pub is the perfect place to grab a pint and some superior pub fare....Read More

  • 11. The Cow

    Notting Hill

    This boho-chic Irish pub is all about the Guinness and the superb, if pricey, seafood. Whether you're in the unpretentious downstairs saloon bar or the...Read More

  • 12. The Dog and Duck


    A beautiful example of a High Victorian pub, The Dog and Duck has a majestic interior overflowing with thousands of ornate glazed tiles, etched mirrors,...Read More

  • 13. The George

    South Bank

    Not every pub is also a Grade I–listed, National Trust property, but this is London's last surviving galleried coaching inn. Dickens once frequented the inn's...Read More

  • 14. The Harp

    Covent Garden

    This is the sort of friendly flower-decked locale you might find on some out-of-the-way backstreet, except that it's right in the middle of town, between...Read More

  • 15. The Holly Bush


    A short walk up the hill from Hampstead Tube station, the friendly Holly Bush dates back to the 18th century and retains something of the...Read More

  • 16. The Lamb


    Charles Dickens and his contemporaries drank here, but today's enthusiastic clientele make sure this intimate and eternally popular pub avoids the pitfalls of feeling too...Read More

  • 17. The Market Porter


    If you find yourself craving a drink at 11 am, this traditional London pub is for you. The early opening hour is not because it...Read More

  • 18. The Mayflower

    South East London

    With a solid claim to being the oldest pub on the Thames, this deeply atmospheric riverside inn dates back to the mid-16th century (although it...Read More

  • 19. The Punch Bowl


    In a quiet corner of Mayfair, the cozy little Punch Bowl dates to 1729 and the interior remains steadfastly old-fashioned, with a painting of Churchill,...Read More

  • 20. The Queens Larder


    Queen Charlotte, the wife of "mad" King George III, is said to have stored food for him here in the basement while he was being...Read More

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